Made By Mrs M

Mid-Century Modern Living

Kate Marsden

I’ve long been a fan of Mini Moderns - their distinctive mid-century style has always been right up my street. When I popped by their stand at Top Drawer last year I wanted EVERYTHING. At the moment though many of you will be familiar with my very yellow feature wall (if you follow me on Instagram anyway!) papered with their Peggy wallpaper (the leftovers of which I’ve subsenquently used for all sorts of projects).

A few months ago Mark and Keith contacted me to ask if they could use one of my photos in their upcoming book - I obviously jumped at the chance to be involved, but at the same time I was really rather excited about the book itself as it would inevitably be filled with all my favourite things! My copy turned up last week and I can confirm that it really is a thing of beauty…

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The book contains page after page of beautiful images to drool over, but it’s also a really practical guide should you be after the mid-century look in your home but not know where to start. The only real downside being that I’m now mentally redecorating my whole house again… Anyway, here’s my living room on page 212 (top left)…

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While I head off to plan my next wallpaper purchase (and read the book from cover to cover), I’ll leave you with a few more photos. If you’re in London, Mark and Keith will be at the Fashion & Textile Museum next week talking about creating the mid-century look in your home and signing copies of the book - and this happily coincides with the museum’s Swinging London exhibition which I’m looking forward to seeing.

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This is NOT a sponsorerd post - I received a free contributor’s copy of the book.

Mid-Century Modern Living by Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire is published by Kyle Books on 28 March 2019 - you can pre-order a copy here.

Letterpress Printing with Inky & The Beast

Kate Marsden

Many many moons ago Jen Wright (of Inky & The Beast) and I decided to work on a run of collaborative letterpress prints featuring my illustrations of the National Theatre in London. Life got in the way however and this never got past the initial planning stage. Several years (and in Jen’s case twins) later and she’s closing Inky & The Beast to focus on her new creative coaching business Silly Heart. So when Jen sent out her “I’m closing, last chance to book workshops” email I replied instantly and crossed my fingers that I’d be able to make one of the remaining dates.

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Fortunately I was able to, and just over a week ago I headed down to Jen’s studio in Epsom with my friend Tamsin Lucy who I met via Carshalton Artists. Our 3.5 hour workshop flew by in a rush of tea and possibly over ambitious plans on my part! We had a fantastic time though and were both really happy with the results of our efforts.

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I’d opted to have plates produced in advance of the workshop by Lyme Bay Press as I wanted to use my illustration of Number One Croydon - I was a little nervous about this as I really had no idea what I was doing when ordering them, but the combination of the expertise of Lisa at Lyme Bay Press and Jen meant that I had working plates!

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I produced quite a few prints - some plain, some with my polka dots, and some bookmarks (which might actually be my favourite thing!) and certainly got value for money when it came to raiding Jen’s paper stash! Tamsin made some beautiful cards which you can see over on her Instagram.

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So sadly you won’t be able to book a workshop with Jen now as her remaining slots are fully booked - do head over and support her new venture though (and join her first event on 27 April).

I’ve put some little packs of my Croydon letterpress prints together and these are now available in my shop.

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Franz West

Kate Marsden

It’s always good to find someone new to inspire… I was familiar with Franz West’s work (in that I recognised his scuptures) before I heard about the current exhibition at Tate Modern but I would’nt have been able to tell you his name. Having gone to the gallery last week principally to visit te Pierre Bonnard exhibition (which I’m afraid to say left me completely cold - sure you’ll like it if that’s your cup of tea though) West’s exhibition was the second one on my to visit list but defintely the highlight of my day.

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Not keen on queuing to get into a gallery at 3pm on a Tuesday during term time (yes, there really was a queue), I walked around to the back entrance (no queue!) and was greeted by a wonderful array of colourful sculptures. Whether they represent dead worms or intestines I really don’t mind - I love the combination of the shapes and colours.

