One week to go….

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Well the countdown begins… Exactly one week tomorrow I will be leaving the house at 3.45 am (oh gosh!!!) and making my way to the airport to begin my journey to Eunique in Karlsruhe, Germany.

At the moment I feel so nervous, worried that I will not get everything done but there is nothing else for it but to keep plodding on as is my way. My flights and accommodation are booked, display furniture ordered, the huge crate I am sharing with 5 other exhibitors is packed and ready to ship tomorrow to be there ready and waiting for us.

Now all there is to do is to keep making, as these little characters take so long to create. There will not be as many as I had first hoped but I will try and not worry about that – I always aim for quality rather than quantity and each one is a labour of love. I just hope they are well received in a country steeped in storytelling and fairy tales.

So many exciting things are happening for me right now but there are stressful and worrying things too – such is the see-saw of life. I am just trying to live every moment and enjoy what I can and keep my worries under control. I am a work in progress just like these characters you see above ūüôā

X x x

Introducing Benno

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Hello! There will be lots of short in-progress blog posts coming up as I am in full swing preparing work to take to Germany so I will be posting from my phone and resisting getting lost in the cavernous world wide web! Just over a month to go and an exhibition and an arts trail looming before then!

So head down and nose to the grindstone for me. In the meantime, meet Benno, the latest addition to the family that sits on my bookshelves for a short time.

X x x

Over the sea …..

Just a really quick post today as I am on my way up to my studio but I have a wee bit of exciting news. I have been selected as part of a group of Design Factory members who will be exhibiting at The International Art and Craft Fair in Karlsruhe in Germany this May 2012. Eunique is a huge trade and retail show with exhibitors from all over the world Р20 different nations in fact! The exhibitors are carefully chosen to include internationally renowned artists and makers making unique and limited edition pieces. I am so excited and nervous as it is such a long time since I have travelled overseas and this will the be the biggest show I have attended by far.

Lots to plan and make in preparation! So on that note – off to the studio for me!

A clumsy return….

Lustre, Nov 2011, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Again…. so, so very long since I have blogged. So easy as it is to get out of the habit, to worry that I am boring you, repetition of the same old, same old stories.

But I am back and we shall see what I have to share…………. I have been so incredibly busy these last few weeks (months?) and really I have been on a one track path, just working, working away and preparing for all the upcoming shows of this season. I have taken on a lot this year, my busiest ever and now I have 2 shows, a showcase and one exhibition behind me and 3 shows, a showcase and an exhibition looming ahead which is exciting if a little scary!

I am naturally nervy whilst preparing for shows and exhibitions, but this year has now been made a little more stressful by way of a fall down a flight of stairs in a coffee shop 2 days ago which resulted in a trip to accident and emergency and the diagnosis of at least 2 fractured ribs and possible sternum fracture – and more bruising and aches than I care to mention!!

Tis a long, long story which I won’t bore you with but needless to say it all leaves me in a bit of a pickle. This is the 3rd consecutive year of disasters during my show season. Two years ago saw me running from show, to shop, to hospital, to p/t job whilst Mark was quite ill in hospital for several weeks – last year of course I was being treated for breast cancer so was only able to do one show (disastrous when I am a self-employed artist depending on the income) and now this year!! With all the money I have paid out to do the shows I can’t afford another year of calamities!

Luckily I have the best friends in the world. I put out a call for help on facebook last night and I have been overwhelmed with offers of help from friends and strangers alike. I have been bed-bound the last 2 days and any movement leaves me in agony (goodness knows what my neighbours must think of the screaming every time I have to get out of bed) and with my next show only a week and 2 days away (and 2 more on the consecutive weekends after that) I was in a panic about how I would manage. But folks have offered to drive me, carry stuff, unpack, set up and man my stall and I am so, so humbled and grateful. The artistic community is a generous one and there is always that sense of ‘we look after each other’ and never has that been more clear.

So the next show is pretty much sorted and I will be trying to sculpt away in my sick-bed (the only place I can get comfortable as the slightest movement leaves me in agony) and hoping that I can get up and about in a few days to do a little sewing of mice and rabbits and melancholy girls.

The photos’s above were taken at my first show of the season which was the brilliant Lustre in Nottingham. It was my best show ever and I was overwhelmed with the response to my work, so thank you if you came to visit, purchase or even just to say hello and show an interest in the things I create. It makes it all worthwhile!

x x x

I am not here….

….nope – you don’t see me. Really I am just popping in for a second….oh ok then I shall stay just a little while…

Well I am at that stage where I have so much to do that I have butterflies permanently residing in my tummy and my hands and thoughts are all a flutter! But I have missed this place and just wanted to pop in ever so briefly and say that I am still alive, still beavering away in the studio, still trying to meet deadlines and get through everything that I must do. I have had a self-imposed internet break the last almost-couple-a-weeks only popping in to try and stem the never-ending flow of emails.

I have also¬†allowed myself only one luxury – ten (fifteen?) minutes a day pinning and pinning – Yep I have a new obsession with Pinterest – do you know it? have you tried it? do you love it as much as me? I might be addicted – you can find my boards here so please friend me there! (I am Gillian Cox – at least I can tell Mark I have changed to my married name somewhere in the world….) I wasn’t going to add a board for my own work but have actually decided ‘why not?’ so I will!

