Quirky Active

Quirky Active
Have you found Polyvore yet?
It's really good fun and addictive - a mood board creating website - with LOADS of images, themes, colours and a nice blank canvas to drag and drop them onto!
This is an Art Deco one....
Art Deco
Pretty isn't it?
Here are some more I've been playing around with...

A Grand day Out.....

Had a lovely day on Saturday with my beautiful teenage boy.We got the first bus - at ten past seven - then a train to London...
We headed out to Bermondsey to find the orangey pinkness that is the Fashion and Textiles Museum.

The exhibition was of textile designs by three women designers in the 1940s.
I got a couple of postcards:
Lucienne day - Calyx, 1951

Jacqueline Groag - untitled, 1952
Marian Mahler - Mobiles, 1952

Lucienne Day - Apollo, late 1950s

These scans of the postcards are by no means a full representation of what was there - the designs were beautiful. The scale of some of the motifs combined with simplicity of form and colour combinations showed a real skill and understanding of screen printing as well as design and the way a repeats work.
There were examples of different colourways for the same designs - and colour choice and juxtaposition made such a difference to how a design sits - just fab!

We only had about an hour and a half before we had to travel back over the river to Bloomsbury for the Portfolio Intensive - organised by SCBWI.
There were two illustrators' agents and two publishers there. I got to only see the two agents - the time went SO quickly.
It was really interesting seeing the work of other illustrators too - at various stages of their careers. I learned a great deal in four short hours and came home very inspired.
The agents were honest but encouraging - generous with their really constructive feedback.  So now I know that I must draw my little son more and keep drawing.  Frances McKay obviously thinks I have good drawing skills - but need to develop an illustrative style. She liked the line drawings of Alfie the dog..

Mark Mills focussed in on a small sketch for an idea to illustrate a poem - a fox

So I sketched and doodled my way home on the train - whilst my son filled several pages in his sketchbook too..

Take a little look-see at this lovely lot...

Having read through the lovely 2012 brochure.... I have deffo been out of the loop for too long!! The brochure says there are Art Trails for studios in clusters - local maps with each participating artist! 
And loads of other exciting things are going on; workshops, teas, demonstrations...
I got the dates wrong too...
This year the Open Studios event lasts for SIXTEEN days - 26 May to 10 June, not the whole of May as I thought.
Also - the artists taking part seem to be of a high standard - really refreshing and inspiring to see.
Take a little look-see at this lovely lot...
I shall be sure to visit Liz's studio:

and Frannie's studio:

- and Corrin's studio:

and Prue's studio:

There are several artists new to me that I want to visit:
Amy Allcroft:

Toby Morison:

Jenni Murphy:

and Kerry Buck:

....I Warn You, This is a Biggie....

With Open Studios coming up in May across Norfolk and later in June throughout Suffolk – I am not taking part this year - but hope to next year - once my shed is up again and the barn and garden are a bit more sorted. I look forward to visiting artists in their studios next month. The booklet is JUST done, according to FB.
Reminiscing, I wanted to share a bit about how I turned my little front room and garden into a gallery; with great success - a few years ago - and offer thoughts for us visitors or for artists

Ten Tippety-Top Tips

1.The Big Push
Open Studios happens in several venues at the same time across the whole county.
My friend and I were lucky enough to live across the Green from each other, so there were two studios to check out in the same village.

You could check the Open Studios booklet and contact other artists nearby; suggesting that you could send visitors to each other’s studio.
Preparing little maps with the details people need to get to each venue can be very effective.
When planning studio visits, I definitely look for clusters on the maps or plan a round trip that takes in three or four venues.
2. Listmania
Use your contacts list – and your hard copy address book (if you’re old fashioned and still use one, like me!) This is so obvious now, but takes a bit of thinking ahead – and an email address… Sounds daft, doesn’t it?
But the first time I did Open Studios I didn’t have a computer; never mind an email! Second time round, I did and it proved useful.
With FB, Twitter etc, etc. there’s no stopping you!
You could aim to send a simple, visual email one month before the event to alert everyone; then send more of a personal invitation again one week before and a reminder after the first weekend but before the last event – to those who may not have realised it happens more than once (you have to be open at least two weekends out of the four). There’s no harm in asking your contacts to forward your email invitation to their interested friends.
Don’t forget to put all the relevant details into the message – and maybe a map or image of your house / studio. Also, a link to the Open Studios website could be good.

