Thursday, 8 December 2011

A new commission

I have been very quiet on here - mainly as I have been getting lots of new work done, and been making commissions and have been building a SHOP!!! More news about this to come very soon!

Here is a very recent commission I have made for Caroline Brett. Caroline wanted two of sold pieces combined.... the design of this one:

with the colours of this one:

So I got to work. It's never easy making another version of a piece. I ALWAYS want to change parts of a design that I think doesn't work too brilliantly. And there is that risk... I might change it too much to fit with the request of the person commissioning me. With this two bike paper cut there were some areas I wanted to tweak and improve anyway, so actually getting the chance to do that - to make the piece better - was an opportunity I relished. The hardest part was bringing in the colours from the punts cut.The reason why pictures work is the whole balance of shape and form and colour together in those particular proportions. Simply changing the colours means that often a piece just doesn't look right. In the early stages of making a piece I play a lot with many combinations to get it just right. So bringing the colours into this commission piece wasn't easy. It needed lots of thinking time and placing of chunks of paper over and over again.

In time though, the image settled. Found it's shape and it's form.

And here it is - the commission for Caroline Brett to celebrate her wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

WOW! - a Google+ delight...

I had to share this link straight away. It's one of the many delights that I am finding that are shared on Google+. It's such a different place to Facebook. I am beginning to really love it for the quality of what's posted. It's much simpler to use than facbook too and I find it a stimulating and exciting place to see posts about visual arts and music. So if you are on G+ - come and say hello to me on there!

This is a post about the work of Israeli illustrator Noma Bar. The work is simply astonishing in it's simplicity and it's elegance and wit. It's just a joy to look at.
So click HERE and enjoy!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cambridge door knocker

And when we got to Cambridge, I spied this door knocker and loved it...

A walk through Grantchester meadows...

I have often been asked if I have done any cuts of Grantchester, but I have never been and so it's always been a no! So at long last, on our 18th weddding anniversary we went to have a look and hopefully have a cuppa at The Orchard at Granchester. It was unbelievably busy - as it was such a warm and sunny October day loads of people had thought the same! So we couldn't have tea but enjoyed the walk into Cambridge instead. It's a beautiful place. So English and peaceful. I thought you would like to see a few photos....and yes, I think a cut will emerge in time..

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A new piece making me tear my hair out...

Well, I have to admit, not quite tearing my hair out... but this new piece, of which there is a small detail below, was one of those cut I had to spend lots and lots and lots of time on. It started well - a concentrated six hours meant I had made a lot of progress. It's a complex piece as it has overlaid trees and leaves and the composition is unusual for me in that there is a big chunk of text to get to work rather than being something tacked on. Something just wasn't right though. it just kind of looked a bit jumbly, a bit too detailed and fussy - a bit to niggled at. So there was only one option and that was to take it apart and work up from the base again. I flipped the idea on its head and made a pencil rubbing form it and that led me to lay that rubbing underneath for the birch tree's trunk. It seemed to sit right. It had begun to find its right shape. Call me mad, but some pieces simply won't behave until they have told you were they want to be placed!It's all intuitive of course. It's all about it feeling just not quite right and I can't really explain it more than that. The process always holds a bit of mystery.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Go and see " "On being There"

This is just a small post to tell you about my husband's exhibition at Letchworth Art Centre called "On being There". It is an exhibition of exquisite wood engravings and watercolour paintings. The en plain air work is the product of several months, from the late Spring this year and all through the summer. Whenever Witold had some spare time (he works as a Head of Art at a school in Baldock) he would go out to local churches and farm buildings in North Hertfordshire and simply draw them. There are many in the county, in fact we found out all about the Hertfordshire Hundred's through this process. And found too that many of the churches were open during the day. They are utterly peaceful places to visit and sit in. Places to contemplate and think. I joined him too sometimes and to share those moments together painting was simply magical. We met at art college and so it seems a very natural thing to do, for us to be making art at the same time. It feels like home and it feels like breathing.

