Thursday, 25 November 2010

Have Yourself a Crafty Little Christmas!

On Saturday 11th of December I will be running the lino printing part of the Crafty Little Christmas Ministry of Craft workshop. We will be making Christmassy lino blocks to print up cards, tags and matching gift wrap. It's a full day course, so there are two other crafts to learn, making Christmas bath bombs and Christmas decorations! If you're stuck for a present for someone this would be a lovely early Christmas gift!
Click here to book!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Christmas is coming!

So why not join us at Manchester Craft and Design Centre for a little festive shindig? On Saturday 27th November, from 2 til 4, we will be hosting the Launch of our new exhibition, Past Present Perfect and getting in the Christmas spirit with free mulled wine, music from Kathryn Edwards and a Christmas Choir. There will also be a free craft activity, making finger knitted Christmas decorations. How nice! Don't forget to come upstairs and say howdy, the double act of Miss Smith and Miss Blease will be putting in a rare appearance - this is surely not to be missed! xx

Friday, 12 November 2010

Inspired by Fair Isle

Here's a little look at some new ideas I've been working on. I've been thinking about this sort of thing for a while: geometric shapes, symmetry, folk prints and grid structures have been lurking in sketchbooks for some time. I thought I'd put some photos of my design process up too.

Pattern drawn out on graph paper and traced off.

Transfered onto stencil paper and cut out with scalpel.

Red print on white felt. I've printed this design onto aprons and tea towels so far, I'm hoping to make some felt cushions too. Come on down to the studio and take a peek! We're having our Christmas launch at the Craft Centre on Saturday 27th November, why not pop in them for a free drink and a wander about? Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New Signage!

Hurray hurray! Jane and I finally got round to agreeing on signage and putting it up! It was a bit tricky as our logos wouldn't have worked together and we both use different fonts, but Jane worked on a nice, simple design for us and I think it looks very smart! It took us about 3 hours to put it up, but it was well worth it in the end! I'm really glad we've got it up before Christmas, it's taken over a year to sort out. That's the way of self-employment, you gotsta prioritise!

Obviously the ampersand is my favourite bit xx

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Ministry of Craft

Hello! Next Saturday I'm running a screenprinting workshop for the Ministry of Craft at Fred Aldous. There are still a few spaces left, so if you fancy giving it a go head over to the Ministry website and book yourself a place! We will be using simple stencil-cutting techniques and screen printing onto fabric. Bring some inspirational images and something to print onto! In past workshops people have printed onto t-shirts, bags, pillow cases and cushion covers. You could even print onto some lovely fabric and frame it, or make a sweet, personalised bunting for a party...Many possibilities! Hope to see you there! x

Monday, 26 July 2010

Beetles and bugs in Blackburn

Here are some photos from the Blackburn Museum's collection of beetles. The colour and variety are amazing, I love the handwritten labels too. I'm going to be focusing more on the Japanese print collection, but we're keeping these as a back up as they're so fascinating!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Celebrating ceramics

As promised, here are some more photos of the ceramics collection at the V&A. I foolishly forgot to write down the names of the makers, if anyone can help, that'd be great! The V&A collections website is a brilliant resource, but I think the most recent items aren't on it.

Ceramic carrots

Glazes - gorgeous colours!

Tile Panel, William de Morgan

Look at the little feet on these guys!

More beautiful colours.

'Trophy' by Clare Twomey. This was originally an installation where visitors were invited to take away their favourite bird. How lovely!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Hello sausage!

'Sausage' by Richard Slee

Yesterday I went for a training day at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the Design for Life project. I worked on it last year with Bolton Museum and 2 school groups. This year it's slightly different, with Bolton as the core museum, and Salford Museum and Art Gallery as one associate partner and Blackburn Museum as the other. I'm hoping to work with young carers from Salford and possibly a school group in Blackburn. Exciting stuff! I've never been to Blackburn Museum and am itching to have a good look at their Japanese print collection!