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The exhibition itself is in the lovely 3rd floor gallery in the new building and was much quieter than Bonnard, giving me the opportunity to really linger over the pieces (and yes I did take some photos - sorry - I hate people taking photos in galleries but it was quiet!). It’s a major retrospective featuring not just his scuptures (and replicas of his Passstücke (Adaptives) papier-mâché pieces which you’re encouraged to pick up and interact with (in private if you so choose!), but collage, furniture and more. Defintely one I’m planning to revisit before it closes as I think I’d see even more on a second viewing.

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Franz West is at Tate Modern until 2 June 2019.

Should you fancy it, Pierre Bonnard continues until 6 May 2019.

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National Centre For Craft & Design - February 2019

Craft, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, TextilesKate Marsden

During the half term break, which already feels like a long time ago, I dragged my parents and the small boy on our annual pilgramage to Sleaford and the National Centre for Craft & Design. The place is wonderful - almost (but not quite) enough to make me wish I lived back in Lincolnshire. The current crop of exhibitions are patricularly good. Here are a few of my highlights:

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Lucy Grainge’s mural (from Lucy Grainge and Majeda Clarke: One Year In) and this is the not so small boy’s debut photo on my blog!

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Jilly Edwards: Glimpses and Memories - lots of weaving inspiration for my students’ next project (including a very good film of Jilly’s process).

And the main exhibition Ctrl/Shift: New Directions in Textile Art - my favourite piece being Caren Garfen’s Room For Improvement, which was particularly poignant for me as one of my friends was hospitalised with anorexia last year.

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There was also a fun weaving workshop for kids taking place (which of course we joined in with) - NCCD have such a fantastic array of workshops but I’ve never been up there when a grown up one is on - might make it one day!

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How to Make Patterns in Photoshop

Tutorials, Pattern DesignKate Marsden

I’m often asked about my design process. Both my illustrations and pattern designs start life as black and white pen and ink drawings - I generally only work in colour in my sketchbook. One of the reasons for this is to make my life easier when designing patterns! It also means I can tweak and recolour designs easily without having to recreate the original drawing.

I recently taught my students how to make simple repeat patterns using Photoshop and it’s been suggested that I share my method here. The tutorial below is based upon a combination of the versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements which I have access to in my studio and at college, but the terminology is the same regardless of the version you have - if you can’t find something I’ve discovered that a quick Google search will provide the answer!

In order to start this tutorial you will need to scan your original artwork (preferably this will be black and white). Aim to save every motif in your design as a separate .jpg file - this will give you a lot more freedom when it comes to placing your motifs and playing around with the arrangement.

My original drawing above and repeat pattern below.

My original drawing above and repeat pattern below.

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Making a Simple Pattern

1.     Open the chosen motif in Photoshop. Use the Background Eraser tool to delete the background. Save as a .psd file.

2.     Create a new blank document the size of the repeat (aim for at least 2000px wide – at 300dpi (or higher if you intend to enlarge the image) and in colour. Return to the motif file, select all and then go to edit/copy merged and paste this copy into the new file.

3.     To make the motif smaller select it then go to edit/transform/scale. Always start with the image at the largest size – if you make it larger than the original it may appear pixelated.

4.     To copy a motif, select it from the layers menu on the right, right click and select duplicate layer. Once this layer is selected you can move it around using the move tool.

5.     When satisfied with the arrangement the motifs can be coloured, and straight, brick or half drop repeats created in a new file by copying and pasting the pattern tile.

A screenshot of Photoshop Elements - it’s a good idea to have a play around to locate the tools you need - you’ll only be using a handful of those which are available.

A screenshot of Photoshop Elements - it’s a good idea to have a play around to locate the tools you need - you’ll only be using a handful of those which are available.

To Create a Seamless Repeat

1.     Starting as before, make a note of the size of the new file (i.e. 2000px square) then arrange your motifs in the centre of the box.

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2.     Go to the filter menu and select the offset filter. Set the vertical offset to half the image size (so if it’s 2000px this will be 1000px) and the horizontal offset to 0. Ensure that the wrap around option at the bottom is selected then click “OK”. This will split the image leaving a gap in the middle.

