Sunday, 11 January 2015

Order and/or Disorder.

It has been a while since I blogged but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy!

About a year ago I handed out the GCSE paper to my year 11 students. The theme was Order and/or Disorder. I like to work alongside my students and decided that I would complete my own exam prep sketchbook and final piece with them as a way of supporting them through the process.

What started as a teaching resource soon took on a life of it's own!

I was torn over how to interpret the theme but decided to look at the order of streets and maps. I'm still really interested in the history of the ex RAF estate that I live on so decided to use that as a starting point. I was lucky enough to have some aerial photographs taken during the War. I used these and began researching and experimenting with various techniques.

To cut a long story short I started working with Lino prints. Some abstract, some more specific. I used the old photos and images from google maps for sources.
First print.

I spent more time looking at composition and came up with a run of reduction prints.

After lots of obsessive pinning on Pinterest and artist research, I decided on a map quilt based on the print above as a final piece. I love the work of Valerie Goodwin. Her work is stunning.
My quilt took forever but I am pleased with the result.

And it is being used.

I carried on printing over the summer using a range of maps of Norwich.

The last print was created for the 2014 20:20 print exchange in association with Hot Bed Press. This is an annual event where printers create a run of prints measuring 20x20cm which are exchanged with other participating printers across the Country. 

Although I am still obsessed with all things Map, I am really excited by the possibilities of the GCSE theme for this year. I will let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Crafty Gifts.

At the end of January, two little people had a birthday. It was the perfect opportunity to get the paints out. To mark Ivor turning one, I decided to make him something personal.

I had been given some blank Russian dolls a while ago and had been saving them for something special. I decided to paint them with foxes to match his room.

It was also my friend's daughter's second birthday. I had been promising her a Swedish themed painting for her room for some time.  So while the paints were out, I cracked on with that too.
I have never been to Sweden so I hope it fits the bill!

Lastly, I was very fortunate to go on a FANTASTIC weaving course this month using recycled materials at the Make Place on Magdalen St. We used laptop looms which were very easy to master and I was surprised at how quickly I was able to produce a length of woven material. 

The course tutor was a lovely lady called Aviva Leigh. You can find out more about laptop looms, workshops and Aviva's work at 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pallet Wall.

Well, as you can tell from the lack of posts over the last few months, I went back to work from my maternity leave!  This blog is way overdue.  I have a few things to post, one of which is a blog about our 'smallest room'

After becoming slightly obsessed with pallet wood during the summer, We decided that we would like to use some of the wood to make some interesting flooring or cladding.  We had enough left over from our decking project to do a small section as an experiment.  Here is the result.

We think it worked out really well.  It is mounted on wooden batons attached to the wall and sanded smooth.  I made the stained glass originally for a different window but it fits this one quite well. Steve keeps talking about cladding the hallway ceiling too! Think that would take too many pallets.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Retro Re-cover

I have just finished covering our dining chairs. I picked this bargain of a dining set up a couple of years ago from eBay. Think I paid a grand sum of £10 for 6 chairs and £10 for the table which extends to seat 8 people. They aren't actually a matching set but I don't think that is obvious (not that it would bother me anyway).
The chairs originally had a rather fetching pink velvet fabric on Typical of their era. I covered them with cheap cord at first until I found the right fabric to do the job properly.

I managed to lay my hands on some lovely authentic African batik. Just what I wanted! Here is the result.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Pallet Wood Upcycle.

The pallet wood decking area in our garden is finally complete!
I just love pallet wood. We were very lucky (and unlucky) to have a building site near to our house. They were happy to let us have some old pallets. Steve's dad also donated some from his business. We used the biggest pallets as a base and then arranged the slats in intersting colour combinations.

Steve put in a huge amount of man power and we are really pleased with the result. A hard part was breaking the pallets down. Those things are really built to last! I can tell you first-hand how difficult it is to pull the giant nails out. It was really worth it though. Best of all, the wood was free!

It isn't as uniform as manufactured decking but I think it is much more interesting and beautiful. We used yacht varnish to bring out the colour, then I ran up a sail for shade on my sewing machine which I fixed to a frame made by Steve.
We have also created a pallet wood wall in our upstairs bathroom. Pics to follow when complete.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Go Go Gorillas.

For those of you who don't already know, Norwich has been taken over by a band of brightly painted gorillas both large and small. BBC News - Norwich Go Go Gorillas 'life-size' art-trail revealed
This follows on from the huge success of the Go Elephants project back in 2008.  The project is raising money for the charities Born Free and Break. For more info, please visit

There is a map of the trail so that you can go Gorilla spotting. If you do, watch out for the Sprowston High School gorilla which I painted with a group of my students.

Here is a pic of Rufus and I posing with the gorilla which is in a shop front on London Street.
There are some amazing designs on the trail. Well worth a look.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Foxy Loxy.

So, I finally finished the baby's room. Ivor celebrated by spending his first night in there alone after being camped out in our room for the past 5 months. (I have been very lazy about moving him out as I like to feed him in bed at night while I doze off.)  I first intended for the mural to go around the entire room but decided to just work in the corner of the room for now until Ivor moves to a bed. The cot would hide it. Watch this space for a continuation of the foxy world at a later date.

I am really pleased with the ombre drawers. Just a tester pot of coloured emulsion with more white paint added for each drawer. Easy peasy.

The vintage phone on the floor was mine as a child. So retro! Must also thank my lovely friend Michaela for the gorgeous needle felted leaf bunting hanging on the cot. I've got a pic Michaela took a few months ago here which shows it in detail.