Sunday, 8 July 2012

My Blog is Moving


Welcome to my OLD blog. If you've landed here because you bought or were sent one of my greetings cards or you have one of my business cards you will need to Take a look at instead. (I'll be updating my cards and business cards when they run out.

I've taken the decision to move there because the WordPress platform has more to offer me (and therefore hopefully, by default, you) in the way I want to run my blog.

But before you leave take a look around here. There is still stuff I've left until I update the postings I've made over time here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Greetings Cards

I'm often get asked for advice about where to get greetings cards printed and who does mine. 

Amazingly in this day and age the chap who prints mine has no website or any other internet presence other than an email address so you can't go look, see. His name is Chris Oldroyd.

He dug me out of a hole one time before a Christmas Open Studio event turning my cards round and getting them to me in double quick time. It is too long and involved to go into the whole back story. Suffice to say he had sent me some samples before so I was reasonably confident of the print quality and card stock.

The great thing is he does small quantities. You don't have to order large numbers of each of your designs. I think his minimum order is 250 but that can be split between 1-4 images depending on the size and format of the card, square or A6/5, other. So, if like me you have lots of images and you're not sure which ones will prove to be the popular sellers you can order a small selection and go from there.

I did an internet survey using my Facebook and Twitter followers to narrow down my selection then placed my order. I now have 9 card designs but the line up of images is a work in progress. When I begin to run out I look at what was selling best, order more of them, ditch to slow sellers and replace with new images. Eventually I hope to have a bank of up to 12 images but I suspect there will always be a fluidity there as tastes change, my work moves on, etc.

The print quality is excellent and the card stock is good. He doesn't do envelopes and polyproylene envelopes. You have to buy those separately. I get mine from Mad About Cards

If you're interested here is his email address you can contact him here. Tell him I sent you.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Milestone Reached

I suddenly realised this evening that today marks a rather large milestone. My youngest child - he's 16 - had his last day at school today - ever! Next year he goes on to college to study film and video production.

These are some of his images taken with a 35mm Minolta.

So how does this fit here on my printmaking blog?

Fifteen years ago when LJ was still a toddler I was recovering from post natal depression. I was sleep starved and much of the first twelve months of his little life is a fuzzy haze. By the time he was 18 months old I was beginning to feel half way human again and it was at that point I discovered printmaking.

For the first few years it was a hobby, a time just for myself to play, although at times I had to fight for that space.  Then I began to sell the odd print; I also started to teach (beginning with maternity leave cover for my former tutor at the university); then she and I became business partners and started an independent printmaking studio together.

Now here I am; here we are, my son and I, my husband and daughter too; here we all are on the cusp of something new. My son to follow his dreams as a sports film maker, my daughter on the cusp of university and my other half and I on the cusp of something new, based on my printmaking. Who'd 'a thought it?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Decorated Sketch Book

This is what has been helping me keep my mind off the precipice. Mandy Pattullo's Tuesday evening class 'The Decorated Sketchbook' at Horsley Printmakers where until last year I was a partner.

The sketchbook is no masterpiece but that isn't really the point. Having chosen a theme 'Flowers and Patterns' it is a collection of ideas and creative techniques that hopefully, with practice, will act as sources of inspiration for my printmaking.
Collaging, using Brusho washes and emulsion paint, bleach and more washes to get interesting effects like this, linocut printed onto sheet music and cartridge, then stitched into like this ...

or this ...
with the reverse side looking like this ...
or doing a bit of transfer monotype like this...
and I might combine that with the stitching on this ...
But not only have I learnt some new techniques, one of the most valuable parts of the course is picking up what lies in part at least behind Mandy's amazingly creative mind. She has VOLUMES of decorated sketchbooks along a whole variety of themes but then there are also her visual diaries - the physical embodiment of 'Pinteresting', a pin board in book form.

Now I know what to do with all those magazines, gallery invitations, leaflets, photos, etc, etc, so that C won't have to say 'when are you going to throw this/these out?" I'll have torn out the pages I want and put them into MY visual diary. She has 50 years worth going back to when she was three ... I didn't ask her what her husband says about where they all get stored!

