Our wedding day

All week I have been helping prepare for 'The Most Curious wedding fair' at work, and on Friday we set up our Papier stand at The Old Truman Brewery. It looked so pretty, full of beautiful stationery and lovely flowers, there we so many vendors showing off their dresses, decorations and accessories and it made me think back to my wedding which was already six months ago. So I have decided to share some photos here.

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The Venue was the beautiful Gate Street Barn in Guildford, I saw the venue online and knew instantly I wanted to get married here, I decorated it myself with the help of my parents and bridesmaids - which was a little stressful but I was so pleased with the end result. I'm just glad they talked me out of doing the flowers myself!

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I made 100 metres of bunting in colours to match my mint and coral colour scheme, as well as tying lace bows on to 70 chairs.

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I made poem sheets and seat reservations as well as hand painted signs, like this 'Pick a seat not a side, we're all family once the knot is tied' and the 'confetti' one which hung on a beautiful old bike ornament which also housed the little glassine paper bags that I filled with tiny dried pastel coloured petals.

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I wanted the flowers to match the colour theme and to have a hand picked feel to them. I had spent a year collecting old jam jars which I decorated with lace and twine and my husbands uncle made some old rustic crates for them to sit on.

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Another crafty project that took a very long time was making around 70 crepe paper flowers for the place names, all individual and unique, they all had a little tag with the guests names on - they went down so well and I was really happy to see people had tied them round their wrists and took them home as keepsakes.

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I originally wanted a big traditional 3 tiered cake, but after finding out how much they cost and also how little normally gets eaten I thought it would be a huge waste of money, so I went for this one tiered cake with some cupcakes too (not a single cupcake or slice of cake was eaten on the day)

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We enjoyed lots of tasty food on the day, there were canapes (which I didn't get any off as we were having some photos taken) then we opted for a light afternoon tea - although there was so much it ended up being left out for evening guests, and then for the evening food we had the amazing My Pie van serving a selection of delicious pies with mash and peas. They went down a treat!

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Most things went according to plan, and that plan had taken a long time to make, so you really do want everything to be just right. But there were a few things that didn't go as well as I'd hoped, like my hair, it wasn't like the photos I had shown for reference and not how I had imagined at all, and a few issues with flowers, I had specifically asked for only fresh flowers, but the florist turned up with fake flowers for the garland above the door which was really disappointing and my bouquet wasn't how I had hoped either, I wanted it much less round and again to match the jam jars that looked like freshly picked flowers all gathered together with lots of foliage. Oh and my dress ripped too...but even with these (which felt like big things to me) couldn't have ruined my wedding day. I loved every minute of it!

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How much does it cost to start a business?

A question and a challenge. I've run my own business before, it wasn't planned from the very beginning, and a little 'messy'. My acrylic jewellery business went ok, and I did have successes but it wasn't heading in the direction I wanted, and I couldn't visualise still doing it 5 years down the line - So I decided a year ago to call it a day and close it.

I always knew I wanted/needed to have my own business again, and have been thinking about it for a while - along with having one of the busiest years I've ever had (I left my job, did a 3 month intensive graphic design course, moved flat, got married, went on my honeymoon and got a new job) 

My new adventure and challenge is about to begin, I'm doing everything properly from the start, I've made some spreadsheets, and have a list of things I need to do, like registering my business and getting a business bank account - but the plan is to start with £100 and see how far I can get with it.

I'll be taking it slowly and starting with one product then I will hopefully add a new one every few weeks depending on sales of the previous one. My first piece is a print, and hopefully my next one will be an enamel pin.

Im excited and hopeful for my new venture, and hope to blog about it a little more than I have in the past.

 

WE GOT MARRIED

I am now back from what I guess I would describe as the best few weeks of my life. I know it sounds a little cheesey, but I've never been happier.

On 24th September I married Anthony, my boyfriend of 9 years, and even though the run up to it was quite stressful (what with looking for a job, and making lots of crafty things for the big day) everything on the day went to plan and I had the most wonderful time.

We then went to Japan, wow. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was crazy, colourful, exciting and wonderful. We spent two weeks travelling around taking lots of photos, feeling inspired and experiencing new things. 

