Monday, 5 December 2016

Winter Open Studios

After a very successful first Winter Open Studio last year, I have been invited back to the Milton studio of jeweller Cheryl Bird for three evenings this week.  Also there will be Linda Barlett with her stunning jewellery.
We had such fun last year, possibly helped by the free flowing mulled cider and copious amounts of mince-pies.  If this doesn't get you in the festive mood nothing will.

Unfortunately I can't be there in person on the Friday, but Cheryl and Linda will be expertly manning the stalls.  If you can't make these dates but would like to come during the daytime please contact us.  This is my last fair this year, but I'll be taking online orders through my website and Etsy shop until mid December.

Cambridge Made EML Christmas Fair

I didn't have a chance to post much about this show before the event, but I just wanted to add a couple of photos and to thank in print the organisers.  This was my first time exhibiting with the Etsy Made Local group and I was very impressed with the venue, publicity, quality of work from other stall holders and the amount of visitors that came through the door.  We had 1000 each day on Thursday and Friday and an amazing 3400 on Saturday - very busy.
I was next to the ever popular Jo Clark who did a roaring trade with her prints, calendars and mugs of quirky animals.
I sold the last in the edition of my Rich Pickings print, which makes me happy and also sad to see it go.  The new Winter Berries print has also been very popular and was the best selling coasters by a mile.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Histon Handmade Christmas

The jeweller Claire Howieson has assembled 16 amazing contemporary designers and makers for my next show this Saturday 26th November.
I have exhibited with many of them before and can't wait to see what the new venue looks like.

See Histon Handmade website for more details.

Ely Cathedral Food & Gift Fair 2016

You can't beat Ely Cathedral as a magical venue for a Christmas Fair.  This was my third time I have been lucky enough to be selected and I had a prime spot in the central octagon.  I am starting to get to know many of the the other exhibitors and it's always great to buy from their stalls too.

I bought this lovely cushion by Anna Osborne of Speculating Rook (birthday present to myself).

And this quirky chicken mug from Amanda MacPhail.  As well as sampling delicious things in the food marquee including several chocolate brownies and celery vodka blood Mary (much nicer than it sounds).

Fingers crossed I am invited back next year.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

New products

I'm not sure if it's in a printmakers mind-set to want to see images produced multiple times, but I do like to see my original prints reproduced in other forms.  My range of coasters now extends to sixty-four designs.  I try to keep all the best sellers in stock on my website or etsy shop and the others are available on request.  'Winter Berries' is the newest to arrive.

I've also added this design to my range of cards and some have already been delivered to Wicken Fen National Trust shop.

I think these must take the prize for the brightest collection of coasters!  They feature my new Bike prints and I had great fun arranging them in a very pleasing circle.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Christmas Events

I've been busy the last few weeks sorting out Christmas orders for the shops and galleries I supply and making sure I have enough stock for my four forthcoming festive events.

See my Events page for all the details, but here is a handy list of dates for your diary:

Friday 18th - Saturday 19th November: Ely Cathedral Gift & Food Fair

Saturday 26th November: Histon Handmade

Friday 2nd - Saturday 3rd December: Cambridge Made Fair

Wednesday 7th - Friday 9th December: Winter Open Studios

Winter Berries

Winter Berries is a new drypoint print that I've had on the drawing board for a while.  It's one of my larger ones (31 x 23cm) so was a killer on the fingers scratching the lines into the perspex plate.  It's intended as a companion piece to 'Rich Pickings' which featured a male blackbird in a crab apple tree.

This shows a female blackbird in a hawthorn bush.  The berries have been individually printed by hand and the detail on the branches is watercolour.  It is from an edition of ten.  I am also having the design made into greetings cards and coasters.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Reflective Walk

One of my prints that sold at the Cambridge Original Printmakers show was this one, called 'Reflective Walk'. It's loosely based on the row of poplar trees that run alongside the lode near the Mill at Anglesey Abbey.  I often walk my dog there, after delivering stock to the National Trust shop and have always loved the reflections.

It's produced using a cardboard 'plate'.  The top half has the outline of the trees carved into it.  The reflection was made by cutting out the top layer of card to form the tree shapes.  I then applied glue to create the texture of the water.  Once the glue had hardened I inked-up the plate with oil based coloured printing inks, cleaned away the areas I wanted to be white, then placed the plate on my press.  I use 300gsm Somerset white paper, which is placed on top of the plate before beng rolled through my etching press.

