There was silence…

… well on this blog anyway.

So what happened since last time I wrote? As it happens a lot.

The biggest things is that I got married. I said YES!

Me and Adrian said yes, we do!

Me and Adrian said yes, we do!

It was the most beautiful day. We filled the venue with handmade things and wild flowers. I will tell you more later but for now here is one sneaky picture.

I had two weeks before the wedding to get ready after 3 exhibitions back to back, one of them over 4 hours away from home.

Oh yes I was busy creating my new website, another WordPress but this time more specifically designed to promote my work. I will keep hovering between the two because this blog is where I started. I has a special place in my heart and it allows me to write as I please. This doesn’t happen on a website!

So there is much more I want to write but to avoid delays I will stop here and post this and write some more later.

A final thing though, I have just handed a commission today and here is the story www.gaellebythesea.com/?page_id=122

 

I am now the proud owner…

… of a shiny new website! I resisted for a long time whilst I was happy to develop my latest artwork. There is no such thing as waiting for a time that feels right. It needs tweaking, it needs more information and interior design blog tips but that will come soon. For now, it has information about the bespoke lampshades, more about me and 3 exhibitions I am taking part in from the 25th of April so if you have the time visit www.gaellebythesea.com (yes same address as this blog but without WordPress to keep it simple) and drop me a line to let me know what you think.

This is so exciting! New pictures, contents, events… and as if that was not enough my wedding in 6 weeks. Yep, life is busy but creative at every turn! Enjoy. xBlooms detail

The next step is not always easy

A few years ago, when I had to get a website (and had a stash of money behind me), I talked to a friend of mine, Kate (graphic and website designer) and she designed a site I was very proud to own and honed for a few years.

Times have changed though and my friend has now changed career. Tools we have at our finger tips now that did not exist then. Some are beautiful, inspiring and at times like now truly frustrating.

Let me explain. About 4 weeks ago I went on a 2 days course to push me to the next phase of my business. Yes, you guessed it, my homework is to create a website instead of just having a blog. I have put this off for many reasons but the main one is because choosing a platform, a design, a hosting company… (the list is long), this will gobble up a lot of my time and I am already time poor as it is. I haven’t got that elusive stash of money to pay an expensive website so I looked at both Weebly and WordPress.org . First I have to say that if you have never used WordPress you have the .com and .org . my blog is on WordPress .com, works really well and if I am totally honest probably was a bit of a learning curve too at the time. WordPress.org has an even deeper learning curve. So far I have paid for a theme pro I really like, dealt with the designers based in India, battled with the lack of response and when it comes it is unsatisfying. Deciphering their documentation (read this step by step instructions) which is at best incomplete and at times inaccurate! No wonder I was up in the middle of the night last night trying to sort it out. So having finally managed to post a thread on their support forum (even that was not as easy as you would think!), I am now both receiving help from real people, and (shock) at real speed too with positive results. the site has improved but is a mish-mash of the sample site and my information. A real mess. The thing is that it is really hard to change things that are not there. Eh? What? Yes, this is a weird concept to get your head around. I can’t give the link to anyone yet. I can’t put in  place a coming soon page until I am ready to launch and I am considering other themes (designs), some free, some not so watch this space.

Next time you look at a nice website, don’t assume that putting one together that works is an easy job because it is not. I know it will be worth it in the end but in order of keeping my sanity I just had to share what is going on. I guess the frustration is to be so close to something I can see a beautiful window to my work so close and yet so far. Wish me luck! I think this could be a useful post for everyone so feel free to drop in and share your experiences and maybe solutions. Bye for now.

From vision to reality

To me, a few words is all it takes. My brain engages, visuals start coming to me and the main elements are constructed within minutes of a conversation with a client. Then comes the research. How do I make this vision become a reality? This bit is harder and this is where the work starts. Sometimes elements will fall nicely together, but more often than not they will not, like an escape artist which I need to catch, sometimes, at the most unlikely moment. It is not always like making a recipe from precise measures. It is most like tweaking techniques that I used before whilst trying out new ones that fit this particular client or design better. I just know when it happens.

See, recently I have had this idea integrating Siamese fighting fish, swimming gently in a shallow pond in between rocks. I inked paper to add details of lily pads and dew. Stems holding the pads were ready to go. Except that when I starting painting the watery background, I decided to strip my design back to the bare essentials. I kept the hand painted Tyvek rocks with sand and I swapped ink and acrylic for the fish. It became more gentle but at the same time much more powerful. Less is more. I have just carefully applied glue to the rocks to assemble them to the watery backdrop. Tomorrow, I will make the final lampshade. At the time of writing this, I am less than an hour away from having a finished product and photographs I will be able to share with you.

Shallow pond 3

You may think that this process could be much shorter and to the point and sometimes it is. But on some other occasions it is when you start putting elements together that they start making sense … or not. The techniques I use or try hone my style into a more controlled finish that I am happy to hand to a client. Some of these techniques become easier to reproduce so that I can make this design again as part of a standard line. Some techniques I have perfected this week I will be shortly use for a couple of commissions I have started working on. Because whether this is working from my own ideas or making someone else vision, these techniques will surely come in handy at some point.

