Monday, 6 March 2017

Another day, another skill...

So this year, with a lot more spare/free time from not having a full-time teaching job, I'm trying to increase the subject knowledge I have by doing more creative and versatile skills.  I'm really lucky to not only have a lovely man by my side, but have a man who has a clever dad!  Malcolm is an experienced joiner who is now retired and keen to pass on his knowledge to others.  He has a lathe in his workshop that we made a dibber and bowl on.  It was an amazing experience and I loved learning a new skill that was so much fun!  


The first go I had was making a dibber (I did actually make it with his guidance, it just looks like he did all the making as I couldn't photograph myself doing it as well as do it!)  This was an easier feat than making the bowl as it used less tools, it was a great way to get to learn the tools and movement and a good present to give my mum for her birthday this year!

We used Mahogany wood offcuts Malcolm had laying around which had a lovely golden orange finish to them.  We had to make the piece of wood exactly circular first and the begin on the base. 

Once we had finished the base, I sanded it, sealed it and then used some beeswax to shine it up.  The other side of this piece isn't a hollow bowl, it was still a solid piece of wood. 

And here's the finished piece.  Really fun to make and a perfect nibbles bowl!  My brother, who is a carpenter, is very keen to have an attempt at this too.  With all his knowledge, I'm sure it'll be a tad better than mine, but it's not a competition now is it!

And my finished dibber...looks slightly butt-plug like but I am still proud of it!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

It's been a long time...but it's time to start from another beginning

So, it's been a long time, a lot has changed...since I last posted I have my QTS as an Art teacher, I live near Camborne rather than Bude or Plymouth or Launceston or any of the other places I may have landed in the past.  Life is good.  I've come to realise I have far too much time on my hands now, with a job that finishes at half 3 to have any excuse to not get back into my creativity and arty here it goes...I really hope this is the start of something new, positive and happiness provoking.

Before I go into too much about what I want to do, I will update you with some (I haven't got many photographs as I am bad) illustrations and creations...

I'm totally into patterns.  I live for patterns.  I've been doing a number of lino print patterns...I will load some of the prints on soon.  I particularly love the 'natural' pattern thing...lots of leaves, shells, feathers etc.  This repeat pattern was a beginning of a design for Christmas paper but I never found anywhere to get it may be something to screen print?

An old owl board design.  This is currently up in our house as my dearly beloved fell for it, plus I like the little fella too.  Something I did when I was working at a gorgeous ice cream shack in St. Merryn a few summers back.

A more recent piece, going back to my cutting roots when I made this for Della, my good friends newborn.  It's a cover to her Baby memories book.  Again, showing my love for natural shapes and leaves.  I want to do more of this...

Another board design.  This one was my brothers Christmas present to go up in his new house.  It was originally a design for a tattoo, quite simple, monochrome.  Once it was finalised and sent to a tattoo artist to finish, my brother decide better of it, so rather than wasting a good design, I applied it to a board.  This board stressed me out and I still don't feel it's quite right, but he was happy.

And finally, another nature based image, the Christmas card design I drew up of a pine cone.  I really enjoyed drawing this one.  The original now sits in a frame on my mums mantlepiece in her sitting room.

So yeah, I've done lots of lino and life drawing on top of these, I've done lots of gift drawings, half finished pieces and work relating to work so this is me getting back onto the artistic wagon...and I can't wait, let me show you why.

I've booked in to go to Particle Press' open studio, where I can an almost free reign on screen print resources and get some of my ideas printed!  I have wanted to do this for a long while and I am excited to find out that not only do Particle Press do an open studio near me, so do kiwi print studio, and both of these artists I've had the pleasure of being alongside at art fairs.

So the next couple of months I hope to get loads of ideas down and prepped for May (it seems such a long way off, but it's only 3 months!)  I shall keep you updated.  If I get some good work sorted, I will be sure to get myself back into the art fair books.

Friday, 12 June 2015

It's all about the local talent...

So, last weekend, I was showing my art work at Native Makers summer fair which was great fun and an overall, successful jaunt.

We were Devonport Guildhall, a newly found gem of a building, an absolute corker.  When I was setting up early on in the day with not a cloud in the sky, looking up at the entrance, made me think I was in a Mediterranean country.

The local talent oozed out of the hall and it got the following it deserved too, through out the day the craft spotters came and went, ebbed and flowed, keeping us all busy and chatting.  The live music from Broder and Mary Jane acted as added bonus' for everyone, giving the whole place a great vibe all day long.