Once the ink has tried I added watercolour to the trees to create a strong shadow.  The water is how it was printed.  It took several attempts to get the print how I wanted it as the first three came out too dark, so I had to wipe away more ink from the plate each time I inked it up.

I have also had the design made into cards and coasters.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Photos from the print show

The Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale was a great success.
Core team: Anthony Hopkinson, Kate Heiss, Jo Tunmer, Sue Jones and Tracey Ashman
Huge thanks must go to the core team who spent the last 18 months pulling it all together.  Not an easy task with 39 printmakers to co-ordinate, two Print Houses, various talks and demonstrations and all the sponsors, website, brochures and advertising to sort out.  Well done guys.

Me hanging my work on Wednesday 21st September
I thought the standard of work this year was fantastic.  It was externally selected by Colin Wilkin, VĂ©ronique Chance, Elizabeth Armstrong and Jonas Almgren, the CEO of Artfinder.

Neil Bousfield talk
There were talks by some very interesting printmakers. The highlight for me being Angie Lewin talking about her inspiration, sketchbooks, printmaking techniques and branching into product design. I have since bought her new calendar for 2017
Angie Lewin
Personally the best thing about the show is talking to the other printmakers, finding out about their techniques and being inspired to try new things and generally up ones game!
Set of my new Bike prints

I sold really well, not just prints but also just over 200 cards!  So I'm afraid I went a bit mad and spent my profits on this fabulous carborundum drypoint called 'Landmarks' by Ross Loveday.

Can't wait for 2018....

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale

Where have the last couple of month gone?  I can't believe we are half way through September already.  I have had my head down producing some brand new prints ready for this prestigious show which starts this week.

Cambridge is a hotbed of talented printmakers and this show brings them together to help demystify the art of hand-pulled prints. Thirty-nine specially selected printmakers will be exhibiting, alongside Print Houses, Printmaking Education Centres and the MA Printmaking students from Anglia Ruskin University.

This is the full list of printmakers:

I am particularly looking forward to a talk by Angie Lewin and a demonstration by Celia Hart.  For more information about the show, see the Cambridge Original Printmakers website.

Monday, 11 July 2016

First weekend of Cambridge Open Studios

Here are some of the visitors I had at my studio in Milton this weekend.  I think there were nearly 100 over the two days with good sales and interest in my work.  I had lots of requests for printmaking workshops so I will look into the feasibility - watch this space for any announcements!

Looking forward to doing it all again next weekend or by appointment during the week.

Art Auction for Arthur Rank Hospice

All the artists taking part in Cambridge Open Studios this year, have been asked to decorated a heart template. These will be auctioned later in the year to raise finds for the new Arthur Rank Hospice currently being built at Shelford Bottom (no sniggering at the name please).

I decided to do a paper drypoint print featuring blackbirds and a smaller heart highlighted with silver metal leaf. Click on the above photo to see the process involved.

And here is the finished print, titled 'Every Moment Counts'.  There are eight prints in the edition, a framed one going to the auction.  I will also be donating £5 from the sale of each of the remaining prints to the hospice as they have been instrumental in the care of several family members, so I know at first hand the valuable work they do.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Cambridge Open Studios 2016

It's the first day of July and open studio season begins. My studio is having it's annual tidy, ready for opening next weekend, come rain or shine.  Do come along if you can, there are other studios open the same weekends in Milton and surrounding villages.

The yellow guides featuring over 300 artists taking part are available in shops, galleries and libraries around Cambridgeshire.  My studio has disabled access and is listed as studio number 102 on page 38.  I look forward to seeing you, the middle two weekends in July or by appointment during the week in-between.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Meadow Hare

I always like receiving commissions and this was from my neighbour.  She already has 'Viewpoint', the print of a goldfinch perched on top of a teasel and she wanted another to go with it, for her holiday house in Norfolk.

Hares seem to be more prevalent in Norfolk than in Cambridgeshire and we often see them when heading back from the coast.  I've been wanted to do a new print with hares for a while, so this spurred me on.  Cow parsley is one of my favourite subjects and I thought it worked well with the hare to create balance on the right of the design.

