Friday, 23 July 2010

Tea and jam!

Primmy Chorley: Teatime in the Garden of Love

Primmy Chorley: The Garden of Love

Primmy Chorley is a very private artist from North Wales. There aren't many people whose lives are kept private in the Age of the Internet.  I particularly love the application of her work to functional objects.  These tea cosies are from a series:

".....Chorley will describe the subject of the 'Paradise Gardens' tea cosies as 'family memories' and affectionate goodbyes to those who were close but are gone - in 'Flowers for Tinker' to one of her much loved dogs, in 'The Garden of Love - for Lin' to her best friend.  Chorley's life has clearly been difficult and tragic at times, but it has also contained much happiness.  The naivity of the slightly whimsical houses and gardens depicted on the tea cosies, and their ubiquitous guardian angels, somehow express this sense of comfort and reassurance - things will be 'alright'.  In this way, these deeply personal expressions of joy and grief have a universal resonance.  They are about nothing less than human relationships, life and death."

I've been enjoying the ritual of tea, made in my favourite stripey tea pot.  This week I've been up to my eyeballs in fruit from the allotment and making jar after jar of jam.  It's always a well received gift and seems to be entrenched in everyones' lives with a ritualistic element, not found in a mass produced jar.  It finds it's way onto the table for a Sunday tea, or served with warm croissants on a Saturday morning.  It captures summer ready to be freed in the depths of winter.

With tea and jam on my mind I thought I would join the Folksy Friday revolution and feature the best related products from Folksy.

Cherry Loco I love tea
She Draws pendant
Cuppa tea and cake print
Rescued and Revived vicars tea cosy
Bebe Boutique alien jam bandana 
Handmade by Auntie Junie pink tea cosy 
Hats and More cakes tea cosy
Nickynackynoo traffic jam bunting
Woolly Duck felted scone

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I'm really excited to have found a publisher who wants to publish my work as art prints.  They described my work as 'modern and progressive' which I love!  I feel very proud of myself so I'm going to have a cup of tea and a custard cream to celebrate!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Wishing and Hoping


I'm wishing and hoping that these will sell at the craft fair on Saturday.  Felicity will be taking our work to Lincoln for a craft fair at Birchwood Leisure Centre.  It'll be on from 10 until 4 if you fancy a day out!

Monday, 19 July 2010

The life of paper

"Paper is a magical material.  It's thousand faces have the power to attract and enchant us, to direct our lives and change their course, to teach us, to influence our opinion, and to mark our daily existence.

From our youngest years, paper helps us to create our individual versions of beauty - small, clumsy fingers transform sheets of coloured paper into trees, misshapen pieces of fruit or fantastical beasts.  And by making paper into new shapes and covering its many surfaces with colours, drawings, numbers, letters and symbols, we finally learn how to master it.

Notepaper, newspaper, wallpaper, rice-paper, and papier-mache.......Paper, born thousands of years ago of papyrus plant, does not shy from pseudonyms, hiding behind such noms de plume as vellum, Holland, Indian, peau de cygne and parchment.  Tucked into envelopes, it is paper that holds our most tender thoughts and fiery messages.  It has taken the place of our ancestors' silver; paper stokes the greed of forgers, misers and conquerors of every stripe.

And while paper is pleasing to the eye, and proud of being useful, it is just as charming to the ear. 

Paper crackles and trembles.  It whispers and rustles.  When you brush against it, it swishes like and ingenue's silk dress.  And when flames lick around it, it snaps and sizzles and dies with a nearly inaudible whisper."

I love the language in this description of paper.  It's an extract from a book about the work of Isabelle de Borchgrave, featured in the May/June edition of Selvedge magazine.  It perfectly evokes our entwinement with paper and it's journey with us through life.  My studio is swimming with paper off cuts, stretched paper on boards, piles of long overdue filing and offerings from the small people in my life, like this from Rosemary who drew me a picture of Wilma and Shaggy getting married (hence Wilma has removed her glasses).  Thanks Rosemary. x

By Rosemary

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Today's offering featuring my favourite quote...... "Every blade of grass has it's angel that bends over it and whispers grow, grow."  Hoping your angel is watching over you today.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I still love everything that comes from St.Judes gallery, especially the work of Jonny Hannah who they represent.  I love the idea of a Jonny Hannah tattoo, and a Tunnock's caramel wafer and coffee......all of which can be had if you can get to Itteringham in Norfolk on Saturday.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Today it's raining which has forced me back in to the studio.  I've started work on the first of my family commissions.  This one of Josiah, Grace and Max, forms part of a larger sea side composition called 'Paddling'.  I've also started work for the craft fairs and festivals that I'm doing over the summer.  This is the starting point for a piece called Sunshine.


