Thursday, 26 February 2015

Oslo Adventures

I went away for another little trip last weekend, this time to Oslo for my friend Laura's 30th birthday, I had such an amazing time, we managed to cram in a lot of japes in just a couple of days!

First things first, we'd heard how expensive everything is in Norway, so we decided to stock up on Duty Free at the airport. Cue much bewilderment about what we were allowed to take with us. Turns out Norway is NOT part of the European Union. Who knew?? Fiercely independent, it turns out. This was good news for us.

I hadn't really done much research as it was quite a last minute thing, we had originally planned on going to Berlin, but the flights were too expensive. So I hadn't really realised how beautiful Norway is, I fell asleep on the plane and awoke to amazing icy vistas!


train to Oslo Sentral
Birthday girl Laura

We got the train from the airport to Oslo Sentral, more beauty to feast our eyes upon. Snowy scenes! Our apartment was near the Opera House, which is an amazing building, I was very excited as you can see into the costume department and there were wigs and models aplenty.

Oslo sunset

There was a spectacular sunset across the water. Absolutely amazing. After finding the apartment, and spending around a thousand Krone on snacks, we found our way to Grunelökke, which is a cool, independent area in Olso. We went for cocktails and burritos, and immediately had to take a cavalier approach to spending, as it was too depressing to work out how much everything actually cost.

The next day we took the tram to Frogner Park to see the Vigeland sculptures. Everything has a bit of a retro, slightly 80s vibe to it, but the actual park is incredible, and we were super lucky that the weather was bob on, cold and clear and crisp.

Oslo tram
Tram chums

Frogner park, Vigeland scultptures
Hands in the air like you just don't care

Vigeland Park
Vigeland sculptures

After checking out the sculptures we decided to walk to the museum quarter. It took quite a while, and we were all desperate for an open sandwich and a sit down by the time we got there.

Viking ship museum
Viking ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum was brilliant, really interesting and a very cool building. We spent about an hour there before getting the bus back to Grunelökke to refuel. We got beer and burgers from a place called Munchies, which was absolute 100% hunk central. Ridiculous.

Show me you're tough.

Oslo Opera House
Oslo Opera House

Godt Bröd Oslo
Egg custard of dreams

On sunday we went to try and find the Oslo flea market via a scamper up the Opera house building. Unfortunately we had to carry all our bags, which was a little arduous. The market wasn't quite where I expected it to  be, but we went to Godt Bröd bakery and coffee shop for the World's Most Amazing egg custard and cinnamon bun, which lifted our spirits into the sky! We found the flea market, but it was a bit disappointing, some great furniture, but that was just a pipe dream when flying with Ryan Air. We made our way to the bus station after a delicious hotdog. The bus journey to the airport was really beautiful, I wish we had more time (and money) to explore the countryside more! Can only imagine the wonder of Summer in Norway.

In summary: the men are insanely handsome, the dogs are amazing, and there's not a wallet in the world big enough for the amount of Krone you'll need. I would love to see more of Scandinavia!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Studio Shake Up

It's all change at Studio 25, as we sadly say bye bye to Lily Greenwood, and hi hi to Kathryn Edwards.

Lily Greenwood
Butterflies on red by Lily Greenwood

Liz (aka Lily Greenwood) has been a resident at Manchester Craft and Design Centre for nearly 9 years, and has been an inspiration, friend and shoulder to cry on at various points since I started in 2008! She encouraged me to apply for my first studio, and helped me with my business plan and application, so I would like to say a massive THANK YOU and good luck to her! She will carry on with her creative business, you can still buy her beautiful work direct from her website.

Kathryn is returning to the Craft Centre after some time out to get married, move to London and back, and have a baby! We are super excited to welcome her back, as she is a total good egg, and produces wonderful illustrative work, focusing on landmark Manchester buildings, such as Victoria Baths and The Star and Garter. Check out her work here!

Star and Garter
Star and Garter by Kathryn Edwards

And last, but not least, the very lovely Jane Blease is off on maternity leave soon too! Must be something in the water, I'd best watch out. Taking over her days at the craft centre is recent graduate Daisy Lee-Overton, who makes beautiful sculptural jewellery. We look forward to welcoming her to the Craft Centre!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Print Workshops

How to screen print

On Saturday I ran a couple of print workshops for Ministry of Craft, screen printing in the morning and lino print in the afternoon.
They were both great groups, I love seeing what people come up with , all such different designs! My next workshops are on the 4th of April, you can book here if you fancy giving it a go!

How to screen print
Printmakers help each other!

Split fountain experiments!

How to screen print
Avocadude. This was my design!

How to screen print

How to screen print

How to screen print

How to lino print
Lino cut card designs

Lino print workshop

Lino print workshop
Experimenting with overlaying colours. Looks amazing!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday

This year I want to push my 'other' work more, as it's a good stretch for my brain, and part of what I really love and excites me is coming up with new ideas, the ping ping ping of working on something new. I don't necessary love the 'end product' or even really producing something to sell. I keep thinking I should start a new blog and website for this separate part of my practice as it might be a bit confusing for people as it is so different, so far removed from my craft business.

I am also trying to blog more and writing does help me to think about things more clearly and deeply.
Apologies if this post is a bit of a mind splurge, I am trying to be more honest, not everything is great in the land of craft, it is  a struggle sometimes, lots of doubts creep in, especially this time of year, it's quiet, cold and cash flow is a nightmare! (aka, I'm skint).

On the plus side, I've just booked flights to Oslo for my friend's 30th birthday! Never too poor for a bit of adventure!

So, my WIP (work in progress for those uninitiated into the language of the maker) today is for the window display at the Craft Centre. Some of the resident makers are going to take it in turns throughout the year to dress the window. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to produce some larger-scale geometric work. I loved making my giant paper wreath at Christmas and doing something for the window feels quite low-pressure, rather than producing work to 'exhibit'. So, still along the lines of geometry, colour theory, spectrums, looking at shapes within shapes, heptagons, RGB, CMYK, the number 7...this will take form over the next few weeks, but I really think this line of work my constantly progress and change.

Tracing paper hexagon and coloured paper
Work in progress: circle, heptagon, triangle from tracing paper. 

Black and gold geometric papercut wreath
Handmade massive papercut wreath - about a metre square. Enjoyed making something 3 dimensional for a change.

I went to see the Liz West installation at the weekend at Federation House, which was really beautiful and inspiring. An amazing spectrum of coloured light, that looked different from each part of the building. I love Federation House, such a great space and ace for the art scene in Manchester!

Coloured light installation
Liz West installation

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Valentines Papercuts

It's February, my birthday month, and I have been working away getting my website updated with lots of products. January felt like a bit of a slog, so I'm starting afresh and looking forward to Chinese New Year! My papercuts are now online, I really love making these, especially the anatomical heart, which was something I started when I was working on the weekly word drawing project.

Red Lovebirds Papercut

Puffin Heart Papercut

Red Anatomical Heart Papercut