Sunday, 7 February 2016


So what makes being an artist a profession and not a hobby? I always thought that a job was in the week and you got weekends off...but this is the second weekend I have worked. (I make sure I take days in lue in the week by the way) Don't get me wrong, I am not having a moan and I'm not looking for sympathy. I love my job.
So it's enamelling in the shed, with safety kit on. 
I am making more enamelled spoons for up and coming shows.
Let me introduce you to Kit Korner, pillar drill which saves me lots of time and energy, Bertha the bandsaw and a tray full of my soldering equipment, a new toy which I am thrilled with.
I use new steel spoons, holes drilled, annealed in the kiln, then soaked in hydrochloric acid prepares the steel to take the enamel. 
I have spot welded moths onto some of the spoons, yes there is another corner with kit!
The spoons are then grip coated,
a stage you have to go through with steel to allow the enamel to stick.
It's really, hot, hot, hot!
And there we have it, after 2 days work the spoons
are now ready to take transfers and be fired a couple more times. Yes, all the spoons get 4-5 firings. The question is what do I do on a day off? What is the shape of your working week, proper hours, ring fenced days, is self employment flexible or more ridged than having a boss?

Friday, 5 February 2016


Remember back in October I had a treat and went to Hope and Elvis near Nottingham 
and learnt to solder with Di Tinker Foster?
I was very pleased with the results. 
Soon afterwards the lovely Mr Brown gave me a soldering kit for my birthday. I have been feeling a tad guilty as it is only until now that have got around to having another go. My lovely and creative chum Caroline McCatty came over for a soldering play day.
I rooted out bits and bobs and decided to make some kind of construction, primarily to get the hang of soldering again.
A couple of glass circles and a selection of butterfly wings were put together.
Caroline put together a matchbox memento.
Copper tape and then soldered, a little practice is required to get the taping and soldering even. I will have to work on that.
But I am chuffed with my hinged tea cup 
with a butterfly bottom.
Caroline made a successful match box drawer together with
this stacking soldier.

Thank you Louise at Hope and Elvis together with the expert tuition of Di. Caroline and I have learn lots today and our heads are bubbling with lots of ideas.

Sunday, 31 January 2016


This weekend theyard:ARTspace hummed to the 
creative activity that the Gum Arabic and Sketchbook techniques workshop generates.
Lots of fun was had while learning new techniques.
Experimentation was the order of the 2 days.
Acrylic paint,
and Gum Arabic transfers covered sheets of cartridge
paper and filled sketch books
producing rich surfaces.
Gum Arabic transfer can be printed onto fabric as proved by Gwen
who embellished her apron with print and machine embroidery. 
Personal drawings
were used throughout the workshop
making drawings leave the confines of sketch books.
The work on paper was folded into 4 and 8 page leaflet books.
Such individual work was produced all using the same processes.

The next Gum Arabic transfer and Mixed Media Sketchbook workshop at the yard:ARTspace is 7-8 May, check out the website for details.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


It is interesting to look back at where things come from (sometimes) and of course when we think about how long ago we should always double the number!!
In December of 2011 I first created one of my ladies. Inspired by the paper mache brooches made by Julie Arkell while I was learning to enamel on the MA course at UWE, I thought, 'what if I made them in metal?' So hand cut steel with a pair of tin snips and handmade rivets to attach the legs.
This is what she developed into, they have taken a while to start to sell, but I have been supported by galleries. So now that they are finding a market I have decided to make it harder...who for, myself, my following. My need to make art objects means I just can't keep still...!!!
So the Ladies & Gentlemen have taken a rather surreal turn. I have spent a few days playing with the enamel and the idea. I like to draw with the enamel as I go along.
Using the faces of my lost relatives, adding scary balaclavas (yes, just an excuse to use that word in context).
Taking a few more risks, but inspired by Cecile Perra and Caroline McCatty
the Surrealists and Dadaism.
And every small child I see wrapped up for winter wearing a woollie hat with ears.
I am looking forward to completing these art dolls and have ideas for more. But the rest of this week may have to be devoted to making a collagraph plate as I want to try making a collagraph a month as I did in 2014.

What are your artistic New Years Resolutions? 

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Happy New Year to you all, it seemed like a long Christmas break and I now feel ready to get cracking again.
I try to cheat the January creative blues by starting a few things before the tinsel sets in, so the budgie
and tea cup sparrows was where I got up to before the festivities.
With the yard:ARTspace to myself I got down and inky, 
a couple of proofs and then a couple of 
days making adjustments to the plates,
playing with inking has left me in no doubt more work is needed.
More glue,
more skim and repair plaster,
and another date blocked out in my diary to print and experiment.
I have also started some drawing so there is a peacock in the pipeline.

Even if the budgie and sparrows don't work the active process of experimenting, reworking the plates and reprinting help to lubricate rusty creative muscles and compositional decisions. It is not always the outcome that is important, a successful piece can often be an unexpected bonus, it is the process of making that is important to me.