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3.     Fill in the middle section with more motifs or rearranging the existing ones.

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4.     Return to the offset filter and set the horizontal offset to half the image size and the vertical offset to 0 (again ensuring that the wrap around option is selected) – once again fill in the gaps.

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5.     Keep applying and reapplying the offset filters, if necessary, to check for any remaining gaps in the pattern. Once satisfied return both offset filters to 0. The pattern will now repeat seamlessly however the offset is set.

6.     Test the appearance of the repeat by creating a new file and copying and pasting the pattern tile in.

The final tile above and as a repeat below.

The final tile above and as a repeat below.

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If you have any tips or encounter any difficulties using this tutorial please contact me. Look out for a second post in which I will show you how to add and change colours in your pattern design.

Uppercase Magazine Cover Design Contest

Kate Marsden

Uppercase Magazine is one of my absolute favourites - it’s a thing of beauty, with no adverts, it smells good, and importantly its hugely inspiring and makes you feel good! I was featured in one of their books a few years ago (now out of print), but my first time in the magazine itself was back in the summer.

A few months ago they launched a cover design competition for their 10th anniversary and 40th issue - not something they’d done before. There were a lot of amazing entries and I didn’t win, but I was still pretty chuffed to hear that my entry was one of those selected for publication in the magazine. Here it is:

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As the magazine has to travel here from Canada it took me quite a while to get hold of a copy, but it arrived a week or so ago. If you’d like to get one yourself you can find stockists on the Uppercase website.

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The winning entry by  Laura Moyer .

The winning entry by Laura Moyer.

Sketch the Rainbow

Kate Marsden

Now you know how I like a good Instagram challenge… I do often avoid the ones which are really time consuming though as I struggle to complete them, but in January I tend to have more time (although my month has been unexpectedly and pleasantly busy this year!). So add a sketching/sketchbook challenge to the January mix and I’m there. What better to make me fill some more pages in a new book?

I discovered the #sketchtherainbow challenge organised by the rather awesome Sketch Appeal (check out their magazine it’s fab) and decided I needed to give it a go. I was a little concerned about sharing my work alongside rather more talented illustrators, but everyone seems to be lovely and supportive so it was great fun!

Here are my 14 days worth of posts (not necessarily in the right order), now to keep this up for the rest of the year!!

Week 2, day 1 - draw  this Claire Prouvost illustration  in your style and only in red and blue (and in my case giving myself a Sharpie fume headache in the process!!).

Week 2, day 1 - draw this Claire Prouvost illustration in your style and only in red and blue (and in my case giving myself a Sharpie fume headache in the process!!).

Week 1, day 1 - one colour drawing in red

Week 1, day 1 - one colour drawing in red

Week 1, day 2 - one colour drawing in orange

Week 1, day 2 - one colour drawing in orange

Week 2, day 6 - something full of colourful 60s vibes

Week 2, day 6 - something full of colourful 60s vibes

Week 1, day 7 - one colour drawing pink

Week 1, day 7 - one colour drawing pink

Week 1, day 4 - one colour drawing green

Week 1, day 4 - one colour drawing green

Week 2, day 4 - something inspired by Kusama

Week 2, day 4 - something inspired by Kusama

Week 1 , day 3 - one colour drawing yellow

Week 1 , day 3 - one colour drawing yellow

Week 1, day 5 - one colour drawing blue

Week 1, day 5 - one colour drawing blue

Week 2, day 2 - a scene from a film or TV show using only 2 colours - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Week 2, day 2 - a scene from a film or TV show using only 2 colours - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Week 2, day 3 - speed draw using all 7 colours

Week 2, day 3 - speed draw using all 7 colours

Week 1, day 6 - one colour drawing purple

Week 1, day 6 - one colour drawing purple

Week 2, day 5 - something inspired by Warhol

Week 2, day 5 - something inspired by Warhol

Week 2, day 7 - draw  ReeRee Rockette  with a new rainbow hair style

Week 2, day 7 - draw ReeRee Rockette with a new rainbow hair style

Sketching at Wisley

Kate Marsden

We were once regulars at the RHS garden at Wisley, but as my son has been going more often than me in recent years (school trips, with his grandparents…) I decided I was missing out, and that he could show me around! So last week, on the final day of the holidays, we took ourselves down there to do some sketching. He loved the idea of going to sketch rather than just wandering around, and as we had such a lovely time I think we’ll be doing something similar in the next holidays!

