Sometimes small things can make a delightful difference to your holiday. Here are a few suggestions from our recent beach holiday that I’d recommend.
If you’re using hotel beach towels it can be nice to take a small towel for your face/head at the top of your sunbed.
I chose this beautiful Collier Campbell towel. The bright design was stunning in the sun, the fabric soft and easy to spot when returning from a swim in the sea.
It’s important to stay hydrated and it’s possible to stop using trillions of plastic cups on holiday by using a flask. This one is by Life’s a Beach. It kept my water cold all day, saved single use plastic and looks fabulous. Good for the environment and good to use.
Tidy towel – when the sea breeze is buffeting your beach towel these clips keep your towel secure whatever the sunbed design. They can also be used to hang clothes and, as I was here, to secure fabric around Balinese beds.
I love to carry watercolours when on holiday. Painting a scene is an opportunity to really observe and take in the detail, which is great for recalling the holiday feel-good factor when you’re back home. There’s also something magical about the feeling of painting with salt water.
More sunny holiday related posts are at these links:
I thought it may be helpful to share some creative apps, favourite tools and tips for use in visual arts and design.
A great convenient, ‘on the go’ tool for scanning using your phone and the CamScanner app. You can either take a scan/picture using the app or can import an image to convert that into a scan. The app locates the boundaries of your image and adjusts the light so you can even scan in low light. It’s a huge time saver and has a good memory capacity before it requires any payment. You don’t get bugged by ads. CamScanner is 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 in my opinion.
My phone is a key tool in my work, for photographing, drawing, editing. The camera on this phone model takes beautiful images and the ‘portrait’ mode is a useful feature for product shots and photographing work. I like the ‘pano’ feature for creative shots. Couldn’t function without this. Great size, weight and stable when used with a tripod. iPhone XS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
How I love Pixelmator. I can’t say how much I use it as it’s seamless in my work. I’m probably across in the app 5 times a day. Layering images, drawing, adding text, creating social media ads, resizing, mocking up ideas, creating repeat patterns. The app is intuitive, making it easy to learn and to use. This is a corker of a creative tool 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Bernina Sewing Machine
I would never have thought that I could love a sewing machine as much as I do my Bernina. It’s reliable, compact, and with the digital display I know what the machine settings are at a glance. I want to make the marks myself so I’m not interested in sewing machines that take over and do the sewing themselves. Swiss engineering is renowned and my Bernina is a fabulous example of this that runs like clockwork. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Bernina B215 Sewing Machine sewing an ice cream themed fabric that I designed.
A learning gateway for everything you might ever want to learn about, where someone always seems to have the answer for using a new product, or technique. I’m going to give YouTube 🌟🌟🌟🌟 as the ads can be annoying, but then again it’s ‘free’. YouTube is about the people who take the time to share their experiences and knowledge. Of course it’s best to watch a few videos for any given subject to be able to gather a few perspectives/ methods.
I’ve always enjoyed making films so I love that I can share my movies and reach people through YouTube. Here’s a link to go to my channel.
50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life
This book is like a hug of a drawing course. The creators of Flow magazine have done something magical by bringing together exercises from their illustrators to make this big beautiful collection of inspiring, drawing skills inducing delight. Love it with some good TV and a pencil or fine liner. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Flow Magazine.
The place to see image based posts, as opposed to more wordy content. A window on creative studios, processes and what everyone is working on, it’s such a creative time that we live in. Instagram makes the world shrink to the size of the app and I love how we can connect with kindred creatives and find people with shared interests. And there’s always someone somewhere on Instagram, even in the middle of my night – when the darkness becomes a blank creative canvas for new idea seeds to germinate in my mind. Hoping the ads, which have increased in frequency, don’t takeover, like they appear to have on sister site Facebook 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Also I have to mention PicCollage, which now allows a mix of still images and videos in collages, and WordPress for my blog.
