Monday, 14 April 2014

Craft Business Inspiration Day

Mum and I really are becoming quite the double act this year. Yesterday we went to a fantastic Craft Business Inspiration Day at Beechenhill Farm, Derbyshire. It was quite a way for us to go but so worth visiting this beautiful location (plus we packed a huge picnic to keep us going!).

This was the first inspiration day run by photographer Lyndsey James, web expert Daniel Phillips and pricing and pitching pro Suzy Rai. I thoroughly recommend going to one if you get the chance. 

Greeted with tea, biscuits and goodie bags. What more can a girl ask for?!

The day consisted of different workshops and group activities designed to encourage us to think about treating our creative ventures as businesses, rather than constantly apologising and putting ourselves down for what we do (I think this must be a common thing among creatives as there was a lot of chuckling over this point!). We also learnt about the importance of building a network of fellow creatives as making can be quite isolating at times. 

Group tasks in the beautiful venue. You can't go wrong with fairy lights.

I also really enjoyed Lyndsey's mini workshop of photography tips and tricks. I've actually signed up to one of her online Photocraft courses which is coming up in June. Anyone who can talk for an hour about photography and have me understand everything they said is definitely the person to teach me!! The photos in this blog post are used with kind permission of Lyndsey, but hopefully you'll be seeing some rather snazzy photos on here in a few weeks time thanks to the course!

Lyndsey's tips on lighting.

For me, the most enjoyable part of the day was meeting so many other lovely creative people. I didn't study an art degree which, I think, is where a lot of people meet fellow creatives and support each other so it was so lovely to be part of a group of like-minded people for the day and then find everyone on Twitter afterwards!

Admiring Nicola's candy resin bracelet!

Here are the very talented makers from the day. Click on the names for links to their work.

Allsopps Bookbinders: Beautiful books! As everyone knows, I love books, so it will be no surprise to learn that I've already placed my first order with them!
Elm Tree Studio: Beautiful textiles for gifts and special occasions, although I don't think Kirsty will be too pleased if you order another nappy stacker for her to make!
English Garden Soaps: Seona wins my unofficial prize for best business cards- each one comes with a butterfly shaped sample of one of her gorgeous soaps!
HWR Designs: Wonderful textile creations. Helen brought one of her gorgeous pig bags with her and I fell completely in love with it.
Joy Interiors: Super stylish shabby chic interiors. Nicky also makes lampshades and brought a lovely tractor one with her yesterday.
Little Brown Dog Workshop: My favourite products of Susan's are her gorgeous personalised peg dolls.
Made By Daisy: Wonderfully quirky jewellery. Mum and I are admiring one of Nicola's candy resin bracelets in the photo above!
Popsyclunk: Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to chat to Sally, but she makes hand-painted personalised wooden gifts that would make fantastic christening presents.
Scavenger Annie: Another person I didn't get to talk to! Annie makes great alternative embroidery.
Tenacious Bloom: Wonderfully whimsical porcelain jewellery. The cloud earrings are my favourites!

I know that I haven't managed to include everyone in this list, so please message me if I missed you (sorry!) so I can add you to the list :).

Beautiful products for the 'show and tell'.

A huge thank you to Lyndsey, Daniel and Suzy for such a fantastic day. I have so many notes in my notebook and am really looking forward to putting them into action!

Friday, 11 April 2014

March Sketchbook and Ryan Gosling

March has been all about anatomy in my sketchbook. 

I'm trying to build my collection of artist's reference books this year so that my ever growing library of books can overflow from the shelves some more!

In the evenings I have been flicking through my anatomy books and doing some quick sketches from the examples given.

Here is a list of my anatomy collection so far. I would recommend all of them.

'Strength Training Anatomy' by Frederic Delavier
'How to Draw Animals' by Jack Hamm (brilliant resource for animal anatomy)

In other news, we had some new arrivals at the farm on Tuesday: goslings! We've had a broody goose sitting on some eggs surrounded by a pile of logs in an outdoor shed for a while, but weren't holding out much hope as the only time we've ever had any goslings hatch, their parents decided to take them swimming a little too early which did not end well!

Three little goslings were wandering around happily with their mum and two dads (a very modern family!) on Tuesday morning, but when we checked the shed we found a very newly hatched gosling had been left behind. We're not sure if it's a girl or a boy yet, but we're refering to him as a 'he' because it seems so much nicer than 'it'! The little guy had been trodden on by his mum who then left the shed and didn't come back for him. He hadn't dried off from his egg at this point and was too weak to stand so we made him a little towel nest by the Aga to warm up.

Naturally, we named him Ryan Gosling.

Ryan was very weak for the first day of his life, but my brother Harvey spent all day looking after him and giving him water and chick crumbs with a paintbrush. His head was bent backwards because his muscles haven't strengthened fully yet.

Ryan has imprinted on Harv and now thinks he is his Mummy! I'm very pleased to say that he has been getting stronger every day and happily follows Harv around the garden or house! Here are some pictures from Ryan on Wednesday (his second day since hatching).

Ryan and 'Mummy'

Snuggles under Mummy's wing

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Celebration of Nature, Worcester Cathedral

Some dates for your diaries!

I've been working on a very exciting project with my Mum, ceramic artist Lit Smith, for the last 6 months or so.

We are going to be having a two person exhibition in the Chapter House of Worcester Cathedral which will be open to the public from the 27th April to the 8th May. The exhibition is titled 'A Celebration of Nature', and was initially inspired by the Green Man carvings found in the Cathedral. Mum and I are both very influenced by our beautiful surroundings in the Worcestershire countryside, so this seemed like the perfect theme for us.

The Chapter House is a stunning round stone room off the cloisters in Worcester Cathedral, and somehow seems to get bigger every time Mum and I visit!

This is a very special event to us because it is my first exhibition, and the first one that Mum and I have ever done together. We have also been lucky enough to meet with the very talented Worcester Cathedral Stonemasons who have kindly agreed to have a special display of their work at the exhibition.

Mum has created a beautiful range of pieces for the exhibition, from individual ceramic leaves to what will be a stunning collaboration with local blacksmith, Jonathan Clift. The exhibition will also include my original dip pen, ink and watercolour drawings, with prints available.

If you get the chance to visit, please be sure to sign the Visitor Book and we'd love your feedback.