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It might seem a little odd to want to visit a garden in January, but there was still a lot to see (plenty of plants in flower too which was lovely but of course made me worry about global warming…) - my favourite sketching spot though was the nice warm, draught free glasshouse!

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I drew plants and he drew the waterfall…

I drew plants and he drew the waterfall…

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It turned out that the (not so) small boy’s favourite spot in the garden is the amazing rockery though, so we popped our stools up somwhat precariously towards the top and did a little drawing there too…

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Followed by my favourite spot at the top of the hill, the alpine house (which at the moment has an amazing little display with a whole range of different snowdrops in flower - which I struggled to get a good photo of).

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Three and a half hours, mostly outside, in January with an 8 year old boy… and at the end we were still friends - I call that a successful day out! I also came away with lots of useful little sketches and I’m going to see what, if anything they inspire over the coming weeks.

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New Year, New Sketchbook and a New Print

Kate Marsden

Happy New Year folks! I’ll confess that I’m still struggling a little with my blogging mojo - any suggestions for retrieving it would be most welcome…

I may be lacking when it comes to blog ideas, but I’ve jumped right in when it comes to starting a new sketchbook. I bought a new book between Christmas and New Year and was itching to get started. Here are the first few pages:

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I liked the image below so much that I decided to offer it as a print. It was either that I liked it or felt I should, after the hours it took me to draw all the windows!

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You can get hold of a copy of the print here.

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Dream Plan Do - My End of Year Review

Books, BusinessKate Marsden

If you were reading my blog back at the start of the year, you’ll know that I was excitedly delving into my Dream Plan Do planner from The Design Trust, and I was determined to stay on top of it this time in order to reap the maximum benefit. I even managed to write an update post here.

My very well thumbed planner (and my shiny new one!).

My very well thumbed planner (and my shiny new one!).

Well, here we are in month 12 and I’m pleased to say that I did fall off the wagon… but not completely! I’ve decided to take this opportunity to look back on the year and my work with the planner, and to explain why (despite the fact that I’ve not completed it) I’ve gone ahead and ordered next year’s book.

There are a couple of reasons I went a little off track… Unlike previous years where my business really was product based, this year I scaled that right back (for why, take a look at this post from last November) and at the same time I made the decision to take the pressure off when it came to launching 2 collections per year. Both of these topics feature heavily in Dream Plan Do and I will admit that I started to loose my way once I got to these chapters. In addition to the changes to my business I also, somewhat unexpectedly, took on a temporary teaching job which, while the hours are far from long, has had quite an impact – both upon the time I have to work on my business and on the ideas I’m having for my work.

So back in the summer I set about thinking of an alternative way to use the planner. One thing I’ve found particularly useful in this second edition is the Wheel of Life – so it’s no longer only about my business – there’s a more holistic approach. Considering this has also been the year in which I’ve finally become completely hooked on exercise again (after a VERY long break) I’ve used the planner to think about where I’m going with that too and thinking about how I use my time as a whole (oh and not feeling bad about taking time out to go to the gym – I need it both for my physical heath and my sanity!).

The planner has also helped me to generate new ideas and think more about what my priorities should be. This time last year, the idea of not launching collection or having masses of products scared me; but now it’s actually quite a relief not to have a massive inventory I need to somehow shift before Christmas! It has also helped me to focus on selling more commissions, improving my teaching, and thinking about new workshop ideas. I’ve learnt that I can’t always take each chapter literally but there’s something to be learnt from each of them.

