Monday, 15 September 2014


So I have blogged about a few papercuts before, part of my soft spot for them comes from the books I read as a child, illustrated with silhouettes by Jan Pienkowski and shadow puppet theatre films that seemed to be a bit of a thing in the 80s. That and the obsessive cutting of snowflakes and chains of paper girls and boys holding hands.

I have been sketching a lot more recently and was practicing my high contrast black and white shadow drawing, when I realised, these might look rather good as papercuts. Well as it transpires there are a lot of bloody brilliant artists doing this already, not that it will stop me, and I came across even more wonderful artists, I'd like to share some of these here.

Rob Ryan - If found Rob's work a few years ago, a solar plate friend of mine, Sarah, popped into Atelier Rose and Gray, when they had a gallery in my local town Ramsbottom. In the window was this huge red and white print. I had seen it for a couple of weeks each time I sat at the traffic lights. Big, bold, sentimental and in my favourite colour (if I can't have black).  Sarah decided she would have it as an engagement gift. Money well spent, it looks amazing above her sideboard. I was introduced to the work of Rob.
This Is For You - Rob Ryan

Emily Hogarth - I love Emily. Not in the least because she is a bloody brilliant artists, but she has a range of equally bloody brilliant books about papercutting. Buy them, buy them all. She produces some very clever, understated, landscapes, I envy such ability to convey a view with such simplicity. She also makes very cute animal cuts and commerirative pieces too.

Emily Hogarth
Paper Panda - aka Louise Firchau. Possibly the neatest cutter I have seen so far, the tiniest, weeniest cuts.  Actually, "like' her on facebook, she is lovely, warm, honest and engaging and you get a great insight to her who process from sketch to frame. She does a very cute cartoon style line, text based pieces and story books. My favourites are the Alice in Wonderland.

Drink Me - Eat Me - Paper Panda
I'll be sharing more along the way but can in the meantime, point you to, Suzy Taylor, Hina AoyamaNahoko Kojima, Heather Moore, Nicky McClure. Really there are hundreds more but I promised myself I'd clock off at 21:30, there is a Toblerone with my name on it... if I were called Toblerone.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Much needed greetings card range for the Slummy Mummy

A recent trip to the Trafford Centre highlighted the need for a certain niche within the greetings card market.

I have messy children. Scrap that, I have children, I am slovenly and inadequately prepared, despite having a superbly designed changing bag and my time served in the Brownies.

On the rare occasion that I summon the courage to leave the house with the babes, it will undoubtedly result in a spillage of some variety, in some nice establishment. Often drinks, usually vomit.

Different places have differing responses, generally I am met with a polite friendly pair of hands that offer a roll of blue paper towel. 

Some venues are oblivious to the chaotic scene unfurling, a frazzled slightly panicky Moi, juggling baby, toddler, plates, pools of liquid. Trying to stop further excretions going over surfaces or up noses, attempting to sooth sick child, preventing other child from getting in the mess and warning others in close proximity to not slip. 

Other places are absolute havens with staff who are ultra responsive, understanding, helpful and kind. Of the many lovely places that have looked after me and my wee ones in a spill/vomit crisis, a recent shopping excursion to Mamas & Papas was perhaps the pinnacle of excellence.

Dear little Heidi, my (then) 7 month old daughter was sick, ala The Exorcist at the Cashier’s Desk. It was spectacular comedy timing as I had just been recounting a number of public child vomit stories to the heavily pregnant Sales Assistant, as justification for my permanent scruffy look. “What is the point of wearing nice clothes, dresses, heels etc? they only get covered in squashed rusks and milk, this month I’ll mainly be wearing baby sick.” Cue huge projectile tube of sick; all over the desk, floor, myself, herself and my shell-shocked 13 year old niece Jessica. (This was nothing but preparation for what poor Jessica would witness later in the week from little Heidi. That however, is another story).

The staff couldn’t be more wonderful if they had perhaps sang or danced through their swift handling of the affair. Bucket and Mop with steaming hot water and Dettol, sympathy, kindness, towels and bags sprung forth and spared me much tears and embarrassment. So lovely.

So, obviously I needed to thank them properly. In the restaurants and Cafes I would leave a whopping tip for such treatment, but I don’t think this would be appropriate, what is customary in a shop? Chocolates and cards I thought. Neighbouring shop John Lewis has a great range of cards and chocolate I might add, but non that said “thank you for helping me when I needed it most. Thank you for getting us all clean, safe and settled’.

This and a number of other events has inspired me to create my Human Nature range of cards.

I have used the font LetsGo by Des Gomez on Dafont, see a selection of her great handwritten fonts here.

Full list of credits for vomit soldiers coming soon....

Huge thank you to:

Marple Bridge's The Midland 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

I am back in the studio, OK so I am back in my front room that has my mac, books, paper and paints in. After 4 years of study, designing to spec and meeting briefs and targets, it is rather enjoyable to be practicing and learning at my own pace.

This month's task that I have beset myself is to use Illustrator with confidence.  I have used it since I was 19 but have never mastered it, simply using the tools I felt comfortable with and fudging around with the pen tool.

So I am currently practicing my bezier curves and getting to grips with the pathfinder options, knocking out paths, making compound paths, clipping masks etc.

I have been practicing these methods on a design for a Mothers Day card. Terribly basic, but by applying the theory from Ted Alspach's Illustrator CS4 for Dummies (I know! I bought it a long time ago and can't bring myself to by a newer version having never read it) with the hands on practice, I hope to get to grips with the paths and all that they will allow me to do.