Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Natty Wrappy

This has been a busy couple of weeks! Doing some alterations to the house which has resulted in Ikea visits, checking out the Farrow & Ball colours and living in a house that looks like we have just moved in again. To add to that we have recently got two new recruits to the Natty household. Little 9 week old kittens called Alfie and Delilah. Absolutely adorable and settling in fast....but my goodness they are FAST!!!!!! Here is a pic of them chilling (very rare but hoping it will happen more so I can get some nice wee sketches of them)
Alfie & Delilah

I thought I would have a shot at screen printing my own wrapping paper. I had made tags using my gocco heart design initially for Valentine's last year. But I think it looks kinda Christmassy too. So I have decided to make some more.
Heart labels printed with my trusty Gocco
For screen printing the gift wrap, I prepared some acetates with the heart design for exposure onto a large silk screen. Having only an A4 printer meant I needed to print off enough to cover a 500mm x 700mm area. That's what I miss about art school...they had a huge printer that could print off images onto acetates as large as A1...so much easier when you want to screen print a large surface area. Anyway after a very early start I went through to www.fifedunfermlineprintmakers.org to prepare my screen and see how things turned out. Not sure if this is going to be cost effective for me using my current method, but I want to start exploring printing pattern on a larger scale for surface decoration/textiles so it seemed a good idea to try this out.
Screen Printed Gift Wrap

I got some really nice gingham ribbon from www.josyrose.com for the labels. All in all I think it looks ok...for a trial anyway!
Hand printed wrap and labels
I am going to try this out 'salewise' at an open day at the Dunfermline workshop this Saturday. We'll see if it's worth it.
Now I have got to start thinking about next year. Although my work has been  successfully selling both privately and through fab places such as www.northrockgallery.co.uk and www.lakesidearts.org.uk  I now need to start thinking about taking things a stage further. I have decided to take the plunge and I am going to be exhibiting as a Newcomer at www.bctf.co.uk/ in Harrogate in April. As a result I need to get a whole load of new designs and work together. Got a couple of new ideas up my sleeve. I am now live in the Design Edge Catalogue http://www.design-edge.uk.com/2011nattymaid.html so it makes it official. NERVOUS! There is a heck of a lot to do and I am hoping that as my work progresses I will be able to put little snippets on here.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

A busy week trying to get new designs completed and printed for the Bridge of Allan Contemporary Arts Festival. Well worth burning the midnight oil as it was a fantastic day. I met LOADS of talented folks. The work on display was sublime to say the least and this was only affirmed by the looks on the faces of the people coming in. I definitely want to attend this event again. Very friendly and well organised. Sadly I didn't get any pics of the actual day as I was so busy, but I have got my new Christmas Card designs to share with y'all! Hope you like them:D

drawing the design in carbon ink
the three designs

Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
........and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Friday, 14 October 2011


I have finally walked away from my paintings. I am not pleased with them and would have kept going over and over getting nowhere. But there comes a time when you know you are overworking things and need to stop. This has been such a learning curve for me in that respect. Having talked to the ever amazing Greer Ralston (check out her equestrian paintings!) http://www.ralstonfineart.com/, I am now thinking of trying out oils....and changing my pallette. Apparently, cadmiums are not ideal for figurative work. I think I've got the bug now....so much more to learn. So it looks like the art store will be getting a visit from yours truly!
'Sugar & Spice'

Slugs & Snails

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Busy Busy Busy!

Well that has been a full on couple of weeks! I started painting two portraits several weeks ago.
The only problem with this is that time melts away, and before you know it 4 hours have passed. This is something which has taken some getting used to as with printmaking you instantly feel you are being prolific. I am pleased with how the paintings are turning out, but having not painted very much, I have SO much to learn....especially knowing when to take a break and when to STOP!

'Sugar & Spice' and 'Slugs &Snails' Work in Progress

I have been getting restless and felt that I needed to get printing too, so I  made some new bags to take to the Boutique Chique event run by  http://www.craftersandmakers.co.uk  This was a lovely day in Newport on Tay. Full of friendly and talented makers. I very much look forward to meeting them again!
The bags are now on Folksy along with cards and notebooks. The Pigeon and Heart bags have proved popular and have now sold out so I will need to print some more. If you have a chance, drop into my shop for a wee shufty!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Card Design

I have decided to have some of my gallery work published. The only problem with collagraphs is that the printing plate is not very robust because of the materials used. I like to document my pieces once they are sold. Here is one of my collagraphs that is now on someone's wall. A fantastic company called artistpublishers.com are going to be printing and selling them on my behalf. Here is a sneak preview!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Natty Maid is PAINTING!

