Tag Archives: Designers Market

“Jam Tomorrow…”

My kitchen windowsill reflects the changing seasons like a school nature table (do they still have these random collections of pebbles, conkers and bird’s nests?) and last month’s pastel, summer scented sweet peas have been replaced by the rich colours of autumn; butternut squash,the last sunflower and a collection of jewel coloured jam jars full of damson and apple jelly.The kitchen is also covered in jewel coloured splatters and I haven’t dealt with the jelly bag yet which looks like the heart of a large animal…

At the weekend I had possibly the prettiest setting for a market stall ever, as I took part in Helmsley Walled Garden’s Autumn Fair. Since I was a late booking and work in the cafe anyway, I was allowed to display my wares in the Vine House rather than the marquee and so spent a pleasant day under the grape vines, drinking a lot of coffee and chatting with interested passers by on their way to enjoy a fabulous vegetarian lunch.

The day was a success ,mostly because I sold a small painting, but I also learnt a useful lesson too because I realised that my displays did not make it clear enough that the necklaces were actually necklaces and not just small pieces of art or cards. More labels needed for my next outing then, which will be Designer’sMarketplace at Newcastle’s Holy Biscuit on October 14th. This event is part of Newcastle’s Design Festival , there’s loads going on so if you’re planning a trip to the Toon this could be the week to do it!

I’ll be giving a 15% discount to readers of Witchmountain so just say hello and mutter “the owls are not what they seem” under your breath to qualify!!

Well, I have some dull housework to do now and a bit of garden tidying before I can continue with a commission I’m doing for a couple who are getting married in October. I’m wishing my garden looked more like Helmsley and thinking yellow and purple must be the colours of the moment ; not a combination I would normally choose. Soon it will be getting chilly and I’m hoping some babies with chilly toes will be asking for some Witchmountain elf shoes for Christmas!

Reading : “One Day” David Nicholls and planning to take part in the Guardian’s Book Swap


Where’s my bed of roses?

Today has been a day of introspection and harsh analysis of life on Witchmountain. I have spent the past two days making tiny t-shirts, for the Designer’s Market in November, and at times enjoying the almost mindless, repetition of stitch…like some sort of rosary.Even so I feel frustrated, knowing that really this is not a way to make a living, or even to achieve happiness through creativity.Until something changes this will remain a hobby and I will remain a waitress!

I had some useful feedback from a gallery in Edinburgh, the Red Door. They basically confirmed some of the things I already thought but rejection is never sweet! On top of this I got a message confirming that the rest of my freelance designs are due to be returned this week so a plan of action is very much needed…

Please don’t think this is entirely negative…I suppose I could just make out I was madly successful and living in a bed of roses but I’ve always thought the whole point of this blog was to tell it how it is. I worry that certain career paths are sold to us at art college and then reality bites and it is so easy to give up. I’m sitting here surrounded by threads and paint and pots of dye so I haven’t admitted defeat yet, even though my “bed” is more rose thorns than flowers!

Little things,tiny pleasures, like the fading purples of the heather,berry colours in the hedgerows, sunset on the top of the moor, new bread and a fresh pot of coffee…keep on keeping on.

“Creating a Life Worth Living”

Yesterday I received two things that should be helping me use my time more productively.The first was a book called “Creating a Life Worth Living” by Carol Lloyd and it was very kindly passed on to me by Jules from Adventures in Thread , the second was a link to a very funny article by Charlie Brooker. As a reaction to being bombarded with information by Google Instant, as well as the other distractions the internet provides, Brooker recommends the “Pomedoro Technique”.The fact that I then spent time reading related articles and then telling people about it on Facebook instead of DOING something kind of proved a point.

Well, today I have been busy messing up the kitchen with some screen printing and heat transfering on little t-shirts with the idea of selling them at the November Designers Marketplace. I’ve also been doodling in the sketchbook which I’m finding quite hard…the paper is very thin and it is also very small (20x13cm). The subject (“I’m Sorry I Forgot You”) was chosen from a list so don’t worry if you think some of the words are a bit odd, I’m not having some kind of relapse.

Tiny little bits of each page are pleasing me but overall I’m as negative as ever!Now, I think I can smell burning t-shirt, I’d better check the steamer! If any of you are at a loose end this weekend this looks like it might be fun…

Personally I’m not a big fan of London pigeons, or those in any city actually, but I’m sure Selvedge and the V&A can make them look lovely!

Little Pearls


Last night I nearly ran into an owl sitting in the middle of the road in the thick fog…he was lovely, with giant eyes and he didn’t move but just gave me a look as if to say “please dim your lights I’m very busy hunting for my supper”. November is grey, green and rusty brown; everything seems to be covered in spider’s webs and little pearls.


My Gocco owl prints needed jazzing up a bit so I added a bit of heat transfer,water colour and random bits of collage.Maybe I’ll be able to sell a few at the Christmas Extravaganza in Osmotherley Village Hall on December 6th if Lindsey will let me share her stand.


Since I last wrote I’ve been having another look at Holly Flanagan’s blog and  Facebook group, discovering her fantastic success since leaving CCAD. She’s designing for Hugo Boss and meeting all sorts of famous artists and designers so HURRAY for a Textiles and Surface Design success story!! I think she might be at the next Designers Marketplace in Middlesbrough so grab a bargain before she gets too famous!

( Reading: last weeks Guardian!   Listening to: Dandy Warhols )


” Why must she see owls and not flowers?…”


Heavy rain and multi-coloured carpets of fallen leaves and berries; the water at my house is undrinkable again, resembling watered down beer. On Sunday night I stood in the garden and watched the almost full moon racing through the clouds at a dizzying speed; concentrating hard to see the real picture…the moon moves slowly like an hour hand, while the clouds fly at break neck speed, and I stay still.

Anyway, enough ramblings, I’m writing to report my first Gocco success!! Annoyingly the design was a bit rushed and I’m kicking myself for not taking more care but it seems to be that you have to draw on the shiny side of the paper (thats the only thing I did differently).Unfortunately this is like drawing on waxed paper with a felt pen…there must be another way?


Here is a picture of Lindsey Murray, manning her stall at the Guild Hall last Saturday.We had a funny day, the event was a strange mixture of craft, bric-a-brack and knock off handbags (!) but was a learning curve. I think we learned that it is important to pitch your product to the right market so I’m hoping to work towards getting a stand at the next Designers Marketplace.

Now I’m going to have a look at my new book “Illustration Play -Craving For The Extraodinary” Viction:ary 2003, which just arrived today and is full of inspiring images of contemporary illustration such as collage, embroidery and amazing 3d paper cutting.Time for another log on the stove, there’s a chill in the air.


Leaves and Berries

Here are some lovely Rowan berries to get into the Autumnal spirit. The Rowan or Mountain Ash is also known as the Witch or “Wicken Tree” and is supposed to bring good luck if one takes root in your garden. One hasn’t taken root in my garden yet which could explain the lack of people hammering at my door offering me work!

At this time of year the berries look almost luminous on gloomy days and today is certainly one of those. It is cozy though to get the stove going and curl up with my latest bit of design work (some more heat transfer prints on fleece). I also got a chance to follow Lyndsay’s instructions and learn how to put a © watermark on to my images-thanks Lyndsay!

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Helen Stevens at Cleveland College of Art and Design,telling me about an event she is organizing at Middlesbrough Town Hall. It sounds great and I’m hoping to be able to get some stuff together for a stall.Apparently there are still stalls available so anyone who’s interested should take a look at the website, www.designersmarketplace.org.uk. Should be worth a visit anyway and as I’ve said before its about time Middlesbrough made the most of its creative talent.