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Meewah cats

This is the other cat painting by John – ‘Harry Turning’. I love the clear beautiful eyes and the way his paw is at an odd angle. So well captured.

I am considering getting him to send me some of the giclee posters he has produced of these as I think to see them in large scale makes it more impressive.

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One for the cat lovers

It certainly pays to be related to a talented artist. I was recently discussing with John about the artisans fair and he immediately offered his cat print cards for me to sell on his behalf.

They arrived in the post today, after having sat packaged up in his studio for the last week (who said creatives are forgetful?). If you love cats and the feline form, you will appreciate these.

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The original painting is an oil on canvas and is well over 6ft tall. An amazing impressive piece in real life. It was commissioned by a veterinary practice as a mural for their reception area.

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I feel a little ‘limited edition’ as I am the only source for his cat cards at the moment. I have listed the first set of cards on Folksy, check it out if money is burning a hole in your pockets.

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Letterpress printing

I have been looking into an old form of printing called letterpress. This is a form of relief printing of text and image using a press with a “type-high bed” printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. Dating back to the mid 15th century it slowly lost favour in the second half of the 20th century.

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Image from Sunlit Letterpress

There is a slow revival for this form of printing, especially in the US, and specificially for weddings and formal invitations.

I think it is just beautiful, it’s just so classy and a real tactile form of design. There are a few specialists printers still knocking around in the UK, but it is a bit of a dying artform, which is a real shame. I would love to design something for this medium and have been toying with an idea for a calendar – so watch this space!

A steady hand

Sometimes you come across an artist that makes you stop in your tracks and think, ‘Wow!”.

My ‘wow’ moment came the other day when I saw the website of the very talented Julene who creates what can only be deemed as pieces of art. Check this out, how amazing is this? All done by hand and a very sharp scalpel.

You can buy Julene’s pieces via folksy and etsy. I loved reading her blog where she had a picture of one of her pieces on the train table, creating when commuting. Love it!

Supporting handmade

Do you ever start one task and get completely distracted and end up doing something completely different? I never thought I suffered from that malaise until today.

I have decided that I am only going to buy handmade and homemade presents for friends and family from now on (good karma and all that). So this morning I was searching for a suitable gift for a first birthday present. How is it then that I end up in email conversation with a designer about commissioning a handbag for me?!?

I just hope that I am a good ‘client’, although my requirements list did read a bit like a romance novel (to bags). Sigh.

Don’t despair, I have some funky ideas for the baby’s birthday present, so it wasn’t a wasted day and all about me me me.

[Update: I have created a Handmade Pledge group on Facebook, be sure to sign up to it if you have an account.]

A brief history of Croyland Abbey

Extract taken from Croyland Abbey Flower Festival 2009 Programme.

Guthlac (pron. Guth-luck) the son of a Mercian nobleman arrived on the island of Croyland on 24th August, St Bartholomew’s day in A.D. 699, having journeyed from Repton to Cambridge, Cambridge to Thorney and then by boat to Croyland.

He came to Croyland to live the life of a hermit. At this point in his life he felt that he was being attacked by demons and fiends. He had a vision in which Saint Bartholomew came to and gave him a whip which which to drive the devils off the island. For this reason the Abbey’s coat of arms contains three whips to symbolise Gthlac and three knives to symbolise Saint Bartholomew, who, it is said, was martyred by being skinned alive.

The first Abbey, which was dedicated on Saint Bartholomew’s day in A.D.716, was made of wood and had a reed roof. It was burned down by the Danes [Comment: those pesky Danes!] in A.D.850. A few monks survived this attack by hiding in the reed beds. The second Abbey was pulled down after being damaged by fire and an earthquake. What is present today is the result of the third rebuilding.

The destruction of the Abbey church and the other monastic buildings began after Henry VIII disolved the Abbey in 1539. What we see today is only the North side of the former Abbey church. This aisle survived because it was the portion of the Abbey church set aside for the use of the townspeople. As such it had been walled off from the main part of the Abbey church well before 1539. over the porch is a room called the Parvise in which the priests of the Abbey once lived.

The bell ropes are amongst the longest in England [Comment: which rings out every Friday evening]. The 15th century channel screens contains traces of the original guilding and colouring and some carvings. The new rooms completed in 2006 give extra space in which to explain our history and provide hospitality to our visitors.

Sometimes I just love a bit of local history!

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Popart canvas commission

I was lucky enough to be commissioned to create a popart canvas print for a 40th birthday recently.

The end result was a huge 20×20 inch canvas in pinks and oranges. Just perfect. I was thrilled with the results.

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I just had feedback from the client and her friend’s reaction to the gift:

…went NUTS when she saw the canvas! She couldn’t stop going on about it all night!!!

Since the original commission the same client ordered three more prints all as gifts for friends. I just hope they all like their portraits!

Christmas stationery giveaway

I am giving away a matching set of five christmas cards and five gift tags. The set has been digitally designed and produced by me and will probably be a limited edition (as I won’t have time to make many more of these – children, artisans fair, cake eating etc. all seem to get in the way – bah-humbug).

The cards are made of very pretty pearlised thick card with matching envelopes and the gift tags mounted on thick card with raffia ties.

To enter, just tell me what epitomises Christmas for you and feel free to spread the word by linking back to the giveaway on your own blog.

For me, Christmas is about food (surprise surprise) and logistics. It’s worrying about how many are coming for dinner and did I order a big enough bird. It’s also about watching my children tear into the wrapping paper and sometimes prefering the paper to what’s actually inside.

Closing date 18th September 09.

If you can’t wait and want some tags now now now, you can purchase a similar set from my folksy shop.

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Press preview invitations

A mock up sample of how the press invitations for the Made by Artisans fair will eventually look. I have decided to follow through with the tags theme. A bespoke painted and gold embossed decorated tag will be wrapped to the holder with some ribbon. Big thanks to the lovely slugs and snails for the generous contribution.

I now have to decide on what papers and card stock to use – my favourite part!

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Croyland Abbey Flower Festival 2009

Every year the Abbey hosts an amazing flower display and I am ashamed to say that in all the years we have been living here it was the first time we visited, even though it is literally on our doorstep.

So the ‘Crayons’ family dragged ourselves away from the computers, some of us kicking and screaming. I am so glad we did, because we got to see some fabulous work by the local ladies, the theme this year was Shakespeare and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and effort that was put into the work.

It was also the first time I had really seen the inside the Abbey when it wasn’t dark and cold (normally visit during winter time) and loved the atmosphere. We are very lucky to live near such a historic landmark and should really make more of an effort to take advantage of it!