Sunday, 19 April 2015

Open Studios North Fife 2015 on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May

I'll start this blog post off with a nice relaxing sunset taken on the Isle of Skye the week before last. 

Yes with just a few weeks to go until Open Studios, we still managed to sneak in a quick trip to Skye as we have done the past few years. It's such a great time to go. No midgies, pleasant Spring sunshine and not too busy either.

We had a great time and even though we've been to Skye a few times now we still found things to do that we hadn't done before.

One thing I'd wanted to do for a long time was take the boat trip over to Loch Coruisk from Elgol.
We took my mugs along for a wee photo shoot on the beach.
As you can see there are now six designs available.

Below is the latest design and will be available from me during Open Studios this year. My Mugs, Coasters and Notebooks are also available from three different gift shops around Scotland.
Little Thistle in Dunfermline
Wild Thistle in Braemar as well as at Braemar Castle Shop and 

Also new for Open Studios this year are a range of printed cushions.

Thistle Bothy Cushion
Available to order here 

Other designs will also be available soon.

I also have some new heart shaped Pendants and Earrings that I am working on just now.

Pendants £24

Earrings £18

I have even managed to make some alternatives to purple and turquoise!

All of these will make their debut at Open Studios and be available online from around the 6th of May.

I've made lots of bracelets and rings as well.
Bracelets £20 and Rings £18

This week I am finishing off a batch of these Felt Heart Pendants in Blues and Turquoise. 
I also plan to do something with this hand dyed silk but I'm not sure what yet. It's gorgeous just as it is!

Staying on a purple theme, I have this landscape to finish.

 I finished this little one last week. It's 15 x 15 cm and is also available as a printed cushion.

So it is going to be an incredibly busy two weeks now. Hope to see some of you there.
I am at my usual venue, 64 Commercial Road, Ladybank.
You can download a free brochure from the Open Studios website and find directions to my venue here 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Upcoming Events in April and May

I can't believe it's April already! I haven't even had time to so much as pick a daffodil.
March was an incredibly busy month with the Yarn Festival and Falkland Craft Market and both were brilliant. I am now working flat out to make for the next Falkland Market on April 18th and Open Studios on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May.

I always make a few larger pieces for Open Studios as I have the advantage of wall space to display my work. I had made a few small felt pictures earlier this year with little thistles in the foreground and wanted to try some bigger versions.

This was my first larger one at 34 x 34 cm. It's not that big but certainly bigger than my usual 12 x 17 cm. I've put the smaller one in the photo for comparison.

When I'm planning my composition, I roughly needle in some fibres to give me an idea of where I will place the main features.  Those green blobs became these thistles below.

Thistle Croft

The piece above sold the day I finished it so I was back to square one making work for Open Studios. 
I wanted to try more thistles in a pinkier tone on a lighter background. Thistle Bothy below is also 34 x 34 cm before framing.

Since taking this photo I have added a few daisy like flowers in among the thistle stems and made the lupin stems more visible. I think both these pictures will make lovely cushions so look out for them later this month.

I have lots of other new pieces in progress this month and hardly a moment to blog about it.
Open Studios North Fife brochures are now available to pick up from outlets of Waterstones Bookshops in Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Look out for them at cafes, libraries and shops around the North Fife area as well.
You can collect them from me at the next Falkland Craft Market on Saturday 18th April or download the brochure online here

You can find my entry on the website here with a map on how to find my venue.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival and How It Went.

I had such a great time!!!
This was my stand at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on the 14th and 15th March.

I didn't get time to take many photos at the but here are some taken of my neighbouring exhibitors in the Pop Up Market.

All these incredible felt items are handmade by Dalia at Felting Studio. Originally from Vilnius in Lithuania, Dalia and Linas now live and work in Edinburgh and the quality of Dalia's felt making is outstanding.
Their Cat Caves were very popular as were the slippers. 

I particularly liked this shawl and was delighted to see it get snapped up by a happy customer.

To the other side of my stand was Joe's Toes selling brilliant felt slipper kits and haberdashery. The slipper kits come in many different colours and you can needle felt your own design onto them before stitching them up.

I treated myself to some cute little wooden butterfly buttons which I hope to use on some boxes in time for Open Studios.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Clive and Laurence from Thurso who were there with their wonderful hand dyed, hand spun yarns and fibre batts. We had 'met' online and Clive had carded some batts that he just knew I'd love and funnily enough I picked them out straight away! I also got a few hand spuns to use in my felt pictures which I have been enjoying working with this week.

The yarn festival was a big event, taking up the whole of the Corn Exchange with vendors and visitors coming from all over the world especially.
There was such a great atmosphere with everyone in their element surrounded by wonderful products and exciting new materials to take home and try.

Most of the vendors were through in the main exhibition hall and although I was busy on my own stall, I asked a friend along to help me so that I could escape and buy some fibre for myself.
I love this hand dyed roving from Strathearn Fleece and Fibre. So many different colours and it's a lovely texture to work with. 

I also bought these lovely greens and worked them in with scrims and hand spun to make background pieces for landscapes.

You can see the results below.
I purchased some beautiful hand dyed silk embroidery thread which I have used for my flowers here. It has a lovely sheen and subtle variations in colour along the strands which makes it just lovely to work with. I'm wishing I'd stocked up on more while I had the chance! 

