Friday, 30 December 2016

Space Age Reindeer Galactic Future Creature

As Christmas is officially over, it seems like a good time to belatedly tell you all about the various crafty thingys I made for the festive period! First I started off with simpleish embroidered fabric decorations:
[And a few paper ones...]

These were inspired by classic retro shapes and designs and for the more complex embroideries I took inspiration from Constance Howard's book 'Inspiration for Embroidery'. Most of the fabric, paper and ribbon was salvaged / upcycled.
Next I made cards in a similar retro theme:
Photo by LunarApple
These featured an Intergalactic Space Reindeer with antennae so that he doesn't miss out on all his important Christmas telly [e.g. James Bond]. I also made cards with Christmas trees on but these seem to have eluded all photography. However, I did manage to knock up a quick reindeer gift bag too:

 Here's a bonus picture of my marvellous cat looking splendid under our tree:
That's it! Until next time!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Volunteering at Walford Mill Crafts: Eight

This week I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that this might be my last 'Volunteering at Walford Mill' post because I won't be a volunteer any more. The good news is that that's because I'm going to be a proper paid member of the team really soon! Yippee! This is great news for me since I've spent the last three years working on my degree in order to get a foot in the creative world's door; and following graduation I didn't have much luck with job applications which made me feel very lost indeed. I knew I didn't want to work in London, or for some big fatcat corporation, so finding a small, local gallery focussed on craft and education was perfect for me. Education is really important to me; as a mature student who's enrolled on many a part-time short course over the last ten years I am a huge advocate of learning. It's all part of growing and 'bettering' oneself after all! In my new Mill job I'll be helping with the education / workshop side of things, working in the gallery shop and probably various other bits of bobs that pop up. As you can probably tell, I'm very excited and pleased.

Anyway that's quite enough of that! This week at the Mill I switched up our display cases at the doctor's surgery to try and make them look more Christmassy and fresh:
From this... this
And this... this
 Think I'll keep working on my display skills! On Thursday we had our late night Christmas shopping opening, when we gave away free goody bags designed and printed by lovely Jennifer Vincent who is a goody in herself:

 And also had complimentary mulled wine, mince pies and stollen bites, of which I had far too many. I wore my favourite doggy print dress and we all had a jolly good laugh at how fabulously I camouflaged with the Heidi Warr ceramics:

 That's me in the foreground wearing my greyhound frock... could you guess that I am a big fan of her work?!

In other news I learnt how to finish off the jewellery I've been creating with Debby this week. This involves coating the jewels with liquid resin and carefully watching them like a mama bird watches her little eggys to make sure no harm comes to them, plus popping any pesky bubbles that may arise. Pop! Here's some pictures of them drying:

In real life they look even more spectacular and precious, and I was very pleased with them. The purple earrings (above) were definitely among my favourites on this day, although unfortunately it's hard to get a really good picture of the finished results!

That's it for this week, off I pop. Pop!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Volunteering at Walford Mill Crafts: Chapter 7

Not much to report this week; most of the day was spent doing officey type things; sending emails and looking after the social media of the Mill, which is one of the jobs I am assigned to do quite a bit. I also helped out in the gallery shop and with the Creative Academy (kid's craft). This week they were creating hand drawn bauble pictures like this one:
Baubs by Jeannie
By cutting templates and drawing around them and filling in the space:
And then rubbing out the pencil line to leave a shape with pattern but no outline. Phew! This was an exercise in neatness and patience for everyone involved!
That;s it really! Until next time!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Volunteering at Walford Mill Crafts: Chapter 6

Christmas is now all set up at the Mill and looking fabulous! Here's a few pictures:

Looking pretty splendid indeed! Most of the hard work and graft was down to Krishula, Christine and Mel, although I wrapped most of the presents under the tree, and helped with decorating the smaller christmas tree and shop displays that can be seen in the last two pictures! I haven't ever really been involved in creating retail displays to this standard before, so I'm learning a lot as I go along and the staff have been very encouraging and helpful, which is lovely. I've been working in the gallery shop a more the past couple of weeks and have come to terms with the till and general day to day happenings now. I think!
This week I was helping Debby with jewellery creating again; using her beautiful hand painted papers to make unique pieces which will be finished with resin. Here are a few that I was working on this week:

In the foreground and left you can see a few that have been finished with the resin; I'm really pleased with how they turned out! The blue-green triangley one in the front there is my favourite one of all because the textures and colours work really well within the shape.
After that it was time for Creative Academy (aka kids' craft)! This week the teacher was Debra Zebra and we were making mixed media Supermoon pieces. Here's Debra's version:
And here's a few made by the kids:

I think they all look great and they all put their own unique style into the work; with some more abstract and unruly and others more meticulous and neat. But all of them turned out equally spooky and atmospheric which was the aim of the game, hurrah!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Lizard Queen

Now that my nephew has had his first birthday I can finally write about what I made him; Karma the Chameleon [pattern by Janine Holmes]. This is the most complicated thing I've crocheted to date, although I have been crocheting for a few years now (mostly squares for a never ending blanket). I actually found it a lot less complicated than I thought I would and enjoyed making it which leads me to believe that I should be doing more crocheting than I currently am!
Here it is not camouflaging particularly well with its surroundings:

I made a change to the pattern in the sense that I used a self-striping kind of wool instead of using remnants to create my own stripes (mainly because I have no excess yarn stash). Although it's not as colourful as the original I like the way it turned out. The yarn I used is Euro Baby Maypole in Sapphire Blue. Ooooh!

