Bits and pieces….

Aah tis the weekend and Saturday mornings are for relaxing, eating a healthily cooked breakfast, whilst watching Saturday morning kitchen and the bunnies playing in the garden. I have also been pottering around my vegetable pots and am amazed at how well they are doing. After my disasterous courgette plants that didn’t flower or fruit last year, now I can hardly pick them quick enough and we shall be making chutney soon enough in order to use up the excess.

This week has flown by and whilst I have been busy this has been more in the form of ‘planning’ rather than ‘doing’. But from Monday, for 2 or 3 weeks there will a flurry of ‘doing’ as the middle of July see’s a few deadlines all happening at once.  There is work to finish and finalise for The Art of Childsplay exhibition happening at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester to be delivered by the 15th and the Craft Candy Summer Fair on the 16th of July.

I am also incredibly excited to be creating stock for a brand new gift and lifestyle shop opening in the next few short weeks called Home…Oh in the beautiful town of Hebden Bridge. Warren and Marcus have been so enthusiastic about stocking my work and having already visited their beautiful shop The Yorkshire Soap Company, I can say wholeheartedly that I cannot wait to see the new venture which I know will be beautiful and quirky and incredibly stylish. (just visit the website for the beautiful YSC shop to see that it is the defintion of luxury!) Their new facebook page is here if you would like updated on the development of the new store and details of it’s opening. I will be hand-delivering my work their to coincide with a camping trip so will keep you updated on work that is created for them.

I am also over the moon to have been accepted to sell on a beautiful new Online Store – Seek and Adore which has the most wonderful vision and belief in the artists and makers that they represent. The photograph that I was fretting about the other day…. this is what it was for! I love the fact that Seek and Adore really want the customer to ‘meet the artist’  and that they believe that each product ‘has a story’. So my shop has been set up, my 60 second interview published and I will be gradually moving most of my clay characters and original artwork over to my new store on Seek and Adore over the next few days.  As much as I love Etsy, I often feel that my original items can become a little lost in my store which is full of prints. As someone who would rather be in the studio ‘creating’ I can’t dedicate the time it needs to promoting my original work as much as I would like to. So Seek and Adore seems perfect for me – a place to showcase my original work amongst a wonderful selection of other makers creating unique and one of a kind things. It has also made me think of how I package my work and present it – Hattie, the creater of Seek and Adore chatted to me on the phone (another wonderful aspect is the personal touch with the company – chatting on the phone!!) and she mentioned that the lyric

 ‘brown paper packages tied up with string

these are a few of my favourite things…’

was an inspriation for creating an online store that searches for beautiful things to share with their customers and that follows through to the packaging too! So if you order from me there I have the brown paper and string all ready with a fountain pen for your address – I love the thought of going back to the old-fashioned care and thought that went into packaging up precious things!

Anyway sorry to go on….(and for the gazillion and one links) it is just exciting to find something that ‘fit’s’ so well with what I want for my work and how I want it to be presented. Things are going to well at the moment in terms of my work that I often wonder what I have done to deserve it all, but I guess the years of hard work are finally paying off and I really, really hope it continues….

So I may be blogging and blog visiting a little less frequently over the next 2 weeks or so but I do hope to pop in from time to time to keep you updated on the characters soon to be appearing in my studio…

Wishing you well!

xxx

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how the garden grows….

I haven’t had much time to potter in the garden lately as I have been in the studio so much but I am delighted to see things are growing and blooming and my efforts are bringing rewards. We have fresh salad greens everyday, the pea pods are getting fatter and now we just need a sunny weekend to give everything a bit of a boost as it has been much more cloudy and gloomy these past couple of weeks.

I do wish I had more flowers though. I put our pennies and my time into getting the vegetables going and so whilst there is lots of green there is not much in the way of other colours. The aquilegia is starting to flower though and hopefully the honeysuckle will flower soon too.  Goodness knows if the sweet peas, poppies and cornflowers will come to anything as all of the seedlings have been thoroughly trampled by our raga-muffin bunnies who seem to prefer careering along the side of the fence where the flower beds are to lollpping on the grass. We shall see! Righto back off to the studio for me!!

PS thank you so much for all your recent comments – I have been most neglectful of blog reading and commenting and such like these last few weeks due to work but am hoping to take some time over the weekend to catch up. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! xxx

a novice gardener …

a novice gardener, originally uploaded by gilfling.