3. Hello – Do I Exist
You used to be sent a package with A3 posters and arrows and things. Later it was emailed for you to print out. It was good as it meant that there was a coherent ‘branding’ to the official Open Studios thing. I’m not sure if that still happens, but you could put some balloons out, make posters with arrows – or even have banners printed – as a friend is doing!
If your studio is down a long lane, hidden away – signs from the nearest ‘main’ road will be really helpful too.
4. Make It Great
If you are lucky enough to live in a beautiful little village – as I did when doing open studios – then the venue sells itself in a way. People’s innate curiosity will draw them to you. You can serve tea and cake at certain times – or ‘Pimms and nibbles on the terrace at six o’clock – darling!’ Or hold a party over one of the weekends – as we did, guaranteeing lots of visitors!! Be sure to share - this information needs to get to your visitors. This way, they could take a break and stay longer – pondering your lovely artwork – picturing it on their walls at home! I made sales this way.

5. Space Man
My studio was my bedroom in those days – not really a good space to sell from! – So I cleared all but one of the sofas from the living room and even took the curtains down to give as much light and space to the walls. I hung textiles on the back of the door through to the rest of the house. I also utilised the outside as my garden was lovely and happily, so was the weather. I hung textile pieces from the washing line and made bamboo ‘frames’ up the path so that the artwork greeted you as you approached the cottage

6. Mmm Sweeties
Lots of families will probably come to visit. Keep the children happy… Bowls of sweeties strategically placed on high-ish works miracles. High-ish because you don’t want them ALL eaten in a flash! Little ones are engaged – leaving space and time for you to engage the parents with your artwork.
7. Talk the Talk
Oh, I find this SO hard to do! Well, not the chatting bit – but getting the ‘sell’ right. Do people want to hear all about how you make the work? Do they want to look in peace? I usually tried to welcome people and introduce myself and say a bit about my work and then say “If you have any queries at all, please do ask; meanwhile I shall leave you to have a look around” and back off a little. I made sure I had stuff to do – like put cards into cello bags or stitch up notebooks or clean glass and frames… Some music in the background was good too.

8. Details
Get a visitors’ book and get people to write in it! It is useful to add to the contacts list and a good way to start or to prolong or even finish (!) a conversation. Plus - reassuring to read all those positive comments.

9. Onwards and Upwards
It’s easy to let out a big sigh and flop after two, three or four full-on weekends – BUT – very important to have the next thing lined up and to be telling all those people who came to support you and like your work that there’s more to be had!
My friend Nikkie built up about fifteen or twenty loyal supporters and buyers of her work over several years of diligent promotion. If just ten or twelve of them turned up to each show and two or three bought; she was doing fine.

10. Have Fun
It is really hard work but – like everything - more fun gained for more effort put in. Everyone was really positive about my work; I sold work each weekend I was open. The locals from the village popped in as well as those from further afield. I found it useful to ask where visitors had come from and how easily they found me

Sorry about the funny white background bits in this post - can't get rid of them...

One for the Boys - Well, Two...!

I designed a couple of A5 notebooks recently that were all pretty and girly, so I thought it was about time I made it equal and put together a couple of designs for the boys...

They haven't made it to the printers yet...the backs will have some old maps that have been modified

Happy Easter - Sprung in the Spring...

Take a look at the Surface Pattern page - I have two Simple Springtime Florals - to welcome in the sunshine and celebrate the bright new young optimism of Spring -------