Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What no Painting

Its been a busy few weeks,  I have managed two trips to Cornwall for inspiration, a 30th Birthday celebration and a bit of wedding planning events ( hair trial etc) for my lovely daughter who is getting married in just under 6 weeks. and a lots of leather work and glass painting.

Below are a few examples of some of the work. The glass was for a Show at the National Trust House Tyntesfield in Bristol last weekend.  I added my bit onto the stall of Wight and Wight ( Glass workers at Clevedon Craft Centre) .  I demonstrated Traditional glass painting techniques to a few hundred people over 2 days.  It was hard work but also a lot of fun and very rewarding.

The leather is for The Blue room in Nailsea.  I have been exhibiting work their for the last month.  I'm not really sure how its going,  but I guess only time will tell. She asked for things suitable for father day,  Ok so I know the hair slides are not really suitable but I wanted to try my new dyes out.

Although I am enjoying doing these bits and pieces I am frustrated at not painting.  I had such a lot of inspiration in Cornwall I just want to get back to painting.  I am ever so slightly annoyed with myself that I committed myself to so much as a distraction and it has slightly taken over.  

I did do some painting as I have painted the Pet portrait for the lady who won the competition I ran on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.  Hopefully that should arrive with the lady in question today and then I will be able to show you 

........and of course my top secret project,  I really can't tell you anything about it, not even a hint,  but all will be reviled later on.  Don't get to excited its not anything life changing.

So no more distractions back to painting it has to be!...........  but first I have to do a bit of delivering and visiting,  next week,  I promise myself,  next week!!!

Wish me luck,  I am going to need it,  I am my own worst enemy !!!

Janice x

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Interview with Textile addict Christine Shephard

The lovely Christine has give a great interview if you love hearing about her work,  why not go and visit her folksy shop after and see all the lovely things she has on offer

What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?
Textiles mainly, which is quite a broad area. In my case it includes sewing, embroidery, knitting, felt-making, silk-painting and dyeing. I still experiment with new techniques when I fancy doing something different.

Is this a full time job?/Second income/ Or hobby for you?
Currently it’s a full-time job for part of the year. I gave up working permanently at my ‘real job’ about 6 years ago, so I could go off travelling. Since then I’ve worked for part of the year only and developed my arts/crafts in between. Each year the arts/crafts take a slightly bigger chunk of my time and, with luck, I’ll eventually be able to do it full-time all the time.

 How long have you been doing it?
As a business, about 3 years. Before that it was a slightly obsessive hobby.

Could I have a little potted history of your creative life please?
Like a lot of textile addicts, my obsession with making and fabrics began when I was very young. My Mum used to make clothes for me and, as I got a bit older, I helped with tacking and other menial tasks, similar to an apprentice I suppose, learning all the time. As a teenager I made my own clothes and continued from there. Mum also taught me to knit and was interested in all kinds of crafts, so I picked it up from her I think. I stopped crafting for a while when my career took over, then about 10 years ago I did a silk-painting workshop and a felt-making workshop and got the bug again! With more spare time on my hands, I started sewing again, sourcing vintage fabrics, making use of my huge stash of remnants from years ago, and decided to try selling my makes.

 What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?
I just adore the tactile quality of textiles, the colours of the silk dyes, the physical act of creating something from base materials. I get lost in the process and find it incredibly satisfying.

Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?
I’m also a keen photographer and produce prints, cards and magnets for local outlets. I’ve had a couple of local exhibitions too, which was quite exciting. I’m not great technically, but love playing with light, colour and effects, so I call it photographic art rather than photography.

 Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets?  Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?
I don’t think it’s a choice really – most creative people experiment with other materials and techniques, and whatever the result, it can generate some interesting ideas. From a business angle, it’s probably better to specialise, but artists are generally not driven by the needs of the business!

What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to create wonderful things?
I love what I do. I’m a morning person anyway, and love getting up and out early (if it’s a nice morning) and taking a stroll along the beach. It clears the mind and allows ideas to form, so I’m usually raring to get started when I get back. Housework just doesn’t get a look-in!

 Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve made lots of new friends since selling at craft fairs and taking part in local events, and a lot of my customers are other sellers/crafters. They realise how much time and work goes into each item I make, so they’re very appreciative of my work. My family accept this is what I love to do and give me lots of encouragement whenever doubts creep in.

Describe what your prefect Art/crafting day would be like?
An early start on a sunny day, a few hours felt-making or silk-painting, lunch in the garden, a bit of sewing or maybe take some photos.

What are your aims and goals for the future
To give up the ‘real job’ completely; to sell at a couple of my dream craft fairs; to keep learning and developing my skills; to still be enjoying what I’m doing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Meet Brett, Diana and Emma from Saltmarsh and Samphire

Meet Brett, Diana and Emma from Saltmarsh and Samphire

If you enjoy their interview pop over and chek out the links to their work 

Folksy shop 

 Social media sites

Emma is at 


We are three artists collectively known as Saltmarsh and Samphire.

Brett Gardner is a photographer who recently made the leap from wedding photographer to nature and landscape photographer following his true passion and has been short listed in national competitions including British Wildlife Photographer of the Year. 