The original pattern [as I mentioned] is by Janine Holmes of Moji Moji Design, and her website is well worth a look as it's full of fun characters like Karma Chameleon. Here's a link; here.
It's also got a page of amazing freeeee patterns, my favourite of which is Freddie Mercury:

Janine Holmes
How awesome?! There's also other unique, clever characters to make in her Etsy shop. If ALLLL of that wasn't enough for you to go and check out her work... she also has two cats that she regularly posts photos of. So why are you still here?! Go!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Volunteering at Walford Mill Crafts: Chapter 5

This week at Walford Mill Crafts we began taking down the Fire exhibition to start setting up the Christmas at the Mill exhibition! This is very exciting and obviously involves quite a lot of work for all staff so it was all hands on deck this week. Along with my usual full Wednesday, I put in an extra couple of mornings I had spare to help out.
On Monday we began packing up the Fire exhibition; my main task was to pick out the items from the gallery that had been sold during the exhibition, pack them safely in bubble wrap, add contact details for their new owners and put them to one side ready for collection. I also helped to pack up jewellery and other bits n bobs that hadn't sold to be sent back to their maker(s).
David Walker Ceramics
Some of the exhibits from Fire were big and unusually shaped like the above ceramics by David Walker. These are a bit challenging to wrap up but very beautiful of course.
On Tuesday morning I helped out again, this time with a stock check in the gallery shop because everything had to be accounted for before the big changeover to Christmas. There are hundreds of really beautiful objects in the shop but this is one of my favourites:
Flight of the Bombus - Heidi Warr
This is a huge dish by Heidi Warr Ceramics; being a huge fan of Op Art and also bees I think it's the Best Thing Ever! Unfortunately a little out of my price range to say the least but I can admire it until some lucky person snaps it up.
On Wednesday I was (wo)manning the gallery shop most of the day. I had to learn how to use the till and various other skills as I went along but luckily I'm quite good at working that way. I also did some pricing, unpacking deliveries and meeting and greeting customers and makers who popped in. Not in that order.
We had a delivery of new stock from Elm House Studio which were mini, big and extra big bowls like this one:
Elm House Studio
Ooh! These come in a few different colourways including blue, aqua and yellow (above). Very 1970s-ish in style I think; lovely!
After lunch I helped in the gallery for a while: screwing things into walls, arranging and re-arranging mostly. Then Mel and I began to rearrange the stock in the shop to fit in the new Christmas goodies. This was the shop at the beginning:
And this is the shop at the end of the day when we left:
Not finished, but looking distinctly more christmassy! I was responsible for the table there in the foreground and also for the shelves of Christmas cards on the right. I shall be excited to see how it all looks when I go back next Wednesday.
And here's the gallery amognst all the boxes and deliveries and plinths:
Obviously not finished here either (although it is now). I'll be posting photos next week after I've been in and seen the final results!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Walford Mill Crafts Volunteering: Chapter 4

This week I was helping out with the beginnings of putting together the special Christmas exhibition in the gallery. The first job of the day was to wrap up some of those pretend fake presents that always look so much nicer than any actual real presents. This was quite fun, as I actually enjoy wrapping gifts, plus it's amazing what you can do with just a little bit of brown paper and ribbon:
After that I spent quite a while carefully unwrapping deliveries, checking them over and pricing them before wrapping them all carefully back up to be stored until the changeover to Christmas. Most of the goodies I unwrapped were ceramics and here's a couple of my favourites:
Jessica Thorn
Super cute cups, jugs and spice shakers by Jessica Thorn, white outside with coloured seams and insides. Very yummy indeed!
Alex Allday
And very pretty, delicate ceramics by Alex Allday with overlapping surface patterns and textures, giving them a sort of 'lacy' effect. So clever!

After much oohing and aahing over those, it was time for the kids craft club again! This week we were making toadstools from paper mache... no pictures as they aren't finished yet but here's some from previous weeks:
The G is silent
Monster munch
Finished gnomes from two weeks ago and a Frankie's monster pumpkin head from three weeks ago! These were painted pumpkins with faces and features embellished on. Very nice and also a bit silly.

Next time: Christmas Mayhem!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Walford Mill Crafts; Day Three

My third day of volunteering at Walford Mill Crafts began with the creative cupcake decorating workshop for kids. This course is run by Lauren Foster of The Cakery Shop and it was a lot of fun. First we set up the workshop with tools of the trade and places for everyone:
Then once everyone had arrived Lauren demonstrated on some sample cupcakes a few techniques for the kids to try out:
I can confirm that these were delicious
And after that the kids were let loose to decorate theirs however they pleased, and here are some of the results:

The kids were really clever and creative and didn't just stick to the examples that were shown. I have never decorated a cupcake and therefore mostly stuck stickily to the perimeter passing different coloured icings and tools and giving tidbits of common sense type advice. And talking about cats.

After that it was time to clear up and then finish the decorative christmas kite I started making last week for the kids workshop on 17th December.

I made mine in the shape of Santa with a woolly beard and a traditional green Santa hat. I feel he may be more scary than the crafts I made last week for the Halloween workshops but... oh well.

After the kite, I was given the job of starting some jewellery by lovely Debby Kirby. I was given a whole load of hand painted papers in every colour possible and some jewellery blanks and left to my own devices. This job is [obviously] a lot more precise than making fun kids' crafts, so it's good that my skills are being tested at both ends of the scale!
Hand painted papers
Fancy cuffs
A range of jewels
Above is the range I had created by the end of the day. If they still look quite unfinished that's because they are unfinished; they'll be completed with fancy techniques including resin, hopefully by me which is quite exciting as I've never done that before.