The shots below are taken from the Native Makers facebook page and taken by Steve Holmes and I also nabbed some from The Plymough Blogger where Meg and Aimee have also written a lovely piece about the fair here.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Back to school...

So today I;ve begun editing the work I went and created with the middle class at North Petherwin School.  It was amazing fun and I have to say, I'm super impressed with the amazing work the children came out with.  

I begun the session with them looking at my work, the detail in it and the animals themselves.  I then showed them my version of 'The Forgotten Fieldbook' and how I had used it for my final show in my degree and it had looked at different endangered species in Plymouth and Devon.  I explained to them we would have a look at endangered animals around Cornwall and Devon and talked them through all the animals and plants they could draw.  The idea was to pick and endangered species and draw it out onto an A3 sheet focusing on the detail and interesting parts of the species.  And my, my, didn't they do well...

It was a process of pencil first, then pen once they were happy with their outlines and then finally colour and maybe adding a bit of background in.  This is a drawing of a Ring Ouzel.

Looking at examples of my work seemed to aid them in their detail.

I had two boys drawing the white clawed crayfish and they came out magnificently!

And this is the beginning of the fieldbook.  Taken from the idea of my final show piece, each page will show each species, the reasons behind why it's endangered and the drawings to go with this space.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Drawing January...

So, it's been a while and I apologise.  I'm not very good at keeping up to date with all my social media, just sometimes!

I've been off work fixing legs and things so have had plenty of time to have been drawing lots!  I've done plenty of commissions, tattoo designs, stuff for fun and stuff to possibly sell, anything I've been doing, I've really enjoyed.  I love drawing!

I'm also really excited as I'm going into a local primary school as a visiting Artist.  I'm doing a session on local endangered species, teaching the children different techniques which I use to draw an image, giving them each an animal to go away and draw.  Then once they have their final image I'll give them a bit of text about the animal highlighting what the animal is, where it lives and eats and why it is endangered.  I'll gather all the work in at the end and take it home to create a pamphlet/booklet to use for advertising my educational work with children and for the school to keep.  Well, thats the plan, I don't think it'll go that smooth but fingers crossed!

I'm also going to begin to start trying for a couple of art and design fairs over the summer to keep me busy and focused with my art work.

But anyway, what have I been doing!  This is a feather design I've started for someones's a bit basic but I'm planning on adding more texture of an actual feather to the parts I haven't done this space!
This wave came about when someone asked me for a tattoo of a wave.  I started just sketching down ideas.  This was a bit realistic in my eyes but I might carry it on for a print? 

This is the beginnings of said wave tattoo.  It's only a start as it's the wrong shape but the ideas there.  I need to extend it upwards and downwards as it's a side piece.  I need to work out if it should be a colour piece as well, or just as it is so far...

Now this is the eye of my new friend, Mr. Fox!  We've been close over my healing time.  I've done more than this so far but I'll show you the final piece when I'm there.  It's going to be a really nice print.

And this is another tattoo for on a female sternum, in-between the boobs.  She seemed to like it so I'm happy!  I've done a few others but I either haven't finished them yet or haven't got any photos of them!  I need to focus on recording all my work!

See you again in a month or so, if not before, with more updates of what I'm doing at the moment.  It'll probably slow soon as I have my teaching exams coming up so need to revise the hell out of those!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Busy as a little bumblebeee...

So, it's been a crazy few weeks, not only have I been up to my eyeballs with work, doctors, social life, keeping fit and getting my legs as fit as possible ready for my operation, but I've also been trying to get as much artwork done as possible and been giving it priority over everything other than work, well, I've tried to anyway! 

I've got an art market in Plymouth on 7th December at Rumpus Cosy which I am thoroughly looking forward to.  I've used it as my main focus point in terms of getting work done and a platform to establish my sales etc. and get my online store and presense all sorted so I can at least try and fool customers into thinking I know what I'm doing, even just slightly!  I think this art market is going to be brilliant.  It's the first one from Native Makers and by the look of their facebook adverts, its got some amazing creatives showing their stuff.  I feel slightly out of my depth being put up next to the other artists, but I guess I'll just take it as a compliment.

If you want to come down to the market it's completely free entry with over 20 artists, designers, makers and creatives showing and selling their work from 10-5 on the Sunday 7th December at Rumpus Cosy, Derrys Cross, Plymouth.  There's more info here if you're interested.  I definately would love to see you there.

