Thursday, 21 May 2015

New work, crochet and flowers

May had a slow start but I've ended up very busy, mainly with design work and that is keeping me tied to my desk at the moment.

It's the time of year I do label designs for my vineyard client and this year they are releasing some new wines with my illustrations on the labels. I can give you a sneak preview of the new East Coast and Dalesman wine which sound delicious.

The wines are doing very well and picking up plenty of awards these days.

Next in my in tray is a new client which is something completely different, a logo to design for an American space science institute, wish me luck with that one!

In between proper work I've just completed a commission for a crochet flower garland necklace which I've made in some lovely bright cotton threads.

To continue with a flower theme I'm revisiting a craft I used to do many years ago, or rather trying to get back into it for an idea I have and that is the folk art style decorative painting you see on canal boats.

I got my paints out last weekend and started practising the brush strokes. If I can paint a selection of floral motifs then I will try and create a fabric design. I just need some time to spread my paints out and get on with it, it's difficult when you have to work on the kitchen table and pack it away at meal times. Or rather not pack it away and we eat with loads of stuff on the table! Oh the joys of living in a messy confined space.

Hope the weather cheers up for the bank holiday :)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Spring is trying to spring into life

It seems a late Spring here and last bank holiday weekend was so chilly that I went back to my thermals I'd recently stored away and had to warm up with vest and long johns again. Don't you find the chillyness always seems to happen when the central heating has been turned off!

Gladys the Great Tit has been visiting me and landing on my hand sometimes 3 or 4 times daily for a bird treat. Sometimes she stays on my hand for more than a second and looks at me and tweets, it really is quite sweet. From previous years of having bird best friends, this will usually last until they have their final brood and then they disappear rather sheepishly so I enjoy her friendship whilst I can.

The blossom on the cherry tree was looking lovely on one fine day the previous week but it has been so windy and wet this week it has virtually all blown off now. 

The Daffs peaked but have been battered this week too.

As some of you know, I find this is a pretty grim place to rent with all it's problems but this time of year it looks a little better with a splash of colour and with the thought of longer warm days.

The cool bank holiday weekend was an excuse to stay in and watch the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race in our area. Nice to see them whizzing through Brid, Scarborough & York but shame there wasn't more TV coverage for the villages nearer to us.
I had designed a beer label for this event for the Malton / Norton area the race was passing through.

The weekend also brought about yet more summer scarf making. I have used the crochet moss stitch I like to make this pastel coloured scarf.

With a new ball of soft alpacha wool I've had a go at a lacy shell stitch scarf. It doesn't look too good here but it's a lovely duck egg blue & speckle.

I've also been doing some teeny tiny embroideries which I've tried to show the scale with a 5p. These will turn up in some textile brooches at some point.

And finally, a delicious little thing to share with any embroidery enthusiasts out there.
A lovely parcel arrived this morning.

Beneath the intriguing wrap was this.

This is a box of vintage embroidery threads made in Sweden in the 1960s.

This beautiful yarn is made from flax and has been hidden away for decades after the factory closed down in Sweden. It has been recently rediscovered (I don't know all the story but will link to the site) and is now for sale. The colours and quality are wonderful and having such amazing vintage thread will make a project truly unique.
Check out the site to find out more and if you'd like to buy some, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Quick trip to Skye

I'm just back from a 4 day trip to Skye, it only feels like 2 days with the 10 hr drive up and back filling the best part of 2 days. It was mainly business with a bit of pleasure. 

A few months back I was working on some new branding for hand made clothes shop Skye Batiks, as well as batik clothing they have a fabulous range of handloom smocks which had previously been known as Skye Smocks. They wanted to change the name into something more unique for the smocks, after much bouncing back and forth with ideas the name chosen was Guga (guga is a young gannet).

I designed a fair few logos experimenting with gannets, handloom textures, landscapes, fishing nets, weaving etc and the chosen design is the simple one at the end, blue and white with the Scottish flag. As with lots of designs, it comes down to how easy it will be to produce at a small scale on a woven garment tag and the chosen design works great for that.