Other things that could have thrown a spanner in the works included my spur of the moment decision to launch my Kickstarter (which was successful, thank goodness!) and also that to do fewer markets and events. The lack of events did, predictably, result in fewer sales but I’ve actually streamlined what I do and significantly reduced my costs so it’s not worked out as badly as it could have done.

Image (c) The Design Trust

Image (c) The Design Trust

Looking back on the year, I have achieved quite a lot of the things I set out to do (if you exclude my financial goals, which still feel like a pipedream, and my complete failure to embrace Pinterest – one for next year’s planner…). When I review last January in particular I can see that I’m going to need to carry out a similar soul searching exercise again as I feel I’m starting to go off track (however I do have the urge to launch a collection in the spring – someone stop me please, it will only end in tears!).

So where am I at the time of writing? Well, I’m working through the “is your website Christmas ready?” checklist, revisiting time management (which has been a far greater challenge for me over the last few months) and I’m itching to get started on my lovely new 2019 Dream Plan Do planner which arrived last week.

I really wanted to cut myself more slack this year – nothing I ever do is good enough, so I tend to just keep ploughing on blindly no matter what, without taking time out to assess whether things are working (or to celebrate successes). So I have made the effort to try not to work ALL of the time and to sit back and think, for example, of how many more people have my artwork displayed in their homes at the end of this year, and how many people I’ve taught to make lampshades… it’s a good starting point at least. Next year I need to build upon this and be brave when it comes to dropping the things that aren’t working.

I can’t wait to get started on my new planner, but if I don’t (or can’t) complete every page, or even every month, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If nothing else it’s an amazing tool to get me off to a good start in January, a useful document to use to review at the end of the year to see how far I’ve come (or not!) and an invaluable reference book the rest of the time. I’m very much looking forward to curling up with my new copy over tea and cake next month.

Lisbon - The Instagrammer's Dream

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, TravelKate Marsden

Now I’ll admit to being a fan of the ‘gram and to taking far too many photos, but I’ve never actually chosen a holiday destination based upon how Instagrammable it is… but I know some people do.

We visited Lisbon a couple of weeks ago (after a fantastic trip to smaller but equally lovely Porto) and it turned out that there was something demanding a space in my feed every few paces (even in the driving rain!). So rather than filling my feed with holiday spam (there are a few images there of course) I thought I’d share more of them here. You’re spoilt for choice with all the beautiful tiles, little old fashioned shops, art galleries and of course the famous yellow trams. Enjoy!

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Inspired by The Bauhaus

Kate Marsden

It’s rare that I receive a press release and feel compelled to share it’s contents here (recent emails have included auctions for antique guns and tanks, and diet aids…) but an email landed in my inbox a week or so ago and I couldn’t resist!

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I’m in a bit of a Bauhaus mood at the moment - always a fan of the art and architecture from the famous art school, but the Anni Albers exibition has me thinking about it even more at the moment.

The folks at Murals Wallpaper (who often come up with some pretty funky stuff) have produed this beautiful range. Whether Mr M allows me to add one to my plans for our spare room renovation I don’t know, but a girl can try…

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Head on over to their website to find out more and see some styled images. I’m off to measure up said spare room!

I have not been paid to write this post and all views are my own.

Charity Christmas Cards for Croydonist

Kate Marsden

A couple of months ago I was approached by the lovely folks at my favourite local publication Croydonist, as they were looking for artwork donations for a set of charity Christmas cards. Now we’re in November and they’re out in the world! Here’s my design…

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The cards come as a set of 5 for the bargain price of £3 and all proceeds go to Croydon Nightwatch - a charity which has been supporting the homeless in Croydon since 1976. The cards are available to buy from Oval Tavern, Turf Projects and The Photo Cafe as well as the Made In Croydon chalet at the Croydon Christmas Market (26 November-9 December) so do go and pick a set or 5 up!

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Here’s a little look at the other cards in the pack:

Nativity by  James Oliver

Nativity by James Oliver

Mystery Christmas by  Matt Bannister

Mystery Christmas by Matt Bannister

Elgin Road Snow Storm by  Bev Jones

Elgin Road Snow Storm by Bev Jones

Gold, Frankincense & Brrr! by  Cherilyn Yeates

Gold, Frankincense & Brrr! by Cherilyn Yeates

Head over to the Croydonist website to find out more about the cards and the other artists involved. Now to go and get my hands on some…!

