Tag Archives: Rob Ryan

Making a Scene

The cat and I have curled up in my little room under the orange, woollen blanket to keep warm and think about things. We’re not complaining about the damp and rain because for a while this month it seemed as though we were living in another country, one with endless cerulean blue skies, arid hillsides smelling of coconuty gorse flowers and heady bluebells; things even started to wilt in the shady part of the garden so the rain has been welcome ( for now). I’m not fond of daffodils, May is the month for more subtle and delicate flowers, so I was happy when the acid yellow was replaced by carpets of  bluebells (why didn’t Wordsworth write about them instead?) and now the Hawthorn and Cow Parsley frothing along the hedgerows. As ever my walks are slowed by the need to  sniff May Blossom and discover that it does NOT taste like “bread and cheese” or examine, on hands and knees, like a Hemulen, the  Dog Violets and Heartsease hiding amongst the grass. For the first time I realised that Wild Garlic flowers actually smell of sweet honey unlike their delicious leaves which I’ve been using to make pesto.

It’s been a slow month in some ways ( financial ways of course!) and rather than panic I tried to make myself take the advice from the last blog post and draw more. Draw anything, for no reason other than to be doing something constructive rather than procrastinating. Even though it is the hardest thing to begin an empty page and to mute the negative inner voice that is mumbling “stop it, go and find a real job, you’re not good enough, it’s all been done before…”. Isn’t it sad how we measure our “success” and  relative happiness in monetary terms so that even on a day when I’ve made loads of  ok artwork and baked a good loaf of bread and marvelled at the clouds and the light on the mountains,  I can still feel like the day was a disaster because I didn’t sell anything. Someone asked me this week what I would do if I was suddenly rich and I really couldn’t think of a thing I would want to change – except of course to be secure in my home rather than at the mercy of landlords – so why the discontent?

Anyway, the pages of doodles gave me lots play with in Photoshop and it really was playing, because I discovered I could build little worlds to endlessly rearrange ( using the layers ), like my beloved model farm or dollhouse from childhood, I could design my own indoor garden. Rupert likes to tease me about my love of creating “little scenes” on windowsills… a few found objects and a miniature bear in a doll’s chair perhaps, or glass bottles with tiny flowers. I made some virtual shelves to display my virtual pot plants and then got engrossed in the great excitement of making a moving GIF with Spirit Bear (who is usually a card or a wooden necklace) . I may get completely carried away with this idea now – about 25 years too late to become an animation legend!

The blue prints continue and a story seems to be emerging- although I think Coralie Bickford-Smith already cornered the market on foxes and stars… I haven’t read her beautiful book but I was aware of it so I wonder whether I was unconsciously remembering the link or whether  it was genuinely totally random that I found the star sequin on the floor just as I was setting up the print…

Well it’s nearly time for some more coffee and some more drawing before an evening in Grasmere for Polly Atkin’s poetry book launch. Last weekend we went to a Royal Geographical Society lecture about Indian Shadow Puppets so living in the Lakes is definitely making my social life more cultured, or maybe I’m just growing up…good grief!

If I was good at arguing persuasively  I’d tell you how important it was to vote those mean old Tories out next month but instead I’ll just leave these two pictures here. PR gurus tell us not to mix politics with business and sometimes I worry in case someone is put off buying my work because I’m a bit of a Lefty (I guess this sticker would be earthy brown if I mixed in a hearty dose of Green policy too ) …but I reckon if Rob Ryan is prepared to nail his colours to the mast then it’s better to live fearlessly and keep believing in a better world. The picture below was taken after an evening swim in Rydal Water, where all the sad and cynical people, all the greedy, fighty, selfish people, should be dipped in the crystal water and made to breath in the bluebell air until they see that we only have one world and it’s beautiful and it’s time we stopped pissing about and looked after it- and each other. x

Reading:-  ” Work and Love” Tuula Karjalainen ( About Tove Jansson)  Listening to:- Skylarks and UPDATE! since the evening in Grasmere I’m listening to Jenn Grant who played a lovely live set amongst the Pre School toys and Brownie notices and almost me me cry. http://www.jenngrant.com


“…Tears of Joy and Jealous Lovers…”

I’ve just returned from a lovely day out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. For once it wasn’t raining, in fact the sun was dazzling. I’m not sure how long it really takes to get there as my dad was driving and we seemed to take a huge detour for emergency coffee at the services somewhere ( I was falling asleep ). Anyway, we were treated to a VIP tour of the exhibitions, lunch ( yummy wild mushroom tart) and an off road Landrover trip ,because the head man,Peter Murray, is an old college friend of my parents.I gatecrashed their business meeting because I was keen to see the Rob Ryan exhibition…it was well worth the long drive and “early” morning to see his window installation and try not to cry at his intricate,romantic, paper cuts and prints.

