Monday, 21 April 2014

Travelling Self Interview.....




My gorgeous artist & writer friend Lisa Wrighinvited me to participate in this blog hop that involves a mini self-interview. Lisa is one of the participants on the Magical Journal Journey art journal swap I'm blessed to be part of. She is a talented artist and writer who is constantly buzzing with inspiration and creativity.

So here goes my self-interview....

1. What am I working on? 

As the photo above illustrates, I'm making costume jewellery with a focus on bespoke made to order jewellery for people who may need accessories to compliment certain outfits or occasions. I have made jewellery sporadically for many years but last Christmas I did a couple of craft events where people not only bought my jewellery on display but started to make special order requests. I love to see people happy with their affordable bling.


After a few months of bad health, my year has been slow starting. However, I have started to work on my Creatively Well project that includes writing my non-fiction book and developing a better web presence. Creatively Well is based on my own discovery of how creativity has enhanced my wellbeing. It will also include this blog and a section for displaying/selling my creations. So far I have created the above graphic and had a rumber stamp made of it so that I can make handmade tags etc. 

I am also part of the third Magical Journal Journey swap that I regularly blog about. This year we have each chosen an artist to use as inspiration and theme for our journals. My chosen artist is Jennifer Judd McGee

I also continue to sew/embroider, doodle, create mandalas, write stories, photograph, make/sell greeting cards, paint and explore my rusty musical skills.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

This is a difficult question but........... I'd say that considering we are all unique and that my Creatively Well focus is guided by my own personal journal this is what makes it different to others in this genre. Of course there'll be a crossover of similar experiences/influences but my perspective and approach will always have a big part of just me. I also try to mix my variety of creative outlets into new approaches and results; mixing my storytelling with art and music, mandalas with stitches and words. 





3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

Creating and creativity is my daily focus, my meditation, my play and my work. I create from the heart and because my imagination leads me to ideas that want to take flight. The fantasy, magical, whimsey, nature and spiritual elements that seem to show in my work come from my character that is focused in imagination, open to possibilities, enamoured by story and in love with people/life.



4. How does your writing/creating process work? 

Mmm, toughey to answer..... Honestly, every day is different. My biggest challenge is the unpredictability of my health and therefore the best made routines/plans can go awry overnight. Yet, this also teaches me to be flexible and imaginative in my approach. I start with the premise that creating is part of who I am; it is my daily practice and meditation. Therefore, I may only manage to spend half an hour doodling in bed or hours typing away at the computer. I try to assess the day and look for the creative opportunities available in it. And there are always opportunities to create if we look for them. If stuck, I look for inspiration in the world around me, in books, music and especially in observing other people.

This blog hop will be continued next week at the blogs of:

JENNY ALEXANDER of Writing in the house of Dreams : Jenny has written about 150 books roughly half of which are fiction and half non-fiction. She also writes magazines articles and poems and has had her writing published in many different languages.  Jenny enjoys teaching creative writing, writes dream diaries, loves rabbits and lives in Cornwall, UK. You can find more about Jenny at her blog and on her website. Jenny will publish her blog hop interview post on 28th April 2014 but you can visit her before then as well :-)

MELISSA T LIBAN from Melissa T Liban Illustrations blog (she also has a fab new website she's developing): Melissa lives in Cincinnati,OH. After recently having her third gorgeous babe she is looking forward to getting back to her blog of 5 years. Missy is an incredibly talented illustrator of books and digital art images. She has also written children's books and published exciting young adult fiction. Check out her bunny drawings along with Pete and Doris; so cute and funny. Melissa will also be publishing her blog hop interview on 28th April but you may want to tour her website and blog to check out her cute characters and books before then :-)

ANNE BUTERA from My Giant Strawberry is a long time blogging buddy of mine who lives in rural Wisconsin. She is a talented artist, crafter and writer who makes the most amazing crotchet jewellery amongst many other beautiful things that she sells in her etsy shop. When visiting her blog you'll often be treated to the photo evidence of Anne's green fingers and her love of plants, trees and flowers. As well as her art adventures Anne also shares some of her recipes and her travel stories. Everything Anne writes on her blog comes with the most delightful photos that have transported me to places and closer to experiences outside of my own. Anne has one of the loveliest 'about me' sections on her website so I urge you to read that to get a true sense of her beautiful personality. Like the others she'll also be posting her self-interview questions on (or near to) 28th April.

