Strange Days

So we’re about to enter our third week of lockdown in the UK.

There’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write!

Full disclosure: my daily routine really hasn’t changed due to already living an extremely quiet, solitary (if you don’t count the dog and the husband) existence in the countryside, mostly making things and going for walks. I’m very fortunate in that regard. So this blog post is not going to be about how daily life has changed beyond all recognition. I feel for all the people who’s world has been turned upside down by this current crisis, most of all those who have succumbed to the virus, and their families who are dealing with a personal tragedy amid the chaos. I think about the NHS and frontline workers, the parents, the carers, the people who are struggling to make ends meet until funds come through (if they come through). The small business owners who could lose everything they’ve worked so hard for. Here’s hoping life can return to relative normality soon before too much more damage is done.

For me, the first few days of lockdown were spent keeping my head down, avoiding listening to news reports and distracting myself with making, making, making. Firmly staying put in my happy place. But slowly I started to feel like I was unravelling slightly; I could no longer concentrate on anything, hours would go by and nothing would be achieved. My little workroom is stuffed with wood, cut and ready to go, so why can’t I just get on and do it? Every day I venture in there with good intentions and every day ends without being any further forward. An awful lot of time is spent gazing out of the window, wondering when the lambs are going to finally join us, or thinking about the raised veg beds we’ve been planning to build. But then I feel guilty about having a nice garden and views while so many people don’t. I’ve been wildly veering from feeling happily oblivious, to feeling so angry at the world. But these are trivial concerns in these dark days.

With regards to keeping things going with my business…I’m constantly questioning whether to post out orders from my online shops because I don’t want to add to the postal service’s problems with non-essential items, but I also don’t want my income to dry up completely. But then, are people even spending money on non-essential items? I’ve kept my Etsy and Folksy shops open otherwise it really would feel like there’s no point in making anything! Anyway, this blog post is much more of a downer than I was intending, so I will finish with what I have managed to produce since the start of this craziness – a wee range of completely unique printed wooden necklaces!

They are available from the Folksy shop (incidentally the folk at Folksy have been very lovely and featured a lot of my work a lot of late, which has cheered me up no end) and can be posted via the letterbox rather than the post office. But then some poor postie’s workload still gets added to…oh, I don’t know!

I think I’ll end on a positive note – a picture of Rudy surveying his domain…and looking a bit feral (but aren’t we all these days)

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Thanks for reading and stay safe x

Rudy And The Rowan Tree

July is almost over (how did that happen?!) and things have been on the quiet side regarding Hooperhart; July is always a slow sales month what with summer holidays etc, so I’ve been trying to get as much stock made in advance of the autumn/winter season as possible to avoid panic stations later on. I’ve also been somewhat distracted by our purchase of a campervan at the start of the month – a 27 year old Talbot Rambler called Tallulah complete with cooker, fridge, loo, shower, a full set of crockery, and most importantly, a wine rack!

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I’d been hankering for another campervan since our beloved Bridget (aka the smallest camper in the world ever) had to be retired from service four years ago; having the freedom to head off whenever you fancy (and in Scotland whenever the weather allows) has such a strong appeal. The thought of being on the road, heading to a remote beach or catching a ferry to an island for a few days is always in the back of my mind, so I was pretty happy to find a suitable replacement in Tallulah.

Anyway, besides tootling along the B-roads of Scotland, I’ve also started making little houses from reclaimed wood under the name Rudy and the Rowan Tree:

Rudy and the Rowan Tree

When I’m making my dioramas it’s quite a precise process – there’s a lot of design and planning involved to make sure the finished piece physically and aesthetically fits together. As the work has developed I’ve moved further and further away from the printed pattern aspect (which is where it all began really). So I thought it would be nice to return to that again –  and to make something which was quite free and celebrated the random patterns created by screenprinting layers onto a surface, without planning how the finished piece will look. This, along with the fact I had built up a fine collection of random bits of wood in the outhouse (as you do) let me to making these pocket-sized house-shaped works of art.

I’d long admired other makers’ little houses on Instagram and Pinterest, be they ceramic, glass, concrete or wood (and had bought a few too!). So this is my own individual take on the miniature house. Each one is completely unique, and the nice thing about them is they are small, affordable and very collectible. You can build a street or even a whole village!

If you like the look of these wee cuties I’ve opened a separate Rudy And The Rowan Tree Folksy shop which currently has free UK shipping over £30, so feel free to have a little browse. I’m also going to be debuting them in the flesh at Southside Artist and Makers Market on August 30th so if you’re in the Glasgow area pop along. More details on this to follow so keep an eye on my SHOP page 🙂

Well, got to go now as it’s time to feed the dog (the original Rudy)

Thanks for reading!