Saturday, 10 November 2012

BBC online magazine features Folksy and Etsy

It was great to see some real publicity for Folky and Etsy in the BBC online magazine this week. The report was really good and I recognised some very familiar names in the interviews with Folksy sellers, so well done to them and good news for all of us with an online shop on either site.

Here's a direct link to the magazine article:

and here's a direct link to Folksy

so check out some of the brilliant handcrafted items available there.

(And there are links to all my shops on Folksy and Etsy on this page already, so no excuse!)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Up to my eyes in vintage linen & lace

I've dragged it all down from the loft and have sorted it into separate boxes...traditional white/ecru embroidery, colourful embroidery, crochet lace and other laces. Then there are the damaged pieces, which are beyond salvation but perfect for projects - sad to see them torn and stained, but at least parts of them will be admired again.

What prompted this massive vintage sort-out? Well, it was a request for specific types of embroidery and lace, and I had to admit I had no idea what I had up there in the loft. It wasn't until I started going through it again that I realised just how much there was. So in between painting, felting, stitching and making - not to mention the photography and a bit of selling! - I will be working my way systematically through it all, taking photos and recording each piece before it goes into my Etsy shop to (hopefully) find a new home. That will keep me busy during the long, dark winter months ahead!

If you see something here you'd like to buy, contact me directly as it could take a while to get them all listed on Etsy.

part of a set of 13 matching cutwork pieces

delicate lace doily

one of a pair of rectangular lace mats

a beautiful lace table cloth

part of a large set of matching butterfly doilies

one of a pair of beautifully worked lace doilies

five tiny little embroidered mats

Friday, 2 November 2012

What's the secret of selling?

Don't ask me...I have no idea! I had such high hopes for my first craft fair of the festive season - it was a good venue, well-organised and advertised, usually very well-attended by a good mix of buyers, but still I didn't do very well. I could blame the roadworks on the A27 on the Saturday (not supposed to be there at the weekend), which caused long delays and massive traffic jams for visitors, but even on the Sunday when there were plenty of visitors, I didn't manage to sell more than a few items. The recession maybe? Well, that may have had an impact, but people were buying - mostly jewellery and gifts for children - just not from me!

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my products, my prices, my presentation. Obviously what I'm making isn't what people want to buy (not in this neck of the woods anyway - hmm, maybe that's the problem) - so what do I do? Do I change what I'm selling, where I'm selling, or just carry on and accept that I'm out-of-step with the rest of the world? You see, the problem is, I love my bags and scarves and everything else I make, and I love making them. Each piece is unique and very special - it has its own personality and it's made by me with a lot of care and love. Some are troublesome and won't do as they're supposed to, others are just so easy and a joy to make. I hate parting with them, which may be part of the problem...maybe I'm subconsciously putting buyers off because deep down I really don't want to sell them...?!!

Well, I have a few more fairs lined up before Christmas, so let's see how those go - I'll give it my best shot, I promise. In the meantime, here are a few new items I listed on Folksy today...

Make up bag £12.50

Make up bag £12.50

Pink felt clutch bag £25

Blue silk clutch bag £45

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Bag preview

I've been on a roll with the bag-making since my last post - to date I've completed EIGHT new bags and still have a few more in the pipeline. I aim to finish at least another two over the weekend, but that's a tough target. It really depends on the designs I choose to make and how much time is spent adding extra bits of decoration or embellishments to them. Most of my bags 'evolve' as I make them, so I have no idea in advance how long each one will take, or what they will eventually look like!

The bags I've already completed include four new small silk handbags, using my own hand-painted and hand-dyed silk, backed with toning silk dupion. These bags were popular last year as Christmas presents, so I decided to add a few more this year. The silk colours are beautiful and each bag is unique, perfect as a special gift, but very affordable at just £25 each. They come boxed and beautifully wrapped too.

The other four bags are a new design, a simple clutch bag - so popular this year - with a flap front. Although the design is simple, the fabrics are gorgeous - embroidered silks, shot rayon, chiffon, velvet and vintage kimono silk in a range of colours and patterns. The bags are well-made and beautifully finished with many layers of interlining, padding, stiffening and lining to give a 'luxury' feel to them. Each one takes a full day to make so they are a bit more expensive (from £50) but still exceptional value for an exclusive, individually-designed bag.

