Saturday 31 December 2011

Looking Back Looking Forward

This last year has been awesome. I've never worked so hard in my life I must say but so much happened alongside. I wrote a book! A whole one! I never thought I'd be able to say that but now I can. It was the possibly the hardest thing I've ever done but as I read on Pinterest yesterday  'It always seems impossible until it's done'! (image from the love shop on Etsy)....and it is done. I've seen the front cover and everything!

The book took me places. To studios and workshops across the country listening to the inspiring stories of artists and makers. I took myself to a writing retreat in Llansteffan which was wonderful. I got to grips with stress and productivity. Honestly I learned so much this year about that.

And in between me writing and researching, life happened. My best friends did some seriously exciting married her 'one true love' (they really do call each other that and it is very funny), and another had her first baby and asked me to be there with them. Robert left his day job and bravely set out into self employment. The kids did another year of growing up into fine human beings.

Then there was the Do What You Love Retreat which was an amazing experience and I made friends there and met many inspiring people. Me and Robert made a super new website for Radiance. Matthew did his first year in the shop which has been fab and has allowed me all this travelling about...

And next year?

Well I'm excited already.  I'm excited about is getting back in the studio and doing some new work. This year I have filled up so much on inspiration without having time to play with new ideas and I'm ready to pop. I'd love to schedule in studio time in the same way as I did book time. TUESDAYS are going to be for just that. Every week. Not writing, or fulfilling orders, or wrapping Tuesdays are development days.  Play days, days to absorb myself in the flow of creativity....Studio Tuesdays! :)

And I'm excited about....

I've never done an ecourse before but I have my notebook and coloured pens at the ready because I think this one with Kelly Rae Roberts at Beth Nicholls will have me excitable! :) It starts in January. The perfect time for reflecting and beginning new things.

And we're moving house! We have been planning this for a while but it's only since this Christmas break that it's sinking in. We are finally leaving this cosy flat that we have well and truly outgrown and going to live above the shop. And 'above the shop' sits a large three storey townhouse. A proper family sized house with hallways and stairs (something we've been without for 9 years) and big bedrooms and large windows. It's nice. And we can't wait. We'll all be able to expand ourselves a bit. Euan said he already felt bigger just going to look round it. Know what he means.

Then later in the year there will be the BOOK LAUNCH. Hooray! I have lots of things up my sleeve and all will be revealed later in the year.

And we have two big birthdays on the horizon. Ffion will be 18 and I will be 40! I'm not counting the days though. I was only 39 yesterday! :) And perhaps there will be more travelling...., shall I go to Japan whilst Beth is there to find new outlets for my work, shall we go and visit Monique in Holland (we miss her so), shall I go back to Llansteffan for another retreat, shall I go to India for my 40th to do some yoga? I'm definitely going to the Summer Isles on Rachels bookbinding course in March. The rest at present is still being pondered upon.

Anyway thanks for listening to me reflect and ramble. I'm sure 2012 is going to be another great year. Whatever your hopes and dreams are may I wish you a very very Happy New Year! xxx

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Get any good books for Christmas?

I am very much enjoying my Christmas reading pile. This time of year is the best. The mellow week between Christmas day and New Year. Time to slow down, reflect, read, think, eat nice things and be with the family. This stack of books is a pile of pure inspiration. Just opening any of them, anywhere gets the creative juices flowing...actually just having the pile sitting there is enough! :)

I'll start from the bottom up. Botany for the Artist by Sarah Simblett has pages full of beautiful drawings and photographs and tips on drawing plants.
I might just be able to tell my compound umbels apart from my dicasiums by the end of the holidays!

The New Artisans by Oliver Dupon is soooo lovely. A chunky hardback book featuring 75 designer makers from all over the world, full of stunning work. I found out about it through Cecilia Levy's blog, a paper artist I discovered this year, who is one of the featured artists. I'm so glad to own it....and makes me proud be an 'artisan' too. It's such a lovely word.

Then there's Lotta Jansdotters Open Studios Book. This features 24 artists studios from New York, Stockholm and Tokyo, and Lotta and  photographer Jenny Hellengren have obviously had a whale of a time visiting these fascinating creative spaces and taking wonderful pictures. I visited loads of studios whilst doing the interviews for Illuminate this year and I loved every minute. Seeing the creative mess, the little things that inspire, the tools ready and waiting, pots of pencils, glass rods, piles of books....It's all in here. It's made me want to expand my studio though...but I guess I've been wanting to do that for ages anyway!