If you go to my website you'll see some of the sneak peaks up put up on my current work page, theres more new stuff to be shown on the day too!

Annnd, go here to like my illustration page on facebook. (This is most up-to-date out of here and my website because of easy access and speed!)

Look forward to seeing you there.  Niki x

(my ickle wabbit!)

Friday, 7 November 2014

I'm getting there...plodding on with this little fella (and the rest!)  I'm still not sure on a lot of them, but its ace to be set up at my ma's house, where I have a drawing platform, a computer with pixelmator, a scanner and printer and time on a winters night to draw, edit, draw, edit...and so on.

I've got his antlers on my tick list to complete along with creating some kind of backgrounds for all the designs I've done so this space!  My first market stall is coming up in less than a month!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

S'been a big ol' time since I was last here, haven't had the focus, time or patience to do so, until now!  I know, totally rubbish huh?
Well, I've now got a first class honours degree and I'm going to my graduation on the 18th of this month in Plymouth, slightly excited and nervous!  I've got both my parents going, they've been split up since 97 and I rarely see them in the same room, let alone see them chat!  We shall see how that goes!
I've also started doing my work for myself, rather than my degree.  I've got a couple of commissions on the go as well as a art market in December and I've designed and am designing peoples tattoos.  Here's some work I've started/finished/ruined in the last few weeks....see you in a few months!  (hopefully sooner, I'll try to be less slack!)

 A tattoo design I did for a work mate, Eve.  She's getting it tattooed this Thursday, will add photos of the finished tattoo!

 Mr Stag, who started off well and then I completely buggered it by over doing the watercolour and dark colours.  I'm going to trace his outline/photoshop the basic shape and start again, I won't let him beat me!

The beginning of my robin for my xmas cards for the xmas market.  so far so go, just really basic, think his legs look a bit long, but we'll try and sort that out further down the line...

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

summer show prep is not a summer holiday!

So, summer show is looming, along with the final practical's what I have planned...

  • An audio tour.  recorded with binoral microphones so it gives a fully surround effect to the listener.  I'm making it seem they're on a rural endangered wildlife tour.  With different sound effects, directions, information about the different species, you get a full tour of each artwork I've put around the city with bits suggesting the differences of urban and rural, how they juxtapose one another and what would be in and around the city if there wasn't a city there at all.
  • The pieces themselves.  I've chosen eight different species (after a lot of research, emailing large corporations and agencies for information etc.) that are endangered in the Plymouth/Devon area.  I've organised to put them around the city just before the summer show so they can be viewed by the public, by the audio tour listeners and by the fieldbook readers.
  • A 'forgotten' fieldbook.  I'm using a sketchbook/fieldbook as another way to bring people to view my work.  I'm going to have the original at the studio during the show but I'm also planning on printing a load of cheap almost crappy looking copies that are a lot smaller and easy to use as flyers.  I'll flyer these around the city to places like the tourist information centre, cafes, restaurants, the aquarium etc. anywhere that will have them really!  It will have a bit of info in them that the audio tour also has on it so that the viewers can learn a bit about each animal.  It'll also have a map in it so they can go and find and view all the works.
  • Studio desk.  I'm hoping to find a desk that will be made up to be Bills, the wildlife tour guide.  I'm going to leave it as if he's been using it but away from his desk.  It will hold my original sketchbook and business cards along with an array of props, such as dirty welly boots, a pair of binoculars, pressed and framed plants, wildlife books etc.
So, thats the plan...carrying it off is another story.  I've got about three and a half weeks left, a couple of days at work each time, pre op appointments and a life to live...focus is the only thing I need to do now...get on and focus...

Monday, 31 March 2014

The week I've been counting down for weeks is this week...

So assessment week is finally here.  Its not our final assessment quite yet but its still assessing work that is the beginnings of our summer show, I'm pleased I'm almost past this benchmark.  

As well as going out and working on putting out a couple of wheat pastes I've used as examples (see below), I've also done a video to document them and I've started the idea of a 'forgotten fieldbook' to be a handheld documentation of my drawn work out on the street.  I'm thinking it will have snippets of the actual wheatpaste in a scruffy sketchbook way as well as a few notes and other smaller drawings related to the species in question.  For example, The dormouse I've looked at, I'm going to add a half eaten hazelnut drawing to and the fritillary butterfly, I'm thinking I'll draw a small sketchy landscape of its habitat and the flower it is associated with etc.  Im going to add a map in the sketchbook with each wheatpaste marked off on it so that people can use it to explore Plymouth and my work in it.  