'Mary's Cottage'

Here is some more of my stash below. If you love all the colours in this photo, then imagine a whole exhibition hall filled with stands selling all this and you can understand why everyone was so excited and happy to be there! :)
You can see more photos from the event on the EYF website here 

Our Open Studios North Fife event is only 6 weeks away now. I will be at my usual venue in Ladybank with a whole host of new pictures, Trinket Boxes, Booches and Jewellery pieces to exhibit. I am also planning to have some new printed cushions available. I just need to get the artwork made first! 
You can pick up brochures for the event from me today at Falkland and from Waterstones bookshops in the next couple of weeks. You can also find all the information you need on our website here.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 14th and 15th March 2015

You can find me at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March
Edinburgh Corn Exchange
10 Newmarket Road
EH14 1RJ
10 - 5.30 pm Saturday
10 - 5 pm Sunday

I will have my full range of felt goodies with me including some new Trinket Boxes and Landscapes.

Maybe see you there!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Upcoming Events and New Arrivals

March already and I am glad to see it. February disappeared into weeks of illness with one family member after the other succumbing to that rotten cold that was going around and I came down with tonsillitis. It has put me way off schedule but I am doing my best to catch up.

I'm delighted to have had this new design made up into printed items.

'Morning Mist' was a felt picture I made on the one day during early February that I actually got any work done. I took the photo after I had laid all the fibres out ready for wet felting. I don't usually take photos at this stage but the wisps of silk made perfect clouds and waves lapping on the beach. A lot of the atmosphere was lost during the felting process so I am so glad that I took the photo!

I have had it printed into Mouse Mat's, Notebooks, Sketchbooks, Sets of 8 Notelets and individual cards.
You can find them all for sale here

During February my faithful old sewing machine had to go and be serviced and repaired and although she is still going strong, I decided to buy a new machine as well. I needed more power for the things I make and it came as a wonderful surprise to find that the new machine has 50 different stitch settings including this gorgeous chain of hearts!

I soon put it to good use, giving these sheep some hearts to skip along.
I have been making these Felted Sheep Cuff Bracelets for my stall at Edinburgh Yarn Festival next weekend and now have them in four different colour ways.

The bracelets will be £22 and will go on sale online after the 16th March if there are any left.

Also new today is this Thistle Cottage card.

As I've said, I will have all these things with me at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March at Edinburgh Corn Exchange. If you are not sure where this venue is or how to get to it, the Corn Exchange website is excellent with everything you need to know here

For details about the Yarn Festival click here

More good news for March is that Falkland Craft Markets are returning with five dates set for this year! I will be at four of them (see events listing on the right). The first one will be on Saturday 21st March and I will be there with all my new things and all my popular favourites. You can also pick up your free Open Studios brochure from me at both of these events and start planning your Bank Holiday weekend in May!

Saturday 21st March 2015
10 - 4 pm 
Falkland Village Hall

I have lots of other makes on the go including this felt landscape picture.
I just want to go and live here. I will definitely have to make another of these similar to keep!

This one will be on display when it is finished during Open Studios North Fife on 2nd- 4th May 2015. You can see all the details about that on the website here 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Coasters, Mouse Mats, Mugs and Notebooks

 Here we are at the start of February already and the landscape begins to look a little more colourful. It is certainly very colourful around here with the arrival of new work from the print workshop.
I'm delighted with these new coasters. They are the same four designs that I had made into coasters back in December but the colours have come out better and are more true to the original pictures. 

The coasters come Gift Box as a treat to yourself or ready to give as a present. 

Also back in stock are all these Notebooks.

Pretty Bird Notebook

My Notebooks are spiral bound and alternate between plain and ruled pages making them perfect for sketching and keeping notes.

I ran out of the design below last year so it's back by popular demand.

Lupins and Sheep Notebook

Moon Gazing Hare Notebook

Hannah's House Notebook

Dolphin Notebook

Island and Gulls Notebook

Highland Cow Notebook

Vibrant Hills Notebook
You can find them all for sale here 

I was sorting through my printed cards the other day to see which designs needed topped up and was I was stunned to realise that I actually have around 35 different designs in stock! And yet I always seem to need more! haha

'Home for Supper' below is one of my constant best sellers and is now back in stock.

'Washing Day' is also popular and as with all my cards, they look great framed.

I'm pleased to have all four of my mug designs back in stock as well.

Each Mug comes with it's own matching Gift Box

I am planning a new addition to the mug collection. I have had this image in my head for months of mauvey hills and flowers in the foreground so I made it last week and have sent it off to the printers and hope to have the new mug very soon.

The original will go on sale as soon as I have a frame for it. This is a virtual frame. It's great fun playing around with all the colour options and wood effects. I generally opt for white stained wood with a double mount.
Below is the same frame in Ivory.
Feel free to comment on which you prefer :)

And last but not least, my printed Mouse Mats are back in stock.
There are four designs to choose from.
Cottage by The Stream, Harvey the Highland Cow, Distant Shore and Hannah's House.

So among all this frenzy of ordering exciting new things, I have also been busy working on orders and making a few boxes.

I got all my favourite fabrics and threads out the other week to make a background using my needle felting embellisher machine.
I really enjoy this process of choosing a variety of different materials in toning colours and meshing them all into a textured piece ready for over sewing.

The piece in question was a lid for a box featuring a dolphin for a change.
This box measures 10 x 10 x 6 cm and is made with Harris Tweed as well as vintage Shetland Tweed and the needle felted lid.

Another box I made recently was this raspberry red and green silk one for a commission. I teamed the felt lid up with a reddish pink Harris Tweed. I gave the lid a sparkling of gold and a bit of free machine embroidery just to add a bit of detail. 

That's me almost finished my commissions, just one to go. I'll be concentrating now on making some larger framed pieces for a Gallery and making stock for my upcoming events.

All contributed content © Aileen Clarke