Saturday

Holland & Barrett



Hello! here's a new illustration for Holland & Barrett, I love a good massage and so I feel very jealous of the lady above. I've had a really lovely week, lots of secret meetings for new projects (can't wait to spill the beans!) floral commissions and wearing my beautiful new (hand printed) dress made by Dig For Victory in Brighton. I'm in the process of getting seven dresses made, one for each day of the week, and the new one I'm currently designing features my squirrel illustration for Harvey Nichols with long sleeves ready for the (fast approaching!) Autumn.

Yesterday I went to see the Making Colour exhibition at The National Gallery, it finishes on the 7th September and so if you can get to it before then I HIGHLY recommend it. This Bank Holiday weekend will be full of pots of tea, sketchbooks, long walks and reading, have a fantastic time whatever you get up to and I'll see you next week x

Wednesday

Harvey Nichols Bristol










Hello! here's my new illustrated windows for Harvey Nichols in Bristol. They were originally created two years ago for London Fashion week for the Knightsbridge store, they moved to Edinburgh for the festival last year and now have arrived in Bristol. I'm so delighted with how they look and big thanks to the lovely team there who made me feel so welcome x

If you're in/near Bristol then do go and have a look, and whilst there I HIGHLY recommend Cafe Kino I had THE MOST delicious dinner and it's got a really great atmosphere. I'd also recommend the Here and Soma galleries if you have time.

This week (when not in Bristol) I've been drawing echinacea and researching EFT ready for new illustrations for Holland & Barrett. I'm also really excited as the hand printed fabric I recently created is being made into a new dress for me and will be ready on Friday HURRAH!

Enjoy the rest of your week, and next week I'll be back to share some more new drawings for Holland & Barrett x

Tuesday

Hand printing fabric

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Hello! I'm currently getting lots of dresses made by the geniuses at Dig for Victory in Brighton, as I'm a mini 4' 10" and fed up with ill fitting clothes. I have also decided that I don't want to wear other people's drawings, and want to wear my own illustrated fabric. I've had some fabric digitally printed with my design from Spoonflower (highly recommend, great quality and price) but I wanted to try hand printing fabric with my linocuts.

Linocutting is my new addiction, I am OBSESSED with this process, it really suits my nerdy attention to detail and I love the physicality of carving the drawing from the lino. I started out with a really cheap Speedball linocutting set but it was really frustrating, more like digging than carving and I couldn't get the crisp lines I was after, so I splurged on two very beautiful swiss tools which glide through the lino like butter. 

The photos above show you what I've been up to, I'm so delighted with how the fabric has turned out and so thought I'd share the process here...

Image 1: I used carbon paper to transfer the image onto a piece of grey lino, I then used a permanent marker to colour in all the sections I wanted to cut away.

Image 2: I cut away all the black areas using my fancy new tools (pictured), and then coloured in the raised botanical design so I could see what I was doing. I then continued to cut away decorative patterns within the plants. Once complete I inked* up and printed the lino onto paper to check and make further changes as required. 

Image 3. Once I was happy with the print I rolled out black ink onto a sheet of glass and then rolled it onto the block. I laid out the (ironed) fabric along the floor in my hall (it's carpeted, if yours isn't put a towel underneath as it was good to have a soft surface, and protect your floors as the ink might bleed through onto the back.) I then placed the block ink side down onto the fabric, covered it with a sheet of newsprint and then a VERY heavy book. I then stood on top of the book bouncing gently all over the book for 2 minutes (bouncing from the knees only - don't let your feet leave the book as you don't want the lino block to shift underneath!)

Image 4: I repeated, repeated and repeated the printing until I was knackered and had 2.5 meters of fabric hand printed. I then left the fabric for 3 days to dry, ironed it on the reverse to set it, left it another 3 days before washing it in the machine, and then ironed it again ready for it to be made into a dress.

*A little word about inks... I tried lots of different inks as I was ideally after a waterbased ink but I found the results of these VERY disappointing and in the end went with an oil based ink from Lawrences which is fantastic and suitable for fabric and paper. It has to be cleaned up with vegetable oil (as I don't like stinking out the studio with solvents) but is worth the extra clean up effort for the quality of this ink.

I hope that this little rambling how-to might be of use to someone, it's mostly for me to be able to remember the process so I can do it again, but maybe it will help someone else too!

Have a fantastic week, and I'll see you next time x

Wednesday

BBC Antiques Roadshow - fancy lady


Hello! here's a fancy lady drawn for BBC Antiques Roadshow, I LOVED drawing her hair and was inspired by the amazing plaited hairdos that Khaleesi has on 'Game of Thrones'. I'm having a curly haired phase at the moment, rag rolling my wet hair, sleeping in it, and waking up to lovely curly hair HOORAY!