I know for him the work is a quest for a full and real experience of making art in contrast to making art using digital means. For many years he has concentrated on photography and has made some stunning photos... but lately he felt he needed to get back to the elemental roots of making paintings and the watercolours and wood engravings are the product of that searching. Just him, paints, a sketchbook and the landscape.

If you are near to Letchworth - and we are only 35 minutes by train from King's Cross - do come and visit the show. Its simply beautiful.

The exhibition runs from Monday 3 October - Friday 28 October 2011

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Saturday 10.00 am to 3.00 pm.
Admission is free to all Galleries.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Taking that fork - some new work....and getting a sense of perspective.

Its funny how, when you take a slight tangent in life it makes you see the path you were on much more clearly. Its like it all brings it all into sharper focus. When I started to talk about taking a fork in the road I was talking about not feeling like I was a tram stuck on the tracks, producing only one kind of work. I had felt such a need in the last few months to improve my work and be the best artist I can be and had been feeling that I wasn't developing, wasn't taking risks.

What surprised and delighted me when I made that post about the fork, was that many people told me not to stop cutting as I was good at what I do, whilst others gave me the thumbs up to take some more leaps into the dark. I wa so very grateful for both types of comments. It was such a clap on the back and a cheer from th sidelines, that it really perked me up and inspired me to keep at it. How importanat friends and supporter are!

So I got cracking and made some newwork. And here is one of them. A post card that I found at the Wotever-Scrap Store.It was just tucked away in amidst unsent greetings cards. It grabbed me straight away. I havent really travelled that far, just to Europe, and I could relate to this object. It had never reached it full potential and that made me think of me too. And so to cut into it made that connection form me to it and back again. Its not a picture of something,its an object that has meaning and that excited me so very,very much!

Stonehill School, Letchworth - Art Club - paper dragons

My club at Stonehill School has started up again too - its a club that's an hour long after school, thats run in six week cycles. The newest students to attand range from Year 4 - Year 6.Last week we started to make simple paper dragons from strips of cardboard, felt tips and coffee sticks!

Knights Templar School, Baldock - Year 11 paper cutting Workshop

Now the new term has started, I am back into schools running paper cutting workshops. These pictures are from a session at Knights Templar School in Baldock, Hertfordshire, where I worked with a group of approx 25 students in Year 11. I showed them examples of my portfolio, explaining the difference between black line and white line cutting, and went onto show them how I layer the paper underneath to make my layered collages.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Jesus Lock commission - just completed!

I have recently been commissioned by a couple to make a cut of Jesus Lock in Cambridge. Its a place I have always loved as its got a wonderful mix of architectural and scenic elements - a bridge, a lock, the wonderful river, a gorgeous lock cottage and that's not mentioning the amazing sight that's Jesus Green trees, the trees that give a cool walk on a summers day. Its a tricky place too for that very reason. In that having so many strong elements, its hard which view to translate or which elements to concentrate on. I chose this sight as it combined all the details the couple wanted, and somehow captured the sense of the place too.

And its partly where the development of my work is going. This isn't really a paper cut. Its a layered collage. The surface is cut, but then I underlay paper from behind to fit the spaces exactly and then I cut into them again. I also used the blade to cut into the surface to add a cut texture.

It makes for a dense and richly coloured piece... and I am pleased with I have to admit. Especially with the graph paper clouds and the 7mm phone boxes!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

So I couldnt sleep last night....thoughts running round my brain like rats in a sack!

I just couldn't sleep last night. I had had a deep bath at 10pm ish, mainly to soothe my shoulder. I have been in pain all week, not being able to turn my head easily and it hurting like anything. I love being in the bath. I simply love it. Its the place where I can separate off from the family physically and mentally and its the place I always let my imagination run free. The water was so warm and it helped me forget the pain for a while.

Anyway, after turning pink and wrinkly, I got out and dressed and made a cuppa and then started to write down the ideas. There were so many tumbling over each other like rats in a sack. A few things I had been dithering about seemed at long last to just make sense - things about using text and poetry and capturing the experience of being in a place and not just the physical scene. On the telly was the Santana programme on BBC Four, and as I wrote I had that music keeping me company. The way I had got to know Santana, and that was only a smidge of knowledge, was through my brother-in-law who was a mad keen Santana fan. He bought me a Santana album when I was about 15, pretty cool looking back now.