Then there's Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts, a very pretty book about nurturing your creativity and daring to honour your creative whisperings. I am going to be taking her ecourse next month HELLO SOUL HELLO BUSINESS which is a brand new collaboration with Beth from Do What You Love and I'm really excited about it. It's a business course about looking after the soul of your business. I have been in business for quite some time now and things are really flying but I think it's really important to look after the very thing that inspired you to do it in the first place and keep things fresh! Kelly Rae and Beth sent all the participants these beautiful notebooks for Christmas which is sitting on the top of my pile ready to catch any creative musings while things are peaceful!

My friend Rachel lent me this When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman and I can't tell you anything about it yet because I haven't started it. All I know is that she saved it for me because she thought I'd like the cover. She was absolutely right. That blue moon is metallic and very pretty.

I've been wanting to bring birds into my work for a long time so this Bedside Book of Birds by Graeme Gibson is good inspiration.

Full of illustrations and strange tales and folklore. I just read a tale about a girl whose mother bakes her in a pie because she broke her milk jug but she comes back to see her family as a bird and kills her mother with a stone down the chimney. Nice!

Just think. This time next year somebody might have my very own book on their Christmas reading pile. How exciting is that!!! Right, time for another cup of tea and some reading. Did you get any good books for Christmas?

Friday 23 December 2011

I'm winding down now for the holidays. Goodness me, it's been a busy year and I am really ready for a rest!  The Hannah website is closed now until the 3rd of then I'll be raring to go again. Radiance  is open until 4pm Christmas Eve and then will also be hibernating until Wednesday 4th January. Thank you all for making it a great year and I wish you a very very Merry Christmas!

Thursday 15 December 2011

Sixteen years ago today...

*I would like to interrupt this crazy, busy Christmas frenzy to take a moment to remember a very special time*
Sixteen whole years ago today my lovely boy was born. Lets set the scene. We're in The Pelican in Laugharne, West Wales, a large green Georgian house on the high street where we rented the top floor flat (fact: the very house where the poet Dylan Thomas was laid to rest on the large kitchen table). See the top right hand window. That's where it's all going on!
It's nearly Christmas, Jo (our landlady) is baking bread in the downstairs kitchen, Keith is on the middle floor landing bottling his home brew, Karen was knocking on the door knocker to see if we were coming to toddler group, Wally the rosy cheeked, curly moustached, jolly old man was about somewhere and I was upstairs having a baby!

Euan came fast, must faster than his sister and so fast that there was no time to drive the 13 miles to Carmarthen hospital. His Dad had taken Ffion to our friend Annes so we could get going but by the time he came back I was in the bedroom ready to push him out! We were on our own. We were waiting for Nia the midwife to arrive. John got Jo up from the kitchen for support and they were total loons. I was in control, totally focused but they were so funny bless 'em. They were anxiously looking out of the window for Nias car. 'What colour is it?' 'Blue' I say. 'Is it a lorry?' says Jo!

Anyway, Nia arrived with 20 minutes to spare and helped me push him out into the big wide world. Jo was sitting in the washing basket watching and she was the first person to see Euans little face ('glaring at him' as she puts it). We wrapped him in a pale blue towel and I was soooo happy. Happy to have my little boy in my arms and so relieved that it didn't take another three days! So fast....but then Euan always is in a hurry. He just couldn't wait to join us! ;)

Now 16 years on his a grand fellow! A top man (as Wendy likes to call him) an all round lovely lad. I am astounded at his talent. Have a listen to this tune String of Angels that he wrote yesterday. I'm such a proud Mummy. Sniff!

Oooh glad I don't have to give birth today though! I will go to work and carry on making lamps and wrapping parcels and enjoy the distant memory!

Friday 9 December 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of my give away is Janet! She said that her favourite was the Harebell as it's the flower that her Mum picked to decorate her wedding cake and next year will be their 40th wedding anniversary and she'd love to give the lamp to them. I hope you read this Janet because your comment was anonymous and I can't get in touch. Do drop me a line.

Thanks SO much for all your lovely comments. It's a pleasure to know that my work is appreciated. Makes it all worthwhile.x

Friday 2 December 2011

Giveaway time!

Just celebrating my two hundredth blog follower. It makes me very happy that you are all here you lovely people. Would you like a lamp? Just in time for Christmas?

Just visit my website and then leave a comment below telling me which small cylindrical table lamp you would like the best. Everyone who comments will be entered into a draw to win. I'll announce the winner next Friday 9th December.
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