Now I'm back and it already seems so far away, I am still looking for a job which I have to say has been a bit of a come down from all the fun. Once I've got something sorted I am going to re-think my old business in to something new exciting and fresh, and start from the very beginning, taking my time to plan everything properly and make sure I love everything I make, design and produce. I am really excited about it.

In the meantime I am going to do a few posts about my wedding, Japan, the amazing stationery I bought there and plans for my new business.

Somerset House

Yesterday I visited Somerset house to see the Print Club London's film poster exhibition. I got there to find that there was also the AOI world illustration awards exhibition - Bonus!

There was some absolutely stunning pieces of illustration work in the exhibition, and there were some lovely books to look through too, I think my favourite piece was the one above by Nicholas Stevenson, I love going to exhibitions and finding new artists, illustrators and sources of inspiration. 

The exhibition is on until 29th August at the Embankment galleries in the south wing, also, on Thursdays there is an 'Artists show and tell'.

The Print Club London film poster exhibition is on in the East wing galleries, which was such a beautiful light setting, amongst old fire places and plants, it had such a lovely feel to it.

The prints all relate to a film which is shown each night on a large screen between 4th-17th August, and you can buy the prints and other cool things in the little shop at the exhibition. Who doesn't love a look round a gift shop?!

There are events, workshops and demonstrations happening through out the exhibition and a film reel of the prints being made at the Print Club London Studio.

The exhibition is on until 17th August in the East wing galleries.

Well that went by quick

My last post was just over 3 months ago, as I was about to embark on a new adventure in to graphic design. (I know I said i'd post work and progress etc, I just didn't have time, when they said the course was intense they weren't lying) 

I have now finished my course at Shillington college, and I loved every minute of it (well apart from portfolio time - the most stressful part of the course). We learned so much in such a short space of time. It's hard to think back to the beginning where we worked on small adverts in black and white, all the way to the end where we were creating full campaign events.

I met so many great people, became much more confident in the Adobe software, learned all about design principles, typography, typesetting, creating gifs, concepts, mood boarding and ideas generation.

There is still so much to learn, but I feel like I now have a strong background to get a job and learn more. My plan is to work in graphic design/illustration for a few years while I build up a portfolio of clients, and a body of work, to go back to running my own business. 

I will hopefully be adding items to my shops again soon and start it up slowly, i'd love to start doing markets and fairs again next year.

In the mean time I am on the look out for a job and planning a wedding, ill keep you updated.

You can see some work I produced on the course on my website

 

A new beginning..

This week marked the beginning of something new and exciting.

With a slow and unsure start to the year - after deciding laser cut jewellery was no longer what I wanted to do, and my day job contract coming to an end - I couldn't find any jobs I wanted to do. I didn't feel confident in my abilities as a designer/illustrator to go out and get a job in it, and I certainly didn't want to carry on working in admin. With the support and encouragement from my other half, I took the scary steps in to going back to college to study and learn the skills required to get a creative job.

After some research I found Shillington College, a full-time three month intensive graphic design course. Learning relevant industry skills from practising designers, the aim is to leave with a portfolio of high quality work, ready to go out and get a job in the design industry.

I have just finished my first week, and when they say intensive, they mean it. We crammed so much in to a few days, learning the basics of InDesign as well as the design principles - we worked on a number of briefs for newspapers and magazines. Not only that, there were also some awkward ice breakers, one of which was having to film a dance routine (part of a treasure hunt challenge - and my team won) The tutors showed us their portfolios, and ended Friday in the pub - we needed it!

I am really excited about the next three months, but also completely terrified too. I know I will pick up the Adobe suite, I have some experience in this - mostly self taught. What I am worried about is not being able to come up with good ideas, can this be taught? Can I learn how to come up with good ideas, I just don't know. I guess we will have to wait and see.

I'll update here on how it goes, hopefully with some design work, ideas and progress.

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Risograph Print workshop

Today I went to a really fun 2 colour Risograph print workshop. It took place at Hato Press which is a London based Risograph printer and publishing house.

 

I have recently been noticing some lovely Risograph prints at craft fairs and online, my favourites are by Printed Peanut and Scout Editions - they're lovely, and just have an extra special quality to them.