The last few weeks (crooked back aside) I have been spending lots of time in the garden, pottering around, planting seedlings and trying to learn the basics of creating a small vegetable plot in such a tiny space. I have bought a couple of books from charity stores and a couple of new books and when not working you can find my nose buried in one of these trying to learn all I can in order to create some produce for ourselves.

This is only the second garden I have had as a grown up and the last one was even smaller than the tiny space we have now – well established, it required little more than the odd bit of weeding and cutting back. Now however we live in a brand new build house and so literally I have had to start from scratch. Also we are renting and on a very small budget so there is not much in the kitty for making any substantial changes as yet, nonetheless I am making a new discovery about myself, which is that I LOVE gardening!! I might only be the most novice of novices, but I love getting my hands dirty, I love pottering and I love seeing the progression of a pot of nothing but earth turning into bright green seedlings and hopefully if I have got the alchemy right, eventually some edible veg!

We have had weeks of sunshine here in the UK and I treated myself to a very cheap plastic greenhouse in which I have been starting things off. It feels a lot like art and crafting, this creating something from nothing, the time pondering and pottering and the slow wait for results and I guess that is why I am so drawn to it.

Most things I am growing in pots as the earth is so poor here with it being a new house but I am slowly learning what I can do in the future to help it along. I bought a brilliant book The Thrifty Gardener by Alys Fowler and I am learning that I will be able to plant crops that will grow quickly and then can be dug back into the earth to help condition it so I hope to do that soon so that I can begin growing things in the ground too. In the next couple of weeks I hope to build a composter and although we have no drain pipe down the side of the house (we live in a terrace and our neighbours have them but somehow our house has been missed out) I hope to find a solution to the dilemma of how to collect water.

The garden may not be pretty, with its parched lawn, empty half dug beds, the line of a rather mixed collection of wonderfully aged pots, ugly plastic ones and even uglier plastic containers but I am rather proud of how it is developing. I am growing tomatoes, courgettes, peas, runner beans, cucumbers, lettuce, beetroot, salad onions, peppers, and lots and lots of herbs. Not bad for such a small space! In amongst this practical plot which will hopefully save us some pennies on our grocery shopping, there are pockets of soon to be loveliness in the form of honeysuckle, hollyhocks, sweet peas, cornflowers and poppies and I can’t wait to see them begin to appear.

Anyway thank you for indulging me wittering on about my new love – Mark is definitely NOT a gardener and I fear that I bore him rigid with my endless updates on what seedlings are making an appearance and dilemma’s on what to plant where and what is working and not working! In the photo at the top you might also be able to see the fortifications I have had to put in place to stop the bunnies from using the pots as an assault course and their own personal dining area! It is a constant battle as they do like to try a bit of everything and the sweet peas I planted in the ground the other day might not survive the trampling they have been suffering the last couple of days.

I would love to read any blogs about your gardening ventures or any hints and tips you might have for a complete beginner so please feel free to put links in the comments to your own gardening progress. x

Mosaic Monday 11 April 2011

Mosaic Monday 11 April 2011, originally uploaded by gilfling.

1. untitled, 2. Sail Away Ladies, 3. Roger, 4. Náufrago em cores, 5. dreamers4, 6. Miniature Paper Ring Sculpture., 7. Everyday Objects Tell My Story, 8. A Whisper of Snow (detail 2), 9. *, 10. Wilfilda commissioned artdoll, 11. Mixed-media Calmer, 12. fletcher no.4

Another monday another mosaic and I am really loving this one!

The weather was gorgeous here this weekend and we spent our time at home pottering, tidying the house (as quickly as possible), gardening (at our leisure), playing board games and just enjoying each others company. I love weekends like that.

My minature vegetable garden is coming along nicely and I am trying new-to-me plants after my small beginnings as a gardener last year. I am not being too ambitious, preferring to think that I can build on my plot year upon year as I become more confident and see what works and what doesn’t!

So now onto a new week!! Wishing you a good one. x

Bunny proofed fence

Bunny proofed fence, originally uploaded by gilfling.

