Wednesday, 23 April 2014


I finished the first larger piece inspired by my  A YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME project. It is a piece that explores where we form our identity and uses much of the imagery from the motherhood section of my daily drawings.

Welcome To The Party
Mixed-media drawing on paper.
size: 55cm x 77cm

For the daily drawings that are being produced by this project visit my tumblr site here. xxx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


My workspace has been a moveable feast of late. I have been wandering around the house trying to make various places work to no avail. My move into my husband's music room failed miserably, it would seem I like to work with nobody watching over my shoulder...also sewing-machine noise v piano is not a great battle to fight not to mention all the unspoken animosity in the would seem a man's space is sacred! 

So my sewing machine moved to a space at the back of the dining table but what to do for the rest of my process?

So I bit the bullet and moved back into our spare and tiny box room upstairs in the hope that I could find a way to get in there and work at night without Tilly seeing me! So far it's working....even if it has meant crawling into the room on my hands and knees to not be seen. (If you are new here and are wandering WHAT? Tilly has Smith Magenis Syndrome and doesn't sleep well and would not leave me alone to work if she knew I was upstairs.) 

I recently added a second desk to accompany my pink desk cobbled together from 2 bed drawers and a bit of old wood! This 2 desk set-up is working so much better for me. So here we go a tour of my new workspace upstairs....

I am using the big desk under the window for the larger pieces while the pink desk sees my daily doll drawings and other work taking place.

The wardrobe doors are covered in my mind maps for my current project.

 This is a new thing for me to do and has come about after I was inspired by a chapter in Scott Belsky's book 'Making Ideas Happen' where he talks about 'done walls' and visual organisation.

A Done Wall
A motivational testament to progress!
Image found here on Life Hacker

Being a 100% visual beast I read this part of the book and his interview with John Maeda and I knew immediately that I wanted to try this! I had never thought of making organisation, planning and progress more visual before! So my constant notes and mind maps, always grabbed as I work in varied notebooks but also often lost when the notebooks are closed....are now being transferred onto a large wall map. I love it!!!

'' Meada believes that to truly organize things in his life, he needs to properly understand them. And to properly understand something-anything-he feels the need to see it and work with it visually.....Maeda believes the creative's ability to stay organized is not natural. Instead, it must be enforced using methods like visual stimulation and walls covered with thoughts, plans, and objectives.''

Another thing I have grabbed from this book is the need for action in order to make an idea happen.....individual action points are also being listed on the wall and crossed off as I work. (see red on far right sheet!) Who knows, I may end up with a DONE WALL like the one pictured above soon!

And then of course there's my big year planner with my chain of crosses for each day worked....another visual push to get on with it and not break the chain!

Also on the wall the eclectic magic of working from a home with 3 little kids...the lid from a packet of wipes with drawing is my hand made DS made by Tilly to play on when I get tired! On the cork boards sit postcards and gifts from lovely friends and DOLL 100 made by my super creative Poppy who adores my doll project! A plastic doily that I am using in my artwork at present hangs alongside drawings made from it again done by Poppy and finally clippings from this week's paper of our home-town rugby team success....yes that's me in shot, middle row, far right....GO QUEENS!!!

On the windowsill is my 3 tier basket where I put all the things I need to grab regularly and my rainbow doll smiles down reminding me to work happy!

So there you have it, my studio! A new space with new experiments on organisation and lots of new work happening! It's my quiet space, my run to place, my little piece of this crazy world just for me! I ADORE THIS ROOM!

And as you can see there's lots going on. The large painting is now finished and just look at all the doll drawings done! I can't quite catch my breath how quickly work builds up if you just create a little every day.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour! I will try to share my sewing space next week! xxxxx

So where do you create? If you have shared it anywhere I would simply love for you to tell me or leave a link in the comments. I adore looking at other people's workspaces....whether it be a shed, a desk, a cupboard or a huge room! 

If like me you are an art studio 'stalker' you may want to check out my pinterest art-studio board here.
Also I have a flickr board here with images of my workspace as it has moved around...oh and my crazy pink hair that I miss!

I have also begun to collect visual organisational ideas on a pinterest board here if you are interested in this aspect of the post xxx

Monday, 21 April 2014


Today I wanted to share some of the thoughts behind my current artwork. I have been wanting to share more of my 'process' here rather than just finished work for quite a while now. I wonder what you will think?

There are lots of themes and ideas emerging, unravelling and taking hold as I work daily on my YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME project. Sometimes the ideas jump out and yell in my face, loud ideas with invisible hands that grab me and shake me by the shoulders! Other times the ideas creep out and whisper gently, forming slowly. But all of them, the loud and the quiet, loop and knot around each other, connecting in a fascinating dance.

One of the ideas that is holding me at the moment in this work is how life offers up a subtraction to add. What do I mean by that? Well have you ever considered what elements of YOU exist in TRUTH, what elements exist because YOU ARE and in contrast what elements have been manipulated by life and others? Have you ever considered if YOU are truly seen, and if seen is that accepted or do you feel the tug of those around you trying to extinguish the essence of what you are in order to impose their own, more pleasing vision? Do people subtract you in order to add their own version and more importantly how much have you bought into the process?

