July 22, 2010
July 21, 2010
Just wanted to share a couple of cool things I am joining in with this summer, in case you fancy having a go yourself.
The lovely Louise over at Dream, Inspire, Create has launched a ‘Creative Color Challenge’. It’s a great idea, and gives you a bit of a steer for creating but also gives you a lot of freedom to play with juicy colours. I will be sharing what I make over the next month right here.
And I am also trying to keep up with learning some new techniques from the very talented Claudine Hellmuth. Her class ‘@ Home with Claudine Hellmuth’ is very cool. I will share some of the things I make over there in the coming weeks too.
What creative challenge are you setting yourself this summer?
July 17, 2010
I had no idea it would be so much fun – 70 women from nine countries on three continents all intepreting the theme of ‘time’ differently, turning it into a unique stitched postcard and then sending it off on its way overseas… and waiting in anticipation for another unique stitched postcard to drop through their own letterbox.
Here is the one I made and sent to Kath in Australia… Kath said she is going to frame it and put it up in her sewing room. That makes me want to do a little dance…
The idea suddenly came to me when I was lying in the top bunk of a tiny cabin on a night ferry from the Greek island of Santorini to Athens. I had an image of exactly what I wanted to create… so you can imagine my utter surprise when I got home and a package had arrived containing a copy of Noelle Oxenhandler’s lovely book The Wishing Year, with this front cover:
Even the colours were similar. How strange. Well now is a big time for wishing in my life, so maybe it was just serendipity!
Here is a random sample of some of the gorgeousness that has been carried across land and sea by friendly postmen in the past month…
Check out the Flickr group for the rest, and to see who made what.
Finally, some people wrote about the swap on their blogs. Here is a roundup of the their little leaps of joy as their surprises dropped through the door or into the mailbox…
And for next time…
Quite a few people have asked when the next stitched postcard swap will be (so happy that you want to do it again!). I am planning to run the next one in October/November – watch this space! If you have a suggestion for a theme please add it in the comments below. I have a few ideas but would love to hear yours too.
July 15, 2010
This week I am delighted to share a conversation with Suzanne Woolcott, the inspiring creative brains behind the Gorjuss™ empire. Some of her fans are so crazy about her work, they have had her designs tattooed on their bodies! Suzanne’s Gorjuss™ Girls are licensed by Santoro, a brand creator, design and publishing company with distribution in over 50 countries around the world.
33 year-old Suzanne runs her company with her husband Grant, from their studio in Glasgow, Scotland, where they live with their three children. Her work has been exhibited in galleries across the globe, but most regularly in Hollywood, LA , New York, NY, and Hong Kong (how cool is that?!)
Can you tell us a bit about Gorguss™?
Gorjuss™ is about bringing beautiful emotional art into everyone’s lives. I love to play with words, especially taking things literally, but I also think that love runs deep within all my art. I choose to paint only Girls, as I can only paint what I’ve felt, experienced and imagined. I couldn’t put so much emotion into something I haven’t felt myself.
I have always been a fan of portraits, and the scope of what can be captured in a moment, the stillness of the figure, the stare looking out at you and the placement of the objects around the subject, everything is there for a reason, to accentuate the meaning behind a portrait. I would always rather hand a portrait on my wall than a nice landscape !
Where did your girl designs come from? What inspired the first one?
The style of my girls really came naturally, as I was learning to draw, I always wanted to show my emotions and to do that you have to concentrate on what makes the viewer feel emotion, it doesnt always have to be a facial expression, and I think my art proves that!
What has been your greatest challenge on your journey to here, and how did you tackle it?
I’ve recently become disabled, and now can’t walk. This has made a huge difference to my life, and I think I may be going through the greatest challenge of my life right now. After many months in hospital, I’m now trying to work out how to keep working. I’m sure we will get there eventually but everything is taking twice as long ( or more!) to do right now, so I’m grateful for my fans’ patience and support through this very difficult time.
Art-wise, it has to be just learning and learning, to create what’s in my head. Getting the ability to create exactly what you want to can take time. I do remember how frustrating it was. Now I’d say “Don’t panic, but do keep trying and learning.”
I love to learn and I’m constantly learning new techniques to help my art be stronger. Learning should never stop, or there can be a great risk of staleness in your artwork (eek!)
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of what I’ve done – everything – sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it is real! I’m very proud to be working with Santoro. They are such a warm welcoming company. They don’t just look after me, they also love and care for my Gorjuss™ Girls with so much respect, I couldn’t imagine anyone better to look after them.
I’m extremely proud of my paintings, I always tell people to paint what they would like to see. If you love it, then someone else will too!
