Monday, 9 November 2009

Kusadama Workshop at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham

This was my first opportunity to demonstrate my skills in paper within a workshop environment. I had been asked by Lesley Beale at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham. She wanted the workshop to compliment an exhibition called 'Objects of Contemplation'

I had a group of eleven people, ten women and one man. All Kusadamas produced were very individual and seemed to reflect the creators personalities. I hope that I will get many more opportunities like this in the future. For more images go to Flickr

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Website has finally been launched!!


Finally I have my website launched. Please have a look at my book paper creations when you have a spare moment at rarenotions

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Windmills of our Mind

There's something about windmills that seems to take us back to childhood. When life was simpler and we felt the freedom to be ourselves. I recently provided a windmill workshop for my 50+ group at the Autumn Centre. We all have such a good time as ever and they all enjoyed their final product.

The Rainbow Week

I've been helping out at 'Our Lady's of Walsingham' Primary School. It was their Art Week last week. I taught Class 5 and 6 how to make 'Kusadama' Flowers. They all mastered this origami structure quite well. Each class had a designated colour to work with. However, once the headmaster had seen how beautiful the Kusudama structure was he wanted them to be multi-coloured.

In the class the children produced the individual flowers, I constructed the flower balls at home, they took four hours to assemble. I am so proud of the work the children produced. And even more impressed by the amount of children who went home and badgered their parents for coloured paper so they could make one at home.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Felt Toy

There was a recent swap on 'Absolutely Everyhing Swap Central' an online yahoo group I am a member of. It was to create a felt toy. I have never created a toy from scratch so I was a bit nervous about the proposition. On the other hand I always like to try something new so I decided not to sign up for the swap but make something anyway. I have to say I am quite pleased with the result. I wish I had been more brave now and signed up for the swap.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Paper Jewellery

I'm really excited, I have been recently selected as a Designer/ Maker for the Design Factory. This is the third time I have applied, the first two times I was accepted as a Associate Member. The adage must be true 'Third time Lucky!!' I have been developing a range of jewellery following on from my degree show collection. The first time it was showed was at 'Lustre' a contemporary craft fair at Lakeside, Nottingham where I was selected to be a 'Young Meteor'.

I have my own portfolio on their website. section on their website which gives a little more information about my work. Unfortunately my website is not working yet. Maybe this will spur me on.

Creating Fan Cards at the Autumn Centre

Last week, we created Fan Cards at the Autumn Centre. This is a group of lovely ladies majority over 50 years of age all enjoying keeping their minds alert and their fingers active.

The enthusiasm and creativity in this group runs very high, they enjoy the chatter and the making. They all support each other to produce an end product before they have their lunch and a game of bingo.

We are now looking for ideas for things to produce for the annual Summer Open Day where they hope to fill a stall with lovely handcrafted items.

Easter Baskets

I was asked by the local Day Centre where I provide craft sessions to make some centre pieces for their Easter Meal. It should have been flowers made by the group but they were not returned in time. So I whipped up some origami boxes and machined some handles and Voila!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Happy Mothers Day and Happy Birthday to my Gorgeous Son!!

What an honour to share Mothers Day with the day my son was born. Bright, intelligent and so full of fun. ......and I finally got around to finishing that bag I mentioned in an earlier post. Amazing what you can do with an outgrown jacket and a pair of cast off jeans.

Zentangle Sketch Book

I've just looked at some Zentangle tiles created by Catherine Calvetti a member of the yahoo group 'Altered Books'. A while ago I made a sketch book with a zentangle cover and I forgot all about it. So here it is.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Book Making Workshop at De Montfort University, Leicester

Half term week has been really busy. I have run four workshops.

It started with Monday where I was at De Montfort University. I provided a day of bookmaking for the Graphics Degree. The day was split into two workshops. In the morning they made Exploding Books and in the afternoon they made Origami Concentina Books.

I don't know why I got myself in such a tizz. For some reason I felt very anxious. Perhaps it was the fact that this was my old University and I had only just left 8 months ago. Anyway it really had a strange affect on me. I didn't go to bed until 3.00 am in the morning. I packed and unpacked my large bag. I checked and re-checked my lesson plan. I made a few more samples to show the group. All totally out of character. I never worry about working with groups or being in strange situations, I usually take it all in my stride.

Everything ran smoothly, I ended up sharing 6 book structures with the groups. I feel everyone came away with plenty of inspiration to take things in their own direction. Hopefully this will stand me in good stead for working with other degree groups.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentine's Day Postcard

This is my personal contribution to the Valentine's madness that's happening in Blog World today. It was intended to be part of a swap but I only had chance to make one.

ooooo xxxxx Love & Kisses xxxxx oooooo

Happy Valentine's Day

Here's the workshop for last week. Yes, the obligatory Valentine's card. They had to learn a little origami first to come up with the little heart with a pocket to put a small romantic message or foil
wrapped choccie. As you can see my samples appeal to a wide audience, girls, boys, goths, emos etc

Beautiful Butterflies and Dragonflies.

This week I did a workshop over at the Camrose Centre in Northampton giving Mum's ideas that they can share with their children using recycled materials.

It's an hour and a half session that flies by as they chat and chill. There were some beautiful end results. There was even one Dad in the group who worked quietly creating his dragonfly on the side. (bottom picture).