We are naturally a product of our own selves and the influences of those around us, life demands, challenges and social convention. But what if you feel the balance has twisted so far that you can't trust who you are any more?

Are you the yes girl....the peacemaker....the giver.....the facilitator for others.....the are you happy with who I am or shall I change it woman? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you decided to just be stop the chasing, hoop-jumping, people-pleasing? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you demanded people stop subtracting your essence and claimed the empty void back so you could add some of your own elements again? Would anybody have your back if you insisted on a bit of truth for once?

How much of YOU is YOU?
How much of YOU is the product of other people subtracting in order to add? What happens when the balance shifts and we loose ourselves into that void of nothing left?

These are just a tiny portion of the ideas I am exploring in this project at the moment. It's a project that questions where our identity comes from, how we are shaped and how we find ourselves's a personal exploration.

And so I began to draw the dolls with the void seemed so apt for these dolls to be formed by the nothingness! These dolls emerging through the missing elements in the drawing soon began to scream loudly about many new themes.

I cut repeating voids, multiple body parts, many faces! Which face are you wearing today to greet the world? Which one is true? I know through my bouts of depression, just how to paint the void bright and smile at the world. You may see colour but underneath the void is there still tugging? Which face is real? 

These multiple faces in other doll drawings become juggling balls. The juggler, the plate spinner, the mother, the friend, the hated, the talked about, the rumour spread, the artist, the carer, the layabout, the champion, the lazy, the overstretched....add in demand upon demand and watch the anxiety grow!


And so this CUTTING element of the project, this conversation with the void, it is all pushing me towards an exploration of the anxiety-filled darker side of identity. Cutting and voids have quite literally opened up completely new paths to explore.

I have ordered some new but simple paper-cutting tools which I wait for with great anticipation. I am excited to explore a new skill as I work on this project as I have never done any paper-cutting before. So far all the paper-cutting has been done with an old craft knife on the tiny blue cutting board you can see in the pictures that I got free with something... I can't even remember what! Let's just say a bigger surface area to cut on and sharper blades will be a real treat!

And so the project continues.....I am 70 days in now and loving every minute!

To see daily updates of the work visit my tumblr here.
For a background on the project visit my art blog here.
To find out more about A YEAR OF CREATIVE HABITS visit Crystal's space here and join in.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


Here is this week's collection for Art-Stopping Sunday...a selection of the art and creativity that has made my heart stop and skip a beat across the week!

 Please enjoy because I did!

1. The ariel photography of Klaus Leidorf and on flickr here.
2. A journal project, The Last Supper by Platonova Nataliya. 
3. The magical worlds created by Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger here...originally found here.
4. The mixed-media portraits of Louis Boudreault here...originally found here.
5. The silhouette paintings of Eva Christin Laszka here.
6. The illustrations, sketchbooks and artwork of Jenny Meilihove here.
7. The sewn wonders of Jennifer Collier here.
8. The sewing and beauty over at Daisy Moon.
9. The embroidery of Sara Lechner found here and on flickr here and here.

Do you have some magic to share...please leave a link in the comments if you do! It could be art, craft, fashion, photography, the written word....whatever captured your creative soul this week! Have a beautiful Sunday everybody. xxxxx

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Easter school holidays. Sunshine. Days out. 

1. Poppy studying the map at the wild-fowl trust in Evesham.
2. Tilly at the park, spinning and joyous....these two states always together like good friends.
3. My fearless Busby. This image sums him up right now!

My favourites last week were...

These amazing images over at THE SAGA BY STEINSDOTTER, I find her images breathtaking always x

Joining in with Jodi here and also The Living Arrows project here.

living arrows

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I have to admit that last month's reading got slightly blown off-track by an inability to gauge my reaction to one of March's selected books, THE ROSIE PROJECT. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did I feel it was great for the main character to be on the autistic spectrum? Did I loathe the book's handling of special-needs or applaud it? As a mum of a child with special-needs I really couldn't fathom what I thought and kept leaving the book for days on end while I pondered!

Finally, as I read more of the book I relaxed more into it but I have to say there were moments when I hated the glibness and the humour derived from the character's 'quirks'. Yes, admittedly the book never ever strayed into the territory of laughing AT special-needs but the very fact it derived most its humour from this source, grated on my mama's heart! 

As for the other books...Gone Girl was great and The Five People You Meet In Heaven was an awesome  'must read' that I just couldn't put down....a one sitting book!

April has a line-up that features more non-fiction than usual and I am truly excited about it all!

The non-fiction is inspired by my year of creative habits project that you can catch up with daily at my tumblr site here! Most of these books come recommended by Crystal here.....see I am paying attention Crystal! 

The first of  the non-fiction is one I didn't get to last month....Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. Then there is Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.

And for fiction this month I have two beauties in the mix, THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy and THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.

So what are you reading this tell!

Come find me at GOODREADS here!

Joining in with the lovely Laura over at CIRCLE OF PINE TREES here!