I hope this proves helpful. Wanted to share these findings and also this is a way of expressing gratitude for this tremendous tech and fabulous phone based functions which are my fundamental tools.
Please stay and see some more posts here.
If you’d like a street these are my favourite ones.
It’s a year this week since my Heat Press machine arrived and made it possible for me to press my painted designs from paper onto fabric.
I’ve been reflecting on the work and continue to enjoy exploring the potentials of this colourful science of heat sensitive dyes.
Here are the highlights of the work using these fabric design techniques.
Most recently this colourful doll. All the fabric was white when I began the work. I added colour and stitch inspired by my favourite things.
One of the first things I made with my machine was this miniature bunting.
As I wanted flowers to always be at our Juliet balcony I created this tulip box draught excluder.
To help me relax and snooze whilst travelling I made this pretty eye mask, printing the fabric and the bias binding with my hand painted designs.
In a campaign to raise awareness of bell pepper allergies and intolerances I created this piece by painting then free motion embroidery.
I collaged pieces of painted paper to create this portrait.
My latest make was tennis themed bunting, joined with heat pressed ribbon, as part of promotion work for a tennis club.
In February I created samples to show different techniques and shared these at a half day workshop. Thanks so much to the workshop attendees, it was wonderful to see how you enjoyed putting your designs onto fabric. I can’t wait to see your creations with the fabrics you designed and made.
One of my favourite creations was the miniature cheese plant. Using hand painted leaves I pressed them onto satin, and using wire I stitched them and arranged them into this pretty home decor gem which doesn’t need watering or tending.
There’s the opportunity to play with these techniques and design your fabric for a craft, fashion or home decor project at my next workshop.
I’ll be demonstrating and teaching these techniques at a one day workshop in Sheffield on Sunday June 2nd. The workshop is at Stitched Up and Fleeced studio from 10 – 4pm, £60.
The one day workshop will bring stitch techniques into the process to explore how stitch can be used before and/or after pressing the designs onto fabric, to achieve some beautiful effects.
This is an opportunity to create your own unique design and transfer it onto fabric. During the workshop you will be guided through steps to create a bespoke design and transfer it onto a fabric of your choice for use in whatever textile, sewing or craft project you wish. You will learn about products, techniques and equipment, how different fabrics respond to the process and how best to prepare them. You will be inspired by what your designs could become. This workshop is supported by ‘Colourcraft’.
The workshop can be booked through the venue website at
I was asked to make a colourful cushion featuring a bird and flowers with this drawing from a lovely customer:
I thought about whether I might seek such a fabric design, but I didn’t have the desire to go hunting for a fabric, so I designed my own.
Having found painted designs that the dye colours can mush together I decided to try a collage technique, as developed in some of my favourite work, my paper cut pictures.
I firstly prepared papers by carefully painting them with transfer dyes then cut and assembled pieces to build a design. I liked the composition on a cute practice design (above), but felt that the colours lacked texture and depth. So I tried wax relief frottage techniques learned at UAL Chelsea and also hand-painted my favourite flowers inspired by our own garden and a visit to the wonderful tulip gardens of Keukenhof and the Botanical Garden in Leiden earlier this year. I challenged myself to limit colours to the wine red, golden yellow and turquoise Colourcraft Transfer Dyes.
I cut shapes and enjoyed assembling these to form the design for the main panel of the cushion.
The feedback was very positive for the tips and learnings I posted around my first solo art exhibition. So here are tips from learnings at my first group exhibition.
Tips from group exhibition learnings
Be clear on what you want your display to look like. Mock up a photo or draw it so you can show and explain this to organisers.
Frame pieces – display them however they will look best.
Think about lighting, if you’re not sure it will be light enough then work lighting and power into your display and state your requirements in advance.
Think big when you’re creating, big is bold and does attract attention.
Intricacy can be beautiful but think about what it looks like from a couple of metres away, consider impact, eye catching and the experience.
