Wednesday 30 October 2013

Open Studio & Xmas pop-up shop

I'm opening up my studio for a weekend and having an open studio and small xmas pop-up shop.
There will be cards (lots of Christmas ones), stationery, screen prints, word map prints, bags and a few other bits and bobs lurking in my plan chest. It's a good excuse to tidy up, sell off some discontinued cards, show my wares to my village (!) and have a cup of tea with people in my studio!
If you're in the East Yorkshire area and fancy a nosey and some nice cards then please do pop in!

9th & 10th November
11am-4pm both days
Honeysuckle House
Nunburnholme, Pocklington, York. YO42 1QY

Friday 25 October 2013

Product photo shoot

A couple of weeks ago I took all my products over to Hannah Webster Photography in Leeds for my first ever product photo shoot. It was a great day and we got such a lot done!!
Here are some of the results (there's over 400 photographs in total!!) but the possibilities are really exciting - very soon my website will have a serious make-over and introduce a bit more 'lifestyle' photography into it. Then I intend to start on my new catalogue and other promotional pieces. It's good to know that now I have a good bank of photos to send out for press images and image requests.

It's been a great exercise in analysing my brand, what is essential to it and what unites it. I definitely think that these photos will enhance my work and show it off to it's best potential which I don't think I'm always currently doing.

Thanks Hannah - you did a great job!

Monday 7 October 2013

Dutch House

Thanks to Martha's school project we spent the weekend documenting ourselves through photographs. It actually turned out to be a brilliant thing for me too as all too often I forget to take my camera with me and caught up in the usual melee of everyday life I forget to photograph us and whats around us regularly enough.
These are just a few of the photos we took on Sunday afternoon at Dutch House, Crayke (near York). We'd never been before (I only just learnt it existed last week when I chanced upon Cecile on Twitter). It was a good find - art, peaceful wild gardens and a cafe with delicious Dutch cakes, pies and pancakes. It was great to chat to Cecile and we'll certainly be going back.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Colour is where it's at...

You can't beat a juicy bit of colour. The autumn sunshine has been highlighting the colours around and you only have to look at my work to know how important a strong block of colour is to me.
Strong pastels against beautiful brights at Bridlington beach last Sunday (top 4 images).
Fantastic coloured formica school desks in my local vintage shop (may well be going back to buy these  tomorrow!!)

This week has mainly been about planning my pending photo shoot, website updates (finally getting around to planning/creating much-needed changes), delivering framed prints to Art&Rose Gallery (my local gallery in Pocklington - owned and curated by my next door neighbour Emma-Jane) and new designs/products. And of course sending out orders of both everyday and Christmas cards. A wonderfully varied week!

Thursday 5 September 2013

Busy organising

I've been missing from here the whole of the summer holidays I'm afraid. It's not that I've just had the whole summer off - far from it in fact. With it being the summer holidays I had my daughter at home with me most of the time (or lovely grandparents and holiday club looking after her also) so working has been somewhat sporadic. I have managed to work quite a lot but having had a busy period of orders concentrated over the whole of August I mainly spent all my working time keeping on top of despatching orders and doing admin jobs. All the other more lovely parts which make up my working day have had to wait. 
Yesterday Martha started in reception so I now have 5 clear days a week for the first time in over 4 years and I'm delighted. Obviously I'll miss her hugely but I feel very fortunate that I spent a lot of time with her when she was young while growing my business at the same time. I've spent 4 and a bit years juggling work and being a mum and I feel I had the best of both worlds. She's been at nursery/pre-school and grandparents a lot of the week over the past couple of years but it's all been a bit more ad-hoc and required strategic planning every week. I'm really looking forward to the straightforwardness of dropping her at the same place every morning and being in the studio bright and early.

So the past 2 days I've been doing some serious organising. In a way it feels like the start of term for me also - new beginnings and all that. I've finally finished painting and installing back in the old metal shelving unit which was in my studio as part of the former owners storage. I like the fact that a part of this once very dark and boring shed is back in use again. A little bit of it's heritage before it became a studio. It looks a bit office-y but I need somewhere for the files I use to keep my designs in and it's perfect.
There's been a steady stream of deliveries to the studio all week resulting in finding room to store over 10,000 envelopes! (6500 cards on their way next week!) Beth (my new and very sunny studio assistant) has been busy picking and packing orders and I've been putting away the new stock of Christmas cards (oh yes - it'll be upon us in no time!)

All in all a busy and organising sort of week so far. And I have many plans which I'm making too. 
That's for next week..... can't wait!!

Tuesday 30 July 2013

50 years of creativity

At the weekend I went across to north Wales to the opening of a new exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre.
The exhibition 'David Frith, Margaret Frith: 50 Years of Brookhouse Pottery' is a celebratory exhibition marking the couples 50 years of industrious creativity since starting up their pottery together in the 60's. Instead of it being a retrospective the large gallery space contained nearly all new work (some of which only came out of the kiln the day before!) This shows how hard they work and how dedicated they have quite obviously remained for the last 50 years to what they do.
As they're my sister's in-laws I've known David and Margaret for a few years and they've never stood still. Despite turning 70 this year they continue to build (quite literally with kiln sheds popping up left right and centre at the Brookhouse!) on their success and strive to do more with their pots.
I couldn't resist a few photos of their pottery also. I love seeing where the magic happens with creative people. It's always special to gain a little insight into everyday practices and working life.

It's a huge achievement to have been so prevalent in the ceramics world for so long that they must feel very proud. - But I suppose to them it just feels quite normal. I just hope that my enthusiasm for what I do stretches into my 70's and I too can still be enjoying creating work and striving to do more and make more in 30 years time.

Monday 29 July 2013

A Map of the World (and a very good present!)

If you love a good map and in particular a well designed map that's a little bit different and presents the information in a curious and beautiful way then this is the book for you. It's called 'A Map of the World: According to Illustrators and Storytellers' by Antonis Antoniou (published by Die Gestalten Verlag)
I received a copy for my birthday and it's so beautiful to look through it's been living on the coffee table for the past week as I can't stop picking it up. All the maps are so unique and clever I'm feeling quite inspired.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Artists for Alphabet bags

I've been a big fan of Alphabet Bags and their sister company The Calm Gallery for many years so I was very very pleased indeed to be asked to join with them on their latest collection and provide a design for the Artists For Alphabet Bags range.
They've teamed up with me and 7 other artists (Berinmade, Dinara Mirtalipova, Erin Mcintyre, Hazel Nicolls, Karin Akesson, Laura Seaby and Seb Lester) to bring you cheerful designs from around the world on sturdy natural cotton totes. And I'm in very good company as the other designs are fab!
They're launched today so head over to their website and have a look. My design -  'The Best Is Yet To Come' bag is now in stock in my shop and you can read more about husband and wife team Lucas and Hayley of Alphabet Bags and see the other designs on their website.

All images are courtesy of Alphabet Bags.

Friday 12 July 2013

Fresh summery colours

The balmy summery days have made me think about beautiful hazy colour combinations.
The top two images are Imogen Heath Design - perfect colours for long summer days.
The quilts in the middle are by Meg Callahan - I just love the clean striking designs even though its not quilt weather!
I saw the work of Mae Engelgeer (bottom image) in this months Elle Decoration and I think the unusual design and colour mix work so well and look so fresh.

I've had a busy week working on a new commission/collaboration. I've really enjoyed getting my teeth into it this week and working in the studio with the door open and the sun streaming in. Long may it last....!
Have a great weekend.