Wishing You All A Happy & Creative Week!
Kat :-) 

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Friday, 28 March 2014

Carmella's Cats....(Magical Journal Journey)

The first journal (apart from my own)  I get to create in on this year's Magical Journal Journey is Lisa Di Nunzio's. As explained in my last post, for our theme this year we have all chosen an artist who we admire. Lisa chose Modigliani whose style includes portraits of people with elongated necks and faces, often tilted to the side.
               Now at this point I have to admit to some shoddy research and foolishness on my part. Seeing quite a few 'Modigliani's' cats I misunderstood that they had been inspired by the fact that Modigliani had painted his own cat once. This led me to my idea for Carmella and her cat portrait studio. However, after painting a few cats I discovered I'd misunderstood. Modigliani himself hadn't a painting of his cat in his collection. Instead an artist called Eve Riser-Roberts had created the idea that Modigliani's cat had jumped up on the chair where his subjects had posed and Modigliani had painted him. Well it may have been fiction but it led to my own story and paintings.

My first painting is of Carmella. Bear in mind I don't/can't draw/paint people so this was a big challenge for me:


and if you click to enlarge the image below you can read the story of how she was inspired to open a cat portrait studio:

Here are a three of the neighbourhood cats that begged to be immortalised with her paintbrush:


 Another new part to our challenge this year is that we are all collaborating on the journal covers. These two cheeky chappies are my contribution. I hadn't named them but my son thought one looked like planet earth and the other like the lava that ran through it. I thought this was a clever observation by my ten year old. So maybe they could be named Lava and Gaia???....
This journal was a huge challenge for me. It stretched my abilities, pushed me outside my comfort zone and forced me to face my fears over drawing/painting faces. However, in the end I thoroughly enjoyed it :-) I do feel a little embarrassed about believing that Modigliani had actually painted his cat. However, who knows, maybe he did. Meanwhile, hopefully Eve Riser-Roberts won't mind that her blue Russian cat inspired yet another story and some characterful cats into existence.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative week and weekend!Kat :-) x


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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

MJJ14 - Creating With Friends!




This March brings the start of a new Magical Journal Journey for 2014. I'm a bit late sharing pictures and it has been far too long since I last posted. I shan't bore you with my reoccurring reasons for struggling. Instead I wish to celebrate the beginning of this new collaboration. This year we have all chosen a favourite artist to inspire our journalling. My chosen artist is Jennifer Judd McGee. My daughter recently introduced her to me and I loved her work.  I also felt her style tied in with some of my own ideas, yet would challenge me greatly.

We are collaborating on our book covers for the first time this year so that we should all end up with front and back covers as a collage of everyones art.  I decided to repurpose an old Scooby-do annual to make the journal covers. I covered the annual's covers in countless layers of Gesso and glue.....


....and then painted/collaged a portion on the front. On the back I left a little of the original cover showing:



On the inside of the front cover I created a drawing that opens up to reveal a type of sign in page that allows each artist to create in a square. When this is finished I imagine it will resemble another piece of collaborative art. I've also included the black and white drawing that preceded the final piece:





The following are from the first two pages and introduction/letter. I have used printed minatures of my art to create a collage tree and do the windows of the house.....



Please do visit the other MJJ ladies,........the links to their respective blogs are on the right. Next I am lucky to work in Lisa DiNunzio (priti.lisa) journal. Her chosen artist is Modigliani and you can see the beginnings of her journal on her blog here. I have to admit I'm quite nervous about attempting to paint portraits. I've never drawn/painted people and I have visions of nursery standard paintings spoiling Lisa's journal. But I shall try my best and hopefully if I approach it with a bit of 'me' and lots of love it will mean something nice to her at least. Or provide her with something permanent to make her laugh when ever she's feeling down ;-) Either way it will be unique, lol :-)

Wishing you all a Happy and Creative week!
Kat :-) X

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Friday, 10 January 2014

Magical Journal Journey 2013 Party - video

Being part of the Magical Journal Journey 2013 was an inspirational experience made extra special by the fact that this second swap saw us all become closer as friends. This weekend we are all showing our completed journals & having a blog party celebration. I've spent hours trying to create my first video slide show - hope it works and you enjoy. So please help yourself to a virtual glass of fizz and yummy nibbles whilst you settle down to watch the film. The good news, for those of you on a January health kick, is that it is all calorie free ;-)



 Please visit the other participants and party hosts by clicking on the links to their blogs on the right. During this weekend they'll be sharing their finished journals and may even have a virtual glass of something or/and a cake to offer you.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative weekend!

