Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Christmas hiatus

I could make all sorts of excuses for the lack of activity on this blog but none of them are really good enough. Winter blues, work, crippling exhaustion from the busiest and craziest year of my life so far... yeah, all of those have contributed, but I'm still sorry. I am so grateful that anyone at all turns up to read or look at the stuff I put up here.

I'm going to take a little blog break and not beat myself up over it. I want to rest, to spend time with my darling husband, whose gruelling London placement ends this Christmas, to put up pretty decorations and devise the most spectacular two-day menu for our New Year party with friends. I want to see my family, eat my Dad's cooking, paint the bathroom, finish restoring a wardrobe... so many things! And I'm not going to feel guilty that some things will take second place.

Any people reading this - thank you for a wonderful year. I'll be back in January, hopefully refreshed and ready for an even better year!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Geological volcano maps

These geological maps of volcanoes really caught my eye this afternoon on They are like beautiful paintings. I would kill to have one of these on my wall, like our Great Britain map, geek that I am. I have a soft spot for geology from my first degree where I studied geology for two years. Click on the link to see all eleven of them.

Seen via Design for Mankind.

EDIT: in fact, there seems to be a possibility of purchasing some of these maps from the Geological Survey of Japan, although the actual mechanism of buying is somewhat cryptic! I think an e-mail might be the best start...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas cards - attempt no.1

It's that awful time of year again. I've got to come up with some ideas for Christmas cards. Here's what I've come up with so far - not quite suitable for the in-laws, I suspect...

I was kind of going for a  'Christmas brain' kind of theme, you know, good food and alcohol, the joy of family, the giving of gifts and general warm conviviality. Needless to say I couldn't summon the good will. I might have puked down my clothes.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

vintage anatomical charts

I spotted these lovely vintage anatomical charts on eBay this morning. Starting bid of £140 each, or £150 for the lobster. From this seller. Which one would you have? I'd have the mole!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hunterian museum

It's the usual story around here: when at a loss, go to the Hunterian and draw dead things.

Well, OK, that's not all I've done. I've also been eating a lot, seeing friends, working hard and generally feeling exhausted. This change from autumn into winter has been hitting me harder every year. I just want to hibernate!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Pirate's Life

Just a link today: stunning hand-drawn animation for a music video. I wish I had the skill and patience to make something as beautiful as this. Sadly, I get bored just doing a 30 second animation of cat and dog silhouettes. Sigh.

We Cut Corners "Pirate's Life" from Kijek / Adamski on Vimeo.

Have a good weekend, kids.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

I'm not dead...

So I make all these grand promises to post more drawings up and to be a better blogger than I have been during these last few months and what happens? F***loads of work piles in :-( I am wallowing in self-pity here. It's the usual story again... juggling up to three jobs at once and all of them quite demanding. Pity me. If you can.

I'm back doing some more - huzzah! - car parts. This time it's really car parts, like suspension springs and brake discs. My life is thrilling, really it is. And I'm also working on stuff for Tesco and Nationwide. In short, it's all gone a bit crazy.

Nothing much has been happening around here other than work. House progress has been slowly grinding to a halt with too many weekends away, the husband going to Miami on a conference and a general lack of energy. I think the autumnal cold and darker days are getting to me. It is lovely and sunny outside today, but I'm stuck in the coldest and gloomiest room in the house drawing a steering wheel. Someone buy me one of those light box thingies, please.

Monday, 10 October 2011


We ate a lot at the weekend. We also did a lot of painting. It was all very, very good.

Friday, 7 October 2011

this morning

We were visited by this gentleman (who's been eating all of the Hungarian rye seeds that I've sown for green manure). Didn't have the heart to chase him off.

Sorry things have been quiet on the drawing front. I've recently been collared into working again - this time for Nationwide - and there's quite a lot to do. Maybe I'll be a good girl and draw something fun next week. Have a good weekend, kids.

