Hello! Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet 🙂 I have been neglecting it quite badly – I was a little shocked to see that I have only done 3 posts on here in the past year…3!!! That is very poor I think you’ll agree…in my defence it’s been a difficult year and my mind has been elsewhere for much of it. Health/work/money issues, bereavement and moving to a different county (and not yet having a home of our own) are all things which have really gotten in the way. Making my work always makes me feel better by taking me out of myself and giving me focus, but there have been so many times when I’ve felt ‘what’s the point?’ However, the only thing for it is to keep going and keep doing what makes me happy (where possible)! So in lieu of any new work, here’s a wee round-up of some of my favourite pieces from the past year…
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the period we’re in at the moment more of a challenge than when we were in full lockdown; normality is returning, but not necessarily the good aspects (traffic levels springs to mind), and other things are still a very long way off (cultural hubs re-opening etc)…I think I accepted and adjusted to lockdown in the knowledge that it was a temporary situation, and in a few months we would return to our old lives and move on.
Of course it’s not proving to be that straightforward, and the ‘new normal’ is a pale imitation of our old lives – another way of living which we have to accept and adjust to all over again. Thousands of people have no jobs to return to and thousands more are facing the same prospect in the coming months; tourism and culture (both a hugely vital part of the Uk economy) will struggle to recover from the effects of COVID-19 for years to come. I actually feel more anxious and pessimistic than I did 4 months ago. So, to try and gee myself up a bit I’ve decided to take part in the Artist Support Pledge.
Artist Support Pledge is “a culture and economy in support of artists and makers established and led by artist Matthew Burrows on 16th March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now a global movement of connected communities committed to an equitable and sustainable economy for artist and makers of all countries, media and ethnicities”. The concept is a simple one – when an artist/maker sells £1000 worth of their work, they pledge to spend £200 on other artists’ work. It is mostly focused around Instagram but I’ll also be posting about it on my Facebook page.
As we approach the tail-end of summer (!!!!) I would normally be starting to plan ahead for the autumn and winter’s markets and fairs, but these are very much up in the air at the moment, which is a huge concern. So I’m hoping the Artist Support Pledge will generate some sales and of course enable me to spend money on lovely things (I’ve already compiled a want list)!
Thanks for reading x
There’s always a bit of a post-festive lull here at Hooperhart Headquarters; stock has been depleted to the point of non-existence, I don’t have any trade fairs to prep for, and if I’m honest, I use January as an excuse to take things a little easy. It’s a time to contemplate the year ahead and consider how I want to develop and avenues I fancy exploring…to mix things up a bit I’ve signed up for a weekend course using a material which couldn’t be more different to wood, but more on that at a later date!
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about making more boxed dioramas and developing the storytelling aspect of them in a visual way. I started making them in 2017, initially using domino boxes and wooden cubes:
I’m always on the lookout for interesting boxes which will be suitable for housing little worlds – towards the end of last year I found some with lovely little clasps and lids:
They’ve gradually become more elaborate, and I’ve started using transfers alongside screenprinting and painting as a way to get fine detail and text onto the boxes and their interiors:
So far the boxes have all been fairly small but I’ve recently acquired some larger boxes which I want to use but I’m concerned the little scenes I have in mind might lose their charm the bigger they get…I could certainly fit plenty of detail in though. I’ve even been considering designing some around a character from literature – and I usually steer well clear from actual humans in my work! Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone, we’ll see…I’ll continue to mull this one over – first step is to sit down with the sketchbook and put pencil to paper…
Thanks for reading 🙂
Hello! I promised a quick post about where you can catch me out and about this summer, so here we are – I’ve only booked two fairs so far (commitment-phobe, moi?) but they are goodies!
First up this Saturday, June 22nd is Perthshire Creates: there will be 52 talented makers exhibiting over two venues – Perth Civic Hall (where I’ll be) and Perth Museum & Art Gallery. Open from 10am -4.30pm
Then in August I’ll be at the fabulous Tea Green Market Weekend at Bowhouse, St Monans, Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th, 10am-4pm with lots of great contemporary craft, artisan food and cool tunes…
It’s been so long since I did a fair but I’m quite impressed with how laid back I am about it all, but then that applies to most things these days (see last post)! As long as I remember my stock, float, phone and card machine I should be alright…
I’m going to blow my own trumpet here and tell you that I’m kinda loving how my work is looking right now! Hopefully other folk will agree. It’s always a dilemma deciding on how much to take to fairs but this time I’ve got myself a super new trolley/cart thingy so at least it’ll be no bother to transport everything to the venues!
So if you’re in the Perth/Fife area this summer, pop along to these fab fairs and support Scottish contemporary craft and small business 🙂
So it’s January, and it’s cold. No surprise there then! We haven’t had any snow yet here at Hooperhart Headquarters but I’ve got a feeling February might oblige… Myself and Mr Biscuits are snuggled up on the sofa under a variety of blankets this afternoon, watching the birds in the garden fluttering around the feeder, reflecting on the past few months and ruminating on plans for the weeks to come.