10 Christmas Gift Ideas

Kate Marsden

It’s that time already! As I type this I’ve only managed to buy one Christmas present so far but I am very much thinking about it… so if you are too here’s a selection of 10 ideas - hopefully including something for everyone!

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1. Notecards - everyone needs a selection of cards in their stash just in case… this set includes 5 beautifully printed cards featuring a selection of my latest designs (so something for the architecture fans and something floral too) - take a look at the full set here - £11 with free UK P&P.

2. Have an experience - bookings for my spring 2019 workshops are now open so why not treat someone to a morning (or full day) of making? They’ll certainly remember your gift and this is a good one for those who feel that they don’t need lots more “stuff”. Booking now for March 2019 here - from £45.

3. Go personalised - My custom house portraits are already proving very popular this year (to the extent that I may have to close the order book early…). Buy them something truly unique, More info here - from £65.

4. A local scene - A wide selection of my drawings from my A-Z of British Buildings project are available as beautiful high quality giclee prints. These are printed to order so don’t leave it too late! See the full range here - £32 with free UK P&P.

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5. Stocking fillers for Croydon folk - I have a new selection of mini postcard sized Croydon prints - get them here or come and see me at Boxpark Croydon for the makers’ market on 16 December. £6 with free UK P&P.

6. For the crafter who has everything - I bet they don’t have a bundle of my hand painted fabrics! A nice light weight cotton perfect for small craft or quilting projects. £9 with free UK P&P.

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7. Colour lovers rejoice! I still have a few copies of my 365 project Kickstarter Book; 365 Days of Coloured Stuff. The perfect stocking filler! £12 with free UK P&P.

8. One off art? At a bargain price? Yes! Treat them to a unique monoprint to hang on their wall, plus these prints are currently reduced too… what’s not to like? Clearance prints from £5-£10 with free UK P&P.

9. You can’t have too many cushions…. Help them to achieve that luxuriously full sofa look with a one off cushion or maybe a lampshade from the sample sale - cushions from £15-£28 and lampshades for just £20.

10. And the ultimate stocking filler… has to be the tote bag. Yes you have loads of them but they’re needed! Buy this one with a clear conscience as 10% of proceeds go to the charity Peace Direct. £6 with free UK P&P.

Vintage Shopping

FashionKate Marsden

I felt pretty smug on Saturday when I finally managed to alter a vintage dress I bought a couple of months ago. For me fit has always been a downside of buying vintage - I’m capable of altering things, but actually getting around to it…. I have a half finished dress that’s been hanging in my studio for 18 months now!

Me looking smug in said dress

Me looking smug in said dress

However having watched the Stacey Dooley programme about “Fast Fashion” the other week I decided I need to make more effort, and buying more vintage clothes with the aim of altering them if necessary is the way forward. I recently had a huge charity shopping spree (I spent well over £20 folks!) and snapped up a selection of “new” items for work (teaching in an art department means you can’t be too precious about what you’re wearing) and had so much more fun than I would buying mass produced clothes on the high street.

Me shopping at Atomica - photo by  Croydonist

Me shopping at Atomica - photo by Croydonist

A step up from a charity shop of course is a vintage store - pricer but generally a far better selection (and still cheaper than most high street shops!) - Atomica in Croydon has become a favourite for me over the last few months and I’ve bought a few dresses there now (although on Saturday I bought a 70’s bedsheet to make something from instead - it’s fab: very pink and very floral!).

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And of course on my trip to London Bridge a couple of weeks ago I grabbed this fantastic coat in the flea market at Flat Iron Square - I’ll definitely be heading back there for more…

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The Saturday flea market at Flat Iron Square

The Saturday flea market at Flat Iron Square

Then of course there’s my old faithful denim jacket which I wear all the time - it was £8 in a chairty shop on The Moor in Sheffield, in 2009…. so it’s vintage but still going strong!

