Monday, 24 February 2014

Signs of Spring Makes My Heart Sing...

I'm so pleased that February is nearly over, I'm not a great fan of winter and I can't wait to get out and about and see all the colours that spring brings - it's my favourite time of year.  

My kitchen windowsill becomes a conveyor belt of splendid loveliness at this time of year as I fill it with daffodils, tulips and bring on bulbs and seeds ready to plant out later in the spring for the summer...

I love seeing bright daffodils everywhere, trumpeting in spring with a golden blast of 'Ta Da!'.  
I know it's still early days, but there is yellow dotted around our garden and I am very pleased to see it!

As all thoughts are turning to spring and summer now, I'm pleased to say I've been very organised this year and put together a little Spring Summer Look Book.  You can take a peep at the online version of it here:

There are even smooth, colourful printed copies of the book ready and waiting to send to new stockists or pop in press packs .  I'm very pleased with how these have printed up and...

whilst I was ordering Look Books, I simply had to take the opportunity to add some spring themed business cards into the order too....

 With the days beginning to get noticeably longer, I've even reached for the paints.  I used to watercolour all the time, but hardly touch them now - it's a real treat to get the paints out again.  These little flowers were for a specific commission which will be the start of a new product line I'm planning to launch later in the Spring.

In other news, I've had one of my prints appear in Somerset Life Magazine this month.

One of the online shops I sell with is a new online boutique called  Elsie & Fleur, which sells all things handmade with love in the Westcountry. Elsie and Fleur sell food, garden, home and lifestyle gifts and have managed to get a few of their items featured in a mother's day spread in the March Issue of Somerset Life, including my 'Home is Where Mum is' print - which I am very happy about!... 

I hope you have a lovely week and enjoy seeing the signs of spring too.

Best wishes

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A Little Love For Everyone....

Time to show you all a bit of love with Valentine's day just a couple of days away.  
At this time of year I think everyone could do with an extra bit of love in their lives.

It's been an awful few weeks for many people in the nearby villages to here (I live in Bridgwater which is right next to all the flooded areas on the Somerset Levels - you've probably seen our area on the news a lot in the last couple of weeks).  Where I live is on a hill, but I've seen some of the devastating floods on the other side of our town and my heart goes out to each and everyone who has been affected by it.  
Everyone in our town is trying to do what we can to help with lots of fundraising to support those who's homes and livelihoods have been flooded.  If you'd like to make a donation to help too, but are not sure where's a good place to make your donation, here is a link to the Somerset Community Foundation Flood Appeal's Just Giving page:

Stay safe and I hope you have a happy Valentine's day...

Best wishes

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

My Visit to Spring Fair International 2014


Yesterday I made my way to the NEC in Birmingham to see my work on display at Spring Fair International 2014 on stand 4F75, Art Eco Designs. After catching three trains, eating a very full packed lunch and reading The i newspaper cover to cover I finally arrived.  I headed straight to the stand to meet up with the Art Eco Designs team as I've not seen them face-to-face since last Spring Fair and it's fair to say we've worked on a lot of new designs together since then.

And this is what greeted me when I reached their stand...

I was so pleased and so proud.  It was a very bright and cheerful site and it certainly made all the hours spent working into the night worth every minute.  It was great to see the team again and I'd like to say a huge thanks to them for letting me take all these photos and generally cause a distraction as usual.

Spring Fair for me is all about catching up with people and stepping back to get a different perspective on the work I've done.  It's also about having a good look around at the greetings and gifts sector to gain lots of inspiration for the coming year.  It's hard to describe, but this is when my work begins to feel 'real' to me, because I can see how it sits in the bigger picture of the international greetings and gifts market.  I always come home with a stronger sense of purpose and desire to get more done - it truly is a very inspiring place to visit...

As this is a trade show aimed specifically at retail buyers, I can't really show you photos of other stands (taking photos is frowned upon). So this blog post will only feature my work.  However, I can summarise in words, some of the things I saw yesterday and give you a bit of a review of the emerging themes and trends you can expect to see hitting the shops in the next 12 months...

Fans of woodland themes (especially owls, foxes, bunnies and birds) are going to love 2014 as this theme was everywhere.  There were lots of British wildlife, botanical and ornithological imagery there, all done in a very 'field study' way with a modern take on vintage styles.  Colours were more muted, lots of neutrals, ochres, greens, teals, and water colour washes with pen and ink - all mixed with a little bit of a contemporary version of Victorian decoupage (the way images are layered).  Traditional letterpress printing techniques were very popular too as were lots of classic vintage typography from the turn of the 20th Century and the early 1950s.  Displays on stands featured vintage typewriters and distressed wooden letter racks... 

The other good news for fans of all things hand-crafted is it was very apparent that the success of the handmade market is really influencing retail (which is no doubt why Kirstie Allsopp was a highly featured guest speaker of the week).  These retail producers are sitting up and taking note because there was a lot more attention paid to hand-finishes, hand-crafted, eco friendly and locally sourced details...

It was interesting to see significantly less cupcakes and baking imagery, but lots of nods to camper vans and gardening, beaches and the great outdoors.  Scandinavian geometric patterns and colours are still very popular.... 

This year, the stand that made me smile lots and want to linger the most was Paper Salad's.  They really were a blast of colour and joy and they keep a lovely blog too, which is well worth a follow.  Here it is:

The best bit about the day was meeting up with some of my artist and maker friends.  It was so lovely to be able to walk around and see stuff and bounce ideas of each other.  There is so much to see at Spring Fair, it really blows your mind and it takes a few days to make sense of it all.  It's so good to be able to share that experience with similar minded people who work in the same isolated sort of way.  As you can imagine, we talked A LOT ! 
Thank you so much for great company and a lovely day out ladies!

Here we all are, with thanks to Martin at Art Eco Designs for taking this photo of (from Left to Right):
Yours Truly, Julia Crossland (Julia Crossland Art),  Andrea Berry (Polka), Kate Brazier (KateCreates).

I highly recommend a visit to Spring Fair or Autumn Fair in September if  you'd love to see your work in high street shops but are a bit unsure about how to go about putting the right sort of collection together.  
One visit is guaranteed to spark creative thinking in new and exciting ways.

Have a lovely week
Best Wishes