Things have been a bit quiet on here again. Mainly because this summer we moved house during a heatwave which was not fun.
However I did find a bit of time to make some new work, design some tattoos for lovely pals and create a gorgeous garden from scratch. It’s crazy to be thinking about making stuff for Christmas already and planning another Body Positive workshop.
I’m really excited to be thinking about lots of projects and hopefully showing my work outside Portsmouth.
I got round to updating my Etsy store last week and within 48 hours all but one of my toys had sold. So a big huge thank you to those lovely people who bought my creatures. I was absolutely beaming with happiness.
We’re currently in the process of moving house so hopefully we’ll all be settled by the end of June. I will then start work on a new set of toys as well as some greetings cards. All this before the summer holidays!
If something costs more does it make it more legitimate? I’m not talking about selling art work but rather providing workshops. Being self-employed I absolutely understand the need to make a profit and I’m not undermining that, I need to earn a crust too. I’m more talking about ‘passion projects’. For me my passion project is body positivity as movement and the amazing people that make that whole scene so accessible. Especially artists who create imagery that explains it, motivates and delivers the overall message of self love and accepting your body.
When I decided that I would follow my heart and offer a body positive craft workshop I did question whether anyone would want to come…well it’s fully booked! I also questioned whether it was right to make money from people’s insecurities. After all they are the brave ones for wanting to attend an event where they will be sharing some intimate stuff about themselves and their bodies (if they want to) with a room of people they have only just met.
I’m not a counsellor or therapist but I have 8 years experience of running and facilitating art workshops, specifically art and health/mental health. I am also a recovered anorexic and have gone on that journey and I’m still on that journey to self acceptance.
Next year I will be starting University and so I can become a qualified art therapist. I know it will be completely worth all the studying and debt (unless my dreams come true and we get a Labour government) and education becomes free again!
So the body positive workshops I will be running this year will be completely non profit so they are as accessible as possible. There will be suggested ticket price to help cover costs (renting the space, materials, snacks) for those that can afford to contribute. Any money left over will roll over into subsequent workshops. I will also be applying for funding with the plan to make the sessions completely free.
If you find something so good you should share it with others.
Yesterday was a wonderful day because I moved into my new studio space at The Makers Guild. I’m looking forward to adding to it and making it my perfect little creative environment. It’s lovely to share the space with other makers, the studio is open access and you meet all kinds of wonderful people.
I’m a bit excited to be hosting this workshop and hopefully it’s the start of a whole series of empowering and creative workshops.
So what’s it all about?
Firstly it’s about body acceptance of all body types, sizes, genders, abilities, differently abled and ages. Maybe the starting point of a journey to recognise something about yourself you love? It can be the smallest thing, like how soft your hair is or how strong your arms are. After all lots of us struggle to accept and love our bodies, but it’s a journey and all journeys begin somewhere right?
This amazing patch is by Naomi Hope Designs. You can find all sorts of fabulous patches in her Etsy store. I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing this as an example.
What happens at the workshop?
You arrive and get offered a drink (vegan cake and savoury snacks on hand) with a warm welcoming smile, if you’re a bit anxious don’t worry you won’t be alone, others will feel the same. It’s a relaxed environment and hopefully conversation will start to flow as we try some short experimental drawing games (no drawing experience is required). I will give a little talk about body positivity and the worldwide movement it has become.
We can then begin to think about what our patches will say or what image it will depict. I have purchased ready made round patches that are perfect for sewing onto a jacket, bag or dress or just sticking up somewhere at home you can admire it. There will be a selection of threads, fabrics and fabric pens to use and help and tuition if you want to learn some different embroidery techniques/stitches. Focusing on making your patch will help you to dwell on something positive about yourself. The act of making and creating is empowering in itself.
Where is the workshop and how do I book?
The workshop will take place at the Makers Guild which is located inside the Portsmouth Guildhall. I will be in reception at 10.45 to greet you, there is also a helpful receptionist on hand if I’m in the studio. The workshop is accessible to wheelchair users.
You can book by emailing me email@example.com
Payment can be taken by paypal and financial assistance is available.
I really hope you can make it!
Hello, its been a couple of years since I last stepped out as Ooh la Lapin. You see I’ve been a bit busy. I met a man named Willis and I married him and then this little guy above popped along, we named him Wilson. I went back to college and worked for a bit in care looking after people.
Life got very complicated with three children, especially as Joel my eldest is severely autistic and needs 24 hour care. Throw a baby in the mix and it’s a recipe for a lot of love but a lot of stress.
I have decided to return to the place I am most happy and alive and that’s being Ooh la Lapin. Like having a super hero identity but without any cool abilities, just the ability to make funny looking toys.
I’m happy to be back and can’t wait to see what this year has in store!
Hi it’s Lou here from Ooh la Lapin, I have a big announcement to make. Due to increased love for my toys I have welcomed Emily Neale to become part of Ooh la Lapin. You have probably seen that recently Emily has accompanied me to lots of events and adventures and it just seemed right that now she has graduated with first in Illustration that I snap her up!
I never imagined how successful Ooh la Lapin would become and in the past year it has surpassed my dreams. Having a solo exhibition, working on wonderful community arts projects, making beautiful creatures for lovely customers, getting my first London stockist at Tusch and Egon in Boxpark and of course being given the opportunity at Liberty of London at the end of August.
I would like to thank everybody who has supported my work in one way or another (you know who you are).
On Sunday Emily and I went to visit Liberty of London as I have been selected to give a presentation about my work on August 30th. Fingers and toes crossed they might like me enough to stock me. Along with my wonderful friend Riella (a film maker for The School of Life) we wandered around Liberty wide eyed at all the many wondrous beautiful things. I came away with some fabric, trim and some pretty dachshund cards from the stationary section. I also feel a bit more confident about going back at the end of the month with my toys!!!
Emily and I visited my favourite label Lazy Oaf.
After Liberty I was really excited about visiting Boxpark in Shoreditch and delivering some work to my first London stockist Tusch & Egon. This was beyond exciting as I now have an outlet for my creatures in such a beautiful, contemporary space as Boxpark. It was all a bit overwhelming so we went for a drink down Brick Lane before returning to Southsea.
My toys safely arrived at Tusch and Egon.
Yesterday Emily Neale and I visited the charming historic city of Chichester. The main attraction for us is that there is a huge fabric and craft shop there called Eternal Maker. Emily hadn’t been before and I couldn’t wait to show her the sheer array of fabric, haberdashery, notions and other tempting crafty bits.
After fabric heaven we decided to visit cake heaven and made our way to bakery ‘Whipped and Baked’ which lies in the north of the city on the edge of the gorgeous Priory Park. I’d heard so many good things about the hand baked breads and especially the decadent oreo chocolate brownie. We plumped for a fat squidgy cinnamon roll, an oreo chocolate brownie and a gorgeous garlic, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella focaccia. Clutching our paper bags of baked goodies we sat in the sun soaked park and watched the world go by. Sadly soon it was time to return home but we will definitely be making our way back for more!