The bags will be available to view and buy at the upcoming Crafts at Lancing College, where I'll be selling  over the weekend of 27th/28th October. I won't be listing most them on Folksy until after that weekend, but they can be purchased before then by contacting me directly. Here are some photos of them:

Teal and green shot-silk type outer fabric in a diagonal patchwork design, lined with pale blue silk, small inner pocket, magnetic fastener. £70

Hand-painted silk front, trimmed with buttons, toning copper-red silk dupion back and strap, lined with black satin, button/loop fastening. Sold.

Hand-painted silk front, toning turquoise silk dupion back and strap, lined with gold satin, button/loop fastening. £25

Hand-painted silk front, toning pink silk dupion back and strap, lined with gold satin, button/loop fastening. £25

Deep pink/gold silk and black velvet outer fabric, trimmed with black stitching and two large vintage glass buttons, lined with black satin, small inner pocket, magnetic fastener. £60

Vintage kimono silk crepe outer fabric, lined with royal blue silk-type fabric, small inner pocket, magnetic fastener. £60

Hand-dyed silk front, toning pinky-mauve silk dupion back and strap, lined with black satin, button/loop fastening. £25

Brick-red/gold silk outer fabric with a chiffon drape, lined with dark red satin, two inner pockets, magnetic fastener. £60

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Preparing for Crafts at Lancing College 27/28 October

Less than four weeks to go until the Crafts at Lancing College event over the weekend of 27/28 October. I'm really looking forward to it and hoping it will be a bumper turn-out. With just a couple of months until Christmas, I've got my fingers crossed that everyone will be in the mood to buy, but it will be just as nice to meet customers face-to-face and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

I probably have more than enough stock, but I always like to bring out something new and enticing to give customers there the first chance to buy before it hits my online shop. As most things are one-of-a-kind, that means many things never actually make it online.

I've sold a couple of bags in the past week or so, which means I'll be creating some new ones to replace them. That's the part I love most - designing, sourcing fabric, playing with colours, trims, details. Each one is an adventure!

SOLD - 'Beachcomber' bag

SOLD - 'Rouge' clutch bag

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Busy, busy, busy.....

Still lots going on in Littlehampton....

  • the Music & Arts Festival is winding down now but there are still a few displays up around the town
  • the sixth Special Little Things Craft Market is on Saturday (29 Sept) in Evan's Courtyard (always worth a visit) 
  • the first Putting Green Cafe craft fair is on Saturday & Sunday (29/30 Sept)
  • the Beach Hut will be open for the last time on Saturday (weather permitting)
  • Traders Indoor Market now has an arts & crafts area upstairs (open Tues-Sat 10-4).
  • Way Out There And Back (in Evan's Courtyard) now stocks artwork by several local artists. Staci and David are also working on a permanent Arts Trail map, showing all the locations in the town where local art can be seen and purchased
  • Jan Bennett's studio can still be viewed (by appointment)
...and elsewhere...
  • Bosham Arts & Crafts Centre is open all year round, 7 days a week, selling locally produced art and crafts (including some of my textiles and textile art)
  • the Lancing College Craft Fair is on October 27/28 this year, and I'll be there selling my textiles on both days
...busy, busy, busy....

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Littlehampton Music & Arts Festival

The Littlehampton festival is now in full-flow and attracting a lot of attention. As well as the Beach Hut, you can see art at various venues around the town, including the Look & Sea gallery, Traders Indoor Market, the Polka Dot Heart cafe (which has now changed it's name but is still in the same place!), the Museum gallery, the Windmill studio (this weekend only), Jan Bennett's studio in Norfolk Road, and several windows in the town centre.
I have a few textile pieces on display at the Polka Dot Heart cafe (can't remember the new name!) and some photographic prints at Traders Indoor Market, where I will also be setting up a permanent display of my work this week. Some of my prints will also be available to buy at the Way Out There And Back shop in Evan's Courtyard from this week, so drop in if you're in the area and take a look.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Beach Hut - Day 1

I spent a wonderful day at the Beach Hut today, exhibiting my photos and textiles as part of the Littlehampton Music & Arts Festival. The beach hut, which has been generously lent to us by the owner for the duration of the festival, was decked out with bunting and filled with textile artwork and photos, with more of the same outside. I had many, many people stopping and looking, some curious, some admiring...some even buying!
There will be other artists in residence on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, next weekend and throughout the following week. I'll be back there on Saturday 22nd Sept (weather permitting). Today the weather was very kind, until mid-afternoon when the wind blew up and I had to gather everything inside before it blew away completely!
Photos will be added very soon......