Oh, and yes, the rug smells.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

the house today

Progress on the house has been slow, with weekends being taken up lately by Helfa Gelf rather than DIY. The changes have been small but significant, and mostly effected by the husband. The change that has brought the warmest glow of pride to his face has been putting new (old) doors on some of the rooms upstairs. The ledge and brace doors that we had felt too 'cottagey' for a house like this. Now we have some freshly hung Victorian four-panel doors instead and they look pretty marvellous compared to what came before. I'm sure no-one else will notice the alteration, but to us it seems dramatic.

These are pictures of our bedroom today. Remember it? We moved into this room nearly four months ago but it remains rather bare and semi-finished. There are a lot of things still wrong with it (crimson velvet hand-me-down curtains anyone?) and that rug I bought reeks rather horribly, but it is at least starting to feel more comfortable. The pictures show a reproduction vintage geological map of the UK (get it here), grey ticking stripe bed linen from The White Company, vintage Welsh blanket, bed from here, our new pair of bedside tables and a chest of drawers that were £40 from a local antiques shop. Slowly but surely, things are getting better.

In other news, I bought this antique Persian Tabriz rug from eBay for £66 yesterday. Doubtless it will smell pretty dubious too, but I am still happy. Whoop! 

Monday, 3 October 2011

the weekend

It was a glorious weekend here in the UK, even in rainy Wales, with temperatures in the upper twenties and sunshine to bask in. It was kind of sad in a way: like watching the death throes of summer, knowing that autumn - nay winter! - is just around the corner. Today it is bright and windy here, with the unnatural heat and humidity starting to dissipate.

Wherever you are, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was one to savour - my first free weekend since August. We started off at the new David Nash exhibition at Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, which was pretty interesting. I'm not a big fan of sculpture, but I like Nash's processes and how his works continue to evolve even after they have been 'completed'.

Photo from Oriel Mostyn's website.

Next stop was Penmaenmawr, from where we hiked up a hill for a lovely walk amidst neolithic standing stones and stunning views of the coast and mountains. We had a picnic lunch overlooking a bay sprinkled with sailing boats, before completing the walk and returning to the village. 

On the main street through Penmaenmawr is an antiques shop called Perry Higgins (the website doesn't seem to be working right now!). Now, I'd heard about this place from some friends, and we passed by it in the car back in May, but nothing prepared me for how incredible it is. It is a warren of a building, with three stories and a warehouse crammed to the rafters with antique furniture, domestic ware and bygones. Everything was beautiful and there was just so much of it that we will have to make a return trip to have a proper rummage through it all. I didn't take any photos, I was so completely overwhelmed, but here are a few photos which I believe are from the website (via here).

We came away with two towel rails, a painted mid-century cabinet which we will use to store linen for now, a pair of bedside tables and a beautiful French bookcase/display cabinet that was a steal for its quality. I may take photos of these things at some point, but you know I'm not very good at that. On top of all this, the owner drove our purchases to our house on the same day! It was all very satisfying.

There. Enough of my jibber jabber for now!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

a few things

Damson crumble, using fruit from our trees, that was so good I nearly wept.

The last of the damsons bobbing in gin, to be ready for Christmas. The colour is jewel-perfect.

Gorgeously scented roses from Jenny - one of them smells like lychees. And flowers from my neighbour.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

a long-winded and rambling update

Hi kids. Yes, I'm here! It's been a hell of a month and after this coming weekend it's all going to change again. Sunday will be the last day that I will be open for Helfa Gelf - if any of you readers made it to my studio over the past month, thank you so, so much for coming.

I have had an immensely enjoyable, exhausting, humbling and encouraging time doing it. I have met a slew of wonderful people: too many to list all of them. Yesterday I mentioned Jenny, but I am also very lucky to have met local artists such as Helen Melvin, who is like a modern-day alchemist, cooking up natural dyes in her studio and making gorgeously rich images with her hand-dyed felt. Further up in the hills is Ruth Thomas, whose collagraph techniques made me wish I could have a go, and even further up are all the talented folk up at the Gales Gathering. I also enjoyed meeting Badge (blog, website), a recent graduate with a fabulously interesting and macabre portfolio of work. His studio mates, Wendy and Susie were also fun and talented.

