Friday, October 31, 2014

It finally feels like Winter

Happy Halloween
The last week has been blissful in terms of temperature, I've even been wearing long sleeves which has been exciting. In a complete roundabout I've returned to sewing, its been months and the last thing I sewed was probably a hem. It's a good thing to have had a break as I have a renewed enthusiasm and I'm excited to make new things. Here's a couple I've been working on, although if you follow my instagram you'll have seen some of these behind the scenes shots. I'll be taking part in a few show in November including Patchwork Show on Nov 2nd in Long Beach and Nov 30th in Santa Ana as well as Maker's Arcade in San Diego on Nov 22.
Sample fox new design
I made this guy in a flurry of enthusiasm, literally drew onto the fabric and cut it out, not really thinking about how I would make it again without a pattern. I don't really want to unpick it apart so we'll have to see if the pattern I made is close enough.

Look at all the owls, I have banned myself from buying any fabric till I get through the mountains of wool that I have collected. I have mini wool mountains of felted sweaters and dismantled clothing everywhere, it looks bad but it always does when I'm busy.
Here's a felted sweater purse with appliqued bear.
Fox and Bear

Mr & Mrs Nighty Night Owls

Friday, October 3, 2014

The one with all the Cats

It's no surprise to some that when you practice something you get better at it, so as a result of drawing everyday I have definitely noted an improvement (and I was surprised). I am used to painting and drawing from life or photographs so imagining what a little chubby bird might look like holding an umbrella and being blown by the wind is an entirely different proposition. As I sit and doodle away, while The West Wing plays in the background (such a good series) I feel very lucky to have this time to enjoy the process of creating. My problem has always been focusing on one thing, no sooner do I decide to focus on paper goods and I'm designing a whole laser engraved line which then opens the possibilities to umpteen other products. I'm taking a break from ceramics to take a wood shop class. I've already made a dog bed but my big project is a retail cart for craft shows.....
Recent projects include a cat line of keyc hains and potentially gift wrap if I can find a way to do it that is affordable. While I only have dogs, I can appreciate there are a lot of cat loving people out there and they are fun to paint. There will be a corresponding dog line too. Holidays are around the corner and I feel like I've been in Christmas mode for a while now. I saw my first full on Holiday display in Hobby Lobby the other day, weird.

Lately I've been waking up in the middle of the night, usually due to being bitten by mosquitoes, they Looooove me, and I wake up immediately grab the tea tree oil and an icepack and try and go back to sleep. There have been times when there have not been enough icepacks and I have to resort to the frozen veg. On one such interrupted night though, my mind was racing with puns for cards and I had to write them down, fortunately there's always a sketchbook somewhere. There were some good ones so stay tuned and you will see the results shortly.

Imagining what a cat looks like
Cat ink drawing

Cat heads

Lil heads pattern

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Carpe Diem Seize the AC Unit & Biz card design

This is my very first year of being full time on the make and design front, which has coincided with probably some of the hottest weather ever, which I toughed out with one fairly innocuous fan which merely gave the appearance of a small breeze. Why didn't you get an air conditioning unit I hear you ask ? Well, frankly I didn't know you could buy them off the shelf, I thought stupidly that you had to install a fancy system running through your house ( a bit like plumbing) and I blame the husband on this one (he's American after all!) its not like Air Conditioning was ever an issue in London. Ask me about alternative heating solutions and I'm your man.  Upon realizing that I didn't need to take 3 cold showers a day to bring my core temperature down, we headed to Home Depot. I should preface this by adding it was probably a humid 93 degrees at this point,  I am not an impulse shopper nor do I know anything about Air Conditioning units, so we are standing in Home Depot looking at these two rather sad looking boxes and my husband says something like "we should get this one", to which I reply with some questions  like "are you sure this is a good one" or something along those lines. In the midst of this discussion, two separate sets of people take each of the boxes and we are left looking at the floor. Naturally I assumed there were more stacked away, this is America there's always more, right ? but much to my husband's fury that was it, SOLD out, the only two in the whole store. We walked away from our sad empty cart in silence  and went to another home depot to find that they had none either. So here we are very hot and bothered with no AC unit, (had I not known they existed I would have been hot, but not that bothered, can't miss what you didn't know existed in the first place.) We head back home where I make calls to several stores and the soonest we can get one is 5-7 business days. It was not a good time to be me !!

My husband at this point is lying on the couch unable to answer even the simplest question and I'm left to pull the trigger, Amazon Prime will get one to us in 2 days which sounds a lot better than 5 -7. It's a powerful, window mounted thing which seems to have all the bells and whistles. It arrived and took at least several hours to install. So now we have this white box sitting in our window, its reassuring red light says "I'm here if you need me". It's been fired up a couple of times and works like a charm.

In other craft related news, here's what I've been up to. New business card design. I ended up re drawing the design about 3 times but was happy with the final finished result. Customers are always happy to receive them so taking the extra effort to make something unique seems worth it.

initial design

Second Draft

red and black

final card

Monday, September 15, 2014

The One with all the Ceramics

Thrown Dog Bowl
So, in my spare time I have been going to a ceramics class and just making whatever I want, which in my case has been oh, we need a butter dish I'll make one. It's been out with the mass produced stuff in our house and in with the handmade. I dabbled with throwing and had a success or three but when it comes to making the ceramics I want, I know I can hand build it quicker than it would take me on the wheel. If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen some of these pics as I'm one of these impulsive need to show the world NOW kind of people.
The evergrowing blue stripe army.