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Creative Christmas



Usually when I've been away from my blog for so long it is because I've had a bad health spell. But I'm glad to say that my absence this month has been because I've been busy being creative; making lots for sale and to gift. The best thing is that it has been helping keep me well and happy :-) Here are a few examples of what I've been creating.....












  • How will/are you keep(ing) creative during the busy festive season?

Wishing you all Happy Holidays, Christmas & New Year! Enjoy the festive season :-)
Kat :-)  Xx

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Thursday, 31 October 2013

"RUSTY" - getting messy with paint, pigment powders & glue for the last journal in the Magical Journal Journey 2013




The last journal of this Magical Journal Journey is Lisa Wright's "Rust" themed journal. As I am the last person to host her journal I get the pleasure of enjoying the whole group's artwork. Her beautiful handmade book is literally bursting at the seams with gorgeous art! I thoroughly enjoyed days of getting messy with paints, inks and metallic pigment powder. It was such fun turning paper metallic and rusty BUT unfortunately it seems that these shimmery hues do not show up on the computer :-( So you'll have to imagine the metallic effects that I would have loved to share properly. 

This stitched 'RUST' was my first page. And here are a couple of close-ups.....


Only the mini basket & mini angel were bought rusted. The rest was the result of days worth of play. Below the leaf in the bottom colour was punched from one of my self rusted papers where I used pumistone Golden medium to create the texture of rust.


These pages come with a story (of course)! It is a bit long to share on here but I can tell you this much: an eleven year old girl, Cleo, moves with her family into an old house whose land includes its own private woods. She finds a letter addressed to her from Gwendylyn, the previous owner of the house, who writes that Cleo has been chosen by the Fae as her successor, to work as a human ambassador with the fairy Tree Guardians. Below is my interpretation of the portal between the human and Fae world. I spent many hours cutting out, stamping and punching leaves from the many rusty hued papers I'd created as well as from a copper foil sheet. I imagined that when the portal was opened it created an energy field that drew the autumnal leaves towards it.


My last page features the rusty box in which Cleo finds the letter.....


The following two are photos that were taken before the rusty clasp was created to close the box. I forgot to take the photos again at the end but they give you an idea...



Lisa included some giant tags for us to create on....

Again...these have a metallic sheen to them in reality....
I know Lisa loves trees (like me) & has had recent experiences of woodland fairies so I'm hoping she'll enjoy my pages. I certainly enjoyed making them. A few weeks ago some severe spasms resulted in torn muscle in my back. This meant that for over three weeks I wasn't able to sit at the table and create. Its amazing how ecstatic I felt to be creating again. I relished the paint and glue on my hands, the messy table, the alchemy of mixing paints and powders. Creating is most definitely good for my soul.

Wishing you a Happy & Creative week and weekend!  Go on - go get messy with paint & glue - you'll be glad you did.... :-)

Kat Xx

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Friday, 27 September 2013

A Cupboard of Treasures.......September's Magical Journal Journey (Tammy)




In September I had the pleasure of looking after and playing in Tammy's journal. Tammy chose tan, black and white as her colour scheme. I had this idea in my head of a girl inheriting a unique cupboard full of treasures. I got this idea because Tammy loves vintage treasures and found objects such as keys to use in her art. 
                     I learnt, whilst transferring this idea into art, that I am not that great at construction, a little out of practice with a craft knife and that no matter how many times you measure it is hard to get everything to match up. Having said that I enjoyed stretching myself in a different way and hopefully I've managed to translate my idea to the pages. 

So firstly I created wall paper as a background to the cupboard. I did this with a mix of acrylic colours which I then stamped onto with Versafine inks. The stamps are a Papermania Urban Collection that I bought last year to use on Tammy's journal knowing that she loves birds and keys.


I spent days designing and cutting out the doors from black card and lining each panel with individual papers. The beading was then done with black dimensional Pebeo paint. 
Behind door number one....


....are three of the objects that Anna-Beth (you can read the story below) inherits. A picnic blanket with memories, a scrapbook of photos and jewellery. Here's a closer look:


The jewellery was the most fiddly, especially the tiny earrings that are not much more than a centimeter in size. But the challenge was fun. I felt as if I were creating objects for a doll's house :-)
                            Then behind door number two......


Anna-Beth discover's her Great-Aunt Doris' wedding veil, a mirror and mantle clock that hold their own stories.

Here's a closer look.....



 The story behind these objects comes in the form of a letter. I stamped the envelope with a Tuscan Rose stamp that I forgot I had but am pleased to have rediscovered.