Shallow pond 1Shallow pond lit

Next time you see a handcrafted piece, functional or not, remember this process. Things do not happen from thin air but require materials, skills, research and “making” time. They also require marketing efforts so that we get the products in places when you can see and maybe touch them. With the best descriptions in the world and a selection of photographs, it will never match the product in the flesh because reality is so much better, It is tactile and textured, details will keep you intrigued for a long time and the result of not rushing this process will be all the difference between mass produced and unique pieces. Come and see me at home or at one of my exhibitions. You will get a warm welcome and maybe a vision of your own you want to make reality… with a little bit of help…

In a child’s mind…

… there are wonderful things, magical things and colours, lots of it. There is nothing that can’t be done. In fact, the world is an open shell where the most wonderful things can happen and they will help in any way they can. Children know what they like. That means they are tricky customers and they like to be involved. So my latest lampshade is for a 4 year old little strong mind, passionate about dogs and rainbow colours. When I started working with watercolours, I painted blobs of colours that happily spread into the fibres of the paper. My little one added a few drops of colour with a carefully applied brush and once done, we had a colourful base to work from. I then worked on some purple, pink and green threads free motion embroidery. I did not have any other brief on this one other than colours and lots of it so it was probably a bit more colourful than some of my recent work but I have to say I really enjoyed making it. I am also very pleased with the result and my little client is happy too. Not bad for a day’s work! Blooms detail So here are some pictures from painting to the final lampshade. Let me know what you think and if you ever consider asking me for a commission, don’t hesitate. This is great fun for all parties involved. BloomsBlooms lit

Getting out there

Getting our work out there takes time. A lot of planning, dithering, tweaking, pricing… You name it, it is part of the process. Sometimes it takes quite a few conversations with a retailer and then… nothing. Yep, big silence and the opportunity is good. Actually, maybe it is natural selection and it is best to know early. But when it does take off, it is exciting.

Earlier this month, some of my work started to be featured on the Cornish High Street online shop. Finally an address to source beautiful and Cornish inspired products. From artwork to jewellery, food and home accessories are now available even if you are not local to us or miss our region. My page http://thecornishhighstreet.com/search.asp?types=The+Gallery+%3E+Gaelle+by+the+Sea looks stunning. See, for me, having my work out there is one thing. Having it on a website that looks so good is a moving and exciting time.

Then, this week a video was produced to celebrate products for Valentine. My work was in there too so here’s for a bit of sharing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G_uI11cXmo&feature=youtu.be

So now I am planning a bit reveal of some lampshades soon and more frames. Life is good!

From the heart

What a year this has been! We have just come back from France for a cosy Christmas with my family. We left this morning for a 12 hours journey with many white roads, a light covering of snow and our little one saying ” I really, really want to make a snow ball!”. Not enough down and having left late after a lazy relaxed breakfast with my mum, there was not enough time either. Now we are back, it would be nice to have a snow dusting here too. I love snow, It completes Xmas ad makes it really magical.

We were in such a rush before leaving. Making many handmade Xmas cards and some presents added to the pressure. When people still had 4 days of shopping and the like, we had to be packed and ready. Well, we were, just after recovering from a lingering cold and my voice going very raucous for a couple of days but we were ready. What is it when you make something really special that the pressure builds? It is not that I did not know what I was doing, far from it. One of them simply had to be finished in time for us to take on our journey It was just a mix of trying to impress my mum and making something she loved that may not be something I would have in my home. I had to reflect her taste and not mine but without compromising on quality and a style I would be proud to add to my portfolio as someone else may like it and ask me to do something similar.

So what did it take? Lots of cotton to sew the different trials and final lampshade. A few hours of carving lino stamps that are stored until I use them for a different version. A few heated moments struggling to get some fabric glue to work and going for a an alternative in desperation. Spreading myself literally quite a bit leaving sorting out the house to the last minute… After a lot of anticipation, my mum loved it, my brother too and I think quite a few of the people that saw it since too. It is deceptively simple but has a lot of flowing lines sewed in the background and orchids added for the final flourish. This will join mum’s collection and cover that bare bulb naked for over 3 years! Here are a few pictures.

Orchids lampshade  with close ups from both side.  This was designed for a ceiling  but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and  needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

Orchids lampshade with close ups from both side. This was designed for a ceiling but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

So, after all this making, I have just had a free week which felt quite strange and the main reason is my brain has engaged into a very creative process for the last few weeks, even during the orchid lampshade. Ideas are just parked in a corner of my head waiting to come out. I have also bought new materials and tools before I left which I have not had yet the chance to “play with”. Yes, some of what I do includes paying and experimenting. What I call “happy accidents” when something turn out unexpectedly to create a bit of magic. You can’t rush it, you can plan for it. You just do it.

So now the new year is approaching, I am planning more experimenting time, a few lines of wonderfully bespoke lampshades and artwork. Oh and planning a wedding! Yes a we are back on after putting things on hold for a year. Less than 6 months (if we get the date and venue we want) to organise a handmade (you could have guessed that) and laid back wedding filled with wild flowers and unconventional moments. If you like formal, look away now as they say!

But before I do all that I wish you all a year filled with health and happiness. I also wish for more peace in a very agitated and suffering world. It should not be that way and if we can all put out two pence of peace in our patch, maybe it will have a ripple effect, you never know. Fancy trying?

Best wishes to all.