At the beginning of this year I became temporarily addicted to knitting. After an emergency spinal operation in February it was an ideal way to be creative without jeopardising my recovery. I discovered the ideal website supplying kits and yarns for basic to advanced knitters. The brand is called weareknitters.co.uk and they have the most gorgeous yarns, needles and patterns.
Several of these kits later and I have created garments I can actually wear despite the odd slipped stitch, hole and occasional twist.
Here are my completed projects….
I’ve painted snow scenes for many years for various galleries and card publishers and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing. There’s something about snow which is magical and romantic evoking a feeling of escapism and nostalgia. These pictures are very much sourced from my imagination which is an entirely different way of working from the usual sketches and photos taken from real life.
Here are a few. Some are recent and some are from the past….
Last week I had the joy of finally purchasing a glue gun. I’m not sure why it has taken me SO long to acquire one as it’s a vital piece of equipment.
I’ve been messing about with it in my new workroom. I love the unpredictable nature of the melted glue, the danger of burns and the satisfaction of sticking materials together in one easy go. I’m a complete novice and the glue has been getting everywhere but it’s very enjoyable.
In order to test drive the gun I collected paraphernalia found at home, on the beach, on the pavement and weirdly under the fridge. Here are the results- a miscellaneous collection of characters…..
When my son was a baby I taught myself to crochet granny squares. After a bit of trail and error I managed to master the technique and I was hooked! The repetitive action of moving the hook through the yarn was meditative and satisfying. Hours could be whiled away…
Initially I was aiming to make lots of little squares to form a blanket but the square I began with just grew and grew until it became a huge blanket for my bed. It consisted of 100% merino wool and was costly and heavy but perfect for a cold winter’s night. I’ve since made one for my sister’s baby, one for my son and others for pure joy and relaxation. There’s something so satisfying about seeing how the colours of the yarn interact and evolve.
Last summer I decided that I wanted a whippet. I’d had a whippety lurcher years ago (he often appears in my paintings) and I ‘d really loved him but he became very jealous when my son was born so sadly I’d had to re-home him. Now my son was older it felt like the right time to look into it. I think it’s important for kids to grow up with animals and learn how to treat and respect them. I signed up online to Just Whippets Rescue and began making a blanket for the whippet I was hoping would join our household, not knowing when this would occur. Each time I picked up my crochet I visualised having a female whippet, good with kids, house trained, easy going and around 4- 5 years old.
The VERY day that I finished the blanket I received a call from Just Whippets Rescue – a 5 year old female whippet needed a new home and she was only 5 minutes walk away from our house! This was definitely fate. She matched my criteria exactly. We visited that evening and walked home with her, my son holding her on the lead. She settled in instantly and we feel as if we’ve always had her. She’s the most gorgeous little thing and spends many hours nestled right under her handmade blanket, snoozing the day away, just as I imagined she would.
For 23 years I’ve worked mainly in my kitchen, sitting room, attic room and when I first started out in my bedroom. I’ve never had a designated area solely for work- a space where I could close the door, leaving everything in situ ready for my next creative stint.
So, this year I finally decided to take action. I was sick of hauling equipment in and out of cupboards, cooking amongst paints and fabrics, eating supper with a sewing machine as a centre piece and using my bedroom as a place to store bubble wrapped paintings.
I’ve moved my son up to the attic room (with sea views) and I’ve transformed his old bedroom into my new space. It fits all my criteria, light, bright, enough room for storage, space for my sewing machine to be permanently poised for action and a separate table for designing and painting.
Here it is! And I love it.
Around the age of 23 I began to enjoy having disposable income for the first time thanks to my earnings as a freelance illustrator. One weekend I was browsing the stands at the Battersea Arts Fair and I realised that I could afford to buy a piece of art for myself -what a joy!
I fell in love with this little canvas by self taught artist Brenda Brooks. The price was a mere £50 and it was all mine. I still love it now. It marked the beginning of my journey into buying art. I have a very simple criteria- I purchase what I love. Sometimes I can’t explain why I like a piece but I know I have to have it in my life and my home. A painting can be forever and sometimes you grow with it and other times you grow out of it. This one will always remain a favourite.
My maternal grandmother, Eileen Stephens, originally trained and worked as an actress and later on she studied part time as a mature student at Gloucestershire College of Art.
As a young child I couldn’t understand the appeal of her paintings. We had a collection adorning our walls at home and I used to think how childlike and simple they were, and to be honest I didn’t think they were very good!
However, much later on, having studied art myself, I could appreciate their appeal and originality.
I love the freshness, simplicity, colour and purity; these are all qualities I aim to have in my own work.
Eileen is one of my favourite artists and she has definitely influenced my work.