Standing on the Precipice

This morning when I went on Facebook a friend of mine in Johannesburg had posted this article from the Daily Mail with these photographs. They embody how I feel about my life and that of my family at the moment in time ...
 (© Desre Tate/Barcroft Media) 
My other half and I have some serious choices to make; there could be some serious obstacles (some of them feel really big); neither of us have ever been big risk takers ...
and there are some opportunities ... 
Do we dive into this?
And will we end up like this ...?

 Triumphantly succeeding.

Anyone got a crystal ball?


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Blogging from The Heart - Part 2.

April was a truly horrible month. Things got really ugly. How to deal with someone absolutely determined to rest control regardless of the cost to all around them was exceedingly difficult. The whole episode was so destructive. In the end my spam filters came in dead useful. 

What I need to do now is focus on the positives moving forward. 

I need to pursue a number of different ideas and see which one(s) comes out top in the coming months. When I'm feeling positive, I think there must be scope for some kind of online business. I just don't know what form it would take as yet. Look at Susannah! 

Friends and other artists say they think I'd make a good artists' agent. Trouble is most artists don't have the means to pay for me.  Yet in the job I've just left I thoroughly enjoyed working with artists in an advisory capacity, helping them focus on their strengths; honing in on what made them tick so that, for artists unused to selling themselves, I could assist as they wrote their first press release; suggest ways of increasing their social and business network; building their mailing list; I loved spotting other opportunities for them to sell their work; I loved collaborating.

I know I did a good job curating the eight exhibitions I was responsible for during my brief tenure. The positive feedback from both artists and customers alike before and after I left boosted my damaged self confidence. The artists reported significant rewards, not just in sales, but commissions, workshops and other enquiries. They felt I helped them learn something they could take away and apply in the future. Many artists went out of their way to tell me what a good job they thought I had been doing, after I left. 

The main major positive that came out of my time in the job however was working with David Hogarth, maker of leaded glass table lamps, to create table lamps and boxed sets of coasters using my images.

The success of this collaboration had set me thinking about how I can maximise the imagery I create through printmaking. The lamps and coasters are now in several galleries in the North East. I want to increase the number of outlets selectively and looking into e-commerce. My main barriers, which are not insurmountable, are packaging and transport - packaging glass lamps so they arrive in one piece and the associated costs of getting them to their destination. So many ideas its difficult to know where to start.

And there is more ...

Blogging from The Heart

So many possibilities - which one(s) to choose
My life is in transition. At times it feels like it is unravelling with incredible speed … at others it feels like this is the beginning of something really good. All I have to do is stay positive, say yes I can, celebrate the positive, build on it and everything will, in time fall into place. I also have to tell that gob-shite of a black dog that keeps hanging round to … BUGGER OFF!
How did I get here? Last year I landed what was supposed to be my dream job. Suffice to say the warning signs were there before I even started. Even in my 50s I marvel at how I am still so naive! There was a walloping, great, big, FAT ... red flag waving about the place (my predecessor resigned after only eight or was it six weeks). When I told some of my artist friends about my fab new job I got the feeling they seemed to want to tell me something … but decided not to. Only one warned me to be wary. I thought I could handle it. In the ensuing months there were other signs, not directed at me, but me in my naivety took them at face value.
Come December there was a shift , a perceptible and apparently inexplicable change (to me anyway). Slowly but ever so surely I found myself leaving for work with a knot in the pit of my stomach. My wonderful journey there across amazing countryside with wide skies and space turned into anxiety ridden moments trying to anticipate whether the day was going to be OK or not. I began to look at those warning signs in a different light and I began to think there clearly is more than met my eye at any rate but in tandem with that I seriously began to question my own sanity. That’s what happens, you begin to believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary that you are the one who is losing it and possibly never had it.
In the end, for the sake of my sanity, I resigned. But what now? What the bloody hell do I do now? More on that shortly.

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