A Starling Called Ella

Listening to the radio today it came to my attention that it is Ella Fitzgerald’s centenary !  In a couple of weeks on 25 April she would have been 100 years old if she was still alive! Known as the Queen of Jazz, her version of Gershwin’s song “Summertime” has to be one of my favourite all time songs.

Ella collaborated with many great jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and one rainy Sunday a few weeks ago I had a naming ceremony for my starlings whilst listening to some of these old greats.

Here’s Ella, she is helping me to advertise my sale in my Artfinder shop.  Some of the other jazz starlings are there too!

Duke and Dizzy are on my website here

Also if you use this code at checkout you will get a further £20 off your first order! http://artf.in/2Jp2Rg

The sale ends this Monday 17th April.

🙂

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Kingfishers

In the valley below the hill where I live there is a small village with a leat running along the edge of the fields and opposite a row of old and pretty cottages. There are often ducks on the leat and once I saw a very raggedy looking heron trying to catch a fish, but it always feels as if I have experienced a split second of magic when I catch a bright blue iridescent flash out of the corner of my eye.

kingfishers

See more photos of the Kingfishers and enjoy them on your wall!

 

 

 

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Two More Weeks in Upper Street, Angel, Islington

For the last two weeks and for the following two weeks I have several pieces of my work in a new pop up shop in Angel, Islington, London.  Makers & Friends is at 126 Upper Street, selling hand made jewellery, prints, cushions, soaps and herbal concoctions.  I haven’t  visited yet but I hear the shop is humming with activity every day.

I have some of my butterflies and birds in the shop including these …

copper butterflies

Copper Butterflies

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

If you are in London drop in and have a look. The shop is open every day until April 25th 2016.

islington pop up

Makers and Friends shop (photo by Zen)

Makers and Friends, 126 Upper Street, Angel, Islington, London N1

www.makers-friends.com

Instagram: MAKERSANDFRIENDS_LDN

 

The Sky is Flying with Flock ‘n Roll!

I have been revisiting an idea I had in 2011 where I made three pieces of work for an exhibition called “Flocks” at the Craft Centre in Dartington, Devon.  You can see the 2011 works here
You can also read about my experiments using photoshop to get an idea of grout colour and how it might work here

And if you are still interested then you can see my animation here

Those pieces came about after spending a peaceful day on Priddy Moor on the Mendip Hills.
As I walked that day the sky was filled with the sound of larks singing, but as I looked into the sky I couldn’t see a single lark. It was as if they had blended into the sky; they made the sky the colour it was.

The Sky is Flying series

So here I am again cutting those bird shapes which I so love doing! Each work is a different sunset or a part of a sunset. While I work it is interesting to see how  the coloured glass works together. I try to replicate colours of the sky as much as I can but some combinations don’t work as I would expect them to and require a different shade which is sometimes quite a subtle change.   I love the glass with the copper fleck bringing that extra hint of sunset light into the pieces.

It takes a little time to assemble the birds so that there is as little space around them as possible, whilst at the same time allowing them to fly free!

You may notice that some of my titles contain titles and lyrics stolen from a few of my favourite rock songs.

See if you can guess what they are. Answers on a postcard to:

Red House,

Black Dog Road,

Solsbury Hill,

Tin Pan Valley

or leave a comment below!

(Btw, I am not really that old, but I was brought up with the sound of 60’s and 70’s rock songs that over the years have become one with the fabric of my being! And today there are very few musicians who can play as well)

😉

Click the pictures to purchase on Artfinder!

£10 off any Artfinder art work by clicking this link http://artf.in/2Jp2Rg and joining

Birds Who Bring Sunset

Birds Who Bring Sunset

Flying Sunset

Flying Sunset

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

In Formation (the Code of Flying)

In Formation (the Code of Flying)

Amongst Birds of the Sleepy Red Glow

Amongst Birds of the Sleepy Red Glow

Seeing Starlings Sculpture Launch

For the last few weeks I have been making starlings for a sculpture trail on Shapwick Heath nature reserve along the Avalon Marshes in Somerset. As you know I have become completely obsessed with these amazing birds even after they have left the area! I wanted to make my own flock so that would always be here.

I started the project with a series of workshops where I was able to teach 11 students a bit or all of the process to make a bird sculpture. The design was one I developed prior to the workshops so I could teach them by step-by-step demonstration.