The sun has barely stopped shining here this weekend and as a pale as milk scottish lass I should stay out of the sun, but the new garden-lover in me cannot say no to spending as much time outside as possible (with a big sunhat and layers of sunscreen of course).

We were on a mission at the weekend and the hot sun meant trials were ahead but when needs must….

Our two bunnies, Jeeves and Wooster have very different characters and Jeeves has taken to trying all manner of escapades in a bid for freedom. However we love the fact that they can lollop freely around our tiny garden (with supervision) but pop into the loo or for a drink and within 10 seconds he can burrow his way out under the fence with Wooster either oblivious or looking on with envy at his brothers bravery. Not so bad if it is just out into the next garden but potentially catastrophic if he made it out to the car park and beyond – we would never see him again…..

So the plan this weekend was to tackle some serious bunnyproofing. Lots of digging, lots of wire clipping and pinning and then putting the dirt and gravel back where it belongs. Not exactly the best task for what I think may have been the hottest weekend of the year so far but absolutely necessary. We are still only a third of the way through but have so far tackled his favourite spots and hope to finish next weekend. So this was our Saturday and Sunday. Busy, tiring and requiring plenty of stops for refreshments and to let the muscles and back ease up. Hard work but so much cheaper than a bought bunny run and they get to lollop about in a larger space which they do love. They are like streaks of lightning when they really run about and love jumping 2 foot into the air in absolute joy – we don’t want to hinder that with a bunny run!

We also made it to the local market – the first time since we have moved here! Why it took us so long I do not know but shopping for fruit and veg in the outdoors beats supermarket rushes hands down. Mark even gifted me with some bedding plants for the garden and it is glorious to sit out there and have some colour along with the bees that are attracted to them. In our brand new house, our garden is also a blank canvas and this can be a little overwhelming at times, especially when I desire instant overgrown wilderness and layers of colour and texture. But little by little we will add a plant at a time and wait for that character and seclusion that I seek in this tiny little space….

daily sketches and sweet blooms

daily sketches, originally uploaded by gilfling.

It has been so hot here the last few days and I am enjoying spending a wee while everyday tending to the garden with bunnies lolloping about the grass. A small budget and inexperience are preventing me from doing as much to the garden as I would like but the tomato plants and courgette plants are growing a little more each day so I am hopeful that there will be some produce to show for my efforts.

I am also growing sweetpeas for the first time (everything in my garden I am growing for the first time…my very first garden….) and I am waiting with bated breath for the first sweet pea bloom to appear…there are lots of buds appearing daily. Sweet peas are my very favourite flower and I have fond and poignant memories of picking them from my grannies garden and bringing them in to scent the whole house in little vases. I look forward to that same scent in my own home soon.

More daily sketches and they are paving a way to me beginning some new work which is exciting. I feel I am fighting some fires here at the moment in terms of my creativity and procrastination but am making progress – I have more to say on this in another blog post. Meanwhile I am going to get back to the studio…..

Sophie

Sophie, originally uploaded by gilfling.

The final character now available in The Edge Gallery, Sophies story is below.

Sophie – Amongst the ruins of her ancestral home there is one room that remains intact with hand painted wall panels and billowing velvet curtains. Candle-light cast’s soft shadows and appears to bring the illustrated birds and butterflies to life as they dance on the faded leaves that cover the high walls from floor to ceiling. Outside there are broken down walls and stairs that end in sky with nowhere else to go.

Grand arches mark the places where previous generations once walked. But Sophie is content to while away the hours in the warm and cosy room, writing long winding stories inspired by the heavy trunks which are full of photographs of her distant relatives.

It is a quiet saturday here where I am enjoying catching up with some work on the computer with the patio doors open to the sunshine and seeing a couple of huge bumble bees drifting about the garden. I have some work to do on a commission this afternoon but then will catch up on a wee bit of vegatable gardening and repotting some seedlings which is always a lovely break and a chance to be outside.

I am new to gardening and very much a novice in an experimental phase to see what I can grow and what I should leave to the experts! But it is lovely to see green seedlings breaking through the soil where it had previously been bare and hopefully we shall have some fresh vegetables to enjoy in the coming months. Interestingly the vegetables that Mark strongly dislikes (carrots, beetroot and cabbage), are currently working out the best in my wee potted garden! But with a few other vegetables still to plant, hopefully we shall have some variety which we can both enjoy.