Diana Stickley originally trained as a graphic designer (possibly a few more years ago than she would care to mention...), and has worked as a visual artist and printmaker for a number of years in Norfolk.

Emma Stickley has a background in visual arts, having studied The History of Art and Design at University.  She terms herself a trainee photographer, being a very recent convert to the medium.·      

What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?

We are mainly known for photography and fine art in the form of linocut prints.

Our favourite crafts would be printmaking and photography.  Diana loves to take inspiration from the seaside and beach as she lives close to the North Norfolk Coast.  Beach huts and sandcastles feature prominently in her work.  Even tiny pebbles found on the beach can provide inspiration for a fine art piece later on.
Brett is passionate about the natural world.  He is based in Lincolnshire near the Wolds and takes inspiration from the woods near to his home (as well as the coast when he come to Norfolk every few weeks).  His macro/close up photography can take the patience of a saint, but the results he achieves are well worth the huge efforts.
Emma loves flower photography and enjoys taking photos of plants in situ as well as cut flowers in a simple studio set up.

Is this a full time job?/Second income/ Or hobby for you?

Diana has been a self employed artist for a number of years and Brett left full time employment to pursue a career in photography.  Emma jumped the employment ship in August 2013, and that is when Saltmarsh and Samphire started.  So now Saltmarsh and Samphire is our main source of income - scary stuff!

What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?

We like printmaking and photography because of the huge variety of effects and results you can achieve with the same set of tools.  The possibilities end only with your imagination.

Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?

We don't work as such in other creative areas, but Diana and Emma are partial to a little bit of knitting and crochet from time to time.  Doodling is another activity that Emma enjoys (not that she thinks she is overly good at it!). 

Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets?  Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?

We think that you can gain a lot of inspiration from any form of creativity.  It can be extremely positive to mix and match from different areas of your life - who knows what you might come across! 

Perhaps the only negative thing that comes from having a lot of different interests, is that it does tend to eat up all your time - not enough hours in the day we say!

What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to create wonderful things?

We are all lucky to live in very beautiful parts of the country, so really you only have to look out of the window to feel that something very wonderful could be created on any day.  The only gripe we have had recently is the amount of rain and wind - not pleasant for photography, and of course horrendous for those who have suffered in the floods.

Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?

Yes!  We are all supported in numerous ways, from free board having moved back home, to support on social media sites.  It all adds up and makes us feel like we have made the right decision even on the tough days.

Describe what your prefect Art/crafting day would be like?

Tea and biscuits might feature heavily here!  Perhaps a walk down to the beach to gather some inspiration from nature, maybe a sneaky ice cream on the quay before heading home to hopefully create a piece of work that will remind someone else of their days by the seaside.

What are your aims and goals for the future.

We would love to make a success of Saltmarsh and Samphire.  It is still fairly early days for us as yet, but we are very excited about the direction we are going in now.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

End of week round up

 Last week I told you about seeing the Van Gogh Sunflowers  and how I was inspired by them. Well we  had no sunflowers so the nearest thing we had was some tulips my sister bought me for my birthday.  So I did a sketch and I was going to try and paint it using thick paint and using very loose techniques.

Well as it happens fate gave me a helping hand.  On Bank holiday Monday, when sorting the loft out ( well trying to) I hurt my wrist, I thought it was nothing serious,  so left it but it became apparent the next day I had done something more that just over done it . So after an X-ray and being relived I hadn't broken anything,  I was give a splint and told I probably had either damaged the tendons or the ligaments, so for the last week I have been painting in a splint.  I didn't think it would make a difference as I had full use of my fingers but it definitely hindered any detailed painting or drawing, so perfect for what I had wanted to achieve.  So with long paint brushes and think paint,  I painted away for three days.

I have to admit to being surprised how long it took as I expected it to be quicker,  but I was totally frustrated with not being able to hold the brushes how I wanted and I would have loved to have added more detail.

For what I wanted to achieve it was a good exercise and I am not totally displeased with the result,  but to be honest with you, its just not me,  I have learnt a couple of tricks about technique and brush holding so very worth while,  but not something I would repeat in a hurry.  But thats what its all about really isn't it,  experimenting to find what works for you and what doesn't and I like to push myself out of my comfort zone once in a while.

On the other hand I love doing the next Tulip painting.  This one was on glass this time and I loved the whole process,  from mixing the pigment with gum arabic and water to the actual painting.  I liked the painterly effect that I got from thinning the paint and the delicate texture for laying down the pigment and then scraping away.  Flooding and line drawing were also added to give an overall effect. The whole piece was then fired to make it permanent.  I have also learnt that I can't photograph glass,  so I will have to ask Mr WD, for some help.

So after all that excitement I also had a lovely meeting with Sharon at the Blue Room in Nailsea.    She agreed to take my work in to sell and also I will be teaching some basic painting and drawing sessions for her. Just enough to keep my hand in,  but not so much that it overwhelms me again.

So here I am with my first painting just having been hung.

The Blue room is  a very interesting enterprise,  incorporating lots of yummy, local arts and crafts,  but also trying to engage the community in creative tasks.  So hence the teaching,

For those of you interested in learning to draw and paint, or any other creative task check out Sharons' website for more details