Last night I went to see Push at the London Coliseum to watch the incredible Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant. It was astonishing and I can't stop thinking about it (you can see a clip of one of the pieces here) It's on for four more performances if you can go then GO SEE!

This week I've been working hard on the installation pieces for the new development in East London. It's a six story structure with 32 flats and 5 commercial spaces and I'm creating all the doors, the lift and a giant sculpture for the atrium all from laser cut and etched brass so that's keeping me busy! It won't be installed until the end of the year but I'm looking forward to showing you what I've been up to.

Have a lovely week and I'll be back next week with more drawings and jabbering x

Thursday

Stella Magazine - Sunday Telegraph



Hello all! I was asked by Stella (the glossy magazine in the Sunday Telegraph) to share my 'Little Black Book' - my list of favourite places in the UK and further afield. It was really fun to think of all my favourite places and I ended up with a giant list! you can read the article on line here.

This week I finished a new illustrated museum trail for Eton Natural History Museum, I am SO pleased with this work and excited to show you as soon as I can. It was a great opportunity for me as I love museums, and even have an Masters Degree in Museum Studies, so it was great to combine my two favourite things. I've also been working on a range of linocuts as I want to create hand printed fabric ready for some new dresses (you can see what I've been up to on Instagram here)

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back next week with new work for BBC Antiques Roadshow x

Friday

Grist wrap around cover


Hello! I hope that you're having a great week and that it's sunny where you are. Here's a new drawing created as a wrap around cover for Grist, it's for a feature discussing the export of the NHS to various new markets across the globe. I really loved drawing all the tiny islands and inland water details, it was fun to reflect on where I've travelled to and where I'd like to go.

Last week I saw the most amazing exhibitions, Aleksandra Mir's huge drawing installation at The Drawing Room (finishes tomorrow GO GO GO) and Art and Life at The Dulwich Picture Gallery featuring the glorious work of Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and William Staite Murray. It was a complete masterclass in colour and brushwork by Winifred Nicholson and I'm still reeling from the wonderful images. On Tuesday I went to see La Boheme at The Royal Opera House, such a magical night and incredible to witness those voices.

I am currently OBSESSED with creating my own clothes. As a 33 year old woman (and only a mini 4 foot 10 inches) I can never find anything to wear that I like or fits, and as an illustrator I am drawn to pattern but particularly dislike wearing other people's drawings. I am gradually creating a wardrobe of dresses created by the geniuses at Dig For Victory in Brighton, using my digitally illustrated fabric. I have commissioned Hawthorne & Heaney to turn my drawings into embroidery for one of the dresses, and this weekend I'm going to try hand block printing fabric with a botanical design. I am finding it such an exciting, creative and collaborative thing to do and I promise to show the dresses here once they're ready.

Have a great weekend, tomorrow lots of my oldest friends are coming round for a visit. I've planned afternoon tea and a boardgame marathon (but the main activity will be catching up and gossiping - I can't wait!). Have fun whatever you do x 

Wednesday

Nordic Adventure

Hello!

I'm just back from the most amazing painting trip, and I wanted to share what I've been up to 
(you can see all the photos from my trip on Instagram here)



First stop was Copenhagen where I took a bike tour of the city and visited lots of galleries and museums, my favourite discovery was of the work of artist Julie Nord.





I then travelled on to Sweden to undertake a short artist residency at The Nordic Watercolour Museum on the island of Tjorns about 70km from Gothenburg. 


Across the water from the museum are four artists studios, equipped with plenty of desk and floor space, a huge wall of glass (and therefore amazing light), a kitchen, shower room and a mezzanine level with two single beds. You can see the studios in the picture above, suspended on stilts upon the water, mine was number two (the second one in from the right). 



The picture below shows my studio set up, it was such an inspiring view and visiting at this time of year meant that there was such long hours of daylight. It was very peaceful working next to the water, and I enjoyed watching the swallows, Canada geese and cormorants.





The water was full of jellyfish, but the clear blue ones don't sting and so it was perfect for swimming - I was so glad that I'd packed my swim suit!





The residency was better than I had even hoped, and I'm so delighted that I had the opportunity to visit and work in such a beautiful place. I've returned feeling really excited and invigorated about my practice, and look forward to watching the ideas and inspiration from the past week evolve and influence new work and commissions...



... I also CANNOT WAIT to go back to that beautiful place and am plotting my return! x