The festive season seems like a distant memory now – it’s amazing to me how events which happened three weeks ago can seem like months ago just because they happened ‘last year’. But it was a successful few months, a nice way to end the year. It’s great to finish the year with hardly any stock left, and a huge relief, as nothing is ever guaranteed.
2018 was definitely the year of the fox – I only began making works featuring foxes last summer and they have been far and away my bestsellers. I love foxes but I wasn’t aware so many other people did too! There are families of foxes living in the woods at the end of our road, and we quite often come across each other on the dog walk. I think it’s such a privilege to live in close proximity to wildlife and it lifts my spirits to know they are there, quietly going about their business.
The fox is such a symbolic animal and has been used countless times in art and storytelling to convey intelligence, elusiveness, trickery, transformation, wildness, freedom, magic powers, and so on. A forest setting adds to the sense of a story to be told…
I recently read a lovely description by Unit Twelve from their upcoming exhibition Into the Woods: ” The forest acts as a potent symbol of adventure and discovery, a place where the barrier between reality and fantasy begins to thin…the wonder and whimsy of these magical places, a whimsy that is subtly shaded by with undertones of the sinister and the macabre”. I think this actually sums up what I aim to capture in my work in general – the creation of a little window into another world, an imaginary place just a little bit more magical and intriguing than our own…
Well, I think we can safely say that autumn has definitely arrived in central Scotland: the temperature has dropped, the leaves are turning, and darkness descends at a frighteningly early hour. The end of summer seemed to happen strangely quickly this year, and an Indian Summer looks like it’s off the cards. Despite all that, there’s something about September that I really love, even though it signifies the end of summer and the beginning of the long dark winter to come.
It’s a month for wrapping yourself in cosy knitwear, going for long walks amidst a kaleidoscope of colour, and coming home to a glass of sherry in front of a crackling fire…or in my reality it means donning waterproof trousers, traipsing along muddy pathways with the dog and coming home to spend half an hour cleaning said dog and draping dirty towels over the radiators! Either way, there is a certain atmosphere about the autumn which has long been a source of inspiration for creative types, and as a result I’ve been making a few items in warm, autumnal colours to mark the change in the seasons.
To see all my work currently available, click on the link in the top right hand corner or go to my ‘Shop’ page.
So here’s to a happy, cosy few months ahead, and I’ll leave you with one of my favourite photographs of the afore-mentioned dog, Rudy (aka Mr Biscuits), looking all autumnal…
Our unusually long heatwave seems to have come to end today – for the first time in about a month I did the dog walk wearing a cagoule this morning! However, the fact that it’s grey and cloudy outside means it’s perfect blog-writing conditions, and I really want to tell you about my recent trip to Aberdeen 🙂 Back in January I was invited by a lovely wee establishment called Teasel and Tweed to be their June Maker of the Month; an absolute treasure trove stocking a huge variety of beautiful art and craft (all made in Scotland), Teasel and Tweed seemed like a good place to showcase my work so I jumped at the chance.
All my dioramas feel like my ‘babies’ and a lot of time and care goes into making each one, which makes me nervous about sending them out in the wild indefinitely on a sale or return basis! This is why the Maker of the Month is the perfect concept for someone like me who has a relatively small output of limited edition work – it’s like having a mini solo exhibition, and it gave me something to work towards especially at a quieter time of year when it can be easy to lose focus a little bit. Check out the Teasel and Tweed website and blog for more pictures and info here
It’s been a long time (20 years!) since I visited Aberdeen; I actually lived there for a couple of years once upon a time between school and college (for the first couple of months in a caravan park on the outskirts of the city which was fun as it was the summertime – we moved into a flat before the North East winter hit). My dad came from Aberdeen and my sister attended art school there so there were always connections. Having grown up in bang in the middle of Central Scotland it was a novelty living in a city by the sea, and I remember one summer evening a group of us decided to go to the beach to watch the sun come up…turned out not to be like in the movies as being on the North Sea coast we near froze to death!
While there recently I took a walk along the beach, stopped at one of the beach cafés for lunch, and continued on to Footdee at the south end of beach by the harbour.
If you’ve never been to Footdee (Fittie to the locals) it’s a very cute little enclave made up of squares of terraced houses with quirky sheds and huts in the middle of each square. Originally a fishing village, it gained conservation status in the 1960s and it has now become one of the most expensive areas of Aberdeen to buy property – changed days from when I lived in the city in the 1990s! Nestled beside the busy and very industrial working harbour, it wasn’t seen as hugely desirable back then, but then you could buy a flat in Aberdeen for about £20,000 so…anyway, definitely worth a visit.
Well it’s now lunchtime and the sun has come out (yay!), which means it’s time to round up the terriers for their walk round the park. Thanks for reading and remember to check out Teasel and Tweed online and in the flesh if you can!