Thursday, 7 August 2014

Christmas is coming!

This summer the weather has been amazing which is great for day trips and holidays but not so good for screen printing. The print room has been unbearably hot, ink has been getting thick and sticky on the screen and printing has been hard work. It seems wrong to be getting ready for Christmas and I would much rather be at the beach, sitting in the garden or eating ice cream. But this year I'm trying to be organised so I've just screen printed 100 bird and snowflake Christmas cards. I'm hoping to get another card design finished and printed before the end of August as well as squeeze in more ice cream and a trip to the seaside.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Art in the Pen Skipton 2014

Over the past few months I've been screen printing flowers, trees and birds when ever I get the chance. Then with a bit of folding, gluing and cutting I turn the screen printed recycled card into colourful three dimensional decorations. 
I've amassed quite a collection and will soon be putting it all to good use at Art in the Pen in Skipton. Art in the Pen is a contemporary art fair which is held in a cattle auction. Over 100 selected artists transform sheep and cow pens into mini galleries from which they sell their original works of art. I'm really looking forward to having my own space and the opportunity to do something creative with it. I'm planning to decorate my pen with three dimensional flowers, trees and birds as well as framed prints.

Art in the Pen Skipton
16-17 August 2014
10am to 4pm
Skipton Cattle Auction
Ling Fields
Gargrave Road
BD23 1UD

Summer Screen Printing

These new screen prints look familiar because they are actually designs which I have been printing as cards for a while. I always draw all my designs either A4 or A3 and make sure they can be reproduced in a variety of different formats. Most of my designs are just two colours so they are also fairly quick and easy to screen print which is good, especially when the print room is as hot as it has been lately. These prints were fun to do but I'm really looking forward to printing some new designs and maybe even something a bit more challenging when the weather is cooler!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Royal Shakespeare Company & Who Wears the Trousers?

Earlier this year I was contacted by Lisa Meyer from Capsule after she was invited to curate an exhibition for the Royal Shakespeare Company inspired by the Swan Theatre production of The Roaring Girl. The central character from The Roaring Girl is the notorious thief Moll Cutpurse who dresses in men's clothing. Lisa wanted to work with Girls Who Draw on an interative family friendly exhibition which explored cross dressing in theatre. Her idea for the exhibition was a series of wooden blocks with life size characters on each side. The blocks would each be divided into three moveable sections so they could be turned and the characters mixed up like a three dimensional exquisite corpse. Luckily designing and making the blocks was not my job, I just had to create a set of three characters, find seven other illustrators to draw characters and organise getting all the artwork from them. Not only did we each have to produce full colour artwork but we also had to provide black and white line art for activity sheets. It was definitely a challenge but a really interesting project and a great opportunity to work with some regular Girls Who Draw contributors as well as new ones.

Much of my illustrative work is inspired by folk art and craft from around the world so I wanted my characters to reflect this. But many traditional costumes follow the norm of skirts or dresses for women and trousers for men. The main exception to this seems to be India where, in many regions trousers are part of traditional dress for both men and women. These styles have remained popular and also influenced contemporary Indian clothing so that they do not appear unusual or novel even here in the UK.

My female characters are inspired by Odissi and Bharatanatyam dancers with their ornate jewellery, head dresses and trousers with pleats which open and close during dances. By contrast my male character is inspired by Kathak dancers and in particular the simpler Mughal style of costume.


All twenty four finished characters were printed onto self adhesive vinyl and installed on eight wooden blocks along with mirrored vinyl so one side of each block is reflective. The wooden blocks were the work Joseph Welden who always seems to be able to make even the most challenging ideas a reality. Just as required he made the blocks in sections so they can be turned and also put things inside so the make a noise when moved.  

The characters can still be seen and heard in the Who Wears the Trousers? exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Company until August 31st 2014.

Who Wears the Trousers? 
Ferguson Room
Swan Theatre
Stratford upon Avon

Monday, 19 May 2014

Anti Copying in Design

I am now a member of ACID - Anti Copying in Design. ACID was created to uphold the value of original design and over the last two decades it has become a powerful campaigning voice within the design community. ACID is committed to raising awareness and a greater understanding of intellectual property. It's main priorities are prevention and deterrence against intellectual property infringement. As well as working hard to minimise IP infringement ACID offers a range of practical ways to help members like myself protect their designs. Through ACID I now have access to legal and IP advice from specialist Legal Affiliates. More information about ACID and membership can be found on it's website

Folk Art Forest at Prema Gallery

The new bird and flower designs I screen printed in March were for a small exhibition of my work at Prema Gallery in the Cotswolds. I enjoy working three dimensionally with paper and card so displaying my framed screen prints in large cabinets was the perfect opportunity to create a colourful installation. I managed to fill the cabinets with birds and flowers and even got to reuse some of the 3d Folk Trees I made for Unit Twelve Gallery last year. 

Prema is a lovely family friendly arts centre in an idyllic location not far from Stroud in Gloucestershire. They often have exhibitions by different illustrators and also have an amazing cafe with unbelievably good cakes so I was in heaven and can't wait to go back for another visit.

Bird Tree cards

My Bird Tree design is a couple of years old now but initially I wasn't happy with it and had to redraw some parts. I've screen printed the design a few times since then and recently decided to reprint it in three different colourways using metallic inks on recycled brown kraft card. It feels like I've spent most of 2014 reprinting cards but it's quite nice to finally have all my Folk Tree designs in stock. Other cards I've updated include these Folk Tree & Bird designs which also make use of my favorite metallic inks on ivory coloured recycled card.