I have been asked to participate in an Exhibition at the MacRobert Centre in Stirling this Autumn. I am very excited about this! In wondering what to do, I have decided to do something different....PAINT!
Painting is something I have not done very much of. Even whilst at Art School, I found myself focusing more on printmaking and getting acquainted with software I would be using as an illustrator. I always thought that painting is an area I could work on afterwards. So, I have finally got my easel and brushes out and I am in the process of painting two portraits.  The image here is still very much in the early stages but I feel it is taking shape already. I will post more pics as the image builds.

Early Stages of Portrait

Book Cover Design

I have been working on a book cover design for a very talented poet called James Knox Whittet. Just finished it and fairly pleased with the result. Thought I would post some images of the work in progress.
The lino plate, ready for printing

Inking up

pulling the print

the finished design

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

More fishies!

I have been chasing my tail these past few weeks. I was down in London a fortnight ago seeing the Foo Fighters in Milton Keynes....but also used this opportunity to drop of some artwork to a pop up gallery for the first ever CallyFest event on Caledonian Road. I couldn't make the exhibition because of the concert but I am hoping for some pics soon. Anyway I decided to take my herring collagraphs a bit further. The problem is with this printmaking technique, the plates become squashed and therefore lose their detail (well my ones do anyway due to the perishable material I use) Therefore you can't get many prints. So I take my designs into other areas. I thought I would adapt my design for screenprinting. I have been huffing with my Gocco of late as I have tried exposing no less that 3 screens of late and parts haven't exposed properly. This is a bummer as these screens and bulbs have to be ordered from Japan and cost a fortune and once its done its done. I'm not sure what has been going wrong because I'm not doing anything different than I did before. I ordered some new supplies from America (an alternative to Gocco but works just the same) Tried it out on my new design and here are some of the results.
Some cards printed in 2 colours with my trusty Gocco

Close up detail of cards

The design looks cool on manilla card so I have printed up a few as notebook covers

Monday, 20 June 2011

Seagull Linocut

Forgot to post this earlier! Last week I ran a give-away once I got to my first 100 on my facebook page.
This linocut was up for grabs. Think I will do this again as it was good fun and I got a lot of good feedback.
A close up of the lino being cut

Linocut prints ready for shipping up to the North Rock Gallery

"Whit'll we dae wi the Herrings Heed"

So much for thinking this would be easy! I thought I would do some herring collagraphs in keeping with the theme of work I am currently producing for North Rock Gallery. I really enjoyed putting the plates together.
Making one of the herring collagraphs

I decided to try out some new water based ink and try out the relief method of inking up (where the ink is just rollered straight on and printed straight onto dry paper) instead of intaglio (where the ink is pushed into the plate and then wiped off gradually and then printed onto dampened paper). I do prefer the intaglio method, but I don't have the proper inks and drying facilities in my studio so I have to go through to the print workshop in Dunfermline (which is fab by the way!). Sadly it didn't work out as well as I hoped. The colours were peely waaly (wishy washy!) and I just wasn't happy with the outcome.
Herrings ready for printing

So Dunfermline it was. I decided to use my old favourite 'Prussian Blue' and 'Turquoise Lake' as colours. The result again was disappointing as some areas were underwiped and some overwiped leaving the prints patchy in areas. The pressure from the press was also flattening the plates too much and I therefore had to stop or else lose the detail completely.

Collagraphs printed using the intaglio method
So back to the drawing board at the Natty Maid Studio! I decided to use my oil based inks and this did produce a better result.

Although these are collagraphs, I have decided to adapt these for screen so that the herrings can be printed individually or in groups on loads of different things like fabric, notebooks etc.......now for a name!

Monday, 6 June 2011

An eventful week

Well, a lot of good things have been happening this week.