I made the plate from a special type of coated board.  It isn't very hard wearing so I could only print eight.  For each print, the plate has to be inked individually which wears the lines away.  Once the print is dry, I add watercolour by hand then sign, date and edition the print.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Country Kitchen

I am pleased to say I have another new stockist, a lovely food and gift-ware shop in the pretty village of Haslingfield, just outside Cambridge, called Country Kitchen.  It's very easy to find, just opposite the church. They are now stocking my coasters, tea towels and greetings cards.  However, if today is anything to go by, I don't think I'll be making much profit from supplying them as I will be spending far too much on all the delicious produce they sell.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cambridge Edition

I am very pleased to be one of the artists featured in the June issue of Cambridge Edition.  Pick up a copy if you are in town.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cards colour change

I decided to change the colours of two of my card designs.  The 'Bikes' are now black & white, which match the tea towels and most popular of the coasters. The 'Dandelion Clocks' I changed for a different, brighter blue version of the drypoint print.  Both now available from my shop.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Silver Birch Coasters

After a request via etsy from a customer in America I have introduced a new colour into the Silver Birch range.  This zingy bright orange makes a vibrant addition to the set and can be found in my shop.

Monday, 11 April 2016

New stockist - first time in Scotland

It's always very exciting when a new shop or gallery gets in touch wanting to stock my designs.  Sheila Angus from Blackbird Studios in Edinburgh recently contacted me via my Etsy shop.  Today I posted a selection of tea towels, coasters and cards to her.  So look out for them if you are lucky enough to be visiting Edinburgh.  For more details click here.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

New Self Published Cards

You may remember that last year I started to produce a small collection of self published cards as I had been asked by several galleries and shops if I had any featuring my designs that they could sell. Four new ones arrived this week, taking the total to nine in the range. They are all printed on lovely matt watercolour style paper.

I'd love to know which is your favourite?  I really like the Bullfinch and hope it will be popular as it is my guide image for Cambridge Open Studios this year.

They are £2.60 each available from my online shop.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


I've been wanting to design something featuring snowdrops for while, so when the manageress of Anglesey Abbey shop said she thought some coasters would sell well, I set to work.

The gardens at Anglesey Abbey have one of the finest collections of snowdrops in the country with over 300 different varieties, 60 of which can be purchased in the shop.  Mine are just the generic kind!

I've also designed a 'snowy' version with falling snowflakes, as a Christmas card, but I'll post that later in the year.

The three new coasters; Bullfinch, Lode Mill and Snowdrops can all be purchased from my online shop.

Lode print and coaster success

The 18th century Lode Mill is situated in the grounds of the National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey. It is a working watermill and grinds flour on a weekly basis.  In its history it has also been used to grind cement, although thankfully it has been renovated since those days!

I'm really pleased with how my new drypoint print of Lode Mill has turned out.  I wanted to highlight the silver birch trees on the right and contrast them against the vibrant orange hand-made tiles of the roof.  The reflections in the lode were also a focal point of the design.

I've also had the print reproduced onto coasters, some of which I delivered to the shop at Anglesey Abbey last Thursday - they had sold out by Sunday!  More are on order.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Bullfinch design

I've finished the secret project, which I can reveal in March.  It's not hugely exciting but it was very time consuming.  Hopefully it will also be used on some other products, so that will involve a bit more manipulating of the images, which is always fun to do.  I'm also waiting to hear about a Christmas roll wrap design and about to start on Christmas cards.

But before the festive season really kicks off I've been working on some new drypoint prints, one of which I will pick to be my image that represents my work in this years Cambridge Open Studio guide.  It's always an agonising choice to find something eye catching that sums up what I'm about.  I sketched this bullfinch design in photoshop, using some printed texture for the background and bird. I'm having a few made into coasters, but next week I'll print the drypoint version and see if I prefer it for my guide image.

After long tailed tits I think the male bullfinch is my favourite bird.  Much more elusive and therefore more thrilling when spotted.  I often see one in Milton Country Park, perched up high in the whitethorn bushes at this time of year.  I've seen two pairs there recently, silently plucking the emerging buds, at least I think that's what they are eating.

I will post the new prints as soon as they are finished.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Happy 2016!

I seem to be finally emerging into 2016 after semi-hibernating over Christmas and avoiding all the work I'm supposed to be doing, which I can't tell you about yet as it's secret.  But I am back in full studio mode now, only procrastinating slightly by updating my website.

I do have one new design to show you.  This very simple but effective 'Love' card just published by Phoenix Trading. It's embossed on matt textured paper, perfect for wedding, anniversary or Valentine's Day next month.