It's been on my "to visit and photograph" list for a long time, and was the perfect opportunity to try out my new wide angle lens.
A Victorian tame rainforest, prancing peacocks and a tree top walkway - what's not to love? It was a wonderful day (storm sheltering in deserted glass houses included) and gave me lots of inspiration for new designs! Watch this space...
Just a few photos from the day below, I tried and failed to be restrained! Neil and I shared the camera, so if you think any of the photographs below are outstanding, they're probably his.
I was forwarded this link by a family member, which was a competition to be stocked in House of Frasers's Oxford Street store for a two week period. Apart from sounding amazing, I thought it looked like a brilliant excuse to get to grips with the video capacity of my camera and have a bash at editing it.
Turns out I found acting as natural as the trees - that is to say very wooden and creaky. Neil is a very patient (and helpful!) man.
Update: Editing video of yourself really boosts self esteem... Oh no wait, I mean exactly the opposite of that.
The video is linked below - any thoughts? Please don't be too honest ;)
As a treat for staring at the summer through a train window, I treated myself to a new camera and went out to capture loads of summer textures. Enjoy, I did.
Society 6, stockists of my phone covers and other goodies, have just started making iPad cases!
Even more helpful, if you follow this friends and family promo link, you get free shipping until April 14th. Not too shabby.
Anyone want to give me an iPad..?
A lovely lady spotted on my Facebook page my technique of painting in acrylic and using a craft knife to carve back to the white paper beneath. She set the theme and colour and after some back and forth, I happily created it.
And how I got there...
Last year I submitted a design to be considered for a community mural at a school in Brackley for children to undertake. I didn't hear anything of it, so was most surprised when I bumped into it today parking somewhere I've never been before! They must've liked it after all.
First special offer of the year! Free shipping on all my iPhone cases etc stocked by Society 6.
Follow the link for the special promo code, which expires 13th Jan.
Super excited to present my new ceramic range, Blue Trees. I'm hoping to build up stock soon, but at the moment they're made to order, so please get in touch asap if you fancy some for Christmas.
Espresso Cup and Saucer
Teacup and Saucer (imagine the saucer!)
Dainty Serving Bowl
I promised a how-to guide for the teacup I previewed early, so here it is! (If you can't be bothered to read it all, basically you get your pictures printed, get em in water, put em on stuff and get em hot. Not tricky.)
Buy your blank ceramics. For test pieces I just bought a selection from a popular blue and yellow Swedish establishment. For my "proper" ones, I hope to get them made by a potter so there are no nasty copyright issues! For home use I'm sure Ikea don't mind.
Decide on your designs. To get my head around this I printed lots of different bits and bobs onto scrap paper and blue tacked them to the china, helpful for 3D thinking! I also had the good sense to take photos on my phone of the different arrangements so that I could remember them all!
Arrange a sheet of your chosen designs. I use a combo of hand drawn work, edited and arranged with Photoshop and Illustrator. Mostly because I'm tight and wanted to cram as much on one A3 sheet as possible! Send your sheet to a digital ceramic printer (like normal printers, but instead of ink the cartridges are full of ceramic toner.) I used these guys, mainly as there were no minimum order requirements. If you happen to find a brilliant one, please let me know! Sometimes the transfers are also called ceramic decals, incase you're not finding what you need.
Using a pair of scissors or a scalpel, cut out all your lovely shapes and pictures. Here the earlier phone pics came in useful to remember which shape went with what item. If you're more of a "let's just see what happens" kind of crazy individual, you could always wing it and see what you come up with!
Put your transfers one at a time into lukewarm water. They curled up, which slightly alarmed me, but thankfully not in the manner of cling film (which I'm pretty sure hates me, but that's another matter...) Leave them about 20 seconds, and the backing paper should start to separate from the actual transfer with the lightest rub. They seem fairly robust, but I wouldn't throw them around.
Using a combination of a dry tea towel and a squeegee, put your transfers onto your chosen piece (I thought I'd be a renegade and see if some worked on glass. Turns out, yes!) The aim here is just to get rid of all the air bubbles and creases, as this will affect your final finish.
Once all your transfers have been put in place and flattened properly, leave them to dry for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight. Don't touch them. No, not even a little bit. The blue around all the images was just the colour of paper from my particular ceramic printer - it burns up without affecting the final image, phew.
Find a friendly potter with a kiln that they don't mind you sneaking pieces into for a small fee:) I can recommend local art colleges like here for this, good luck in your search! I ran several test pieces to fine tune the temperature required, but most transfers come with firing guidelines.
Wait till the kiln is cool enough to break in and fall in love with just how cool your pictures look on ceramics. It's addictive, I warn you!
A sample piece of my new experimental ceramic range hot from the kiln! (Not literally obviously, that's be stoopid...) The full lot will be available shortly! Spoilers: I'm personally most excited by the espresso cup!