 So above and below are the images I've blown up and used for my assessment.  They and the video I've made document the places I've put my wheatpastes, the video shows the idea I want to work on for the audio.  Tied together the fieldbook and the audio will guide the viewer around the city to and past my pieces.  They will also aid in getting the message across about humans detrimental effect on these endangered species and their habitats. I'm super excited about it and I really hope it all comes together as I hope, as I think it will work really well!

Above is an image of a Dianthus armeria, a rare species closely related to our garden favourite, Sweet William.  Its really rare in the Devon area because of the reduction of its habitat.

 I placed it down on the barbican as it likes sandy soils and coastal regions.

The natterjack toad, near water by the Civic centre.  The next whatpastes I do for my final piece, I'll make sure I'm more careful about the positioning of them as I think the toads are sitting too high up, floating in the air.

 Another Natterjack outside the Civic centre.  I did one more of the same up on the Hoe but didnt think it was urban enough up around there.

This Dianthus is positioned on the bombed out church roundabout right in the centre of Plymouth.  I loved putting it here, its right in the open and even though its quite small you cant miss it!  Its surrounded by people and cars and big concrete buildings, exactly where it wouldnt usually grow.  I put it right here because naturally they grow in big open space.  I also placed another of the same in the Vue cinema car park suggesting a big open space again.  I am still to document this one. 

These are extracts of my sketchbook work that I'm yet to turn into fieldbook pieces.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Time is slowly running out but my ideas never seem to run dry...

So, this time next week I'll only have a day to go until I have my assessment, pretty nerve racking as I feel I don't really have much to show for the last couple of months so this week it's all hands on deck and no excuses Niki!

My toads, all ready for wheatpasting around the city!!

I've done so much research into my chosen species though, it makes me feel a bit better about my summer show.  I've emailed a lot of specialists, companies and charities to find out about local endangered species of flora and fauna.  Some people how got back to me very quickly with really useful information I can use and others haven't replied at all.

People who have replied are people like David Fenwick, a wildlife photographer who looks a lot at endangered species and he grew up in and around Plymouth and now lives in Penzance.  He told me great species such as Pyrus Cordata, the Plymouth pear, a wild species that is only found in Plymouth or in Truro at current.  I think this species would be great at full size for my summer show.  He also told me about Dianthus armerai, the Deptford Pink, which has been endangered in Devon for a number of years and is a really pretty flowering plant.  I've already started my work on this one...

 Black pen outline over the top of printed flowers with similar structure as the Deptford Pink.  It's nothing like my toad work or anything I've done so far this project but I actually really like it despite this.  Im going to see where I can go with the same style with a Fritilary butterfly or curlew...

 My extremely messy work station at work.  It may look unorganised, but I know where everything is...honest!

A couple of the drawings I did with added watercolour.  I think it looks good before theyre cut out as wheatpastes, but will wait and see how they look as wheatpastes, both colour or plain.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Janet Cardiff and her Case Study B...

So, I was given some ideas from my tutors recently in a tutorial and they suggested I look at researching into ways I can get my message across about humans and their effect on the surrounding environment.  My pieces of the endangered species or chosen animals plants etc. tend to show the subject as slightly worshiped or slightly idolized but the message about them being endangered because of humans movements and increase of space and habitat don't really come across.

Neil Rose gave me a sound artist called Janet Cardiff to research, saying the idea of a tour or some kind of spoken piece would work quite well in relation to my work.  So I looked at Janet's Case Study B and was completely blown away!  Her use of words and sounds link not only the listener to the space they're in, but also links the city itself to the work.  She twists in and out of different characters and trails from one tangent of thought to another whilst still making sense and leading the listener to where they need to be. 

Janet's work has made me have a really good think about how I could do something similar to link my work to the city itself (as I'm going to try and do species that are effected in this particular area) and to make it clear to the audience how our everyday actions have put other species in danger.

I'd like to get a bin-aural recording device so I can get the surround sound effect that I loved so much In Cardiff's work into my own.  Luckily, I have my father (who is a sound engineer), Neil (a sound artist) as my tutor and my fathers friends (who should have equipment I can use) all at hand who I can use and will help guide me through the technical aspects of the ideas I want to bring together.  But for now, I have to try to get my images done and finished to a level I feel happy with and can happily show it to the tutors at my final 302 assessment.  I've got to stop putting it off (the drawing itself) and concentrate on finding animals and plants I want to work on that are from around this area.

Watch this space...