Friday 19 October 2012


After the busiest few weeks in what has been a very busy year so far two big deadlines both drew to a close on the same day today. 
The first being a big word map commission which is still officially under wraps but needless to say I've had my pot of black Indian ink and size 01 paintbrushes out again (for the last 32 days!!!) I'll be posting about it as soon as I can reveal it.

The second was the delivery of my first big order to Waterstones for the launch of their re-branded card and stationery areas. They're just going in selected stores but as a long-standing favourite of mine on the high street (I remember the hours I spent in Waterstones Edinburgh as a student poring over beautiful books and browsing new fiction titles before the onslaught of online book stores) it feels exciting. They're a big shop - and I do always worry a little as there's a fine line between remaining true to my initial small scale ideals and expanding - but I think they're still a well-respected book shop first and foremost and will do my cards justice without over-commericalising them too much.

So after all that busy-ness I'm left feeling very much unable to wind-down after being used to working most evenings on top of days. Sipping a (very!) small glass of last years home made sloe gin is helping though!

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Work In progress

Progress is being made in my soon-to-be studio.
It looks a little like a building site at the moment but hopefully I should be in there within the next 4-6 weeks (fingers crossed.)
It's long and thin but should give me much more space than I've ever had. I'm intending on splitting it into a designing area (a long bench for my computer etc..), a large table area for working on bigger things and for preparing orders, card and stock storage down one side and small plan chests somewhere for storing prints. (I hope it's all going to go in!!)
My favourite bits about it are the high ceiling and recently acquired windows (turning it from a dark long garage-type building into a lighter brighter studio space.)
There are exciting decisions to make on flooring, lighting and all the little nice things which will hopefully make it a vibrant and inspiring place to work. I'm even allowing for some wall space for prints to hang on. I feel an open studios opportunity coming up.....!
I'll keep you posted on the progress in the coming weeks.

Monday 1 October 2012

Meet the Maker

I've blogged before about the very lovely Melbourne-based online shop Hello Polly. Set up by Sarah Kelk only last year but already with a well-established name and a quite brilliant selection of artwork, stationery, cards, jewellery and design-led products, it's one of those online shops which I can get lost in for a long time.
Sarah has become a good friend over the years since she started selling my work in The Red Door Gallery (Edinburgh) back in 2004. She was my first stockist and has always been incredibly supportive of my work. After moving to Melbourne last year she set up her online shop and continues to stock original and inspirational products and artwork from around the world.

She recently sent me some questions as part of her 'Meet The Maker' blog series and the resulting interview can be read over on the Hello Polly blog today (complete with many photos.) I always go into too much detail so my answers are a little 'wordy' (!) but you get a little of the background behind Alison Hardcastle from the beginning as well as my working life. Hopefully a little insight into my world.

The necklace above (by LoveHate) can be found on the Hello Polly shop.