3rd workshop7

This got the birds off to a flying start (!) and I completed unfinished sculptures and made new ones to make a final 21 starlings plus one that will be in the gallery. Here are a few in various stages of progress…

starling sculptures

Like my 2d starling mosaics I used iridescent black glass tile, and mixed it with plain black glass. I used copper sheet for the beaks and they are grouted in black. I think they look pretty good, here’s one…

starling2

This project took some planning.  The main problem being how to install them so they would be secure and wouldn’t  be prone to too much movement in the wind which could casue them to hit each other and break. My first idea was to weld the metal armature wires onto a vertical curved pole but I felt that the final piece would be too cumbersome and could be difficult to install. I then spent several days considering other options, such as welding them horizontally along a tube, onto rigid metal mesh, or inserting the bird wires into various types of tubing. Eventually I chose the latter idea using bamboo.  Not only was it a good support structure (the bird wires fitted perfectly into the bamboo sheath) but it would also blend in well with the reeds in the background. The bamboos are also strong and cheap.

So they were cut to various sizes and the holes drilled open and tried out and tested in my garden before sinking them into buckets of concrete.

Here I am mixing concrete to set the bamboos into.

Here I am mixing concrete to set the bamboos into

6 buckets later …

6 buckets

…and I am wondering if they will all go in the car to the site…

Come back next week to find out if they did and see the starlings installed! (hopefully!)

😉

Alternatively, if you don’t live far away come to our Launch Day next Sunday 24th May at Somerset Crafts gallery (where there will be photos of the works as they progressed) and along Shapwick Heath for the Sculpture Trail. There will be several sculptures by fellow members of Somerset Crafts inspired by local wildlife and myth.

An Egg for The Egg

I was asked by my sponsors of my Zillion lion (Zenith International) made in 2010,  if I would decorate an egg for the Bath Egg Hunt. It is to celebrate The Egg Theatre’s 10th Anniversary. This isn’t paid work but it is small (about 12 inches high) and gives me a chance to experiment and perhaps do something I wouldn’t normally do! Also I am getting the opportunity to exhibit my egg in Bath Abbey!

I had several ideas but came up with this one eventually.

egg design 3

I just wanted to do feathers, (get close to the bird!)

A curtain of feathers.

I had to have the number 10 incorporated so I thought it a pretty perfect design really, it had everything I wanted and everything they wanted.

Ta Da…here it is…

Curtain Call front view

Curtain Call back view

It is also important that it is just feathers on the other side as it will be auctioned in a few weeks and some people might just like the feathers and not the number! Unless you are celebrating your 10th birthday or your 10th wedding anniversary or were a member of Parliament or something why would you want a number 10?

If you remember the commission I completed recently “Flight From the Waves of Solway” you will have read about how I made the birds iridescent white by mixing pale tones of white smalti glass, so I attempted this in the feathers using vitreous glass tile, however this time I think the tones were a little too strong to be completely successful.

I imagined the feathers were those of a swan,  the coppers and browns underneath a suggestion of a nest , and a line of turquoise and blue and copper fleck at the base to suggest water.

Bath Egg Hunt – Question and Answer Game

The egg hunt in Bath continues until 11th April. There is a question and answer game around the city for the children as they find 25 eggs  in hidden places. The question for the name of my egg is “What happens after a great performance?”

If you know the answer and can name my egg, leave a comment below (you can’t play this if you receive my newsletter as you will already know the answer! )

HAPPY EASTER 😉

Mosaic Print Designer Scarfs

I have been thinking about transferring mosaic designs onto fabric for years, longer than the big fashion companies such as Dolce & Gabbana! The trouble is they beat me to it!

But seriously I know I will never get as big or famous as they are, (who would want to be that rich and famous??) and I am just doing this as an experiment and through a desire to put down my nippers for a while and do something different. (When I say “for a while”, don’t worry, I am already picking them up again!)

The designs are digitally printed onto fabric. For my scarves I have chosen to use a silky polyester as it drapes beautifully and the colour is bright crisp and sharp.

This is my Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

The design came from a photo of the mosaic leaf candle holders I made last year taken on a bed of autumn leaves, which I have made into a mirror design for the fabric.

I got the photo printed as greeting cards

leaves-card-folksy1

I had a tie commission with this design too…

tie

Then I made the Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf using a design I took from a mosaic I made called “Dawn Breakers”

Dawn Breakers scarf

Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf

dawnbreakers

Dawn Breakers

 

And this one is  my Midnight Sun Scarf using part one of my mosaicDisappearing Sun

Midnight sun

Midnight Sun Scarf

Part 1 of Disappearing Sun

If you want to see more pictures including some on my model, have a look by clicking the pictures or visit my Folksy Shop or my Etsy Shop

I also have cards and prints available of Spirit of the Leaves part 3

spirit folksy

Spirit of the Leaves (part 3)

Very popular at this time of year when the leaves are blowing off the trees and turning into birds!

😉