Labelling is important, succinct information about your works.
Identify your invite list in advance and if you can access flyers and leaflets then give those to people you would like to attend.
Think about what people might take away, an attractive postcard can serve as a way of someone taking your contact details and reminding them of your display post event, increasing the impact and the possibility of other opportunities.
When deciding on whether to commit to the exhibition ask the organisers how they will be promoting the event as that is key to its success and value to you.
Even if it’s not an exhibition where the pieces aren’t on sale have a think beforehand what prices you would wish or need to achieve so you’re ready if someone is keen to buy.
If you are selling have a clear record of the advertised prices.
Think sensory, what fragrance/ smells would aromatise your work, consider adding scents. Our venue had a glass ceiling on a hot day, making it like a greenhouse, I was glad I had taken an aroma spray for the fabrics in my work.
Have a run through of possible questions about your work so that you can give clear considered answers if asked.
Be enthusiastic, be yourself.
I mentioned copyrighting in my Solo Exhibition blog posts. You can see those points and more useful exhibiting tips at these links:
Following on from my previous post with the learnings up to the point of hanging the exhibition, this is the next instalment of tips and advice if planning an art show.
Thankfully my husband helped me to hang my art exhibition artworks on the walls of the cafe. The cafe had a picture rail so it was a matter of popping to the local angling shop to buy fishing wire strong enough to hold the artworks. Then hanging them, adding the prints, ensuring everything was labelled, and making sure that the Inventory was correct.
Fishing Wire: Know that it stretches depending on weight of the item it is displaying. Know roughly how much your artworks weigh – so you can select your fishing wire , if that is your hanging method. I didn’t know that fishing wire unknots itself, so you need to triple knot the ends. Canvases can hang with the top away from the wall when hung with fishing wire, so you may need something to pull them into the wall like a sticky fixing.
Exhibition Guide: It occurred to me the morning we were due to hang that the story of each artwork and its inspiration were relevant and may be of interest to visitors. The artist cannot always be at the venue so a succinct Exhibition Guide can work to inform on your behalf. I printed two copies of the guide and packed it as I had done the prints, in crystal cell bags with a cardboard sheet to support. This meant they would be fit for purpose at the exhibition and enabled the visitor to move around the exhibition with the Guide.
At the launch evening the guides were useful for people to be able to browse at their own pace.
Enjoy whatever happens: When the launch evening came I didn’t know how many people would arrive, when or whether they would pop in, stay a while, ask questions, or just want to look. Best to be relaxed and go with the flow.
Put plenty of you into the event: Its nice to have a professional cake and catering, but be sure that you have carefully thought about what to choose, how to display and how to ensure that the choices are your creative way. The personal touch can make all the difference and make the show more original. This makes for a more interesting, fun and memorable event.
Questions and Answers: I have organised travel events for journalists but an art event was new to me. I didn’t know what to expect, what people might ask, and therefore how I might explain or answer. I suggest having a think beforehand, either alone of with a couple of friends, consider what people may ask and give thought to artwork explanations that you may not have vocalised before.
Other activity: Think beforehand about whether you might like to do other activity alongside the exhibition. Once my exhibition was in place I felt very strongly that I wished to host an art workshop in the exhibition space, it would be the first of such an evert. Once my artworks were on the walls it felt fitting to practice art with likeminded people there.
Secondly I thought that I would have liked to have unveiled a new artwork part way through the show, my exhibition is live for five weeks so that is something I would have done in hindsight.
Younger Visitors or Young at Heart: As I launched my exhibition in the school holidays I thought that it would have been nice to produce some colouring or activity sheets for children to make the exhibition more interactive for them, and left a pot of crayons or coloured pencils with them. Maybe a children’s art workshop would have been nice.
Dedicate Time: I know that as my artworks are at the cafe I feel very drawn to be in that space, I would suggest ensure that there is some flexibility in your schedule to be able to go there when you feel inclined.