Plate and handlefree mugs

Spoons, butter dish, sugar bowl, love bowl.
Sugar bowl and lid

A lot of the stuff I made was just another surface to paint on and there was a lot of blue stripes and pattern going on which I was really drawn to. I figured out that I was probably subliminally inspired by Galician pottery Company Sargadelos. We always went to the store in La Coruna in Spain, when we were on holidays and at home we had a tea set and ornaments scattered around the house.

In the final weeks, I experimented with bare porcelain and black glaze contrasting the shiny and the rough. I made a handleless mug which I have been using everyday and its my favorite piece. I signed up for woodshop this term so we will see what that produces.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unique LA Summer Show Booth Build

Let's face it, I'm playing catch up with the whole blog I just finished Unique USA Summer Edition so there's a whole lot of pics to post. I must resolve to download my iphone pics on a more regular basis and not when it says I'm out of memory as it's taken me at least an hour to sort 1,000 photos into some semblance of order but it means lots more blogs for the immediate future.

 I began this project with three sorry looking canvas frames that had about 1000 staples that had to be removed. I went to Home Depot and had them cut 3 boards to fit the stretchers, hammered those on. Bought a gallon of paint and painted them with a roller before adding the laser cut shelves which had to be glued together, then painted. (Gorilla Glue is AMAZING!)
 This is me in 80 degree heat trying out configurations in a 5ft x 3ft space with furniture I own. Conclusion not enough room so it didn't make it into the booth.
There were 6 shelves added to these two panels.

Love a bit of teal

Cocktails are essential when gluing en masse.

 I had painted these planks of wood grey and used them to create a table top with the wooden boxes as the base which worked out quite well.
Almost forgot my sign.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Unique LA Booth Build (Spring Edition)

This is slightly late but in the interests of documenting this arduous process for posterity, here goes. The space allotted to us was a 10 x 10 acrylic wall corner booth with only two walls. Here is how it went from drab to fab IMHO. Enjoy !!
Lumber shopping

Walls minus paint.

Tada painted, one sore arm later.
These never made it into the booth.

These shelves also never made it, you win some you change your mind some.
Visual merching anthro style.

Yeah, you need a truck for this kind of shenanigans.

Almost there.

Really, this the best picture you got ? Sorry .....

Look at all the people !!

Close up of shelves and goods.

and there you have it !!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prepping for UNIQUE LA and new stuff

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks which included a 2 week vacation to visit the family in London and then playing catch up ever since. Unique LA is in a week's time from now May 3 & 4, arggghhhh! I am so fortunate to be sharing a booth with the Uber skilled Kevin from Silicate Studio a man with a wood shop, great vision and a lot of tools.
This is part of the signage, I must draw will be the main header.

I finished signage last night, laser cut of course and will do a whole post on the build. Product wise, a new card line on white, more hand lettered than my usual cheeky pun offerings. Having switched from the mighty ink pen to a brush of late, I've naturally made this transition and I'm excited.

New woodland creatures will be making their debut at Unique along with some new card designs and possibly some mobiles but why don't I just post some pictures already !

From sketch to Product

New Bunny - I'm a magnet

Medals for Mother's and Father's Day

Hand lettered, I'll probably print a colored version on white.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DIY Laser Cutting for Illustrators

I stumbled upon this local DIY laser cut business by pure chance and my brain immediately went into overdrive with the possibilities of this new medium. There was a 2hr intro to laser cutting course which I was a little apprehensive about but in all honestly it's just slightly more complicated than a photocopier, a few more buttons and fans to turn on. (Trying to fax something with the old work copier was far more difficult!!)
As many of you know, I find it difficult to focus on one thing for any length of time. Drawing for me is the consistent and whether its drawing on ceramics, illustrating a card, or sewing a design for me it's all essentially drawing. Like a kid in a candy store I put together about 20 different designs to put the laser cutter through its paces and see what the potential could be. There are a lot of materials that can be cut ranging from paper, leather, wood, glass to anodized metal but the machine also engraves.
I wasn't interested in putting a photo image on wood more exciting for me was the potential of hand drawn illustrations being converted into 3D objects. I was fortunate in day 1 that I had a lot of successes but also I learnt how long things take to engrave, sure its way quicker than doing it by hand but for an 18 x 24 sheet covered in designs, that could easily take well over an hour to cut and engrave.
I scaled back in terms of size for my second go and tested lots of different woods. Some it wouldn't cut through, if the wood is not totally flat that can be an issue, also if it's plywood there may be a thick lump of glue that it can't get past, these were new challenges but for the most part on day 2 more good things. For someone that does handmade I do like a good machine !!!
Here are a few examples of some products that I made.

The bear illustration you might recognize from one of my cards, he turned out really well if a little grumpy.
I did some artwork for my husband's band Special Blend, what started as a screenprint t-shirt design translated beautifully into a wood keychain. I didn't think it would capture all the details so cleanly.
 My new business card.
A new product line which I'm really excited about, working on the packaging right now.