Happy New Year Sale!

Hello and a Happy New Year to you! I hope you all had a lovely festive season and are gently easing into 2023. My start to the year went a bit awry with our Hogmanay plans being stymied by heavy snow – of course it was the first year in a long time that we decided to venture outside! Let’s hope this is not indicative of the rest of 2023.Anyway, I usually like to kick off the New Year with some cheeky wee reductions to give things a bit of a boost, so I’m here to tell you about the HooperHart and Rudy and the Rowan Tree January sales!

For the whole of January you can get

20% off EVERYTHING

in HooperHart’s Folksy and Etsy stores

using the code: FAREWELL2022

And to make way for new work, there are a sizeable reductions on selected pieces in the

Rudy and the Rowan Tree Folksy store

(no code needed)

January and February are usually a quiet month and therefore a good opportunity to plan ahead and start new work – I’ve already got a list of things I want to get started on so watch this space!

Thanks for reading and all the best for 2022 x

Thank you!

Well, that’s the busy season over for me for another year and I have to say it was rather frantic, but in a good way! Coming into it I was quite concerned about how it was going to go, particularly as online sales in 2022 had taken a worrying nose-dive even before the harsh reality of the Cost of Living Crisis started to kick in. However I’m pleased and relieved to report that I was very pleasantly surprised (on some occasions completely gobsmacked!) at just how many people turned out to support local events and small creative businesses. Maybe this year folk are really considering carefully how they spend their money and who they spend it with, possibly buying less but buying thoughtfully…I don’t know but whatever it is I am extremely grateful!

There is no doubt that many challenges lie ahead for most of us financially in 2023; the price of everything is rising and there can’t be a single small business in the UK who will not be affected by this. For myself, production costs have already increased substantially over the past few months…this plus a countrywide shortage of my main material (plywood) has been preying on my mind, and I know that at some point soon I will have to sit down and seriously consider how I can make changes in order to continue doing what I love and what I have worked so hard to develop over the past six years. Looking on the bright side, reflection and re-evaluation are not usually a bad thing, so I’m hopeful I can up with a workable plan!

Whatever happens I will be back next year with news of what I’m up to…in the meantime check out the sale in my Folksy shop – starting on Boxing Day!

I’ll take my leave with a massive THANK YOU to everyone who supported my artistic endeavours this year…I wish you happiness and good health this festive season!

Autumn Almanac

Another summer of record-breaking temperatures comes to an end…spectacularly in Perthshire with torrential rain and flooding replacing scorched earth and water shortages.

As we move into September, I’m trying not to focus on the implications of these extremes in the weather and staving off the melancholic thoughts by looking forward to my birthday (it’s a big one!), enjoying the changing colours on my daily walks, and planning the rest of the year’s making.

Wooden Autumn Decorations by HooperHart on Folksy
Fox Brooches by HooperHart on Folksy
Starlit Fox mini framed diorama by HooperHart on Folksy

The calendar is filling up with festive events and it’s looking like I’ll be a bit busier with these than last year, now that things have returned to normal (whatever that is!). Keep checking my ‘SHOP’ page for details of where you can find me in person this winter. See you soon 🙂

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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How it’s made

It’s mid March and the snow has started falling again, so it seems like a good time to snuggle up under a blanket and write another blog post! My subject today is the making process, which in my case has many stages, but it’ll give you a rough overview of how I make my pictures and dioramas.

Each piece I make stems from a black and white line drawing in my sketchbook, or more often a series of drawn shapes and patterns rather than a fully formed ‘scene’. I photograph each drawing and piece them together using Photoshop on my laptop. From here I can create layers and manipulate them to give me a rough idea of how the finished picture will look.

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In a way it’s like working out how the layers for a screenprint will look, but each layer will become a ply shape rather than a silkscreen. Each piece has to fit into a frame or a box so a lot of measuring and re-measuring takes place; in the case of the above design where some shapes will touch the inner frame top and bottom, the tree sizes have to be exact to fit perfectly. Once I’m happy with this stage I can then turn each separate piece into a vector drawing using Inkscape, ready for laser cutting. Depending on the size and complexity of the finished work, the number of shapes needed can vary from 4 for a framed picture to 27 for a box diorama! When my vector drawings are finished I can then email them off to my lovely laser cutting lady who goes by the name of LaserFlair

I spent many hours at the start of the year working on new drawings which this week arrived in the flesh, so to speak. It’s always exciting when a parcel from LaserFlair comes, and I can’t wait to get started printing, painting and glueing! (But before I do that I like to lay it all out at right angles aka ‘knolling’ – I can’t help myself!)

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So the design process is the most lengthy part, but once that is done there’s lots of scope within to allow me to create a very different look for each piece I make, whether it’s through use of colour, pattern or even the placement of the ply shapes. Each item I make gets a unique twist! First off I decide on a general colour scheme, but that sometimes changes halfway through and goes off in a different direction! The smaller areas of wood are painted, while larger ones are printed. It helps to be working on 2 or 3 things at the same time so there’s no waiting around for ink to dry…once each piece has colour and pattern I can start placing them in their frame or box, which involves creating something of an infrastructure (ie lots of little bits of ply in strategic places) to attached the layers to.  With the smaller boxed dioramas this can get very fiddly indeed, and the tweezers are usually on standby!

And that’s more or less the process – it’s laborious at times but every piece is a labour of love. I get so much satisfaction from my work; my favourite days involve sitting in my wee studio, listening to arts programmes on the radio, and making my dioramas.

Cabin in the Woods

Well, as expected, 2018 is zipping by. Unbelievably we’re already into February; January was the usual struggle of getting back into the swing of things after a very busy festive season; happily, there was plenty of replenishing to do and new things to try out (along with a list of DIY jobs and trying to learn French on the side!) which got me through the darkest month.

When there is snow on the ground (like today), I like to daydream about living in a secluded wooden cabin, cosy in front of a wood-burning stove. It is no surprise then, that one of my favourite pieces to make is a cabin diorama!

I live in a mostly urban area, albeit in a relatively quiet corner of the town flanked by woods and river. Walk for a few minutes though, and the busy roads and new housing estates start to encroach on our peaceful enclave. The lack of foliage in the winter also leaves us a bit exposed, and I’m thankful for the line of tall evergreen leylandii at the end of our cul-de-sac, protecting us from the roar of the motorway. This might all go some way to explaining my ‘cabin in the woods’ fixation! I’ve made quite a few of these now, each one slightly different, and the most common response they illicit from people is ‘Oh I’d love to live there!’ . I guess it’s a fundamental desire in a lot of us to find solitude amidst the hectic pace of modern living, an antidote to our busy lives.

Into The Woods

Mad Miss Morag the Lakeland Terrier has come to stay for the day (which always puts my dog Rudy’s nose a tad out of joint); whilst they are both snoozing in between bouts of general insanity, I’m taking the opportunity to write my second blog post!

It’s a bright, but chilly, Monday morning, and I’m watching a robin and a lovely little wren fluttering about in the garden. It’s all feeling rather autumnal so it seems appropriate to bring your attention to the Just A Card Into The Woods Autumn Shopping Guide!

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It’s a wonderful selection of art and craft on an autumnal theme featuring woodland-inspired items from 25 UK based independent makers, and features my Forest Diorama. Find out more about the Just A Card campaign for independent businesses here and have a read of their blog too – you’ll discover so many fantastic makers and get an insight into how they produce their lovely work.

Right, the Terrible Terrier Twosome are stirring – time to go!