Monday, 3 September 2012

Vintage September Sale on Etsy

I'm offering 20% off all items purchased from my Etsy shop during September. Use Coupon Code SEPT20 to take advantage of this offer and grab a bargain! Vintage linens, patterns, bags and more!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

September Events Coming Up

The start of the '-er' months usually means the end of summer for me. Although we do sometimes have lovely sunny days in September - and even October - down here on the coast, the days are shorter and the mornings and evenings start to feel chilly.

This year, September marks the start of the first Littlehampton Music & Arts Festival, with lots of events and  activities happening in the town.

Visit Duncan at the Indoor Market to see his studio and a selection of work by other local artists...and pick up a brochure while you're there. The brochures will be available at other venues in the town, including the Museum, the Look & Sea shop and many other outlets.

Drop by the Festival Beach Hut (no.18) on the seafront to catch a variety of artists and artisans exhibiting, selling, making and performing throughout the month.....starting today! I'll be there on Sunday 9th and Saturday 22nd (weather permitting!) exhibiting and selling my photographs and textiles.

The Polka Dot Heart cafe in the town will also be displaying a selection of artworks, as will many other businesses and venues. More details of all these are in the brochure.

September 8th sees the Town Show at Rosemead  - I'll be there on the RNLI stall again this year, so drop by and say hello if you're in the area.

Also on the 8th, there'll be another 'Arts in the Courtyard' event at Evan's Yard in the town centre - well worth a visit to catch the wonderful atmosphere and music.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Littlehampton Goes Psychedelic

Saturday saw the first public outing of my new psychedelic-style photo prints, as well as some old favourites that have been professionally printed onto canvas. The response was really positive and I'll be adding more to my website shortly. Here's just a taste of some of the images on display at the weekend - all are available as canvas, Giclee or framed prints in a variety of sizes. Contact me for more details.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Arts in the Courtyard

It's been a while but I'm back and looking forward to today's event at Evan's Courtyard in Littlehampton. Summer has finally arrived and it promises to be a brilliant day, filled with art, music, food and lots of lovely, creative folk. The courtyard always has a lively atmosphere, but today is going to be special....join us if you can.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer? What Summer?

I can't believe it's nearly the end of June! The longest day has come and gone, along with Midsummer's Day, and we've had hardly any good weather at all yet. I haven't posted anything for a whole month - mainly due to lack of time, as I'm still working part-time to pay the bills - but there really hasn't been much happening since the last time I posted. My making mojo has definitely disappeared somewhere...I just can't get started on anything and the lack of sunshine isn't helping.
I have a couple of fairs coming up in July, so must get cracking...I do have a few ideas but putting them into practice is a different kettle of fish entirely! Roll on summer............

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

From LA to Rustington...on the Arts Trail

As one Arts Trail finishes, so another one starts...this time it's the turn of Rustington to host their first Arts Trail, with many local businesses and venues supporting local artists and makers. There's work to view at the Coopers Yard Studios, Costa Coffee, the museum and a host of other venues in the town (or is it a village?). On Saturday 2nd June I'll be at the WRVS Centre (behind the Co-op), where there'll be an Arts Fair all day, so I hope to see some familiar faces there.

My 'open studio' on Saturday saw a few more people bravely setting out on the Littlehampton Arts Trail - thanks to everyone who dropped in and gave me some lovely feedback. The next one will be in September and should be bigger and better, with hopefully more local artists getting involved and opening their doors to the public. If anyone wants to find out more, contact Duncan Thrussell or visit the Arts in Action website for the latest news and information about the network.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Arts Trail Again!

The second weekend of the Arts Trail and the weather is being so much kinder to us. My studio is only open tomorrow (Saturday) but many of the other venues are open over the whole weekend, so it's not too late to feast your eyes on some fabulous artwork, right here on your doorstep (if you're local that is!).

