Sunday, 24 January 2016

A love of stationary and a bit of drawing

A new year always means the chance for a new diary and some new stationary.  This year it's safe to say I went a bit bonkers on the stationary front. I love buying my yearly diary from Sticker Stack as they source their products from Japan and Korea which means lots of beautifully designed pieces. This year I got the same diary as I did last year but in blue as it was the perfect size and has a really nice layout inside. I also bought some sticker sheets from them and a nice pen too.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

In Memory

It has been a very odd start to the year.  Just over a week ago the world lost David Bowie and then a few days later, Alan Rickman. Of course I didn't know either of these men personally, nor did I ever have the chance to meet them in person. That doesn't mean however that I feel a great sadness at their passing. These were faces and voices that I knew growing up.

I decided that the best way to honour their memory was to do it in the best way I knew how, by drawing them. They were both in their own unique ways, incredibly inspiring individuals and I can only hope this does them even a little bit of justice.

Friday, 15 January 2016

cross stitch has entered my life

I've always been intrigued by cross stitch having once tried it at primary school as part of a Victorian project. We got given a piece of large weave fabric, a giant plastic needle and some wool to cross stitch our initials. I remember enjoying seeing the shapes appear on the fabric and the simplicity of the stitches that it took to create them.

Even though I'd loved it I'd never tried it again until now after being given a cross stitch kit for my Christmas of a pattern based on one of my favourite artists, L.S. Lowry. During my Christmas holidays I was sitting for days at a time working away on the street scene.  I got quite a large amount done and now I'm back to work the progress is slower but I'm getting there bit by bit. 

The kit is by a company called Bothy Threads and if you're interested in starting out or already do cross stitch and fancy a new pattern, I'd highly recommend checking them out. The kits come with an easy to follow pattern, instructions, the full range of coded threads needed, and the fabric. I got the embroidery ring for Christmas but you can easily pick these up in most craft shops including Hobbycraft.

The reason I started up this time was also because I wanted to get into creating my own images with thread, whether that be with cross stitch or embroidery. The latter is my next venture and I'd really love to try and create my drawing style but using these materials. `As well as that I also just love it as a form of relaxation. Cross stitch is incredibly easy once you get started and just like when I was wee,  I love seeing the image slowly appear on fabric. 

This is my progress so far! I'm working on the right hand side of the image first and once completed I'll move on to the left.  I finished of the blue of the roof today and I really love the colour scheme as a whole.  I often use these colours in my own work. I will be posting my progress as I go along so expect another one soon!

If you're in the Dundee area, there is a new sewing club called 'Say It Ain't Sew' which is an excellent opportunity to start sewing if you're interested in starting a new hobby.  I can't make it myself as I no longer live in the city but if you live in the area it'd be a great place to try out something new!

Thursday, 14 January 2016


So it's 2016 and I've not been about on here for a bit but I have been working on some bits and bobs and I thought it was high time for an update! I hope everyone had a very lovely Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

2015 brought some great opportunities for me. When you're busy working full time at your day job, it becomes difficult to work on your personal projects but thankfully every now and then you manage and I hope that becomes a more regular occurrence this year. It has certainly been paramount to increasing my confidence in the creative work that I do and also shown me that I can do it.

One of the opportunities that came my way was from Creative Dundee to create the image for the PechaKuchaNight Dundee Volume 13. PechaKucha is a presentation format where 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each and the PechaKucha nights allow creatives from all sorts of disciplines to talk about their work and inspirations. I wanted to highlight something connected to Dundee in my image.  Working in the museum, I see the Tay Whale skeleton everyday I thought I would bring it back to life and incorporate it into the image (along with some whale family).
I was really happy at with the positive response my image received and it was a really great opportunity and experience to work with Creative Dundee. Certainly a big confidence boost.

Another great opportunity arose when I finally plucked up the courage to enter the Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibition 2015. I entered two drawings, both inspired by my love of old objects.  I had spent some time in the National Museum of Scotland sketching some of my favourite pieces and this led on to drawing one of them as a final piece to enter into the RSA. The drawing is of some of the small coffins found on Arthur's Seat. In 1836 seventeen miniature coffins were found hidden in a small cave on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. They were found by a group of boys and those that have survived are now in the National Museum of Scotland. I drew six of them in a row for the final piece.  I love the mystery that surrounds these strange but beautifully made coffins, each with their own carved, dressed figure inside. No one is really sure what they were for, what they represent or why they were hidden on Arthur's Seat.

The second piece I drew was of another museum object but this time from The McManus in Dundee. It is an Inuit doll, probably made by a child to help them learn how to sew. I love the intricate details on the doll from the sewing to the wear from age. The selection process goes through two stages and I was completely over the moon when I found out that both my drawings had been selected to be in the exhibition. The RSA Open exhibition is still on at the moment and is on until February the 14th.

This month I also had a great meeting with Cultural Enterprise Scotland. I was looking for some advice on how to properly set up freelance as it's something I've never really known the details of. They have so much advice and information to give which was incredibly helpful and made me feel a lot more confident about taking the plunge to become self employed. I can't thank them enough for the help they gave me. It's certainly made my plans and goals a lot more accessible for the year the ahead. Exciting times!