Illuminate

DSCF4704

The long school holidays are over and my two children are settling back into school and the new old routine of getting up early to catch the school taxi which takes them to school. We have a great system in our area for the rurally situated children getting to school. The council supply a free (to parents) service of a ‘taxi’ who picks up all the children in the local vicinity and takes them to school, and brings them home. This service orperated when I was a little girl too, and it’s a great way to lessen how many cars are on these tiny roads.

DSCF4687

So September always feels like the start of the a new year for me, alongside my girls starting a new academic year at school. Those that caught my gloomy blog a few days ago, since deleted, will know that I’ve had a setback during the school break. In the summer my mentor/arts officer emailed to tell me she’s leaving her job, which rather knocked me sideways then upsidedown, and I’ve found myself back to square one. This was swiftly followed by a lino printing demonstration table at a local agricultural show which, though some children loved having a go at printing using my little press, didn’t feel like an overwhelming success. I’d worked hard to have some lino printed lampshades to display, with new designs, and though I got a few lovely compliments, I found it hard hearing very negative comments about my pricing and the disbelief that I actually sell my work (lots of eye rolling), even though they could see how much work goes into each and every lampshade. I realised it was the wrong setting for my kind of work but I still drove home in tears. This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so hearing those not very subtle harsh comments hurt, and I’m definitely not leaping about wanting to do another one!

DSCF4712

But I am bouncing back, after these two upsets. I now have a nice collection of lampshades which I really enjoyed making, and despite those few folk at the show, I’ve had some great feedback online. It has renewed my wish to carry on with enthusiasm and a desire to succeed, even though it’s not the path I was heading on before the summer. The work I’d developed back then is still in the back of mind, but first I need to focus on how to move forward with the skills and knowledge that I do have, which is drawing, printmaking and enjoying the physical nature of making things. I’ve decided to continue developing lampshade designs, which in turn can also be used for framed wall prints and maybe matching cushions and other home decor items. Following advice on my favourite Facebook group ‘Linocut Friends’, where I asked for help and advice about where to go from here, I’m going to approach some outlets whom might stock my work…interior design outlets or designers, funky lighting shops, posh boutiques etc. The hefty commission these places take will be a stumbling block, but something I will have to accept and work with.

DSCF4716

I’ve a few ideas for some new designs to try. Hares for one! Having decided never to do hares due to them being everywhere on everything, all over the place, I’m going to embrace those elegant long~eared beauties in my own quirky style. I hope I will gain confidence the more I do, and get more and more adventurous exploring animal themes and colour. So far all my (lampshade) designs have been printed in a way that means each and every one will differ from the other. This uniqueness and lack of repetition is important to me and will continue, though it does mean each one takes much longer to print! I like the idea that people who purchase one of my pieces will know no~one else will have one exactly the same. The crossover between craft and art. My current range of lampshades can be found here on Etsy

Once again, please wish me luck!DSCF4697

Advertisements

Printmaking Moths and Lightbulbs

I’m back! Can’t believe it’s been way over a year since I wrote a blog. I’m so phenomenally rubbish at this blogging malarky…and Pinterest. People keep telling me that I must blog as it generates interest and a buzz, but when one isn’t is a great place creatively it’s hard to find inspiration to write upbeat things without just drowning in a pool of self pity. And time; time is a big issue.

But here I am, with new work and a confidence boost! Accidentally.moths A3 2d

I began printmaking about a year ago, tentatively re~learning (excuse the wiggle instead of a dash, but my dash button doesn’t work and the wiggle is close enough) techniques I loved 20 years ago. Being a natural 3d artist who used to love drawing, it’s been a rocky road with lots of ups and downs. I naively thought it’d be easy…boy was I wrong, and rightly so! Printmaking is really difficult to succeed in; technically, aesthetically, finding your place in a very popular medium and getting noticed. It’s really really hard, especially with some incredibly talented printmakers out there who blow your mind with their amazing skills and stunning pieces of work. It’s been a steep learning curve and very daunting. I’ve been close to giving up so many times. I stumbled across a wonderful Facebook page called Linocut Friends...it’s given me insight into techniques, different approaches to printmaking with lino, how people tackle different subject matter and, most importantly, a place to share work, ideas and techniques with some really lovely like~minded and encouraging people. A valuable source of inspiration and motivation, especially when one works from home and can feel quite isolated at times.

This January I had another go, having spent last Autumn making another series of Socktacular Max boys, thus putting printmaking aside. I’d fully intended to make some Skylark Urns stock and whilst waiting for a cotton rope delivery, decided to get the ink, lino and sketch book out. The rope arrived but the urns are still waiting.

DSCF4379

I started with moths…thinking moths and poppy seed heads and grasses…people like seed heads and plant based things. Until my fella mentioned lightbulbs and PING! I carved out an old fashioned lightbulb because, you know, their shape is instantly recognisable and pleasin…and nostalgic. I laid them all out, put them through the press and realised I really liked the image. Until this point I’ve been hugely critical of everything I’ve produced in printmaking…finding fault in everything. But I am proud of this new work, for the first time since I began. Obviously nothing is perfect and I can find faults in it, but generally speaking I like it! Oooph, steady on girl!

So much so I’ve made the design into lampshades too!

Through this idea and design, I’ve also realised I’d like to try and create work that voice my thoughts about environmental and social concerns; produce interesting work that sparks debate or a talking point. There’s so much that moths around a lightbulb can say about human nature, as my Etsy listing suggests:

‘The sad folly of moths drawn to light. Transverse Orientation. Does it reflect how our society follows the crowd without question and reason? Confusion. Glimmer of hope. Or a dance of light that goes back since time immemorial…’

And, the huge confidence boost is that I’ve sold some pieces, both on paper and lampshades. To sell some work, when one has struggled immensely with confidence, is a huge deal. It might be insignificant to some, but not to me. It means other people have liked what I’ve made…me, bumbling along with two part time jobs to try and keep my creative ventures alive and having one crisis of confidence after another.

It means I carry on persevering, which is a big thing for me.

But what to do next in printmaking! Oh, the pressure… !!

I might tackle Pinterest tomorrow evening.

 

Thank you for reading.