Happy, happy, happy!

Yesterday was such a perfect day! The weather here has been wet and grey. I've been preparing for Artfest and artist book fairs. Everything has been slow and uphill. I haven't even posted for a week because I haven't even had my thoughts together, nevermind my words or photos. I have really appreciated all the comments for my last post, I feel supported and encouraged and that is no small thing in this world.

Yesterday I gave myself a gift. I've been wanting to go to the Henry Moore Exhibition at Kew Gardens since October, and it closes on Sunday. I made the time to go, even though heavy showers were forecast, because I knew I would always regret missing it. The universe rewarded me with beautiful spring weather. Time stood still as I explored trees and sculpture. A single huge pine cone from a Bhutan pine waited for me on the grass. My photos are here. I even explored my camera, and took all of these in manual.

I finished the day by spending a couple of hours at the Stitch and Craft show. I was disappointed in the range of paper available, but I bought more merino for felting hedgehogs and my gallery piece; some pliers to make charm production easier; and a lovely fern stencil.

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New Ventures

You may have seen some changes on this site over the past couple of days (including me locking you out, I know, I'm sorry!). The past year has been a real journey of acceptance for me. I have accepted myself as an artist of sorts (okay, clearly not fully accepting!). I have played in many creative sandboxes and found some that suit me best. I have met some amazing, inspiring, creative, wise women who have changed how I look at so many things. I have become more myself through being able to express myself in new ways. And I have had some amazing opportunities.


I am not good at talking about the things I care about, as though if I speak them aloud they will dissolve like dandelion seed heads, blown to the winds. I am the most secretive etsy seller ever - I'll put stuff in there, but I won't let anyone know where the shop is! I've had scrapbook pages published for a few years now, a few even on commission, and I've only just shared that with you. I dread you all muttering "who does she think she is?"


What have I been keeping closest to my heart? Artist books. They have been present in my life for a year now, in increasingly serendipitous ways. I met a group of book artists at Artfest last year and every single one of them influenced me in some way. I got my hands on a limited edition artist book by Carla Sonheim created to fund and commemorate her trip to India. In September I started a class with a wonderful teacher, Ciara Healy, and started creating my own books. My wonderful friend, Zenia, shouted a list at me, of books I had made, mainly scrapbook style minibooks. I discovered artist book fairs and started building my own collection. And I have received so much encouragement and support from within that community.


So to celebrate two amazing opportunities that have come my way in the past week, I am stepping up. Hence the new website. This blog will continue rambling along as always. My etsy shop is no longer secret. And introducing... a website for my artist books, as I begin a more professional phase, with some of my books on show in exhibitions and fairs in April, May and June. (insert unrestrained wild yippee-ing here)

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And now some drawing...

I have a thing about drawing. Like so many people, what I learned in art at school was that I was not artistic, and even if I might be a little creative, I could definitely not draw. However, later at Montessori college, my classmates admired my neatly drawn and coloured illustrations (we had to do diagrams for many teaching activities) and so I accepted that, with a ruler, and nice regularly shaped objects, I could get by. But slowly, I am remembering that I can draw, if I relax, and that drawing is expressive, and needn't be photo-realistic, but can express aspects and moods and impressions. So this year, I have been getting into drawing again. In fact, it started during the lunch break of Carla's class at Artfest last year. We had to choose what we would do for our afternoon series project: collage, painting, sculpture, printmaking or drawing. I couldn't believe that I was choosing drawing! Although come to think of it I had bought Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain a little before that. And in my artist book class I keep trying to draw and end up lino cutting, although I have made something very cool with drawing which I will share soon. So on Saturday I bought this:


She recommends buying an ENORMOUS sketchbook. Considering I do most of my drawing either on an A4 pad or even more often in a pocket-sized moleskine sketchbook, her recommended 18" x 26" seemed wild and unfeasible. But, in my life, whenever I hear myself thinking "what, that's crazy, I could never do that" I tend to go off and do it. Okay, it has led to some scabs and scars, bruises and broken hearts, but some fan-freaking-tastic (keeping it G-rated here, people... apparently) adventures too. So I have an enormous sketchbook. It's A2 for British paper people, and not quite as big as she recommends, roughly 16" x 24". I started my blind contour drawing tonight - I find it SO hard not to look at the paper, so it took me awhile to warm up. Keeping the weird and ugly for my own personal development, I thought I would share this. I am pretty pleased with it, especially because I didn't cheat TOO much.


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