And I’m very proud of my fans. They are such a wonderful bunch, and always surprise me with their love, loyalty and support!
What do you wish you had known when you started out with your creative business?
I wish I’d know it would be all okay ‘in the end. It’s very scary in the beginning, and not knowing what the future held for us was terrifying.
July 13, 2010
“When we look with our eyes, from our hearts, through the lens, it’s a completely different photo and something really powerful can happen” Jen Lemen
Check out this awesome video of Jen’s story on her journey from happy snapper to $50,000 world photography prize winner…
And if you are in the mood for wishing, please help me make a dream come true here!
July 12, 2010
I do believe in the power of wishing, and of visualisation, to help make things really happen (like it did here a few months ago). But sometimes some things just seem that little bit too big and too important to say out loud. I always have a niggling fear that speaking about the dreams you really really want to come true will somehow jinx them, and make them not come true after all.
That is why I haven’t mentioned anything about our dream house until now.
My man and I have been living together for some time, but in his place, not in our place. To his eternal credit, when I moved in he let me change a few things around (read ‘new wooden flooring, new doors, new paint on every wall, new furniture…’) and we have been happy here. But for a long time we have wanted a home of our own, that we chose together, with a little garden, space to spread out, and maybe even a nice big studio for me(!).
And then, all of a sudden, a couple of months ago, we found it. The perfect house for us, right now.
And then one serendipitous thing after another happened, which brought us closer to actually buying the house. And guess what? If all goes to plan, it will be ours next Thursday!
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this!
There is something very comforting about a house, with actual staircases. Having lived in a flat for so long, I cannot wait to go upstairs to bed! And downstairs in the morning, to make a brew and then sit in the garden having breakfast and chatting to the birds.
So please, wish hard for us that everything goes right and we get the keys next week, as is supposed to happen according to our dream. And then I can invite you round for tea!
July 9, 2010
July 5, 2010
July 1, 2010
I’m not much of a techie but I love seeing what talented people can do with a Mac, and the Graphic Design graduates of Leeds College of Art are no exception. Their final year show included some stunning work, and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you
Introducing…Jonathan Chapman aka Mr Yen
24 year old Designer who uses paper to illustrate and communicate, currently freelancing, creating paper cut stationery and paper cut products that are stocked in a variety of galleries and shops around the UK with talks of having some of his work stocked in Australia. Jonathan’s work is exquisite – amazing to think it is all hand-cut.
- Most important thing I learnt at art school: To experiment with a range of ideas and concepts before settling on a final one as it is usually the experimentation process that reveals interesting details you would not have found out unless you had experimented!
- Most important thing you learnt outside class: To be as organized as possible. I am still working on this, but organization really does help to create a balance of work and play and planning time effectively gives me more time to do what I love
23 year old Illustrator/Graphic designer, currently launching herself into freelance illustration
The most important thing I learnt at art college: Making your work appropriate to the brief you’ve been set, and adjusting your style to suit it. Another thing I’ve learnt is to draw/note down your ideas as soon as you have them, even if it’s on a receipt or a napkin because it’s easy to forget them… particularly if you’re blessed with a sieve-like memory like me
The most important thing I learnt outside of class: Definitely to speak to as many other designers as you can. Making friends and contacts is one of the best things about it I think. And check out as many blogs as you can, not just the ones directly related to your field, but other arty/designery stuff because it can spark other ideas. One of my tutor’s fave expressions is “You can’t design in a vacuum” and I think he has a point there
July 1, 2010
I love this time of year, when you can wander around the end-of-year shows at art schools, wowed by the talent and lapping up all that fantastic inspiration for free.
Although I am normally a fine art and interiors kind of gal, I found myself drawn to the and Graphic Design and Printed Textiles and Surface Design sections of the recent show at the Leeds College of Art, here in my city. Here are some of the lovely things (and people) I found in the textiles gallery… (see here for separate post on the pick of the graphic design studio)
Introducing… Anisha Chauhan
21 year old Surface Pattern Designer and Illustrator, who is currently exhibiting at New Designers in at the Business Design Centre in London and is working on a portfolio of Indian Wedding invitations
Most important thing I learnt at art school: how to combine skills in drawing, mixed media, painting and textiles.
Introducing… Hayley Johns
23 year old Textile Designer, currently expanding her experience through internships and work placement, and toying with the idea of postgraduate study to broaden her portfolio further. Her work is also on show at the New Designers show at the Business Design Centre in London, and her latest collection Kasuri was developed from detailed illustration of New York’s urban landscape, and influenced by Ikat and Japanese design.
- Most important thing I learnt at art school:- Organisation is key! Losing track really sets you back, just be level headed and use the network of student designers around you.