New Beginnings

We’re now halfway through June which means it’s been 6 months since I last wrote a blog entry!! Okay, it has been a busy 6 months with lots of life changes but still – 6 months!! So I thought I’d do a very quick one so it doesn’t look like I’ve abandoned it completely ūüôā

So we moved to country (and closer to the coast – yay!) 20190528_165315.jpg

This is a photo from one of our dog walking routes nearby our house. I would have definitely have described Rudy as a ‘townie’ but he’s getting used to the sheep, cows and lack of pavements. At first it was a big re-adjustment for both of us after a bit of a traumatic move full of doubt and regret (long story), but after a couple of weeks out here I realised just how stressed and tense I’d felt for the past five years, and how much more laid back about everything I am now. The idea was to simplify our lives and relax more and so far we’re on the right track (and it’s amazing how being near the water has a profoundly calming effect).

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Thanks to the previous tenants’ hard work we have a really beautiful, fully-formed garden which makes glancing out of the window a very happy experience (oh, and I’ve just noticed the ‘cuckoo’s spit’ in this photo – it’s reminded me that I must go to www.brc.ac.uk and record my sightings just in case Xylella fastidiosa spreads to the UK).

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Well, I told you this was going to be a quick entry! It’s time to feed then walk the dog, although it won’t be in weather this alas…I’ll be back soon, however, to fill you in on some new work I’ve been making and where I’ll be exhibiting and selling this summer. TTFN ūüôā

 

My favourite month

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…

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Maggie’s Penguin Parade

Earlier this year I was over the moon to have a design accepted for Maggie’s Penguin Parade – a fantastic public art event taking place in Dundee and Tayside this summer. Myself and seventy-odd other artists were sponsored by local companies to realise our designs on giant fibreglass penguins which were to be dotted around the Dundee area before being auctioned off to raise money for¬†Maggie’s Centre. Maggie’s Centre provides practical, social and emotional support for people with cancer and costs ¬£540,000 per year to run. The aim of the Penguin Parade is to keep Maggie’s doors open for a year.

maggies centre

I don’t know anyone who has not experienced the devastating effect of cancer can have on their own lives or those of friends and family. It is so vital for organisations like Maggie’s to keep going so they can continue to make¬†a crucial¬†difference to people’s lives when they are at their most vulnerable. The Penguin Parade has been organised in partnership with Wild in Art¬†who have staged some incredible events across the globe and helped raised an enormous amount of funds for charitable causes.

My¬†design (chosen by my sponsor Thornton’s Law¬†) is called ‘Penguin Classic’ and is based on one of¬†the iconic Penguin Books book jacket designs. I chose Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ – a tale of endurance which seemed to fit with Dundee’s history and maritime heritage.

One of the lovely things about being involved with¬†this project¬†has been seeing all the wonderful pictures on social media of the public engaging with the Penguins and joining in the ‘Penguin Hunt’; some have actually managed to find all 80 penguins which is very dedicated!¬†When I was there I only¬†spotted about 10 but it was a bit of a flying visit…!

I was completely blown away by the intricate detail and creativity¬†of so many of the designs! The artists have¬†realised their designs with so much love, talent¬†and care, it’s just a wonderful thing to see.¬†You can see all¬†of the¬†designs¬†on Maggie’s Penguin Parade¬†website¬†but really you should make the trip to Dundee if you can to see them in all their glory! The penguins are on the streets until September 7th 2018 before the grand auction will send them off to their forever homes.

Before I go I just want to share some of my favourite shots I’ve seen of Ernest from Instagram – click on the images for the larger version:

Thanks very much Maggie’s Penguin Parade, Thornton’s Law, and the people¬†of Dundee!

 

Northern Lights

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 ūüôā¬†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!