Sock it to Ya!!

I've got the sock bug but not as you'd expect. I've been knitting socks for mobile phones. I'm due to do a knitting master class at Easter for the Happenin' project (8-13 year olds). So many youngster have become interested in this homely craft and knitting seems to have missed a generation so there is a skills gap.

I am really looking forward to it and I want to bring to my group something contemporary instead of the usual scarf that is usually offered beginners. I have knitted and crocheted so many now I really think I should put them on some online shop before they completely take over the coffee table.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Work in Progress

Here is the start of my little boy's school bag. He's really into Mario Kart Wii, his favourite character is Koopa Trooper. I'm trying to turn his old school coat that he has outgrown into a new bag. I have machine embroidered the character in readiness. I just have to design the bag now.

Button it!!

Here is a workshop I did recently. I'm always looking for ways to use up buttons. I have a huge Mega Blocks zipped bag full to busting.

This is how it is done. I cut a circle with my tool from Creative Memories added some double sided sticky tape on both sides. Peeled off the backing from the front of the circle and attached random buttons, any gaps that were left got sprinkled with glitter. Then I peeled the backing from the back of the circle and attached it to the card.


My 50+ group loved it, simple but effective.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Back drop for Primary School Play

Not had a great week. I been luck enough to be included in a collective of artists which have been offered space at a local Primary School. We trade with some hands on hours. Just before Christmas, when I was suffering with sciatica they were looking for some of the artists to draw a backdrop for the play featuring Dick Whittington.

Two of us went up, drew the design and left the children to provide the colour. They have been so pleased with it that they still have it on their walls so I was able to take some photos. The children have done a brilliant job.

Today I joined a class that was reviewing the play. I worked with four little boys showing them to draw outlines of buildings as they are currently looking at the artist Lowrie. They loved it and I have to say so did I!!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Birthday Makes

It was my birthday yesterday. How unusual to meet two people with the same birthday. My little boy's friend Flynn and a little girl from the Arts 'n' Crafts group I teach at on a Wednesday evening. Then there was my colleague who has her birthday the day after mine. I don't normally need an excuse to make anything but I in this case I decided to use it.

So for Flynn I made a camouflage beanie, I found the idea on another blog called JenamyJen which referred to the pattern I used to knit the hat here. Then I gave the little girl a star brooch I had made out of some scraps of felt and finally a small handbag for Karen, my work colleague produced from a felted cardigan and some odd scraps of material.

Tomorrow, I will be taking some of my book sculptures and jewellery pieces over to the Ferrers Gallery at Ashby de La Zouch as I am part of an exhibition entitled 'Best of the East'.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Xmas Card Design - 2008

So as promised on the 31st December 2008, here is a photo of the Xmas card I designed for family and friends. It is based on the seventies craft of pin pictures. Simple but effective!!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Bead Sprites

It's really difficult these days to keep children occupied with things other that technology. Now matter how much you try to inspire their imagination they are drawn
back to cartoons, looking on the internet or playing a games console.

Did I make a mistake by getting an Nintendo WII for my little boy for Christmas? In some ways, no, as it is helping him develop a better understanding of winning and losing which at nearly 9 years old he still struggles with. But it is at a price, he could sit there all day and play his Mario Karts without a care or what's going on in the world outside.

I have always used his interests to develop his learning, in this case I was just lucky. I came across a Forum totally dedicated to making what they call 'Bead Sprites' out of Hama beads. The members discuss and show their creations, mainly characters from games and cartoons. Before I had found this site, prior to Christmas I had made Jesse a flower and a mushroom from one of the Mario games, I'm sure he could tell you the exact game it came from by the colours I used.

So imagine his delight when I showed him this site I had found. He explored it then decided which character he would like to make. We have been working on the sprites for a couple of days now and have run out of a few key colours so we're off out today to track some more down. I might invest in the mini hama beads so I can make some smaller pieces. I am so pleased I have been able to drag him away from technology for a while and explore his creativity. Here is from top left Luigi, Cloud, Frog Mario and tiny Mario* (*a Jesse creation)

I just have to keep on thinking of ideas where he can get the benefit from both.

Here is Koopa Trooper* adapted by Jesse as we can't find the right sized boards to work on (that's what happens when I decide to have a tidy up). So yes, we will be buying some of those today as well.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Resolution


Corney I know but it has to be done. What's the point of having a blog and then not using it.

So, I am going to state here and now that I will put
regular post up which will include anything I am working on. As I am always working on something my blog should be mega interesting. My work is varied, knitting, sewing, book sculptures etc, also a multitude of workshop ideas. A bit late I know but I will post the Christmas card I designed which I will use as a workshop next year perhaps.

At the moment I am working on my 'Soul Journal', I came across this idea whilst reading one of the Daily Digests from the yahoo groups I am involved with. I have to say if you need inspiration or have come to a stand still artistically, these groups are just the tonic the doctor ordered.

The blog in question is 'CASPIANA' She takes you step by step through the creation of a journal, as I said earlier I came across her blog through one of the groups I am involved with. I now discover that there is now a yahoo group called Soul Journal which give out more prompts to keep you going. The other nice thing about these groups is that you get feedback on anything you post within the group or on you blog.

Happy New Year!! I hope you have enjoyed the first of many posts for 2009.