Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Creative Wednesday - Illustration Friday with Sindy

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is 'Toy'. Well, I couldn't let that one pass me by, could I?
I did this painting of Sindy a couple of years ago, but I was never happy with it, as there was too much of the canvas texture showing through. So I scanned it, cropped it, and reworked it in Photoshop with the smudge tool. The effect reminds me of a 1960s illustration - like on a Mills & Boon book cover, or a romance story in a woman's magazine - that sort of bold, commercial painting. I definitely like it better now.

I've been meaning to update you on what happened to my Illustration Friday efforts. After 'Dusty', I submitted this piece for the next theme - 'Surrender'
But then I started to struggle with the themes - Reverse, Sweater, Layer, Swarm etc.. None of these really led to anything worthwhile. I nearly came up with something for 'Sweater', when I started to think about 1950s sweater girls, and thought I could draw a portrait of Diana Dors. Here are some of my sketches.
Not sure if I captured her,exactly.
It's probably better to just submit pieces to Illustration Friday on an occasional basis, in any case. For me, it got me drawing again, and I rediscovered portrait drawing - something I hadn't really done for a while. I like the idea of doing a series of illustrations of my favourite actresses. However, that will have to wait, as I'm focussing on my textile pieces at the moment. I have an exhibition in the pipeline, and will be able to tell you about it very soon!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Postcard Swap

I've just done a quick postcard swap with Jane of Things to Make and Do. I'm a complete novice at art swaps. I like the idea, but there's always the worry that a recipient might not 'get' my weird creations. Or that I will make something quick, and they will make some wonderfully elaborate artwork and feel cheated. But when I suggested a swap with Jane, I was pretty confident that we would be be on the same wavelength, as we seem to share so many tastes. She has already posted about it, so you may have seen these images already.

We sent each other a commercial postcard to act as starting point. I sent Jane this card 
She was inspired to think about all the must-have items for the modern bride, and sent me this great double-sided collaged card.

A close look at the household paraphenalia reveals a slightly twisted view of what a bride might find handy! (And not just the 'Refrigerator Polish'.) Also, I'm guessing the 'Bride to Be' badge is one of Jane's many lucky pavement finds. Such great vintage images - I love it, of course!

Her starting point for me was a postcard of the swimming pool at Butlins. I have to say, I now think all pools should have fake tropical greenery suspended above them - by law!
I knew had some vintage illustrations from a swimming instruction manual in my big box of clippings, and I wanted to combine it with some bold graphics. I was thinking of vintage packaging to start with, but as I played with the typography my drawn font became a bit 1970s. And now that I say that, I'm thinking of those public information films with Rolf Harris in a swimming pool. Damn! I could have drawn Rolf....
Many thanks to Jane for an inspiring, fun swap.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Flora and Fauna

I was in Jersey last week, and had rather a lovely time. It was all thanks to Mr Kitsch's generous brother, who was working over there and decided to take me and Mr Kitsch with him. We had a marvellous time. It was the first time I'd been to the Channel Islands, so it was interesting to see this little bit of Not-Quite-Britain. The first thing that struck me was that there are daffodils everywhere at this time of year.
There are fields of them, banks of them, woods full of them. I guess that as they are cultivated there, they seed freely all over the place.

There are also some beautiful, huge, sandy beaches, pretty much empty at this time of year. When the sun shone, the sea was blue, the waves lapped, and we breathed in the tonic of the salty sea smell. 

The flip side of the off-season's wonderful empty beaches,was discovering the number of places that were closed until April. Most disappointingly, the Shell Garden, which looked very enticing from the bits we were able to see from the road.
But it didn't matter, as we were able to visit lots of other places, eat in some great restaurants, and spend time in the hotel's mini spa, swimming, steaming and jacuzzi-ing. Aaah!

One place we visited was the charmingly eccentric Reg's Garden, with an enormous carp pond, and aviaries of parrots, cockatiels, and the very entertaining Charlie the Cockatoo. I have to admit that we spent a ridiculous amount of time chatting to Charlie (admittedly his conversation is somewhat limited - mainly 'Hello' and 'Bye-bye'), stroking his feathers, jumping up and down with him, and letting him gently bite our fingers. I have to admit that if I could have smuggled him home, he would been in my bag in an instant! What a charmer...
We also went to Gerald Durrell's zoo, which concentrates on the conservation of endangered species. Again there were benefits to visiting in the off-season, as many of the animals were indoors, and therefore easier to see at close quarters. This little macaque looked rather sad and wistful, though.