The process has similar qualities to screen printing, the machine looks like a photocopier and to an effect it is, we used the hand made process as opposed to using a PDF to print from. The designs are individually placed upon the screen bed, as you would do to photocopy something, then making sure the correct coloured 'drum' is in the machine (like a big printing roller full of ink) the machine then creates a master using a special film, this is where the similarities to screen printing are (but instead of light this uses heat to burn on the design) once the master film is created this stays attached to the roller and ink is pushed through the areas which have been burnt (the areas where you have made marks on your design)

Then the process is repeated for the second colour, so you have both masters ready, then it is a case of printing both at the same time, the alignment may not be correct at this stage so using the arrow keys on the machine you can move the position of the drum and keep testing the print until you are happy with the position.

So, back to the workshop, I arrived a little early and had a look around the little shop area where they have books and prints. Once everyone had arrived we were told how the risograph printer works and we all made a few scribbles on some paper to see the process, and how each different pen or pencil mark would come out.

Then it was time to create our designs, I had something in mind and had some basic ideas in my sketchbook, I drew out the design first and then decided on colours and arrangement, to create the final artwork we had to draw one colour on to a piece of paper and then using tracing paper make the second layer/colour.

Then we put the coloured drums in to the machine, I decided on teal and orange, and a few tests to get it all lined up and my final print was ready. It was so quick and simple but the outcome is beautiful, I really enjoyed the process and will definitely work in this way again.

If you're interested in Risograph printing and live in London I would really recommend this workshop, it was only £30 and such a fun afternoon. 

Close up of my print

Close up of my print

My final print

My final print

Here's a little clip of my work printing.

Find a better explanation of the process and information on workshops here

 

All good things come to an end

If any of you follow me on Instagram or any other social media channels you may have noticed I am selling my laser cutter and other bits and bobs from my studio. It has been a decision I haven't made lightly and has taken a long time to finally say 'this is the end'. 

A lot of people have said that its the wrong decision, 'carry on', 'you're doing great'. And I appreciate that people like my pieces and it's so nice to know people think it's worth carrying on, but behind the scenes I have been pretty unhappy for a while, getting upset, ending up in tears and hiding under my duvet for days and having my other half constantly having to pick up the pieces. 

I finally made the decision to stop making laser cut jewellery about 4-5 months ago, and slowly started winding down, I instantly felt better, like a weight had been lifted. I also had a lot of worries, I currently work part time and starting again means I won't be making much money, so now I am trying to find a full time job - a new worry - but I know this will take the pressure off, and if I don't end up finding a job I like, it will encourage me to work hard at home to make money from my new work.

So, my new work.. The plan is to focus more on illustrations, after all this is what my degree is in, I would love to get a job within design but I don't feel I am good enough on photoshop etc, and don't feel confident enough to do this, so to start I will work on prints and hopefully print on fabric and stationery too. 

A look further in to the future I am going to start saving up for a graphic design course, (a bit difficult at the moment - with a wedding and mortgage to save for) hopefully here I will gain the experience, confidence and the skills to go on to working freelance or work in a design studio - but for now, I need to sell my laser cutter - pay back my dad for this, find a full time job and most importantly get drawing.

Mint madness

So, I've got this thing about Mint, any shade really, greeny mint, bluey mint, seafoam, teal etc etc. So I have decided to photograph all the lovely things I spot which come under the umbrella of MINT. 

Yesterday I was in Norwich (for other reasons than to spot minty loveliness) but I managed to get some photos of these amazing old metal chairs outside a chip shop. 

There were lots of other minty goodness around but it was a busy day with lots to do and unfortunately not much time for photographing. 

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A video in my studio

If you are visiting my blog, I am assuming you have seen the video on the homepage of my website. If you haven’t seen it go to my homepage or click here to see the video on YouTube.

It’s a short video showing me in my workshop/studio doing what I do best. You see me go through the process of making jewellery from start to finish, starting with sketching and transferring the design to the computer and finishing with cutting out the pieces from acrylic and finally attaching them all together.

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The videographer was the super talented John Barker, he did a great job and as scared and nervous as I was he made me feel at ease. I did feel really silly at times, and I think at one point in the video you can see me giggling away when I'm pretending to press buttons on my laser cutter.

