Friday, 24 December 2010

In the deep midwinter

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.  ~Andrew Wyeth

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Very exciting news

Winter Trees HH 2010

I have had a really exciting year, growing into myself creatively and building a fledgling business.  I feel really well placed for moving into 2011 with the confidence to build a successful business.  In recognition of this I have just been awarded Associate Membership of  Design Factory.  I'm looking forward to using all their expertise in supporting creative businesses.  I am feeling very proud of myself!

Keep warm and see you next year.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I've joined the wonderful world of Etsy and opened a shop. Now I just have to stop myself from buying all the lovely things I keep coming across!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Family portrait commission

I've just finished this commission, which was well received. I'm pleased with the colouring and sense of space.  It's only small, 12 x 17 cm.  I've got one more commission to do before Christmas.

Enjoy the Solstice......the sun is on its way back!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Merry Chickens

I'm a bit Bah Humbug about Christmas and feel that all the good stuff gets outweighed by all the bad stuff (see? Bah Humbug!).  I've arrived at a place where I dread the middle of winter.

But!  My faith has been restored by a family visit to the Christmas Tree Trail at Calke Abbey.  Magical and spiritual, it was lovely to commune at dusk with lots of folk and walk up the hill by candle light to the decorated chapel.  Faith restored, I'm quite looking forward to celebrating the Solstice next week, followed by a family Christmas.

The chickens have brought us much happiness since they arrived six weeks ago.  Each and every egg reminds me of the miracle of life.

To share this joy, instead of Christmas cards, we have bought a chicken from Oxfam Unwrapped, that will be part of a project in Haiti to provide food and a way out of poverty.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Heather Duncan

Yesterday I was introduced to the work of Heather Duncan.  I went to Derby Royal Hospital to find out more about participating in their dynamic exhibition program air arts. Hopefully, I will be taking part next year.

New Art Courses

In the new year, David will be running some new art evening courses at Chilwell School, Nottingham.  Bringing together elements from his teaching on BA Fine Art at Nottingham University, FE teaching and adult education, these courses offer artists and beginners the opportunity to develop their creative skills in a sociable and informal setting. Interested?  Get in touch!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

One cold evening

One cold evening last week, I decided to decorate a cupboard. I've been meaning to have a go for a while, inspired by the Omega group at Charleston, who decorated furniture and door panels.  I didn't plan, just got stuck in and had a lot of fun!  It's a work in progress.

The cupboard houses our record player and I sat there enjoying JJ Cale, Nina Simone, Gordon Lightfoot and the beautiful, never fails to get me singing, Simon & Garfunkel.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Thursday, 2 December 2010

How exciting!

Derbyshire is covered in a lovely blanket of snow.  School is closed and we've been out with a flask of soup and a good old fashioned toboggan to see the deer at Wollaton Park.

Whilst I was out I nearly sold out of coasters in my Folksy shop!  It's going to take me a week to make some please be patient.

Hope it's snowy and beautiful where you are.  We've just lit the stove and have a bag of chestnuts to roast.  The boys are playing with lego and looking forward to snuggling up with books and a hot chocolate.  I've just got the box of winter books out that I store in the cupboard the rest of the year. 'Poppy Cat's Snowy Day' and 'Oliver's Red Toboggan' are favourites.  Sometimes the world of Soulemama seems a million miles from the chaotic roller coaster of our daily lives, but right now I could give her a run for her money!

Something I wanted to share was this.  Such beautiful piano music....perfect for watching the snow fall.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Welcome to the winter!

Leaf range

Chrysanthemum cup and saucer

Tree of Life ceramic coaster

My full range of ceramics is now available in my Folksy shop. I hope you find something you like. x

Monday, 29 November 2010

Winter is here

I spent the weekend at Kedleston Hall.  Having checked the weather forecast for snow, I was rather shocked to wake up on Saturday morning to a blanket of white (or "milk" as Tiddler exclaimed!).  The National Trust were taken by surprise too, Kedleston Hall was statuesque and beautiful in the snow but inaccessible until the snow ploughs were out.  The hall was freezing, but so Christmassy!

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Daybreak HH2010

I'm learning to love daybreak.  Having chickens forces you out early to embrace the elements.  Apart from being greeted by my lovely ladies, there have been some lovely blushes of colour across the sky that infuse the morning with a lovely glow.


Blog land seems to be going crazy for Eloise Renouf today and who I am to disagree with the zeitgeist of cyberspace?!

