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.
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 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!
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!
Hooray I have hit my 700th post! So to celebrate I will be giving away a toy duck to one of my lovely readers.
Im so happy with the blog and things will be changing soon, you will reach a static homepage and be able to find the shop, blog posts and other bits from this page. It might not be for awhile so keep an eye out for changes.
To win this patchwork duck just leave a comment telling me what you love about Ooh la Lapin!
Good Luck lovely readers!
The shop now has a series of plush ‘British Seabirds’ backed in vintage fabric and some nifty greetings cards!
I am so in love with instagram, it really is the best way of keeping a visual diary of all your daily goings on.
Here are some of my latest adventures…
On location doing a toy shoot in the woods.
Date night at our local funfair.
My little dachshund Margot.
I visited the Cartoon Museum in Holborn, London last week.
Pistachio Macaroon at Salon Paul in London.
My vintage cat ornament collection.
Cafe garden at Casa de Castro
Eggs and asparagus lunch.
Finishing off Mr Lumberjack in the studio.
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!
If you would like to attend the opening it’s on Thursday the 15th August 7pm at Le Cafe Parisien. Lots of awesome artists are involved including Angela Chick and Rocky the Zombie.
I am so super lucky to have a fantastic craft cafe minutes away from my home on Albert Road. Make is a shop, cafe and offers tuition in a range of crafts from crochet to dress making in a relaxed and creative space. There is a good range of Japanese chino fabrics, designer prints and plains. I opted for some locally hand dyed fabric, beautiful trims and some plain cottons.
To have a play around I decided to make a hanging fish based on locals favourite catch the Mackerel. I also took some snaps of my studio space which is starting to fill up with toys and other handmade pieces. Expect more on Make soon!
Hooray it’s Monday, whether you like it or not it’s the idea for a fresh week ahead with endless possibilities. I felt a little uninspired last week and didn’t get any art work done, I’m hoping this week I can knuckle down and get creative.
NEEDLE AND THREAD BY: VIRGINIA KRALJEVIC ON ETSY.
THE MADONNA INN, CALIFORNIA.
MY VINTAGE BOOK COLLECTION