Monday, 27 January 2014

Shop of the Week No. 15 IroquoisDesigns

It's second time around for this week's shop of the week, Iroquois Designs. Here is the winning treasury chosen by Lisa from HiGirls. 

Now I know this is second time around for Jessica, and I loved writing about her before. This time I have been completely stuck for something new, but decided that elaborating on some of the cultural designs Jessica uses in her shop would be a good place to start.

One of my favourite items in Jessica’s shop are those with the double curve designs. Not just because of their aesthetic value, though they are just beautiful, but that they are reminiscent of some of the ancient native British art forms. The lines, colours and form is simple yet fascinating in its simplicity.

But how to begin writing about it? I know little or nothing really about American Indian culture and art, as much as I love it. Jessica does, so who better to ask than someone who is actually part of that culture?

Here is an extract from Jessica’s own blog, which explains it perfectly…

Double curves are Eastern woodland designs typically found in bead work. Today you can find them on leather, drums, clothing, baskets, pottery, jewellery, and of course on
various beaded work. If you go to a pow wow here in the North East you are sure to come across them at some point. When I was a kid, (and even now) my mom used them on the breach cloths of her scale cornhusk dolls. Back then, I didn’t realise they had a name or meaning.

The basic design symbolises balance, give and take, teaching and learning. There is a center point, at which a flower usually grows, and it branches to the left, and it branches 
the same way to the right. The left side is the female side, 
which is for giving, teaching and nurturing. The right side is
the male side for the strength to take in, and learning.

You can see some wonderful examples of Jessica’s work in her Etsy Shop, Iroquois Designs, and also on her blog, 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Shop of the Week No. 14, HiGirls

I'm late with the Shop of the Week post this time round, we've had a bit of a problem with some 'repair' work the telecoms engineers made outside, leading us to be cut off for a few days. 

This week's Shop of the Week was chosen by Patricia from TheButterflyQuilter. Here is the winning treasury.

As someone who works with polymer clay myself, I just love what Lisa of HiGirls can do with polymer clay. I have worked candle holders and some photo frames in the past but I never even thought about teapots. This shop is full of colour and a delight to browse. Let's find out a little more about the owner, Lisa.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work

Born into an artistic family, I have always dabbled in various arts. I learned to sew, knit and crochet as a child, and although I did not major in art, I always took a variety of art classes through college and beyond. For many years I owned and operated a picture framing shop/art gallery. Making bags and working with polymer clay became passions of mine around the same time and as my children were growing up.  I have a tendency to go back and forth from fabric to clay, which keeps me engaged.

What inspires your work?
My work is often inspired by trips to an art gallery, or a walk in the park. There are endless sources of inspiration in the world around us. I am also inspired by the many fabulous clay artists I have met online.

What are your favourite colours? 
Choosing a favourite colour is like asking a mother who her favourite child is! I refuse to answer that question!

What is your favourite medium/material?

I love working with polymer clay and can get lost in the process for many hours. I also love fabric; you should see my huge fabric stash! Finding ways to combine the two is something I am always on the lookout for. (And then there is yarn…)

What is your favourite holiday destination?
For many years, my family has owned a cottage on the coast of Maine – north-eastern coast of the US. It’s a very peaceful place to be. My dream vacation however, would be a trip to Europe.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
There are so many talented polymer artists to choose from, but I am currently fascinated with work by ArtyBecca and Carol Simmons. Mostly I’m inspired by all the great polymer artists who I have come to know in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy.

What are you most proud of?

Rather than one project of technique, I am most proud of my ability to move forward in new directions with my art. I have currently added embellished teapots to my shop, and plan to do more of these, until I find something else that captures my attention!

Thank you so much Lisa for taking part, and sharing your talent with us. If you want to look at more in Lisa's shop, just click here.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Shop of the Week No. 13, The Butterfly Quilter

 This week’s Shop of the Week was chosen by Stephanie, from TheAstralCharm. Here is the winning treasury.