Here's what the letter says...
                                                         ....................................
To my darling great-niece, Anna-Beth, I bequeath memories full of love:


My treasured cupboard made by your Great-Uncle Wilfred, as a first year wedding anniversary gift to me. Handcrafted using Japan stained wood, each panel is filled with fabrics he collected during his extensive travels. The first of eighty wedding anniversaries we shared it became my keepsake cupboard.
We kept this clockwork carriage clock ticking since our second Christmas together in Norway. Please keep it wound and working as a reminder of our love together, our love for you and the true love I know to be waiting out there for you.
On our tenth wedding anniversary in Prague we watched this mirror being made by a local artisan. We were struck at how it matched our Norwegian clock and so we had to give it a home. It reminds me of the gothic architecture and cultural delights we experienced in Prague.
I’ve left you two wedding souvenirs that remind me of that perfect day: My handmade lace wedding veil made in the Cypriot Troodos Mountains, inherited from my Greek Grandmother who also taught me to make the bread you adore; and a set of jewellery that my late sister made for me to take on our honeymoon in South Africa. I wore this set every day and so it reminds me of panoramic sunsets, elephant families and welcoming tribal people.   
The black rug holds many dear memories of picnics in our local woods and laughter filled days at the beach. Anna-Beth you were part of many of these latter picnic rug memories, I hope you’ll enjoy making new memories using it.
The scrapbook was handmade by me from wall paper offcuts from our first home. It contains decade’s worth of good times remembered in photographs, letters and postcards.
Great Uncle Wilfred and I had a blessed life full of love and laughter. In our last years you became the daughter we never had, filling our lives with even more light and joy. In addition we’ve bequeathed you our house and surrounding land but this cupboard and its contents are the most precious part of your inheritance. May they remind you of the joy and power of love and friendship. May it encourage you to fully engage in each moment, explore and discover life to the full. May it remind you that we love you and that love never dies.

Your Great-Aunt
   Doris


  • Fun creative prompt: If you inherited a cupboard what would you like to discover inside of it? 

On the right hand column of my blog you'll find links to all of the members of the Magical Journal Journey. If you visit you're bound to enjoy their immense talent and varied styles.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative Weekend
Kat X


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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Woodland Fantasy - IA Woodland Challenge



This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge is Woodland. The challenge is set by my friend Maggie  who has constructed a beautiful Woodland challenge post full of inspiration. I am a complete beginner when it comes to any digital art so hopefully you'll forgive the simplicity but it does say what I want it to at least. 

The photos were all taken on our first ever family holiday to France back in March this year. The location is the stunning Chateau de Pierrefonds whose beauty and magic persuaded the BBC to film the fantastic multiple seasons of Merlin. Our family are all the biggest fans of Merlin and were lost when the story ended. So when we decided to visit Paris we all agreed we had to visit the nearby location of Camelot, the real life Pierrefonds.


The town that lies in the shadow of the fairytale chateau and magical woodland is are what dreams are made of.  The following is one of many fabulous views from the chateau walls:

I couldn't believe real people were lucky enough to live there! So, two things I highly recommend: watch all of the BBC Merlin series (all available on DVD boxset and visit Pierrefonds in France. 

In other woodland related items...down at the bottom of our tree filled garden......

My children made a home for the hedgehogs who in the UK are being threatened with extinction. My kids watched a wildlife programme on Sunday morning & upset by the plight of the hedgehogs they spent three hours in pouring rain making the local hedgehogs their own house. You can't see it in the photo but there's a lot of attention to detail, or so they told me, in ways like the positioning of the house, the layers of mud, the choice of bedding material........oh and don't forget the flower decor to welcome them that can't be seen very well from this angle :-) They were very wet and muddy by the end but so happy and proud to show us, especially as they'd done it all by themselves. I think it represents a form of art and when I saw Maggie's challenge my son took a rainy photo so that they could also enter this week's IA challenge :-)
This is turning out to be a very long post. Only one last thing to share: at the beginning of September when the children were back at school I set myself the challenge of at least two hours of writing every weekday morning. So far I've achieved this and a little more. I'm not too proud yet because what I've written hasn't always been very good BUT I'm continuing in the faith that practice and routine will help strengthen my stiff writing muscles. I'll let you know how it goes!
  • What art has nature inspired you to create this month? 
  • How do the seasons and your scenery affect your creative output?
Please do visit the Inspiration Avenue Team blog and see what other people have created with the woodland theme. Hope you feel inspired to join in too.

Wishing you all a happy & creative week!

Kat :-) xx

















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