Hello there! Well it is only Wednesday and I am pooped after working the whole weekend through to this week with Saturday in sight as a day of rest.
I was teaching all day on Saturday past, my first workshop this year and it was lovely and brilliant and satisfying and tiring all at the same time. I will hopefully be able to show photos tomorrow.
Then on Sunday till yesterday I was working on the most unusual commission I have ever been given. A Bakery Company commissioned me to spend the last few days at their exhibition stand at a Food Trade Fair and be part of their exhibition. As their theme was The Art of Food and their stand was a Gallery they had this idea to employ a local artist to spend the exhibition with them painting. It was a very strange experience. I have drawn and painted in public before but just on my own with my sketchbook or drawing board. The idea was to get people interested and stopping for a moment which really worked. For most of the time I pretty much managed to switch off and just work away in my own wee world but it was also interesting to speak to people about my work and answer questions. The paintings I worked on are really not up to much and whereas usually when working in my studio I will paint a bit, sit and have a cup of tea and stare at my easel a bit, procrastinate for a while and just generally day-dream, the was pretty full on and I was just trying to get something down on paper rather than stare at a blank sheet for half the day.
So an interesting experience, but boy am I tired today!!
Today is a ‘mosying’ about kind of a day. Catching up on little computer jobs that have been residing on the ‘to do list’ for a little longer than they should; drinking mugs of coffee whilst they are still hot; sitting with feet up and doors to the outside world open. The sun is shining and the spring coolness just means an extra cardy to allow me to enjoy the air.
The photo above is a recently completed commission with a very specific brief. A hand carved book cover with field mouse and poppies and the final piece to look like it has been re-discovered after decades sitting on a hidden shelf. I do struggle with commissions as often my nerves get the best of me and the self imposed pressure to make the perfect item for the customer can be paralysing (does anyone else suffer from this?) It is however also a challenge that is good to go through as quite often it means I am working on something which is outside my comfort zone and normal way of working.
So here after many sketches I came up with this design and tooled the leather, hand-dying it to create an uneven aged patina with a bit of extra ‘weathering’ applied to the edges to add extra character. One of the most difficult parts was to remove the cover of the original book as I have only previously bound books from scratch and have not had the experience of working on an old book before. With the aging of the leather and the end papers now a lovely hand made paper the book takes on a different character and I am pleased (and relieved) with the final piece.
I love the tactile nature of working with leather and it is something that I do not get to do that often, but the process of recovering this book has made me wonder about incorporating these skills into my own more personal work – we shall see….
More images can be seen on my flickr page…
So we have a ‘homely’ weekend to look forward with two new members to the household – Jeeves and Wooster, our rescue bunnies who are settling in nicely. I shall be trying not to be too much of an over-clucky mother hen and weather permitting enjoy some time in the garden. Have a great weekend!