I have to say this has been one of my favourite shops for a while now. The standard of workmanship, design, and love that goes into all of the beautiful quilts and hangings here stand out a mile. The colours are soft and beautifully put together. You can tell this is work by an artist who knows her art like the back of her hand. So let’s find out a little bit more about the owner of thebutterflyquilter, Patricia Caldwell.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work

Textile Fibre Art and Quilting is a passion of mine. It started over 25 years ago and just grew from there. I designed and was published in different quilting magazines and opened a business quilting for others. When my husband retired from the Air Force I knew it was time to do what I love to do full time. I closed the business quilting for others and now I am doing what I love full time, designing and making Textile Fibre Art Quilts.

What inspires your work?
Inspiration comes from so many different things. We hike a lot so I always have a camera and the smallest thing like a leaf will set off a design idea in my head. I dream a lot of designs and find myself awake at all hours just putting on paper something so my brain can rest and I can go back to sleep.

What are your favourite colours?
My favourite colour is purple. I don’t have much in my shop though. I find I go through stages with colour, like teals and blues, then to browns and tans; the colours of nature.

What is your favourite medium/material?
My favourite medium is dyed fabrics, batik fabrics, fibres, beads and I love thread.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I have to say one year when we were stationed in Germany, we went to Austria. Just beautiful.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I saw a quilt by Caryl Bryer Fallert and that is what set me in motion to learn to quilt. I love everything about her work. Just beautiful and breathtaking.

What are you most proud of?

I could say because I have been published in magazines and accepted into large quilt shows which is an honour, but I have to say it is being able to share my art with others. If someone asks how I did something I am always willing to share. It is how we can keep our art alive and growing.

Thank you Patricia for taking part.  If you would like to view Patricia’s shop just click here. Her work is truly inspiring.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Courses, Craft Fairs and Cakes.

Well what a run we’ve had. Aside from the incessant gales and rain, flooding across the country, and general winter grey-ness, we’ve had Christmas, the new year, and plans for the near future.
I haven’t had too much time to work on new tutorials, it’s been busy in the run-up to Christmas, keeping up with orders, buying and wrapping presents, cooking, cleaning…you get the picture, we were all there. Hopefully now the dust has settled we can get started on the next design (attempts today saw a possible pendant turn into a possible bracelet…how did that happen???). I have however been able to play a little with wire, with some interesting results, and a couple of results I am really proud of.



Meanwhile, my friend Carol, owner of GHG Beads, near Norwich has invited me to do some workshops in her shop. To say I’m over the moon is an understatement, I’m thrilled to bits. I was going to do some polymer clay workshops in the late summer, but it didn’t happen for one reason and another, but this time we have definitely booked the dates…three months of Saturdays in fact, with various courses, including beadwork, polymer clay and wire weaving. The wire weaving has left me in a bit of a panic as I’ve only just learned about it myself, so I need to modify some of the things I’ve done as I was working from someone else’s tutorials, and make them more my own, and get a tutorial written up.

Anyway, any readers in the Norwich area, If you’d like details of the courses I’ll be doing, there are plenty of places available, and they can be found on GHG Beads website HERE!

Meanwhile, with my partner’s amputee group, things are taking small steps forward, and all in the right direction. I spoke with a former director of Limbcare UK, who advised that if I wanted help from the medical profession we would be better off offering our services as a service user group, as well as a support group. I made enquiries at the limb centre, and they were very interested, so I have to get back to them later this month and we’ll get things organised. Almost immediately after I finished that phone call, the one place we hadn’t yet contacted about the support group, the Pine Cottage Amputee Rehabilitation Centre, phoned us. They had heard of us through Equal Lives, and invited us to come and introduce ourselves to some of the current residents. We did this the very next day, and it was a very fruitful meeting, though some were not from Norwich, and we now know we need to see about groups in their immediate locality too, that is a plan for later in the year.