We had a great write-up in the local rag this week - even got a picture of me in there! - so hopefully that will spread the word a bit wider and they'll be queuing up in the morning (well, I can dream). Pick up a copy of the trail map at the museum or at any venue on the trail...and don't forget the 'fringe' venues too, well worth a look!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Arts Trail Ups & Downs

A mixed reaction to the first weekend of the Arts Trail here in Littlehampton. Saturday was quite a good day weather-wise and a fair number of people dropped in to my open studio, including a photographer from the local paper, so maybe I'll be famous yet!. It was interesting and fun, and worth all the preparation. I finished the day on a high and looked forward to more of the same on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite as benevolent and neither was the public. There were very few visitors and the day dragged a bit. On the plus side, I did manage to get quite a lot of felting done, so not all bad news.
Next weekend I'm only opening on Saturday, so hopefully the sun will shine, the people will be out and all will be well with the world. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Littlehampton Arts Trail

The new Littlehampton Arts Trail will be running over two weekends in May - 19th/20th and 26th/27th - with a wide variety of art available to view across different venues. The Arts Trail coincides with the Open Art Exhibition at the local museum, and also includes shops, businesses, cafes and restaurants, as well as private studios. I'm opening up my own studio on 19th/20th and 26th May and will be working in there as well as displaying a selection of photos, textiles and hand-crafted items. Leaflets are available around the town, or get in touch for more information.

My felt-making workshops are mentioned in the Fashion Sussex e-magazine this month - take a look. There are some gorgeous designs featured in it, all by very talented local designer/makers, and it actively promotes all things British-made, so grab a coffee and have a browse.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Two Exhibitions Starting Today

I went to the preview yesterday evening of the Forge Gallery exhibition in Walberton, West Sussex. The exhibition, by members of the Arts in Action network, was curated by Duncan Thrussell and includes work by many local artists and makers - Leona Angus, Una Beavan, Jan Bennett, Fiona Champion, Su Cloud, Gordon Ferrie, David Freud, Des Kilfeather, Nina Mills, Robert Pledger, Lisa Ridger, Sharon Robson, Jacqui Sinclair-Clarke, Valerie Shepherd, Patricia Stefanski, Hilary Stirling, Duncan Thrussell........and me! The exhibition is colourful and varied, and well worth a visit if you're in the area. It's on for the next four weeks until 19th May. Contact the Forge Gallery for more details.

The first Littlehampton Open Art Exhibition also starts today at Littlehampton Museum. It includes work from artists across Sussex and is a great opportunity to see some of the wonderful art being created locally...including some photos by me! The exhibition runs until 8th June. Contact Littlehampton Museum for more details.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Littlehampton Art market at Windmill Studio

Tomorrow, Saturday 14th April, there will be an 'affordable art market' at the Windmill Theatre Studio, just off the seafront in Littlehampton. It's being organised by Arts-in-Action, a local art network, and will be open from 11am until 5pm - lots of local art and crafts to look at and buy, so come along and enjoy a browse.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Littlehampton Open/Bosham/Forge Gallery

All 3 of my photos got accepted in the Littlehampton Open Art Exhibition, which was a lovely surprise. The exhibition starts on 21st April at Littlehampton Museum and runs until June. The theme is 'Spirit of Spring' and I'm looking forward to seeing all the successful pieces.

Went over to Bosham yesterday to top up my shelves at the Arts & Crafts Centre, ready for the Easter rush! It was a gorgeous day despite the gloomy weather forecast - wall-to-wall sunshine most of the day - and the Centre is looking great after it's winter refurb. There is a massive variety of artwork and crafts on display there, really high quality work, and the location is just perfect.

My next deadline is the submission of work for the Forge Gallery exhibition at Walberton, due in next week, so that's my focus for the rest of this week. Back to work part-time after Easter, so time to play now and enjoy this last week of freedom.....happy days!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Disappointing Craft Fair

Thanks to the ridiculous panic-buying of fuel last week, very few people turned up to the craft fair on Saturday, making it a dismal day for those of us selling there. There was a slight improvement on Sunday but visitor numbers for the weekend were much lower than usual. So, what should have been a great weekend, wasn't. Oh well, such is life.....
I now have to decide whether it's worth paying for another weekend in October or not. I'm told it's usually a much busier event and definitely worth trying, but who knows what will happen by October?

The 'Made It-Flaunt It' website includes 2 of my bags in the April showcase, which is great news. It's a good way to promote handmade and hopefully will take a few more people to my website.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Littlehampton Open Exhibition - Submissions Wanted

This week is the week to get any artwork in for the first Littlehampton Open art exhibition. The exhibition is open to all Sussex artists, irrespective of age or medium, amateurs or professionals and is free. Each artist can submit up to 3 pieces of work based on the theme 'Spirit of Spring'. The deadline for submissions is Saturday 31st March at 4.30pm. More details are on the Town Council's website, including full terms & conditions. I'm putting in a couple of new photos which I've just finished mounting and framing - wish me luck!