I'll put up a few more snaps I took at the V&A of the ceramics collection as soon as Blogger decides to play nice! I focused on this as we're thinking of taking the Pilkington ceramics collection as a starting point for the workshops in Salford.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Workshops and websites

Hullo hullo, last month I did a little screenprinting workshop with some students from the Manchester School of Architecture. It went really well, they all seemed to enjoy it and produced some fantastic work. The blog for their project is here, I must admit I'm a little late with this post, tsk tsk. The last few weeks seem to have drifted by, and whilst things are going in the right direction, I feel like I'm coasting along, rather than being a driving force. I'll cut myself some slack though - the weather has been beautiful and I've been grabbing every opportunity to get out on the bike. I've even been going to maintenance classes, coming second in the puncture repair race on Tuesday!

She's looking nice, no?

I've finally sorted my Big Cartel site, so you can now buy direct from me, without having to set up an account. It links from my website and I feel it's a lot more professional.
Today I'm going to get on top of my admin and do some more site updating, I need a better system! Has anyone got any tips for getting a good routine in place when you're self-employed? I'm still in my pyjamas! xx

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

All Tomorrow's Parties

Hello all, been a bit quiet on the internet front as I've been busy indulging another of my loves - live music. I just got back from the Matt Groening curated ATP at Butlins in Minehead. It was amazing, I had the best time! I've been to ATP a couple of times before, years ago, at Camber Sands, but this was the best one I've been to. We lucked out on our accommodation, which was really nice and near to all the action. I went with some great friends and we basically had a blast. I saw Iggy and the Stooges on the first night, with Mike Watt on bass (I love him so much!) and The xx twice, just awesome. I think the highlight for me was seeing Boredoms, a band that, on paper, I thought I would hate! (Japan's iconoclastic experimental music "unit" anyone?) but they blew my mind with a 9 drummer performance - I've never seen a drummer be carried in on a platform drumming through the crowd before, put it that way.

If you get the chance, go see them! They will change your life, I promise! Anyone got any musical recommendations?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

I ♥ Bicycles

Handprinted poster, available on etsy and folksy.

The past couple of nights have been very much bike-based for me. The annual I Bike MCR festival is on over the next month, with lots of activities, films, get togethers, bike maintenance classes and of course cycling! I was aware of it, but learnt more on Tuesday, when me and my housemate went on the Full Moon bike ride. The weather was absolutely awful and I was wearing inappropriately skinny jeans, which hindered me in getting on and off the trusty Pioneer somewhat. In fact, it turned on that my poor old Raleigh Classic, bought for £5.46 from ebay around 2 years ago, has seen better days, as I got a puncture 30 seconds after leaving the pub and whilst fixing it in the pouring rain realised that the rear derailer had come loose. Argh! Not cool in front of a group of cycling afficionados I didn't know! Luckily they are very nice and I feel we all have a bond after patching up the old girl in adverse conditions. We rode to Jackson's Boat by Chorlton Ees and had a thoroughly nice time, yay for new friends!
Last night I went to the Lass O'Gowrie pub for a screening of Beauty and the Bike, a film exploring why so few teenagers in Britain cycle. It was a lovely film, and I got a little sentimental as half of it was based in my home town of Darlington!
The upshot of all this 2 wheeled fun is that I have decided to buy a new bike, does anyone have any recommendations? I've been checking out Globe bikes, drool drool! I'm considering the Haul or Live models. Yum!

I need to get sorted asap, so I can enjoy the rest of the festival! Hopefully see some of you out and about, come rain or shine! xx

Monday, 22 March 2010

Small Town Heroes

This weekend I took a trip back over to the North East to see family and friends. It's always nice to go home and to look back fondly at times gone past. But I'm also really, really happy to live in a city, where art, culture and energy are plentiful and appreciated!
Unfortunately I'm full of cold, so stayed in on Saturday night with a good book and some yummy ratatouille that my dad left in the fridge for me. On Sunday we drove over to Barnard Castle to visit Bowes Museum, which I hadn't been to in years. It has a new fashion and textile gallery which is almost complete and looks to be pretty impressive. They were letting visitors in for a sneak preview and they have an amazing collection. The silver swan which I remember from childhood visits is still in full effect!
There was a large collection of classic cars parked outside so I took some snaps - I have a new toy, the Hipstamatic app for iphone! I feel myself cringe as I type, but no matter, I like the colour and lighting effects so I'll post a couple of my little pics.