Monday, 22 November 2010


I'm very pleased to have been invited to exhibit at The Opus Gallery in Ashbourne in April and The Bowery in Headingley next October.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Definitely the chicken first

A fine discovery indeed!  Today one of my lovely ladies laid her first egg, just ten days after arriving, and before she'd even found fame on my blog!  From left to right, allow me to introduce Hetty (quiet and domestic), Esther (forthright and fast) and Iris (Queen of the coop and, I think, the producer of the egg).  Keeping chickens seems to be pretty easy, we're all enjoying their company and looking forward to tomorrow's breakfast!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I Love Craft

I've been asked to take part in the 'I Love Craft' fair in Barnsley at the Cooper Gallery and Civic from 10.00 until 16.00.  Really looking forward to another trip to Yorkshire.....hope to see you there!



Just back from Lustre at Nottingham University Arts Centre. Lusting after Ken Eardsley's ceramics.  Would be very happy to love a piece by Steve Handley too.  I got that overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by beauty and amazing skill.  Seeing work created lovingly by someone's hands and holding that object, feeling that love always makes me go a bit strange!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Holmfirth Art Market

Here is my stall at Holmfirth Art Market.  It was a whirlwind day.  My work was well received and I sold well, both original art work and from my new range of ceramics.  The event was superbly organised and well attended with a great retro feel provided by lashings of bunting and a 1940's and 50's music collection.  If only every Sunday could be so inspiring and enjoyable!

See the film here!

Rainy Day

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sneaky peak

What a great pleasure it is to bring you a sneaky peak of the ceramics I will be launching at tomorrow's Holmfirth Art Market.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, 5 November 2010


A big thank you to Paul at Razzle Dazzle Pots for agreeing to fire my ceramics at such short notice.  And thanks to you all for crossing your fingers.  All being well, I'll have my ceramics back to display on Sunday at Holmfirth.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Another jaunt

At half term we had another jaunt way.  I've been so busy creating that I haven't had a chance to post my pictures of our trip to Portsmouth.  In the lull before the storm, I discovered these pics on my camera.  We went to Portsmouth to visit the great Lou Netter, now firmly ensconced in the UK. What a pleasure.

ps. we're hoping to collect the chickens tomorrow.  Cluck cluck!

All quiet

It's all quiet here as I hold my breath and hope that my ceramics get fired in time for Holmfirth Art Market at the weekend.  It's touch and go and I'll be really disappointed if I can't launch my new idea.  I've had the mantra 'brave dreams' on a post it note on my desk all week......I just hope the universe is smiling on me and everything comes together in time.

Today I'm creating a name sign for my stall, and painting boards.  Tomorrow it's framing.  Keep your fingers crossed that my ceramics get fired in time.  Thanks.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Today I received a beautiful, empowering e-mail from my friend Clare.  It simply said

twinkle, shoot, S H I N E  xx

As I am feeling a little less than shiny today I receive the sentiment with gratitude and will work toward shininess!

"You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star." 

Monday, 18 October 2010



Looking back at my blog for the last few weeks I realised that it looks like all I've been doing is enjoying the Autumn and galavanting in the sunshine!  Well I have but I've also been working very hard ..... I promise!  It has been lovely to have David at home looking after the children but that has put a lot of pressure on me to succeed in what I'm doing.

I'm diversifying into ceramics and have been sourcing products for transfering my designs onto.  I'm hoping that will be in time for the Christmas markets.

I've also been carrying on with the original artworks ready for gallery drop offs and heading very quickly towards The Art Market at Holmfirth on November 7th.  I've had the stall plan and I'm visualising my shop.

In amongst all that, I've been getting my teeth into being Eco-coordinator at Little Man's school.  This week it's a display for Harvest Festival and an assembly on Climate Change.  My two are loving having Dad around and are helping in the garden where Dad seems to allow a far more hands on approach to life than I normally go in for.  Tools, dirt and wood chopping are now deemed everyday projects for my two and five year olds and Little Man (who is actually the bigger one) has developed a rather too enthusiastic love of starting the fire!   I definitely feel its a boys zone and look forward to collecting "my ladies" in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

I lived to tell the tale

Last weekend we were away enjoying beautiful sunshine in Suffolk.  We sat around an open fire, and the following morning foraged in the dewy fields for these mushrooms. Idyllic.  They ended up in a soup....a brave two footed leap into the unknown.  Luckily for us, we had been shown how to identify a field mushroom and a parasol mushroom, and by the fact that we suffered no ill effects from our tasty soup I think we got it right!