It was so good to enjoy the moment of getting the thoughts down. Getting them out of my head. And I experimented a tiny bit too. An inch sized experimentation of a little teacup, combining gouache painting and a paper cut. I actually really love it. I have felt such a need to paint, to work with subtle colors and tones and have the freedom of the brush and not the blade. The blade though is so definite,so clean to use, I can't imagine a time when I would want to stop.

Still, this is for you to see... very early green shoots of change...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Too much visual noise and taking the fork in the road

For several months now I have been feeling twitchy about my work. I can't pinpoint the exact moment it started, it was more of a sense that it's the end of an era and the start of another. Things have been difficult at home - children finishing Primary school and a father disappearing further into Parkinson's inevitably have lead me to ask questions about who I am and where I am going. It's the typical mid 40's angst I suppose. And a lot of that questioning has been about who I am as an artist. I have looked to other artists work to get a sense of myself, looked at exhibitions to inspire me - generally been on the hunt for some signs to tell me the right way to head now.

Only it's not very easy.

On Facebook I am a member of a few groups and pages that feature the work of artists, especially paper artists. Every day in my feed there is a steady stream of work to look at and be inspired by. It's a medium that's growing more and more fashionable and popular. I'm not surprised really. The materials needed are very easily available, you don't need a large workspace and the immediacy of the medium means you can get good results quickly especially if you employ Photoshop and a printer, both of which I don't use in the making of my paper pieces. Paper has an inherent democratic humility to it - at its roots paper art comes from the people, from crafts pieces made by the people and not the product of a Salon, so it's a medium that's relatively easy to grasp and get immersed in.

Like everything though that becomes fashionable, you just seem to see more and more of the same kind of thing. And that's happening to paper cuts, especially the silhouette type. They are appearing all over the place from John Lewis ads to the London cityscape background that the BBC uses for London based interviewees. And Rob Ryan's work that started the ball rolling with his poignant and delicate white and red paper cuts that have now come to be seen almost everywhere from tea towels to mugs to notebooks. Its brilliant that his work is so well used, and I do love his work, but the old maxim of " too much of a good thing" rings true. There are many imitators out there, and in some small way I have been one of them, but maybe with a female perspective twist on what I have produced. My Facebook feed is full of wonderful things but also a lot of the same kind of stuff. Much of it that's technically masterful, amazingly decorative and detailed and yet somehow feels without much meaning. And everyone is wanting to be noticed, wanting to say "look at me, look at me" and I too am doing the same thing - it's impossible to think that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al can be ignored, they are essential marketing tools in our commercial world today.

It just feels however like there is too much noise. Visual noise. I think I will go against the tide and not look at what's out there, just for a while.

So.... what's the solution? for me it's time to change, time to develop some experimental work. I still want to cut my buildings, still want to make cuts that express the England I see, but I want to do work that's different to anyone else.

Time to take that fork in the road.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Preparing for a commission - having a coffee under the Jesus Green trees

I am working on a commission for the next three days, for a couple that want a cut of Jesus Lock. So I went to Cambridge today, to look at the place, take lots of photos to prod my memory for when I am back home in the studio. Its been such a beautiful day. A perfect temperature to wander around and enjoy the sights of an English town - filled with tourists and families, friends and couples out and about, shopping and chattering and walking dogs. We sat under a bench under the trees and it was a little slice of heaven. And I managed to take a picture that captured a second of the time there.

Smaller, affordable windowsill cuts delivered to Cambridge

I have made some smaller, more affordable, sunny windowsill cuts for Byard Art and delivered them just a few days ago. They are framed in Acrylic black frames, so look very simple and crisp, and depict some classic Cambridge icons of punts and Kings Chapel. I actually love doing these smaller cuts. They are so simple and somehow much more intimate. I suppose because you can hold them in your hands, they are meant to have near you.