Lloyds TSB have used my image in some publicity material.
It is really good to see it used in context.
Geese image for Art of Nurture used in publicity material
I also got news that I have won an award in conjunction with Forth Valley College.
This is very poignant for me in that I began Further Education with the College in 2002 when my youngest started nursery. Little did I know that it would lead to 5 fantastic years at Art School. When I set up on my own, Forth Valley College were there yet again with a funded course to help folks like me make a go of it in the Creative Industries. I cannot thank them enough!

Monday, 30 May 2011

New Linocut

Having seriously huffed with my Gocco....it is not printing at all well, I have moved on to a linocut. Pleased with it so far. Will post the finished result by the end of the week.
Cutting new lino design

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

New Work for North Rock Gallery

I am very chuffed to have been asked to prepare some work for the North Rock Gallery in Shetland. The are holding an exhibition to run throughout the Tall Ships Event which will be in July. I'm thinking TOURISTS!!!! from all over so this will be a fantastic opportunity to get my work seen.
I don't have very long to do this (less than a fortnight) so I started on new designs yesterday. I have decided to begin with a Gocco design. This is not very large, but it is ideal for cards and the nifty thing is, it can be scanned in once printed and enlarged to be printed on bags etc. That way I am getting the most out of my Gocco as believe me, the screens and bulbs for this little contraption are like gold dust!
Here are some images of my initial sketches and design ready for exposure.

Sketchbook work and gocco design
 I am going for a sea/coastal theme....yes...birds again. Anyone would think I'm a bird fanatic, but I have just grown to love drawing them these past few months. Similar to the pigeon, the gull is seen as a bloomin pest. So I have decided to prettify it!

I purchased my Gocco last year. I don't have many screens left so I am almost scared to used it at times, as if it goes wrong its a bummer. Anyway, I am trying this seagull design out in the hope that it works.
Gocco Design ready to be exposed

The design exposed onto the screen

You can see where the image as been burnt on to the screen. This is where the ink will go through, just like in the normal screenprinting process. Here's hoping it is successful! I will post the outcome if it is!


I was starting to panic there as I was having trouble getting into my account. All fixed now though!
The trip up to the Bonhoga for the Progressions exhibition was enjoyable. I had a lot of interest in how I create my images and most couldn't believe it was out of any old junk. The trip back was dire! Force 8 gales and I have not inherited my Grandfather's (Daa Gibbie) sailor gene....I'll say no more!
Anyway here are some pics of the work both on display and close up.
Work on Display in Shetland

Haven (collagraph)

Tenderfeet (Collagraph)

Gathering (Collagraph)

Passage (Collagraph)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bags for Sale!

I have some stuff for sale in my Folksy shop already and these are two new pieces I have been meaning to showcase. I would like to know what folks think so your comments would be appreciated.
Hand printed using Red Permaset Ink

Close up of detail

Hand printed using purple Permaset fabric ink

Close up of detail

Sunday, 1 May 2011

It's nice up North

Yes, in the words of John Shuttleworth it is 'nice up North'
I am setting off for a trip to my Homeland on Thursday to attend the Progressions Exhibition Opening. Here is a pic of one of the pieces that will be shown.
" Gathering"
 I will post the others once I return.
Can't wait as this is the longest stretch I have spent away from Shetland and I am feeling it. I am hoping to get a whole load of visual fodder when I am up there. May have left it too late, but I want to have a new body of small prints (linocuts, wood engravings and screenprints) with a Shetland theme in time for the Tall Ships which will be happening up there in late July. There will be a lot of tourists and potential to get some Natty Maid work sold and taken afar. So I best get a move on.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Preparation for Progressions Exhibition Bonhoga, Shetland

I was lucky enough to win the prize for Best Print at the Shetland Open Exhibition at the Bonhoga last year. As a result, I now have the opportunity to participate in the Winner's Exhibition at the same venue in May 2011. Entitled Progressions, this exhibition will include work by John Carolan, Claire Laurenson, Jayne Kelly and Amy Irvine.
I am not going to post my work until after the opening, but I did think it would be a good idea to share some images of the work being done. Because I have been looking at geese, I thought this subject matter would fit in well with the Exhibition title. Anyway here are some pics of me making a mess!