We had headed to Suffolk for the annual wood fair at Ickworth House.  It is a celebration of Autumn and wood crafts.  There are huge pieces of freshly sawn wood to buy, tools and items from jewellery to furniture to tree houses to buy and commission.  Other country crafts abound against a backdrop of musicians and storytellers.  It felt magical and a celebration of Nature.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Friday, 8 October 2010

Favourite place

One of my favourite places is the glass house at Clumber Park.  It's a huge, graceful structure, infused with a serene white light.  The space is truly alive with the magic of plants and the ghosts of those who have lived and gardened there.  I felt at one with myself when I sat on the benches in the warmth of the autumn sun and inhaled the gentle oil evaporating from the geraniums.  Sublime.

No one had told these plants that summer is over.  Oh I am enjoying these balmy autumn days.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


I had a quick experiment with the electric sander. It was great fun but I'd feel a bit scared of attacking a finished work of art with it.  The sander roughed up the papers, knocked off sharp corners and generally matted the surface, giving a sense of age to the piece.  I think that it is worth pursuing, especially on the more abstract pieces.  Oh, and I've started working this way up as a change from the landscape pieces.

Louise Baldwin

"These pieces are  worked on brown parcel paper with a felt backing. 
She begins by building layers of paint, plaster, and more paint onto the parcel paper, crinkling and sanding back. She then works silk and other fabrics as well as glittering threads into a machine and hand stitched  whole, with a thick felt backing. The surface is very rich, like a strange reptile skin." Juju Loves Polka Dots (a really lovely blog)

It really is hard to find any images of Louise Baldwin's textile art online.  I think somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember seeing some and being inspired by the combination of paper and stitch.  They are very rich.  I love the idea of sanding my try and create some layers of colour, like in the Annora Spence images.  But am I brave enough?!

LS Lowry

I was looking at LS Lowry's landscapes and came across this "Portrait of Ann" from 1957.  I was arrested by the image.  I love the design of it, and the sadness in those eyes.

Annora Spence

I had forgotten how much I love the work of Annora Spence.  I used to have her work on my inspiration board when I studied woven-textiles.  I love the intensity of colour and the texture created by the layering.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Paulo Cuelho

I really enjoyed listening to this program about Paulo Cuelho, one of my favourite authors.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Holmfirth Art Market

I've been selected to participate in the Holmfirth Art Market on 7th November.  I am very excited but I don't think I have time to sleep from now until Christmas!


The beginning of autumn;

The sea and fields,

All one same green
Matsuo Basho

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

First commission

Family. 30cm x 30cm

One Sunny Day.  17cm x 12 cm

Ever since I immortalised myself and the boys in the piece 'Family' (above), people have asked if I work to commission.  So for one of the craft fairs I produced 'One Sunny Day', another self portrait, but this time to invite commissions.  My friends Kate and Stephen were lovely enough to see the potential and asked me to create a portrait of their three children.  It's taken a while, mainly to muster the confidence to do justice to someone elses family memory.  The initial idea was from a family photo from a day at the beach, one of those days when everyone is happy.  In Kate's family this was more than a nice day at the beach, it was a miracle day, a day at the end of a long year of very bad health.  For me, knowing this, it was more than a portrait, it became a celebration of a very special family.  The sun signifies that warmth and unity, and although Kate isn't in the picture, she is symbolised by the sun.

I delivered it last night, to great praise and I do hope they love it! 

Rough design and sketches from photos

Pencil sketch

Colour selections for Paddling

Paddling 30cm x 30cm

If you would like to commission a family portrait, or immortalise a memory, I am currently taking commissions for Christmas.  Please get in touch through my website.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Seasons Change

Seasons Change 43cm x 17cm

Arc of Light 43cm x 17cm

Here are two pieces I completed last week in response to the changing season. The colours are getting more subdued, but also richer.  The light is more diffused across the landscape.  It's my favourite time of year.  I love the duality of Autumn.  The suprise of days, the not knowing if it'll be cool all day or burn through into a majestic day spiced with colour.  The vicarious weather patterns play havoc with the barometer in my head, swinging from being calm and introverted to full of energy and drive.  The cooler days fill me with a sense of dread at the long winter ahead and the near constant darkness but for now I am in my element, harvesting light and colour to get me through the darker days to come.

There's currently an exhibition on images of trees in art at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.  The exhibition looks at our dependence on trees as a building material and their symbolic presence in British Art, particularly the oak tree as symbol of British identity.
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