The filming process took about 4-5 hours, and then John shot some extra bits around the studio after that it was time for the dreaded interview. This was the bit I was not looking forward to and actually suggested the video shouldn't have any narration, but John insisted, so he attached a microphone to me and we had a 30 minute 'chat' where he forced me (in a nice way) to say my name, so people can hear how to say it. Once that was over I had done my part and the rest was down to John.

We did the filming and interview, and in a super quick turnaround I received the video in my inbox, it was so exciting but I was so scared to watch it (having heard the rumour you put on 10lbs when you’re in front of the camera) but I loved it.

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I am really nosey and enjoy seeing where people work and what they do so I'm glad to share my little story and creative process.

If you’re interested in doing the same I would really encourage you to contact John, he is super talented and so friendly, you will have a really fun day and get something amazing out of it.

You can visit John's website here, and see the blog post he did all about the making of the video here.

Art Trail - 100 Cats

Following on from my previous posts of my 'Art trail' (you can see the other exhibitions I visited here and here) our last exhibition of the day was 100 Cats.

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The title alone was inviting enough. it was an exhibition of feline themed art and illustration at the Hackney Downs Studios in the A-Side B-Side gallery.

The exhibition was curated by illustrator Laura Hughes, and was made up of 100 illustrations of all different types and styles of cats by 36 different artists.

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There was such a range of styles and they were all great, artists involved in the exhibition included Faye Moorhouse, Lorna Scobie, Laura Hughes, Sandra Dieckmann, Emma Block and many more.

Art trail - Print Club London Blisters 2014

Blisters: The sound Sessions was the second exhibition of our weekend Art trail, if you didn't see the first one you can see that here.

The Print Club London is a print studio in London that often put exhibition on, this one was the 5th of its kind. 

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There was 40 exhibiting artists each with an edition of 40 signed prints for only £40 each.

The posters were all inspired by music and all so different in style and colour. The exhibition was held in MC Motors which is a large events venue opposite the studios, it was filed with an array of vintage props including a portrait of the Royal family which was hung at the very top of the very high walls.

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This Rose Blake print was my favourite of all the prints, but I also liked the two below, maybe it's the matching colours? 

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Unfortunately the show has now finished - I will be sure to go again next year, maybe i'll even have some money to buy one - as it was supposed to be a free art day I couldn't really buy one this time. 

Art trail - Howard Griffin Gallery

On Saturday my friend Liz and I decided to have a free day of art, and as it was the start of Design week there was plenty to chose from.

We started by seeing an exhibition we didn't mean to (stupid timeout with its out of date information) at the Howard Griffin Gallery on Shoreditch High Stree. The exhibition was called John and George, and it had a really nice story,

John was a well known homeless man who used to sit on Shoreditch High Street, he used to talk to the commuters and telling them about his life and he used to sell drawings he had done to pass the time. 

He would draw the buildings around him and also George, his dog. 

His first exhibition was at Howard Griffin in 2013 and he has returned this year for his second show. 

The first thing we saw was a giant drawing of George the dog, and then glancing over to the desk at the front of the Gallery was the real George - so that was nice, apparently John sometimes leaves George at the Gallery for an hour or so.

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The space was really nice, big and was full of exposed brick work, it really suited the work, which was mainly line drawings and screen prints of the buildings around Shoreditch.

At the back of the space were three walls covered in A4 sketches of George hung on bulldog clips, these were on sale for £50 and it already looked like lots had been bought.

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It's a really nice exhibition to look round, and I think knowing the story makes it even better, if you want to take a look you will need to hurry as this is only on until 21st September.

Cornershop

Recently I visited a cornershop in Bethnal green selling all the usuals you would expect. The only difference is this was actually the total opposite of what you would expect.

The 'Cornershop' is an art installation of around 4000 everyday items made from felt. Lucy Sparrow, the maker of this wonder, has spent over 7 months making each and every product you would find in your local convenience store.

From penny sweets in jars, to cigarettes, dirty magazines to frozen chips and ice lollies, it really is an amazing thing to see.

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It was so difficult to pick a favourite, they were all so great, I did really like the sweets, chocolates and crisps, but then these are all my favourite things any way.

If you fancy a visit, the shop is at 19 Wellington Row, London, E2 7BB and open everyday in August 10am-7pm. Don't worry if you can't make it, there is also a shop online where you can purchase all the items which are on sale in the shop