Work related news - the Bowery in Leeds have asked for some more baby tee shirts and I only delivered them the other week, so I'm really pleased! Better get on with some printing then eh?

Which do you prefer? Town or country? City or village? xx

p.s Spring! My gosh yes! xx

Monday, 1 March 2010

From Russia With Love

I have to admit to being a little obsessed with Russia at the moment, I keep looking at pictures of St Petersburg and dreaming of that magical train ride. One day my friends! One day! In celebration of my new muse, here is my brand new Matryoshka doll print. It's printed as always with love in my little Manchester-based studio with solvent-free inks on gorgeous subtly speckled ivory 'Bier Lager' 250gsm A4 card, manufactured using a combination of leftovers from the brewing industry: 40% to 60% beer labels, 5% to 20% malt/yeast/hops fibres, and between 30% and 50% totally chlorine-free (TCF) virgin paper pulp. It's awesome and I love printing on it! It's for sale on my etsy and Folksy sites. Spasiba! xx

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Ich bin ein Berliner!

Arf arf. I went to Berlin for a few days with my gentleman friend the other week and my oh my did I love it. A lot of my arty friends in Manchester have been and raved about the place, so I was very excited to see it for myself. I did a lot of sightseeing and walking, with many a pit stop for wurst and beer, an ideal holiday really!
One of my favourite places was a tiny museum I'd read about online, called the B├╝chstaben Museum, which was hyped as a typography museum, but was actually more like a sign graveyard. Either way, I loved it!

I'm now pondering my next trip and have been looking at the Russian Red Arrow train from Moscow to St Petersburg, can't beat a good train journey in my view. This old beauty even has its own theme music! What's your dream holiday?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Two Ducks Disco

Ahoy there, here is a wee post that I've been planning for an age - since last September actually, when I took my self off to Leeds town to see the brillax to the max Magnolia Electric Co.
I'm a big fan of gig posters and am usually first in line to snap 'em up. I was a little too slow this time though, and the groovy limited edition posters had sold out by the time a crazy man in shorts had stopped dancing. Aiee! However, all was not lost as I put my name on a mailing list...and ordered a poster from that nice Two Ducks Disco

For a mere £10 I received my poster smartly through the post along with a few other goodies, not least an awesome poster for the European Poster Expo 2007, that was held at our very own Urbis, Manchester. I cannot recommend highly enough! Go! Read blog! Buy posters! xx

Monday, 1 February 2010

Feel the love...

In my last post I promised pictures of my Valentine's designs. They're quite simple and not too sickly, I've used the papercuts in screenprints and cards which are available in the studio now! (plug plug plug).

The last exhibition at the Craft Centre is being taken down as I type, the next one is 'Spun', Lighting by Jenny Bland and opens on February the 13th, so if you need to pick up a little Valentine's gift for your beloved, that would be a good day to do it!
I've got some work in NoiseLab, a pop up gallery/shop situated in what was Shelley's on Market Street. Go take a peek if you get a chance, there are doodles from influential artists Pete Fowler and Jon Burgerman featured in the shop, I'm pretty excited to have my work alongside theirs, whoop!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Moroccan terrace
Originally uploaded by little nell smith
Ok, this post is somewhat late, I was away over New Year with my family, soaking up a little North African sun in Marrakech. We stayed in a gorgeous riad and relaxed to the max! It was a welcome change from the frozen wastes of the UK and it's been difficult to get motivated with things being so quiet at the studio since my return.
But I feel my energy returning and I've been working on some slightly more sophisticated and complex designs, mainly with Valentine's Day in mind. I'll put some pictures up closer to the time, don't want to sicken you all too early in the year!
Aside from that I have a few exciting plans in the pipeline and resolutions a-plenty! I want adventures in 2010! How about you? Kiss kiss, boom boom xxx