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So I’m trying to do better…. and when buying new I’m keen to get more from people like my perennial favourite Germana of Gira e Rigira and (closer to home) Plum and Pidgeon rather than heading to the conveniently located Dorothy Perkins around the corner. Oh and I should probably be finding the time to make more too…

If you have any recommendations for places I should be checking out do let me know!




Anni Albers

Kate Marsden

Last week I visited the new Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern. This was always going to be a must see for me but with my recent new thing for weaving I wanted to get down there as soon as posible!

Anni Albers   Eclat  1974, Silkscreen on woven fabric, 3000 x 450 mm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Knoll Textiles / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Eclat 1974, Silkscreen on woven fabric, 3000 x 450 mm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Knoll Textiles / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers was a student of the Bauhaus, who as a woman was discouraged from painting and enrolled in the weaving workshop instead. Albers pioneered innovative uses of woven textiles in art, architecture and interiors, and the exhibition shows a very wide range of her work.

Anni Alberts in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College 1937

Anni Alberts in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College 1937

Anni Albers   Intersecting  1962, Pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Intersecting 1962, Pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

I visited late in the day and felt that it was a little overwhelming for one visit, so I’m glad it runs until late January as that should give me the chance to go and see it again. I did however leave with a burning desire to get out the graph paper and my little hand loom!

Anni Albers   Wall Hanging  1926, Mercerized cotton, silk, 2032 x 1207 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc. and Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1969 © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Wall Hanging 1926, Mercerized cotton, silk, 2032 x 1207 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc. and Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1969 © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

When I return I’m planning to spend more time studying the individual weavings and small sample pieces. I did spend quite some time trying to work out how she’d produced some of the examples there - so very far beyond my skill level, but inspiring nevertheless!

Anni Albers   TR II  1970, Lithograph, 50.5 x 55.6 cm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London, Photo: Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Anni Albers TR II 1970, Lithograph, 50.5 x 55.6 cm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London, Photo: Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Anni Albers is at Tate Modern until 27 January 2019. Find our more about the exhibition here.


Out and About near London Bridge...

Kate Marsden

London Bridge used to be simply the station I commuted into for work, however during the last few years it’s started to come into its own as an area to visit. When Hotels.com asked me to visit the area for them I jumped at the chance (especially when I saw the weather forecast). The spending money for my trip was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

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Bermondsey Street

Our first stop was one of my favourite places - Bermondsey Street. There wasn’t much to see or do down here before the Fashion & Textile Museum opened 15 years ago but nowadays it seems to be even more interesting each time I visit.

We started out at the Fashion & Textile Museum itself. The gallery space isn’t huge but they always put on a nice exhibition - the current one is Night & Day: 1930s Fashion & Photographs (until 20 January 2019). The shop and cafe are also well worth a visit!

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We skipped the museum cafe on this occassion though and headed across the road to a recent discovery of mine B Street Deli. We had amazing cakes and hot chocolate, although I’ve also had a very good breakfast there in the past.

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There are more interesting shops (and a lovely flower stall) as you continue down Bermondsey Street, but our final port of call was the White Cube gallery. A wonderful modern gallery space with (you guessed it) a great shop.

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Flatiron Square to Tate Modern

Flatiron Square is a relatively new addition to the London Bridge area, and when we visited on Saturday it was Flea Market day. I can’t resist a good flea market and as a first time visitor I was impressed. So much so in fact that I bought myself a vintage coat… I could easily have bought more but carrying a winter coat around for the rest of the day was enough!

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While we were there we also popped in to Menier Gallery where the British Plein Air Painters had an exhibition - including work by CAOS artist John Stillman so I had to go and say hello! This exhibition ended on Saturday but I’m sure there will be plenty more to come in what is a really lovely space.

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We then continued off down Southwark Street to Contemporary Applied Arts. CAA is a membership gallery representing a wonderful array of skilled applied artists. We wanted to buy pretty much everything in there (and if you have the cash you can!).