We also enjoyed the amazing sculptures of Peter Randall Page. Beautiful carved stone which ached to be touched- strictly forbidden as the stone ( Killkenny?) marks very easily. Forms based on seedpods and the Fibinnachi sequence.

I loved his sketch books ( below) which were tiny and beautiful, an odd contrast to the huge pieces of stone.

Well, thats enough culture for one day. Time to catch up with a bit of sewing and get ready for another wonderful Osmotherley weekend! x

“A Heart Needs a Home”

I can’t believe its the weekend again already…does time speed up as you get older? Even the children have noticed it!  Anyway, time to take stock , work out what I’ve actually achieved and the plan of attack for next week …

At least I got those pieces to the framer yesterday, and on the way back picked up a cheque for the one I sold at the Saltbox ( goodness knows I need the money but I almost want to frame it just to prove I actually sold something in a gallery!!).

These two drawings are things I did for the Gocco printer and although I haven’t tried to print it yet, I have burned the screen for the bear one and it seems to have worked perfectly…I think we’ve cracked it! Such a shame that Gocco supplies aren’t easily available and affordable.

I found out last night , while browsing about the internet, that the artist Rob Ryan has an exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, until early next year. I’ve never been there ( hey, Yorkshire is a BIG county and Witchmountain is in the North Riding) but may have to plan a trip ,as having visited his shop in Columbia Road (and seen some amazing paper dresses in Vogue a few years back), I’m a bit of a fan.

Home IS where the heart is….and a heart needs a home. x

( Reading: “About a Boy” Nick Hornby and “The True Deceiver” Tove Jansson. Listening to: ” Earth to the Dandy Warhols ” Dandy Warhols )

“Meek Bears …Affable Wolves”


Messing about with my heat transfer paints today and brewing endless coffee on the stove.These two sad looking bears are quick doodles using left over heat transfer papers, I like the way you can keep layering and reusing the papers to get very subtle effects.


If I were fantastic at paper cutting, like Rob Ryan or someone, the effects could be amazing. Must invest in some new blades for my knife…


I just discovered the blog of Trend Bible who contacted me after my graduate show at New Designers (2008). In the end they didn’t use my work which is a shame because it looks like a really interesting publication; some great inspiration and research, and they’re based in the North East.

Well, its time to put another log on the fire and do a bit of stitching.

(Listening to : “The Imagined Village” Various Artists/Real World – a contemporary reworking of English Folk music, including a great version of Tam Lyn by Benjamin Zephaniah and Eliza Carthy)

August and Everything

Just a quick one today, as the inevitable rain batters the windows and the thought of taking a trip to the Northern Green Gathering seems less and less appealing!

I found out last night that Claire Salway from CCAD was a runner-up in the Como-Texprint competition which was won by Helen Greensmith. I couldn’t find any images of Claire’s work but I’m sure they’ll be updating the website soon; so WELL DONE Claire!

Also, browsing about last night I saw that Rob Ryan has opened a shop on Columbia Road ( near Brick Lane in London). It looks great and I can’t wait to take a look next time I’m in the big city.I loved his stuff,after seeing a piece in Vogue a bit ago where he’d made a dress out of cut paper. The skirt below is a bit like a fabric version, and I’m really regretting not buying a signed copy of his book ” This Is For You” when I saw it in Shelf ( on Cheshire Street, also near Brick Lane).

As usual I’m off for a coffee fix…I’ll need plenty this week as I’ve just found out I’m farm-sitting all week.Oh and this week marks the 2000 hits milestone on this blog so THANKS to whoever is still reading… any ideas how to celebrate? I thought I should give a prize to the 2000th visitor but since I don’t know who that was …