Saturday 28 April 2012

Shelf lamp

I have just developed a new shaped lamp. I have called it a 'shelf lamp' because it's absolute ideal spot is on a shelf, at eye level. You can think of it as an artwork/craft piece/functional lamp. It gives beautiful, glowing light but also gives great visual interest and detail. I can see them working so well in opposite alcoves in the same room. That would be so perfect! And for me, it's a bigger canvas to play with,  like my wall panels are, but without the necessity to have to wire them into the wall. Each one will be a limited edition, with just ten of each design.

This one is coming with me to the Saltaire Arts Trail next weekend along with lots of other lamps and my seed pod window hanging. I'll be in an open house at 71, George Street. I'll be there in person on the Sunday afternoon and Bank Holiday Monday. Who's coming?

Thursday 26 April 2012

Little Jenny Wren lamp

Today little Jenny Wren has made an appearance on the website to keep the Coal Tits company. I hope you like her.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Coal Tit

The Coal Tits are here! They have landed. They have been flitting about trying to decide what branch they wanted to sit on for far too long and have finally settled on some beech leaves.

They are on my website. So far they come in small and tall lamp sizes but they will be available in other shapes and sizes too just as soon as I have photographed them all. 

I'm rather fond of the leaves which have been engraved into the paper by the laser cutter. The holes, perhaps where a little insect has nibbled, let the light shine through beautifully.

I hope you like it. Perhaps tomorrow the little sparrows will be landing too. I'm hoping they will be happy with the oak tree that I have made for them. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design

Today I have embarked on a new journey. An e-course called The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design. The Hello Soul Hello Business e-course has just about finished (have I become an e-course junkie?) and one of the many things that came up during the dreaming phase of the course was the idea to turn my motifs into surface pattern designs. Perhaps I could make wallpaper, fabric, curtains and cushions...I've often dreamed of this, but haven't actually had a clue how to do it OR just found the focus to find out. I'm so lucky to know the lovely Rachel Taylor, who I shared a lodge with at the Do What You Love Retreat last year, (honestly, so many doors opened on that retreat) and Beth Nicholls who organised the whole fantastic event and they have come together to design this course to give people the tools and skills to become surface pattern designers. YES!

Our first assignment was to go out and photograph a chosen shape so I took a walk down the canal. It's amazing how many circles there are when you start looking! I enjoyed feeling like a student again and doing something out of my norm. I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds.

Monday 23 April 2012

Jumble Hole

Had a refreshing walk to Jumble Hole Clough  this afternoon with Sarah, exploring new paths, enjoying the bluebells

and looking out for fairies!

(photo by Sarah Mason)

With every twist and turn of this path there is something amazing to look at like this old water mill and twinkling waterfall which according to the very knowledgeable man who stopped to smoke his pipe with us, is called Staups Mill and has been standing for 200 years. He knew the entire history of the valley and we unleashed it! 

This is one of my absolute favourite walks. Can't wait to go again.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Illuminate postcards

I've had some pretty postcards printed of the front cover of Illuminate which I am hoping to distribute far and wide. If anyone has somewhere they could display some I would be very grateful. I could send some over to you. Just let me know x

Friday 20 April 2012


Now when I told Fiona and Matt today that I had stayed up too late last night playing a computer game they both looked at me astonished and said 'YOU???? '  Yes me! They were right to think that I don't normally do such things but Botanicula truly is an astonishing thing of beauty and creativity by Amanita Design and has me captivated! It is a point and click exploration, a puzzle set amidst a beautiful botanical world full of entertaining characters, mesmerising music and enchanting forest noises. 

It is full of surprises, some of which have made me laugh out loud. What's more, buying it was a virtuous experience in itself as you can choose how much you pay for it, what percentage goes to the developers and what percentage goes to the rain forest! Beautiful! It's only been on sale for a day and already they have sold 40,000 copies. Woweee. Inspiring business.

Here is the official trailer and if you want to relax into strange and magnificent this weekend I recommend it! I'm off back there right now.x

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Candle Lights

I'm pretty happy with my new marble fireplace which has lent itself very well to photographing my 'candle lights' today. I have just added some to my Etsy shop. I will put them on my website very soon too. There's a nice mantle piece in the house that I am exhibiting at in Saltaire next month, so they will certainly be coming along!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Maps, charts and many other discoveries on the Summer Isles

When I went on the Do What You Love retreat last year I was really blown away by the handmade books that people had made in Rachel Hazells workshop. They were  precious, heartfelt creations constructed with such love and care that when you looked through them it felt like you were looking right into someones soul. They really moved me. During one of the morning yoga classes the idea hit me. I could go on a workshop and make a book for Ffions 18th birthday. This immediately made me cry and I knew it would be an emotional journey!

She's a pretty amazing girl you see and it really really is the biggest joy and the greatest honour to be her Mum! So I booked on Rachels Summer Isles course called 'Maps, Charts and Other Discoveries' which fell two weeks before the big day and set about collecting ideas, memories, maps and photographs.

