Thursday, 23 February 2012

My first entry for the Sketchbook Challenge

This has been great fun to do. The Sketchbook Challenge was a site I found whilst on the internet looking for something else and I thought I would give it a go as I had bought a sketchbook about a year ago and never used it! See Sketchbook Phobia post dated 2nd Feb.

The Sketchbook Challenge is a way to encourage you to open up your sketchbook and discover what you can do and that the sketchbook can be one of the most valued tools in your artistic tool box. At this point I wasn't sure if the Challenge was for me but then I read 'Wherever you are on your artistic journey, whatever medium or style you work in The Sketchbook Challenge is for you!'

The theme for February was 'Close Up' so I decided to use some photos of marine fish that I took last Easter and do close up observational drawings of the Blue Saltwater Neon fish

and the Longnose Hawfish.

Using a viewfinder (I just cut a rectangle out of a piece of paper and laid it over the image to visually crop the picture of the fish) then everything I saw within the frame is what I drew. This method really helps you to zoom in on what you want to see rather than seeing the whole image.

The first picture I did was of the Blue Saltwater Neon fish and I used a normal pencil to draw with and then added blue stripes with a coloured pencil.

For the second picture I used Letraset Pro markers to draw the pattern around the fin area of the fish.

For the Longnose Hawkfish I used a bright orange coloured pencil for the repetitive pattern.

As I enjoyed doing these I then went on and found a picture of a Lionfish

and painted a close up of this with vibrant watercolours and felt pen.

So hey presto! The first page of my sketchbook is done!

When you are done you are invited to upload your photos onto the Flickr Sketchbook Challenge group and you can not only view your photos but everyone else who has entered too. If you tag the photo with the monthly code you stand a chance of winning a prize.

Look out for the new theme which will be out on the first of March!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Easter Pottery Ideas

We have just been very kindly invited to attend a local Easter Fair in Oprington, Kent on Monday 9th April from 11am -12.30pm. It is so lovely to know that google works and people can find you on the internet! So, we are really looking forward to being there  (fingers crossed for the weather) and as it is only about 6 weeks away it started me thinking about some Easter pottery ideas.

 I love this bunny bowl (£12) he is just so cute

and this is Henrietta (£8) she is available with or without wrought iron legs to stand on.

We have a number of other items available such as these pre designed 4inch Spring tiles at £4. The picture has been fired on already so all you need to think about is colour

and of course egg shapes and egg cups, bowls plates etc.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Valentines Day - don't forget your pottery gift!

Valentines Day is not that far away - don't forget to say how much you love someone with a piece of hand painted pottery..........

Monday, 6 February 2012

Let it snow!

Well we woke up on Sunday morning to this ........

and this

We managed to get out to take the dogs for a walk and they loved it. It is the first time Daisy has ever experienced snow! It is her first birthday on 14th February, that year has gone quickly!

Creative Stitches - Bluewater - So much inspiration!

On Saturday, (before the snow!) we headed off to Bluewater for the Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft show in the new exhibition hall at Bluewater. With 5,200m² of space it promised to be an exciting and dynamic show with no reason not be feel creative.

We started off in the lower hall which was full of stands selling everything you could possibly think of for stamping, card making and paper crafting in general and we managed to spend a good few hours browsing at some fantastic products and ideas.

We were particularly inspired by two different stamping companies, the first was Lavinia's Stamps - a collection of magical, woodland themed products by Tracey Dutton. Tracey thanks the environment in which she lives for much of the inspiration for her scenic stamps and says 'we live in a beautiful part of the world; the Vale of Clwyd which is abundant with exquisite landscapes, scenery, flora and fauna”. Her stamps really reflect a wonderful mythical twist on nature producing some stunning artwork.

We also really like the cards and stamps by Cardio. Such simple but beautiful designs.

After a coffee and a croissant we then headed up to the upper floor to the textile part of the exhibition. Again there were plenty of stalls but also a small fashion show and a lecture theatre. We sat in on two lectures, one by Helen Deighan called 'Dyeing needn't be complicated or messy' which caused some hilarity and another by Isobel Hall, a mixed media textile artist, on making vessels and other textile items from gauze/scrimmy paper and bubble wrap. These were both great lectures, extremely informative and enjoyable.  
As well as lots of stands selling tempting fabrics, buttons, beads, ribbons etc there were a number of displays which gave plenty of inspiration for forthcoming projects.

We also saw the costumes from Downton Abbey which were on display

and the best part is the show is back in September (5th-8th)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sketchbook Phobia

I have owned a sketchbook and a pack of drawing pencils for the last year and neither have seen the light of day since I brought them home.

I am always thinking about things I might draw/paint in the sketchbook but never seem able to actually do it. So the pages have remained blank.

It just looks so daunting but tonight I have been inspired by a website called The Sketchbook Challenge. Every month there is a new challenge set to encourage you to open your sketchbook and draw/paint/explore in whatever medium you choose. The website is very encouraging and reminds you that your sketch book is an expression of you and no one has to see it if you don't want them to however, if you upload pictures to the sketchbook challenge group Flickr account you stand a chance of winning a prize. The challenge this month is Up Close - first take a photo or find an image, now focus on one small area of the image and sketch that. It is incredible how much perspectives change when you go from landscape to closeup. See here for a full explanation of the challenge.

I am very tempted to have a go at this and if I feel brave enough I may post what I create but no promises! If you are brave enough to have a go let me know.

Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft Show - Glow, Bluewater, Kent

I am off to the Creative Stitches show at the new events hall, Glow at Bluewater on Saturday and I can't wait. The rest of my family think I am somewhat unhinged but at least I have my Mum for support!

This promises to be the show for inspiration and education for anyone with an interest in handmade craft. There are free make and take workshops, demonstrators, mini workshops, artists in action and a programme of talks as well as a lot more.

The programme of talks is as follows:
with Kim Thittichai
Kim will be talking about her new book. Come and hear about how to
layer for strength, how to recycle layers and discover layers of texture
and colour.

with Wendy Dolan
Exploring the exciting world of stitched textiles, combining hand and
machine embroidery with layered and painted fabrics, ranging from
small pictures and wedding embellishments, to large commissioned
stage curtains.

with Helen Deighan
Find out the easy way to create your own colours and patterns through
dyeing. Cotton and wool use different techniques, but both are simple
to do.

with Isobel Hall
In this presentation on experimental mixed media techniques, Isobel
takes a look at working in new ways with bubble wrap, garden weed
suppressant and baby wipes. She will also explore different ways for
working with scrim and making paste fabric from light molding paste.

with Sue Dane, Chairman of the Lace Guild
A short introduction to hand made lace in Britain, discussing the
evolution of lace from a cottage industry to a modern textile art.

With all these talks and more I just know there won't be enough time - I should have bought a 2 day ticket!