It has been inspiring to have met so many creative people in such a short space of time. What has struck me over the course of the event is a common desire to support each other as independent artists, that all of us are doubtful sometimes of our own ability and need encouraging every now and then. A meet-up for a natter and a cup of tea is always a good thing too!

So what next? To be honest, I'm not sure. I think I need another holiday! Whatever the case, I am aiming to be back here and blogging more frequently again (don't I sound like a stuck record?).

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Jenny Murray

A little heads-up today for my lovely friend, Jenny Murray, who makes the most beautiful ceramic domestic ware. I went to see her at the Cymru Contemporary Art Fair in Conwy on Saturday, and her studio is just down the road from our house. I couldn't resist buying a bowl and a delightful spoon, and I am sure I will soon fill my house with her work, I love it so much. I don't think she sells online, although she has an empty Etsy shop, which I hope she opens up soon for those of you who can't make it to North Wales!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Trust Toast

Ah, Toast. You never fail to make me feel better that it's the end of summer. If only I could afford your clothes. Even so, bring on autumn!

On the other hand, this article in the Telegraph about 'catalogue lifestyle anxiety' made me laugh.

All images from Toast.

Monday, 12 September 2011


I still have nothing very interesting to show you! We have been spending money. Lots of it.

I finally cracked about having next to no comfortable seating in the house (fourteen - yes, fourteen - dining chairs and only one sofa?!), and bought this three seater sofa from Blue Suntree.

I also bought this rather girly antique rug to go around/under a bed in one of the bedrooms from Magic of Orient on eBay. I know I can make it work!

Helfa Gelf is going really well - I sold an original drawing on Saturday, which I was over the moon about, although I will be a bit sad that it will be leaving me. I adored the couple who bought it, though, so I am sure it will go to a good home.

Monday, 5 September 2011

lost for words

Things have been a bit crazy around here lately. In-laws, studio prep, some last minute beach visits. I promise things will get back to normal soon (I know I promised a while back...).

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I don't play enough in my work. I usually stick to the things I know and the things I find easy. I am determined to play more and to experiment with new ideas because I'm in danger of getting bored of myself. I was in the studio blowing bubbles with ink the other day and getting very messy. They came out looking like little planets.

I composed an 'about me' page yesterday for the Helfa Gelf open studios next month, and wrote some rather pretentious arty rubbish about what I want to work on in the future. It sounded rather far fetched (I think the word 'philosophy' was used), but it's true - I want to try something new, to explore the ideas that preoccupy me and not to just go with things in my comfort zone. Even though the fun stuff is enjoyable to make and I love making people laugh, I know that I can try other things too.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

office chairs

Sincere apologies for my absence, and the absence of any new work here lately. I have been preoccupied with studio preparations, namely the refurbishment of this beast of a work bench.

Thoughtlessly, I omitted to take photos of it in its original state. Here you can see I've planed off the dark, sticky goo that was deeply ingrained in its top surface. That job took days. I've just finished waxing the top now, and am prepping the base to be painted. It's been a tough job, but it will be such a useful piece of furniture once it's nice and clean!

The other thing that has been preoccupying me at least for the last twenty-four hours is the pursuit of a half-decent-looking office chair. It's a hard life I lead, I tell you. Now I hate most office chairs as a rule but I need something that is adjustable because I have such terrible posture and spend so much time at my desk that I am in danger of damaging myself. So what am I to do? They are so ugly! Of course I like the vintage printers' style chairs, but I wonder if they are any good for your back. I think I need something at least a little more modern.

There is one that I like: godfather of all modern office chairs, the Fred Scott designed Supporto task chair. It looks terribly ordinary in standard 'office' colours of black, grey, blue, but the coloured versions are a joy. I particularly like the low wide back version. Shame that they start at about £800 for a new one, and less for a battered vintage one. Deary me.

Twenty Twenty One, £990

eBay, starting bid £345

eBay, starting bid £125

Image from Supporto.

Image from Spaceist.