Sunday, 28 August 2016

Colour from the season - Hard Fern green

As a self-employed designer/maker,  I'm pretty disciplined on the whole. I rise early, walk Luna and start work by 9am. I usually work until 6pm, but sometimes later. I also often work on Saturday and if I'm running a screen-printing or Photoshop workshop, I work all weekend. The plus side is of course that I love my work and as long as I don't beat myself up for not getting something done, in the main, no-one else does either.

These attractive little ferns, which grow everywhere here in North Devon are called Hard Ferns or Blechnum spicant (slightly strange name so called because of their leathery form (?)). I've made time to sketch a few of them, to feature in a new wall panel along with a couple of other ferns, which I hope to put on screen and print at a super-sized scale next week.

I generally design what I would love to live with myself. As Oscar Wilde so aptly said -
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken"...

In case you wonder what soft ferns look like? I'm attaching a photo of a Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum setiferum) below...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Old House New Home - amazing blind!

It's been a year full of new challenges..!

In February, I had a very interesting phone call from the television company, Amazing Productions. They were working on a fab new home makeover show called 'Old House, New Home' for Channel 4, currently showing in the UK (here), and asked if George Clarke, architect and presenter, could help me print something in my studio as a surprise present to the homeowner, Emily. 

Here's George in my studio!!! 

After working out what might be feasible in the time frame, we decided that I would design a blind that George and I would screen-print. The design was to be inspired by fragments of an old 1950's wallpaper that had been in Emily's bathroom. The wallpaper would have to go during the renovation and my new design would be an updated contemporary reference to it. 

I only had a very short time span for this, but enjoyed the whole project immensely -
Here's a few extra images; printing with George; from my sketchpad; and of the blind on the print table...

Always amazing...printing!

happy printers...

The two options on the colourway were fuschia pink and silver along with a green and grey which matched the floor tiles and walls in the bathroom.  Here's the pink in my sketchbook, but after sampling, the silver was selected...

Raw linen, chartreuse, charcoal grey and silver...

upside down on my print table...

and of course the final made-up blind in Emily's house..! 

Special thanks to the fantastic production team at Amazing Productions!
It was really lovely to meet George, also Emily, and the blind was beautifully sewn up by Julia at Finishing Touches' in South Molton.


We are running a new Photoshop to Screen-Printing short course in my studio in September, also a "Photoshop for Textiles" short course at West Dean College this Autumn. More Autumn Screen printing and Photoshop for Textiles workshop dates to be finalised soon...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Colour from the season - Black Lace Elder - black

As an alternative to "a drawing a day" (which frankly for me is unachievable for one reason or another much of the time), you might like my motivational phrase to myself at the moment - "one leaf at a time."

So yesterday, in order to keep my colour notebook going, (which primarily of course I keep as my own colour and image resource, and inspiration), I decided to draw something simple, just an outline drawing. If all I can manage to sketch is a leaf, then find a leaf that I feel inclined to draw and enjoy drawing it!

Here are the wonderful colours I noted in this Black Lace Elder leaf. An intricate dark red purple leaf, the underside is a very French grey green with deep pink veins throughout. It's woody branches are a pale dry brown and the flowers themselves will be a foam of Champagne pink.

Not quite in flower in my garden - here's the outline pen and ink drawing, alongside it's gorgeous colours..!

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Screen Printing in the studio - Gorse

Gorse, in all it's yellow spiky splendour, is out in full bloom on the heath and lanes around Exmoor right now. It flowers all year round of course, but has it's real moment of madness in April and May. What I love most about Gorse is the mixed messages of sweet coconut fragrance from the pea flowers, alongside it's dangerously resilient thorns, and I've tried to capture something of this in my design.

This print for a wall panel has taken over a year from initial drawings and concept, to finally getting onto screen and printed. Maybe the best things in life do sometimes take a bit longer to reach fruition?

Here's the first panel being printed in my studio last week...

Very very dark green..!


I'll be exhibiting the Gorse at these Fairs in 2016:

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Spring Cushions for the National Trust

As fresh as February's temperatures, slate grey and white screen-printed onto unbleached linen, my new Spring cushions have sprung into the National Trust shops and online, featuring some of my favourite flora from my seasonal notebooks.

Exclusive to the National Trust's Artisan and Craft collection, you can claim one (or two) of these limited edition lovelies in their online shop here...

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Forty Season Scarves cont...

When I noticed the Jay at the side of the road in 2012 on our way back from Cornwall (here) I would never have guessed that his colours would be the start of a new scarf collection but I've always found that as long as I take the first step, there's always the probability it will lead to the next.

I'm very pleased that they've been such a success, not least because I so enjoy printing them. At last I've had a chance to print a few to go on sale in my online shop (here). Every one is an individual having its own unique character, pattern and colour balance (just like people really!). The scarf you'll see in the image on the shop is the scarf you can uniquely own.

Printing in the studio with Luna on the alert and a Swallow scarf...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Colour from the Season - Monterey Pine Needle green

Inevitably seasons pass and everything gets a little older. Even the Monterey Pine in the Heddon Valley was looking the worse for wear when I visited it last week after weeks of wind and rain. It seemed to be leaning over even more than usual. I went after the storms especially to gather a few of its needles for a new design I'm working on. Even after the tail end of Storm Frank (?!) I had to scramble around the banks to find a few small branches as it doesn't give up its cones, or it would seem, its needles very readily.

Challenging on the eyes to distinguish between the background and foreground needles, I had to really concentrate, not unlike drawing the Monterey Cone! (here).

Rich earthy colours of the needles...

A sight for sore eyes on a grey January day. The Hunter's Inn with Monterey Pine (behind the right chimney).

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Posy - Gorse, Heather (and a few travel essentials)

Happy New Year!

Christmas was a last minute rush, but yesterday, I had time to get on with some sketching! Walking in the Heddon Valley it was uplifting to see the Gorse glowing with new flowers and buds. I'm sketching a few more of its prickly stems as I have a plan for it. It's colours are on a previous notebook page (here), but instead here's a posy of Gorse and Heather on a wet and windy New Years Eve!

My Christmas presents this year included a few travel kit essentials!

A Schmincke Aquarell waterpan set! (Boxing day fun)...

Paint, Gorse and new super duper specs...

A3, A4, A5 and yes A6 Moleskines with the lovely Loona Doona...

Last but not least - new pocket secateurs - (I couldn't have picked the Gorse without them!)

Roll on 2016!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Colour from the season - Spray Chrysanthemum orange

There's nothing like a Chrysanthemum bloom to re-ignite my motivation to draw however tired I'm feeling!

These spray Chrysanthemums are locally grown and infinitely more appealing to draw than the equivalent supermarket variety. Long stemmed, unpretentiously ragged growth and rich shades of burnt orange. Their warm colours are a welcome foil to a grey Winter's day, and I have every intention of finding the time to draw all six stems, here's the first...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Colour from the Season - Butternut Squash Yellow

When you need to relax you want colours that are calm and natural, such as the combination of yellow and tan shadings in this Butternut Squash. After an intensive few weeks of workshops and screen-printing, I was completely shattered on Sunday, therefore painting this Butternut Squash was a perfect way to unwind...

It's skin was almost exactly the colour of Naples yellow acrylic paint from Windsor and Newton, (which might be useful info for anyone else thinking of painting one).

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.