Other work - still making lots of stock for the craft fair at Lancing College this weekend (fingers crossed it will be a good one!) and to top up my shelves at Bosham Arts & Crafts Centre before the Easter weekend. Anything else available will be added to my Folksy shop. There's plenty to keep me busy, but I also have to make the most of this gorgeous sunny weather - it would be a crime not to - so it's a balancing act this week with a bit of work, a bit of play, and lots of sunshine!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Art & Crafts at Bosham

Oops, just realised I haven't posted on here for more than a week. I had such good intentions of posting regularly but sometimes it just doesn't happen....
Anyway, today I went over to Bosham, to the lovely Crafts Centre there, to see whether I could put some of my bags and accessories in there. Well, I got the go-ahead and tomorrow I'll be stocking a few shelves there with my goodies, ready for the hordes of visitors and holidaymakers. I also have a few pieces of textile art for sale there, which was an unexpected bonus!
On the downside, I now have to replenish my stocks ready for the craft fair in just 2 weeks I know what I'll be doing over the next few days!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Not So Bright or Beautiful Now!

So much for Spring.....what a difference a week makes! Sunday was wet, windy and cold - the RNLI shop (where I occasionally work) was dead, no more than a couple of customers all afternoon. This morning I took my felt goodies out of Jan Bennett's window - thanks again Jan for allowing me to use the space for the past 4 weeks. This evening was the monthly Arts in Action meeting - always good to catch up with the rest of the crowd - so that's another Monday done!
I'm still working on some pieces to submit into two upcoming exhibitions, plus all the stock for various craft fairs, as well as getting my 'studio' ready to use (but to be honest, I've really only thought about that, I haven't actually done anything!). So the rest of the week will be busier than ever - how did I ever find the time to work?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Bright & Beautiful Weekend!

I know it's Monday morning and a bit grey and damp (well, it is here anyway) but what a lovely weekend it was!

It started well with a private viewing at Coopers Yard Studios, where Duncan Thrussell, Jacqui Sinclair-Clarke, Lisa Ridgers and Penny Alspaugh held an Open Weekend. It was great to catch up with some of the Arts-in-Action crowd and meet a few new people too, but the main attraction was the wonderfully diverse artwork from this talented group of local artists.

Saturday was my February felt-making workshop and I was lucky enough to spend the day with two lovely ladies who were keen to learn this addictive craft and made it a really interesting, fun day. They went away pleased with their 'makes'.....and probably ached all day yesterday!

Sunday was a gloriously sunny day down here on the coast and I walked along the seafront and river, taking photos in the sunshine and marveling at the crowds so early in the year. It could have been a weekend in May, it was so busy! I popped into the Look & Sea gift shop, to check on my photo-cards and deliver my new photo-magnets, which they will also be stocking this year.

Now, back to work....

Friday, 24 February 2012

Studio Refurb

It's time to get my 'studio' (posh word for garage!) refurbished so I can start producing more silks and felts and running more workshops. I'm also planning to open it up as part of the Littlehampton Arts Trail in May, so that's an added incentive. I need bucket loads of white paint for the ceiling and walls, a few shelves added, a large water container (no plumbing in the garage) and lots of colourful bits on the walls to inspire me.
I've managed to get the strip-light working - having bought a replacement tube that I didn't actually need! - and cleared away all the winter cobwebs, dead insects and assorted rubbish, so I'm ready to roll with the paint. I'm really looking forward to turning a boring, dead space into something vibrant and productive.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Textile Fun

Had a great time this morning playing with my new Paverpol textile hardener. It's a bit like PVA glue - all white, sticky and messy - but dries transparent and rock hard. I managed to get it all over me and the kitchen, as well the textiles, but what fun! It's usually used to make figures or sculptures using fabric but I made a couple of very nice linen and lace bowls. I have to wait about a week for them to fully harden off, but they'll then be suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Now what else can I use it on.......? (keep it clean please!!)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Give your Kindle a New Coat

It's the new season so why not re-style your Kindle for the Spring/Summer with a new handmade coat? More stylish than the high-street versions, these little couture creations will turn your Kindle into an original accessory. They make a great gift too - wouldn't your Mum just love one for her new Kindle? (Hint: Mother's Day is 18 March this year.)
Click on the links to see more.
Red Hot

Romantic Paris

Linen Look

Coral and Turquoise

Nouveau Blue

Retro Floral