Rachel taught us how to make an expandable spine and sew our collections of pages and pockets into the valleys and the peaks of the concertina folded book cloth. After two days of  cutting and sticking, punching holes with the Japanese screw punch and thinking about our narrative, there were many squeals of delight from the class at the end of the second day when we sewed it all together and it began to look like a book! 

It's been lovely to reflect on Ffions eighteen years and find the bits that made us smile the most

 and think about all the things I love about my girl.

 We spent the third day adding our covers and our doublures (the material pasted to the inside of the covers) and once that was done and had been nicely pressed we carried on embellishing and adding surprises ad messages into secret pockets and folds.

On the Summer Isles they print their own special stamps which will get your letters from the island to the mainland. We were going to take a trip out to the post office to get some but ran out of time, so in true island style the post office came to us and we finished our books with some pretty stamps and the Tanera Mor post mark. Perfect.

Ffion loved it. There were tears... from both of us. It was a very Happy Birthday.

Everyones books were REALLY special. Here are a few pictures from our 'Band of Bookbinders' as named only moments ago by Rhiannon who made this 30 second video

This is a page from Rhiannons,

(the following photos are by Natalie Seager)
 and Rachels.

And here is Natalies,


and Kates.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Galloping Horses

Not my usual subject but as it's Grand National day I thought it would be apt to share  a commission for three wall panels that we finished yesterday. Based on Eadweard J Muybridges  motion photography, these panels are going to be in a bar called the Dog In The Pond,  a new set on Hollyoaks on Channel 4.

Funny that Google were celebrating Muybridges 182nd birthday the other day. Did you see the cool Google Doodle?
So if anyone watches the show, please look out for them for me!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Oh Japanese Screw Punch, where have you been all my life?

I have just bought the best tool EVER. How many years have I been trying to make holes in paper but have been limited by the jaw of my hole punch? ...well at least ten I can tell you. Everything changed when discovered this marvellous tool on my bookbinding course last week. Rachel and Wendy both had one and I just couldn't believe my little eyes when I saw it. This Japanese screw punch has a clever mechanism which simply drills a hole down into paper, card or even leather and it has interchangeable nibs too for different sized holes. And look at the packaging. How utterly cute is he! 

It is beautiful and effortless to use. So much easier than poking holes with an empty rotaring pencil, like I have been doing for years and years (see all those white dots on the cutting mat there? They are the holes I've left behind).

I got mine at Hewitt and Sons bookbinding and leather supplies. Pricey but worth every penny. The screw punch also a Japanese website where I read that they were invented in 1977! When I was just FIVE. All these years and I haven't even heard of one. Makes me wonder what other tools I've been missing out on. If anyone knows anything that I should know do tell!

Saturday 7 April 2012

Book Binding adventures on The Summer Isles

(from a book by Rachel Hazell)
I have just returned from a very special weekend workshop with the wonderful book binder Rachel Hazell on a tiny Highland island in the big blue sea. What an adventure we have had, travelling with my friend Natalie (from Galley 339) we set out early for a flight over mountains and lochs to Inverness and then a coach winding through stunning scenery to Ullapool where we met up with other course participants at the lovely Ceilidh Place. Once we were all revived with tea and cake we all piled in a big taxi and wound around even more mountains and lochs to meet with our sweet little boat,

who was called Patricia,

(just discovered lots of gorgeous paintings of Patricia by Hazel Velacott)
and she took us over the sea to Tanera Mor

 The island is small and has no roads (no ROADS...amazing) so Lizzie and Richard (lovely lovely people who gave up their desk jobs three years ago for a more adventurous and wholesome life looking after the island)  had to transport our bags by rowing boat 

while we made our way along mossy paths to Fuchsia Cottge.

And it was here that the papery fun took place. The workshop was called 'Maps, Charts and Other discoveries' and Rachel showed us how to make our own hand bound book inspired by this theme. 
How wonderful to have three whole days totally engrossed in...

colouring in,
and collaging poetry whilst sharing stories and belly laughs with five amazing women. Lizzie is a remarkable cook and made us gorgeous soups and stews and fish pies. It seemed that no sooner had we sat down after lunch we'd see Lizzie coming along the path with our supper. We were very well fed!

The island was so beautiful. I was very happy to see an otter one evening at dusk and I was mystified by a strange noise I heard outside the same evening. It turned out to be Snipe rubbing their tail feathers together. It wasn't the giant prehistoric dragonfly that the noise conjured up!

I took a walk one early morning loving the huge mountains in the distance

and the tiny lichens,


and mosses underfoot.

We were sad to have to leave but excited by another beautiful journey.

We waved goodbye to our little cottage 

and discovered that the whole of Scotland (except the weird) was covered in snow. STUNNING...and a little hairy at times on those winding roads..

I made a book (that's a WHOLE other blog post to come) and I also made some friends. 

I miss my new bookbinding family and I hope we will meet again soon. 

Rachel  (they don't call her the Travelling Bookbinder for nothing) does book binding workshops all over the world at beautiful venues for the adventurous. This year - Shetland, Stockholm, Cornwall, Edinburgh, Tuscany, Venice, Skye and Paris. Have a look at her website to find out how to have to have a book binding adventure of your own and be sure to watch this gorgeous video to inspire you.

Part two will follow soon!
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