These lemurs were all cuddled up, dozing and cleaning themselves. I love ring-tailed lemurs, ever since seeing Dotty on 'Animal Magic', sitting on Johnny Morris's shoulder. I could have watched them all day.
If I can't have a cockatoo, can I have a pet lemur, please?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Giving the Bird

Here's my little bird I'm giving to the Little Bird installation. (See previous post for more details)  In truth, she's more of a big fat bird. I posted her off today. She couldn't fly there, as she has no wings. I'm not sure why my birds have feet, but no wings, but that's just the way it is. Tweety-tweet!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Is it very naughty to have a blog post called 'Birds' on International Women's Day? Well, it's only because I wanted to tell you about an art project called 'Little Bird' I'm going to contribute to.

A flock of handmade birds by different artists will be gathered together for an installation at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster from 22 March to 17 April. After the exhibition, all the birds will be sold in aid of  Women for Women International.

I received an email invitation last week, but I gather from the website that it is open to everybody.  They also have a suggested template, but you can use any medium you wish. The birds have to be delivered by 15th March, so there's not much time! I haven't finished mine yet, but will post a photo when I have. It's a larger version of the crochet amigurumi bird in the photo above.

Also, I thought it was a good opportunity to share this video. I can't remember whose blog I saw it on, so apologies if it was yours. It's from a US TV spoof of the creative craftsters of Portland, Oregon

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Jumble Sailing

Look at all the lovely stuff I brought home with me from the Vintage Jumble Sale on Saturday! There were so many irresistible bargains. I know the idea was to clear out some stuff, and I did, a bit, but there's always room for a few new things (and a couple more that didn't get into the photo). Especially when they're nearly all in the £1 or 50p price range.
I'm afraid I forgot to take any photos (I don't appear to have got to grips with this blogging lark, at all...). Fortunately, Mr Kitsch took a few photos of our stall. Poor tail-less Dobbin was looking for a new owner, and happily found one.
I can't say the same for all the dollies, but a few of them found new homes,notably 'Lottie' who has gone to serve in a shop with Ingrid, apparently (that's what her new owner told me!).

I must say thank you to Niki for giving me a beautiful old poster I kept dithering over. And big thanks as ever, to Jayne and Michele for their brilliant organisational skills that made it such a success. I gather another Vintage Jumble is likely....

P.S. 'Jumble Sailing' is a wonderful, poignant track by Clearlake, that I thoroughly recommend to anyone who has ever bought a treasure for 10p.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Bargains, Bargains, Bargains!

Here are a few of my latest acquisitions from the Salisbury charity shops and a rather fine table-top sale last Saturday. Believe it or not, I am still being very restrained these days, and limiting what I allow myself to pick up. But I couldn't leave these little dogs behind, and I adore that guitar-playing rabbit tin (which Mr Kitsch found for 10p!). However I steeled myself and said no to the lovely vintage Poole coffee set for £3... And those 1920s plates, which were a real bargain, but I absolutely do NOT have any room for....
... Sometimes when you see a bargain, you just have to go for it. Like these boxes of lovely old cotton reels. What is it about haberdashery that makes my heart skip? And I was even more excited to find that they were cheap enough for me to say "I'll take the lot.".  I wasn't sure what I was getting, but about half of them are vintage wooden ones - even the labels are a delight. And then when I got them home, I saw the labels on the boxes  - they once contained 'Fry's Crunchies' and 'Cadbury's Milk Fudge' (with a 'Controlled Price of 2½d').
I have to say I'm rather pleased with myself, as just lately I've been very envious of other people's bargain finds. I had started to think I wasn't going to find anything good any more. 

Of course, the more I buy, the more I have to turn out of the house, so it's just as well that I've booked a stall at the Vintage Jumble Sale at Rangeworthy Village Hall on Saturday. I expect there will be lots of bargains there, as we're all having a good old clear-out. I'd better get on with sorting out! And talking of putting off chores, what do you think of the rhyme on this mug I picked up last week?