To get more information about sizes and prices simply click HERE

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Finding a gem...Paul R Montford angel sculpture at Reydon church

I have just been away for a weeks holiday in Suffolk. Its the first time we have been to the county and its been a joy to discover the landscape all round Southwold and down to Aldeburgh and up to Lowestoft. Its a county of beautiful buildings and friendly locals, as well as a place that you can come across complete treasures like this in the photos below...

In these photos is a memorial in the graveyard at Reydon church, just a mile or so outside Southwold. We kept driving past it and saying that we must look at that angel... the week passed by and finally as we went to Southwold for a final coffee on the beach, we stopped off. Wow and double wow! I thought it was something special. Walking up to it and you see that it is indeed something out of the ordinary. Its such a beautiful memorial. Tender and loving and beautifully sculpted. It has fine and subtle detailing. If you are passing that way, stop and look.Its a precious thing to see.

And have a look at the Wikepedia page on Paul R Montford...and read about his prestigious work in Melbourne!!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The gift - its on its way!

Well - the little piano paper cut is on its way, and a donation is being made by the receiver to a food bank. I am so pleased, truly. Its a simple idea and I think its going to work.

A big:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Gift - a free papercut and a private donation

For a long time I have wanted to use my work to raise money for charity - put simply to use my hands for good, for something/someone beyond myself. In the past I have donated work for charity auctions, sold prints for Parkinson's UK. Donating the complete pieces was fine, I will do that again without doubt, but something niggled away at me about the prints. For me something given must be given freely, wholly given and covering the costs of printing went directly against that. The prints too are a digital form of my work, not the actual stuff of my hands, of my effort. Something didn't feel right.

A recent hospital operation for me and some recuperation has meant some pondering time and I reckon I have the answer. And it is to make small paper cuts that I will simply give away. People can post/text/ring me their address (all my contact information is on my website, click HERE) and I will simply send them the little cut in the post. Whoever contacts me first will get the paper cut. All I ask is that the receiver donates what they can afford to a charity of their choice. It will be entirely private though. Whatever can be afforded, whether is 50p or £50,is done entirely privately.

So here it is the first very first gift. It's given freely.


• If you would like the paper cut simply email/text/ring me with your address and I will post the little cut to you. There will be a little letter included too, just to say hello and a thank you
• if you don't hear anything in the post, try again with the next "Gift" posting. I aim to post a cut on here once a month
• all addresses will be kept confidential and deleted after use

Friday, 10 June 2011

Sketching the De Havilland Philharmonic with James Mayhew

I went sketching last night with my very good friend James Mayhew. James has been doing these fantastic concerts with the De Havilland Orchestra - where he drawings as the music is playing. Its extraordinary! Last night though was just a chance to keep him company and draw the orchestra rehearsing for the concert they have this weekend - Sunday the 12th June, Debussy and Beethoven.

I have to say -it was a whole new experience. Its really hard of course, as the musicians are moving at quite a pace, so its difficult to really capture the shapes clearly or for that matter see them clearly. So I just attempted to get the feel of the shapes and try and sketch a couple of the musicians. To draw and hear such gorgeous music though, was simply marvellous. It was very concentrated. And the images and the experience of making them are now hot wired into my brain!

Monday, 6 June 2011

My sketchbooks - drawing at the heart of my work..

Having seen a few paper cut artists recently that work solely from photos, I thought I would post a few posts to show you how I work. We all work in our own way, drawing for me is a very important part of my process. Ideas occur to me at all sorts of times. In the bath, shopping, walking about Letchworth or wherever I am. They kind of bubble up from the deep! And I make little sketches in my sketchbooks. They are often rough. Sometimes I use a camera to record something and then chop and paste the bits I like and then re-draw the whole thing. Drawing is at the very heart of what I do. I use little technology. No photoshop, apart from getting the images ready for my website.

Here are a few pictures of pages from a sketchbook that I finished about three months ago. It took me aboput a year to fill and its a book that I am very attached to.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A lovely blog - Mangle Prints and Amanda Colville's lovely work.....

A lovely blog - have a look at Mangle Prints. Amanda's work is really gorgeous, and its an interesting read HERE to have a look