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Then down to the OXO Tower

We scooted around the back of Tate Modern (don’t worry we’ll be back there in a minute!) and headed in to the amazing Marcus Campbell Art Books. A treasure trove of books at bargain prices, I couldn’t resist picking up one about Bridget Riley for just £2. I’ll definitely be back.

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Then out onto the busier South Bank itself we discovered where the crowds were. We braved them though for the short walk down to OXO Tower. OXO Tower contains a rather smart restaurant and a number of interesting independents, my favourite of which is Snowden Flood. Snowden’s shop is on the first floor (on the corner as you approach from the London Bridge direction) and can be a little easy to miss but it’s a brilliant place if you want to do some stylish souvenier shopping (think London themed stuff but nothing remotely tacky in sight). I did of course have to do my Just A Card duty (and then a bit… but I did have presents to buy).

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Back to Tate

We turned back towards Tate Modern and popped into the rather nice Bankside Gallery - which displays a lovely array of watercolours. The shop here is particularly good for artists’ greetings cards and we had to restrain ourselves from buying all the Christmas cards (in October!).

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Lunch options near London Bridge are plentiful but unless you fancy Borough Market (very busy but well worth popping by - I can recomment the oysters…) or a pub you’re mostly looking at chain restaurants (but they’re all there so you’re spolit for choice). We headed to the Carluccios behind Tate Modern as it was quick and easy and had a decent selection for my vegetarian friend.

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We then climbed the 10 flights of stairs to the best free view in London (in my opinion!). Tate Modern features in all the guides but its for good reason. I’ve been a member of Tate for 18 of the 20 years I’ve spent in this town and it’s been worth every penny. My friend hadn’t seen the view yet and we figured the 10 flights would help to burn off the pasta! There are lifts if you’re not feeling too athletic but there can be a bit of a wait…

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The other reason to visit Tate Modern was the Anni Albers exhibition (until 27 January 2019) which is a must see if you’re a textiles fan like me.

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And returning to London Bridge

We headed back along the river towards London Bridge Station at dusk - the main walking route is very popular so can get annoyingly busy (but compared to the days when I used to go running down there a Saturday afternoon stroll wasn’t too painful!). We walked back via Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market (but no oysters today as I was still stuffed after all that pasta!).

London Bridge Station itself is also worth a visit if you like architecture. Not only is is topped by The Shard but the undercroft (joining the rail station to the underground) is a beautiful example of concrete shuttering which you’ll very much enjoy if you like that sort of thing…

Then I ran for my train, which miraculously, was on time!



A flying visit to Bristol...

Kate Marsden

Last weekend Mr M and I headed off for a child-free couple of days in one of my favourite places, Bristol. The weather on the Saturday didn’t really lend itself to my usual colour hunting photography session (much to Mr M’s relief!) but the sun came out the next day.

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We stayed at the beautifully refurbished Avon Gorge Hotel, which is now part of the Hotel du Vin chain, as a 40th birthday present from my best friend. It was just lovely - a really cozy room with great views and brilliant food. I suspect we’ll be back!

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On Saturday we headed down the hill into town in the rain (my first time in a rainy Bristol - it’s OK, I still like it…) and went to see the Ruth and Brendan of I Am Acrylic in their gorgeous shop on the Christmas Steps. They’ve been open for nearly a year but it was the first time I’d made it down there so we had the tour and then bought lots of stuff (of course!).

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Other than that Saturday was mostly about eating!! On Sunday morning we got out into the sunshine and I did manage to take a few photos around Clifton…

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As we’d had a very substantial breakfast at the hotel, we skipped lunch and drove about an hour south from Bristol to Bruton and the Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery. I’d been hoping to visit ever since it opened, but it’s quite a long way from home (and to be honest, in the middle of nowhere) so we had to combine it with something else. Well worth the detour though - it’s an absolutely beautiful spot with some great artwork on display. We’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in the viscinity.

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And then it was time to collect the small boy. A whistlestop trip but it’s always nice to be in Bristol. I think I need to make it an annual occurence!