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. 🙂
This is me and my lovely friend, collaborator and artistic pal Emily Neale. We sometimes sell our stuff together like at Crafty Fox (pictured above) and we hang out lots, walk our dogs together and dream up lots of creative plans! You should check out her work, its great!
Some of mine and Emily’s toys.
Photo by Josh Knill
I still can’t believe how amazing this year has been so far! Ive moved studio twice!!! I’ve just been offered another work space which is top secret at the moment and i’ll reveal all soon. I’ve had some fabulous commissions too.
My next big project is working for Portsmouth City Council and with the residents of Somerstown to create public art work for their new community hub. Im so happy they liked our idea and that we get to work in a part of our city that deserves wonderful aspirational creative work.
I have been very lazy in updating my blog recently. Oh so much has happened including trips to London, selling at Crafty Fox, meeting my idol Julie Arkell at Ray Stitch, having my first solo exhibition at Pie & Vinyl and taking part in the fab Castle Road Fete/Record Store Day.I had a pop-up shop with Sweetie Pie Bakery, I think a bakery/toy shop has to be the happiest shop in the world. I’ve also sent some work off to a brand new travelling gallery called The Rusty Alexander, do check them out, it’s a double decker bus and totally awesome.
There is currently a sale on in my shop to make way for Summer things, lots of lovely happy bright things. Im working on some special painted animal dolls (you can see one below).
In other news I am moving studio next month where I will be sharing with toymaker and illustrator Emily Neale where we will be collaborating lots and building a little puppet theatre plus puppets!!! I can tell you how excited I am. Well hopefully I will update this blog more often so I can share all the happy goings on.
All the best! x
Hurrah! I made the cut to become a trader at the Crafty Fox Spring Market, it will be held at the Bussey Building in Peckham on the 12th-13th April. I will be trading on Sunday 13th April so do come say howdy!
Yesterday I added some artwork to my store available as beautiful prints. All work is printed to order so expect 5-7 days for delivery. Click here to see more.
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!
I have been having a lovely time preparing for my exhibition! I have also got round to doing some spiffy paintings of animals wearing sweaters. I’m particularly proud of the badger in the sparkly jumper, I love him a little bit.
A dachshund is being posted off to a customer and I think I enjoy wrapping my toys as much as I do making them.
I was also very happy to receive some fabric donations from London fabric print designer and bag maker Black Cactus. i have promised a drawing/painting in return and look forward to sending her something awesome!
Im pleased as punch to announce that Sweetie Pie, Gluten-Free and Vegan Bakery of Southsea will be supplying some delicious Banana Cream Pies especially created for my exhibition ‘Dear Little Menagerie’.
I am obsessed with banana flavoured things and I can tell you the taste testing process with Lucy and Dan has been wonderful!
This exhibition is more than just a chance for me to share my work with you, it’s a celebration of all that is good about this wonderful little seaside community. So I hope that everyone who attends the private view gets a chance to try a lovely banana cream pie and smile at some happy toys. What could be nicer?
Preparation has begun in earnest for my first ever solo exhibition which opens on the 7th March at Pie and Vinyl and runs until the end of April. If you have ever visited Pie + Vinyl you’ll understand why I chose it as my venue.
Image of Pie and Vinyl: Joe Watson www.visionincision.co.uk
I am working with talented illustrator Stuart Linfield to produce a book to accompany the show which tells the story of each toy/character. Stu is also designing a poster for the show which resembles a Victorian book cover, can’t wait to show you!
My partner Josh shot the image of one of my bunnies and hand painted sign, so cute!
I will keep you updated with any developments and some little pictures here and there.
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!