I've designed leaflets, mugs and quite detailed folding tags for the garments. They let me have a few mugs and tags to take back as samples but they haven't had the leaflets at the shop yet.

The thing about visiting such an interesting shop is I always find something new to buy and surprisingly on this trip I came away with a 'toy' and not a skirt. They use all the leftover bits of fabric from clothing to make little soft toys, there are seals, mice, puffins and new to me was the sea eagle. They're fab, they are really quite substantial chunky and heavy, beautifully made.

I was thinking of a name for him on the journey back, Eddie the eagle was too obvious and I went through various ideas but I looked at him and decided he was an Idris. Welsh name I know but there is a sense of fierceness to him like a dragon so Idris it is.

Here is Idris showing you some views on the trip, is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's Idris sea eagle!
Below, Idris swoops over Uig bay, you can catch a ferry from Uig over to the Isle of Lewis.

Idris near Duntulm castle ruins. The weather was beautiful whilst we were there.

Idris passes through Glencoe on the trip back.

I stayed in Portree the capital of Skye, I did a walk around part of the bay which I hadn't done before, usually because the weather has been poor but it was the hottest day of the year so far. This is the view from the bay across to the Cuillin mountains.

And when you've walked around and climbed upwards you come to this part which is where they have their Highland games and festivals.

I took my little friend Bob with me and here we are having a very tasty goats cheese salad and fresh raspberry milkshake at Cafe Sia in Broadford.

Somewhere new we went to investigate, and some of you may recognise this if you ever saw an episode of Grand Designs building a turf house on Skye.

This is the turf house at Kendram.

The two ladies who have this have turned their art studio, which was a separate building, into an espresso bar and below is the Single Track cafe. It's a fabulous little piece of architecture with a stunning view from the landscape window.

We got talking to owner Indi who made us some fabulous coffees and we feasted on a huge mozzarella and tomato sandwich. It was a lovely place to while away some time and take in that view.

The trip was all over in the blink of an eye and I'm back here to some weird sleety weather this afternoon!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Hornsea Pottery Society AGM 2015

Yesterday was a big day in our Hornsea Pottery calendar, the AGM on hallowed turf at Hornsea, which interestingly fell 15 years to the day that Hornsea Pottery went into final receivership.

Our meeting and talk was very interesting, lovely to catch up with people who I only see once a year as it's difficult to get to the other 3 yearly meetings they have scattered around the country.

The stalls were brimming with pots for sale, I'm sure there was more than last year, or may be more of the designs which I liked this time.

Loads of Contrast which I like and still use. I was wanting a particular mini soup tureen but no one had one.

A wonderful stack of Heirloom storage jars.

Below, the lovely white teapot in the middle was called Alaska, it is sort of a white version of the brown Contrast design.

If only I was starting my own coffee shop! Many many different espresso sets. This design I hadn't seen before called Prelude in a dull minty green and brown.

Lots more things than usual in the auction, below.

So what did I buy, well, I got this wonderful 1977 mug by John Clappison for £1 on the auction, they sell for lots more on Ebay so I was very pleased. It will a be a birthday pressie for a Scorpio.

I also found just one Concept espresso cup with saucers, this was good because I already have one cup and no saucers, so it is useable now for coffee and a piece of cake for two.

And finally, this was rather unusual and irresistible to me as it was very minimal and stylish.

These plates and bowls in a wave/cell shape were designed by Caterina Fadda in the late 90s, she commissioned Hornsea Pottery to produce them for her so I'm happy to say these design icons which broke the mould in plate design were made in Hornsea. The museum had purchased them some time ago and were selling them to raise funds as they had duplicates.

I bought a combination of the black and white. They will be fabulous for serving a tapas style meal with bits 'n pieces on the side.

Caterina has a London studio with furniture and other stylish designer items for the home.

Thank you if you made it this far, I do tend to get carried away with Hornsea pots!