Had such a lovely weekend of barbeques, parties and picnics.  I'm enjoying the school fete season, returning home with handmade cakes and second hand toys.  The allotment is in full, earthy force with courgettes, cabbages and potatoes being harvested.  The orchard is giving us cherries, blackcurrants and loganberries by the bucketful.  I'm making jam again and have already clocked up twenty jars! 

The boys loved re-visiting Wollaton Hall and the magic tree.  Little Man was fearlessly trying to climb like his brother and only the promise of ice-cream would tempt him away.

Oh, and I also tried karoake for the first time!  Eat your heart out Peggy Lee!

Sunday, 11 July 2010


An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory

David finished work last week and was sent off into the world with two lovely books under his arm, one of which was this inspiring book by Danny Gregory on artists and illustrators sketchbooks.  Ever since I did The Artists Way I've loved peoples creative journals, where inspiration and aspiration meet.  I love the piece above by Christine Castro which features this poem:

"Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed,
I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad.
I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea
and I had a good purpose and that's why I made works of art."
Felix Gonzalez-Torres

In Grayson Perry on Creativity and Imagination, which was broadcast on Radio 4 this week, Grayson talks of having the slogan "Creativity is mistakes" on his studio wall.  I think that's where the sketchbook comes in.  It's a place to explore and experiment and find a voice.  At art college I filled books with current inspiration and ideas.  Now, my sketchbooks are more hit and miss; scribbles in diaries, notebooks, half filled sketchbooks and bits and bobs stuck up around me.  In "An Illustrated Life" there's a real sense of intense creativity.  Over and above the commissions and work for public consumption, there is a joy in the creative process and a labour of love in self-expression.

I really want to start sketchbooking again, but I feel it would take more discipline than I have right now, and more creative space than I can currently afford, or be afforded by my family.  In a sense, this space is my Artists Journal, but I miss the tangible form and feel of a sketchbook.  Cyber sketchbooks don't smell!!

ps.  Have a look at Enormous Tiny Art.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


I have just finished the first of my commissions.  This piece is called Rosemary and features lines from a poem by Lord Byron:

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Hope they like it!


As part of my campaign against over priced and over packaged plastic toys, I've been making these bags for boys' presents (always so much harder to buy for I find).  The boys are always a bit non-plussed by a bag, then realise it's their bag, start filling it with all their other presents, or things they want to keep away from their siblings and suddenly, it is the most useful gift in all the world! Great for the holidays, I pack one for the car for each of the boys with things-to-do and I'm currently filling one ready for the summer holidays.  I've just put them up for sale in my Folksy shop, and with only two weeks until the kids break up, you'd better get you orders in!

ps. They come giftwrapped in a co-ordinating spotty bag with a sticker and tag. x

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hardwick Hall

The Hallows family recently visited Hardwick Hall.  It's now one of my favourite National Trust places.  With small children in tow, we didn't do the house but perambulated the gardens.  We were there on a midsummers day with such strong sun casting striking shadows.  Those shapes have been processed by my retinas ready for a new batch of work.  I love high summer and the purity and strength of light.  In contrast, I'm particularly loving the last hour of day light, as if someone has turned the lights down and the colours mute and the air softens.  I'm finding that to be my tranquil time, when I walk up the garden and breathe in the smell of honeysuckle.  The colours come into the pallette I'm comfortable with, the greens mellow and blue, there is some grey in there.  The scabious heads intensify to a deep plum, offset by small areas of heightened colour in the hemerocallis and calendula; I keep on falling for orange in all its shades.


"He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist." ~ St.Francis of Assisi

She who sells work at a gallery, gets two commissions and has craft orders from friends is happy lady!

Please click the link on the right to vote for my blog!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Inspiring creativity

I spend quite alot of my time wondering about what it means to be creative in modern society.  It's taken a long time to be confident enough to call myself an Artist.  There are many people who know me to be a stay at home Mum, and do not know about my work and my soul.  When I feel I've had enough of being under valued by society and think I'll get a "proper job" I quickly realise I'd be a round peg in a square whole and end up realising I have to shoulder the responsibility of being a creative person.  So it was such a wonderful twenty minutes I spent listening to creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson talk about education and creativity.  And I realised that I had to open my mouth and speak up for creative thinking and being, and my true belief that it is only by allowing and nurturing our children to be creative that they will have the confidence to change the system, and create a better world.
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