Blog Hopping

When the lovely Georgie St Clair nominated me to do a blog hop, I agreed straightaway. I had no idea what it was, but once I read about it I knew I had done the right thing. Georgie was nominated by Emma at A Quiet Style, whose beautiful photographs have an air of simplicity and light – those lifestyle pictures that make you envious! I follow both of these bloggers on Instagram – in fact despite Georgie only living 10 miles away in Brighton, we have never met in person. She very kindly said she enjoyed my blog, which surprised me – I never think anybody actually reads it! Her photos and illustrations are wonderfully detailed, bright and delicate, making me both excited and nervous about doing mine.

Blog hopping involves a) being nominated, b) answering 3 questions, and c) nominating a couple more people. This simple formula appears to be a surprisingly powerful tool to encourage people to reveal a little more about themselves to their readers. Georgie’s post was enjoyable, honest, and warmed me to her as I feel I know her a little bit more. This insight into people’s lives and process is great for so many of us who are creative and sociable, but who spend most of our time working alone at home.

So let’s get on with answering the questions.

 

What have you been making at your desk this week?

Pine cones wrapping paper
Block printed wrapping paper
Pine cone gift tags on recycled board with gingham ribbon
Pine cone gift tags on recycled board with gingham ribbon

This week has been an especially busy one, preparing for a certain season that descends upon us once a year. I have been making gift tags, wrapping paper and cards, and made my first ever repeat pattern linocut which I have printed onto fabric, namely an organic cotton tea towel.

Christmas bird card with crabapples
Bird and crabapples Christmas card design 2014
Lavender floral repeat pattern tea towel
Repeat pattern lino block print on an organic cotton tea towel.

Where am I currently finding my inspiration?

Birds are always inspiring for my designs, but lately the humble pine cone has been my muse for the block prints I am using for wrapping paper and gift tags above.

Nowadays, a lot of my inspiration comes from images online. Pinterest and my beloved Instagram are chief culprits in both my inspiration and distraction. I literally have to leave my phone out of reach to stop myself looking at what photos have been posted – it is so addictive!

However, nothing can compare to real life things you just see when you’re walking around. Doing an otherwise uninspiring school run twice a day, I amuse myself by admiring little things along the way – one particular house has a tiny front garden that has an ever-changing display of beautiful plants – the delicate autumn-blooming anenomes are my favourites of late. The lovely anenome (although wilting away a bit now!) has inspired some tea towel and bag designs, where I have simply drawn straight onto the fabric with fabric pens.Pink Anenomes

Anenomes floral tea towel

 

How important is being creative to you, and how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

Being creative is Hugely important to me. For many years I suppressed it, and the lack of making grew into a sort of artist’s block. I worked for an interiors company and an arts centre, where my creativity had an outlet helping others with their creative endeavours, but in the back of my mind there was an unfulfilled artistic desire burning away. At school I had envisaged myself in the future in a warm, sunny room making pictures, and it was time to make that happen!

Since last July we have moved from Brighton to Worthing, enrolled my daughter in a new school, renovated the bathroom and had a baby – and that was just the first month (you can see some pics on Pinterest here)! The kitchen I designed was finished this summer, and of course all the rooms need doing… So between kids, home improvements and life in general, when do I get a chance to work? Well, in July I handed in my notice at the interiors company as my maternity leave ended, with plans to make a go of: Making for a living!

To call it a learning curve is a massive understatement. Currently the work/life/family balance is slightly off kilter… I am working during baby’s nap times, after the kids are in bed, and often after my (wonderful, supportive, understanding) partner has gone to bed. Our one-year-old baby has just started going to a childminder once a week, which is a great help, but I think the more you do, the more you realise you still need to do. Sometimes my workspace looks like this:

Baby at workAnd whenever I can get in there, my work room allows me to make a mess safely out of the children’s reach, guillotining paper, carving lino, packing prints and cards, with occasional blissful hours drawing while listening to radio 4.

Floral pattern carving
Linocutting in progress for my floral block print

Despite the challenges of starting out on my own as a parent with young children, I feel privileged to have the chance to try. It is amazing what can be achieved in these snippets of time, and one day I will have longer set working times. And would it be as rewarding if it was easy? I think not!

 

I hope this post has been enjoyable – it was great writing it! Now I must pass the baton, and I nominate Ilona Drew from I Drew this, and Kate Marsden from Made by Mrs M. I met both ladies at markets last year.

Ilona is an illustrator, designing gorgeous cards and surface patterns in bright, cheerful colours that are instantly likeable by adults and children alike. Her blog has a lovely mix of what she’s working on, maker’s fair photos and current inspiration.

Kate is a textile designer, producing interesting architecture-inspired patterns, and is a prolific blogger with online tutorials, tips, products and photos galore!

Over to you ladies!

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