Meanwhile, the Royal British Legion Hall, where we were holding our meetings, still has an uncertain future, so we have made enquiries into using the Wensum Community Hall, which to be honest has far better wheelchair access and car parking. So from February we will be using that as our meeting place, and in April, will be holding a craft fair. A mere mention of it on Facebook has produced a lot of enquiries, but we are still looking to fill one or two places with either, knitted items, art, woodwork, pottery and ceramics, papercrafts and such. Candles, crochet, jewellery are all full with one or two in reserve. This will be held to raise funds for Walkon Crafters, and will be on April 12th, 10.00am to 4.00pm, tables will be £12 each. For buyers there will be a small fee at the door, with a raffle ticket, and we’re hoping for donations of some lovely prizes, still to be arranged, but hopefully will include a butcher’s voucher, chocolate, a teddy, more chocolate, and other goodies.  If you would like to find out more about a table, please contact Chris on our facebook page and leave a message.

And finally, the cakes part. My grandchildren were with me for the day and I thought, instead of playing card games, as it was set to be too cold and miserable for walking in the woods, we could make and decorate cupcakes. I have to say it was one of my better ideas, they loved it, a suitable mess was made, and lots of fun was had by all. I will say the youngest’s face when I told her she was cooking her own tea, was a picture. ‘I’m not cooking!’ she said, then realised that all the cupcake decorations on the side were there for a reason. It was a lovely afternoon.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Shop of the Week no. 12 TheAstralCharm

First of all I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year!

Here is my first shop of the week post of 2014, although this is actually the last Shop of the Week of 2013, but because of the Christmas season, it has been carried over for one extra week.
So this week’s shop of the week was chosen by Nadia, from Nadia’sKnits. This is the winning treasury.

How does a person make strong, bold colours appear soft and feminine? This is what Stephanie has achieved with her jewellery in her shop, TheAstralCharm. And charming it is, beautiful clean lines stunning colour combinations, and lots of ‘must have’ pieces. So let’s find out a little more about the maker, Stephanie.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I am 23 years old, a mother of two, a four year old and a 1 year old, (they’re almost 5 and 1 respectively in a month!) I recently graduated with my Associates and am trying to figure out what I really want to go into for my Bachelors and Masters.
My mother and I are creative beings. When I was 10 my mother was a passenger in a car accident that left her permanently disabled and the young man in the other car didn’t make it. While she was recovering from surgeries, she and I would sit and make jewellery in her room, on her bed.
My entire life, she has supported me in all of my endeavours, and bought me my first sewing machine when I was 13, because I loved making quilts!
Eventually she did become well enough to finish her Masters, and work again, which makes her my role model. She helps me believe that anything is possible.

What inspires your work?
My mother, my children and my dog Zhen Li inspire me every day.

What are your favourite colours?
My favourite colour is purple and my second favourite is red.

What is your favourite medium/material?
I love stones, crystals, glass, polymer clay and silver. I have never been a fan of gold, and it’s probably because gold doesn’t look good on me.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I absolutely love Seattle, Washington. It’s rainy which is very different from Arizona’s scorching dry heat. I love the sea and sea life and will forever remember my trip there. My bucket list is full of destinations I would love to visit such as Rome, the Palace at Versailles, as well as Scotland and Spain to kind of connect with my roots culturally.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I absolutely love designer Betsy Johnson. Her designs are fun and wild. My life is a little wild, so why shouldn’t my wardrobe and accessories be? I have always been a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci, as his work is mesmerising. He has inspired ‘awe’ in many and I could only wish to inspire people as he has.

What are you most proud of?
It may sound strange, but I am proud of being a young mother. I have the greatest children, and I have accomplished so much even though I had my first child at 18. I had my second during my Associates Degree coursework, and still graduated with Honours.


Thank you Stephanie for taking part. If you want to visit TheAstralCharm, just click here to see more beautiful pieces.