In other news….

~I have been re-doing some of my photographs of my work for a couple of very exciting things coming-up-which-I-cannot-reveal-just-yet. Gosh when I look back at the first photographs of my work a few years ago I have come far – but there is always room for improvement! I have never liked my work on white backgrounds as I always wanted to add atmosphere and character – my ‘stamp’ if you will…but these opportunities required a white background and I have to admit I am rather pleased with how they have turned out.~

~I had an awful fall down the stairs on Saturday and am black and blue! Let’s just say sitting down is an interesting and painful experience as I have a very bruised tail-bone which isn’t much fun when all my work this week involves sitting at my desk painting and varnishing. That’ll teach me to be more careful in future (I am sure I have been saying that to my clumsy-self for years..)~

~I was delighted to discover this morning that one of my favourite artists and online friend Cathy Cullis is the featured seller on Etsy this week. I adore Cathy’s work, her process and reading about her inspiration. I have been collecting here artist’s zines for a wee while now and also have¬†a couple of her lovely dolls.¬†I would love to own an original painting someday. Anyway please have a read of her interview here.~

~Just a wee reminder that I am here this Saturday (come and say hello if you are there – sadly it is the last Craft Candy Fair) , my work will be here from the 23rd of this month and this print is here and here~

Best be off now! Hoping to get back to usual blogging, blog reading, monday-mosaic-making and whatever else it is that I do inbetween working next week. Wishing you well!

xxx

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 РI 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

Holmfirth Art Market

Hello there! I will be posting my usual flickr monday mosaic later on today but I wanted to start the week with a wee post about the Holmfirth Art Market which I was exhibiting at yesterday. We had the intention of travelling up to Yorkshire early on Saturday morning but I made the last minute decision to paint some display boards with wild-flowers to tie in with the garden theme of the event as I had not managed to acquire any floral displays for my table – this took alot longer than I thought but you can see them in the photo above – I had one at each end of my stand and I was really pleased with how they looked in the end.

We travelled up later that day – around 2 and a half hours drive up to Hebdon Bridge for me to visit and discuss an upcoming opportunity which I am afraid I have to keep under my hat for now but it is very exciting and I promise to reveal all as soon as I can!! From our short time in Hebdon Bridge we could see how beautiful it is – so lovely to see so many independant shops, boutiques and galleries thriving in this wonderfully creative community – we hope to plan a camping trip up that way soon so that we can wander around at our leisure.

Saturday night we checked into our hotel, bath and pyjama’s for me and a very relaxing evening which was great after the busyness of the last few weeks preparing for the art market – I worked so hard on the preparations for this and it was a real luxury not to be running around like a mad thing the night before an event although I did manage to have a sleepless night due to a combination of nerves, excitement and a very uncomfortable matress! We were up and in the car incredibly early on Sunday morning as set up was from 7.30am but I am so glad that we took the extra time as I wanted my display to be the best it could be and to be able to take my time setting up everything up. All my hard work paid off! The table was huge and I did worry a little that my work would look a little ‘lost’ but instead it benefitted from the extra space to display everything so that you could see each individual piece instead of it being cluttered.

This really was one of the best events I have done Рa brilliant spacious venue, solid market stalls as the stands, the event organisers had just put in so much work to ensure everything ran smoothly. I sold only one clay figure but lots of prints, cards and postcards and also a painting commission as well as a deposit for a painting that I did not even have there! So I was incredibly pleased with my takings. You never know how sales will go as the last show I did I sold 5 out of the 8 clay figures I took but no prints!

The quality of the 50 exhibitors was really high and I could have taken a piece from each artist home with me if I had the pennies! I met so many lovely people and really enjoyed the day and the most unbelievable news is that I was presented with ‘The Art Market Most Outstanding Artist Award’!!¬†When they told me, I had a silly moment of not understanding what they were giving me, then being gobsmacked, then promptly bursting into tears……..oh dear…. I was completely overwhelmed. The award was judged by Clare Lilly, Head Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and as well as a certificate I get a a complementary stand at the November Art Market and also marketing support and mentoring from the PR company involved with the event (the name of which I cannot find at the moment but I met Fiona who runs it yesterday and she was lovely!)

But even with all of that, equally lovely was the encouragement and support from the organisers in their appreciation of my work. Since having breast cancer last year and having to take it slow for a while, during my recovery I really made the commitment to working more seriously on my artwork and have been so grateful for the opportunites that have presented themselves in the last few months …………. I hope it continues!! It certainly feels as if my work is starting to pay off and I so happy with all that is happening!

Anyway – today I am relaxing a bit (still in my pyjama’s at 11.30am!) and I will be sorting the photos of my new characters and making some draft blog posts to show you them along with their stories – so please forgive me for the many extra blog posts that will be appearing this week, but if you are interested, then I hope you enjoy them as much as I loved making each character. I have many of them left which is good news as I have many¬†events coming up but tomorrow I shall make a wee announcement should you be interested in a character for yourself so check in for that!

Apologies for the rambling blog post but I shall finish with a link to the blog post showing me accepting my award (last photo) Рa combination of tiredness, hormonal hot flushes and the fact that 2 minutes before I was crying like a baby means I look a bit of a soggy mess, but I was over the moon (and still am) with award.

Thank you for reading!

xxx