Recently I have embarked on a tattooing apprenticeship, today I am going to do my 10th tattoo which is a little milestone I guess. I’m always open to designing a tattoo for you (not actually tattooing) and my design rate starts from as little as £40 so do get in touch. I’m just learning so my work is very rough at the moment but some lovely souls have let me practice on them. In other news I’ve started work on a beautiful book which will be published next year. Check out the snowy concept artwork below. Finally I have moved into my brand new studio upstairs at the Make and the Craft Kitchen. Ive already made some new toys so look out for them at Boxparks Tusch und Egon and Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl.
Last weekend Josh and I visited his birthplace Manchester for the Cupnorth coffee festival. Two days of caffeine themed fun, food, art and music. The festival was radical and I met so many nice people including Makers Dozen who had a exhibition of work at the festival. I chatted to a lovely guy called Joseph Hartley (check out his work) who is a ceramicist and part of Makers Dozen.
image from Makers Dozen
I took a few photos over the weekend, highlights include checking out the incredible street art, a three floor branch of Paperchase which included a magical pop-up espresso bar called Tinderbox. Also shopping and eating at Oklahoma, cocktails at Matt & Phreds, much whiskey at The Whiskey Jar and a beautiful meal at The Cornerhouse. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the city.
One of the perks of being an artist is getting to hang out with other cool artists and/or connecting with them via things like Facebook and Instagram.
On a daily basis them sharing their work makes me feel genuinely happy and i want to share it with you dear reader.
Up next is my dear friend, collab buddy and tattoo teacher Samo. She has a great new website and you can find links on there to her Facebook and Instagram.
I am pleased as punch to announce I now have a shop on Folksy!
If you haven’t heard of Folksy then in a nutshell it’s just for UK makers and no ‘vintage’ tat or mass produced stuff masquerading as ‘craft’. Here is there kind of mission statement:
Why do we ‘do’ Folksy? We mainly do it because we believe in:
Craft skills. We love craft and design skills, the process by which people use their creativity and talent to make beautiful work. Most of all, we love making.
Strength in numbers. Professional, portfolio and hobbyist designer-makers can reach a mainstream audience, test markets and grow their business more effectively on Folksy rather than through costly galleries and boutique shops.
Cottage industries. Small scale production and handmade goods offer ways to be creative, manage resources effectively and support local economies.
Meritocracy. Any designer-maker can list their work as long as it is hand crafted (no vintage or mass manufactured work is allowed). This creates a meritocracy where great work from hobbyists can rub shoulders with the best from established professional crafters. The work should stand for itself.
David not Goliath. 🙂
I have recently moved into a new shared studio space and I am surrounded by graphic designers, app designers and other very clever and creative people. I felt a little self conscious at first but feel settled in now and I am happy that my toys get lots of positive attention from my co-workers.
This week I have designed a new character and have nearly finished a wonderful owl like character!
Sometimes people ask me how I became an artist? It’s not really something I think about very often, I suppose I grew into the role. I always loved making, drawing and imagining for as long as I can remember and it just never went away. I tried to suppress it for awhile thinking it was for the best and perhaps it was time to grow up. This just made me deeply unhappy. I hardly earn a living and instead rely on my carers allowance I get for caring for my disabled son, teaching workshops and getting involved in arts education and outreach.
If someone buys a piece of my work like a toy or painting I have learn’t that instead of feeling grateful you should feel proud. Don’t brow beat yourself for wanting to do this more than anything in the world, stop feeling guilty and realise that without artists, makers and creatives the world would be utterly dull. You are contributing more to this ball of rock than you will ever know!
My top tips for being an artist are:
- Wake up early. Missing out on half the day is not good for the mind, early morning light is beautiful to work by. If it’s winter and still dark outside invest in a good light that warms and inspires you.
- Create a ‘work’ area. The smallest corner can be transformed, for many years I worked at a tiny writing desk with postcards, clippings and ephemera taped to the wall in front of me because I had no window to gaze out of.
- Turn your day job into art. If you’re currently working in another field like retail, office work etc there is no reason why this cannot become part of your art. Collect scraps of paper, note down things people say and set yourself a creative task for the evening/weekend.
- Experiment. You don’t have to spend lots of money on equipment and supplies. Try dying scraps of paper or fabric in tea. Look in skips and dumps (I have found some awesome things in rubbish piles) re-use pieces of wood, damaged books. Oh the possibilities are endless.
- Funding. Amazingly you can apply for funding to aid you in research and solo projects. Also check out Artist Residencies, a chance to travel, work and meet other artists on a low budget.
- Be bold. People might laugh, family members will probably disapprove because it’s not a proper job. Just remind them their favourite item of clothing, picture and even the chair that their sat on was ‘created’ by someone. Now see them act a little sheepish. The world needs you and your creative brain!
Nothing captivates me more than exploring the work of other creatives. The internet allows you to be a curator, to visit virtual galleries and see work you otherwise might never experience.
Here are some inspiring creations, enjoy.
Ceramics by Amanda Lynch Smith
Fox by Sarah Young
Stunning textile birds by Abigail Brown
Jewellery by Datter Industries, I would love this little guy.
If I can be half as good an artist as Julie Arkell one day and as radiant oh that would be pretty neat. I first came across her work about 5 years ago and it instantly made a huge impression on me. The mix of paper mache, and fabrics, fairytale characters and folk art, I was smitten.
Artists like Julie inspire me to keep making toys and to never let go of the childlike innocence that drives my work.
My life has been filled with lovely things but also terrible things, from a very anxious childhood where I was bullied and always unsettled to an early onset of mental illness around age 12. Perhaps thats why I do what I do, I can finally be me, make animals and dress in bright clothes and dye my hair bright colours. I no longer have to be afraid.
Thanks Julie, from your inspired fan, Louise x
I was really stoked to be asked to create a piece of work for a fundraising exhibition for the Seahorse Trust. It’s a wonderful thing to make lovely toy animals that in turn will be sold to help wildlife, kinda fitting!