Made By Mrs M

Art

New Commissions and a Special Offer

Architecture, Art, DrawingKate Marsden

I spent some time last week working on a couple of new illustration commissions. The first was for a set of three prints at A2 size - the first time I've produced prints at this scale.

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Due to the way I work, this presented me with a bit of a challenge. I scan in my black ink line drawings and then colour the artwork digitally - however I only have an A4 scanner! So I had the opportunity to find and use another local small business for my scanning!

I'm over the moon with the finished prints which are shown above and I now just need to get them signed and sent off to the client. They're going to be hung as a set of 3 on her stairs and I can't wait to see a photo of them in situ.

I've also been working on a standard A4 house portrait. This one is still at the black and white stage while the client decides on her colour choices.

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I've been offering a discount on my house portraits during open studios and have decided to extend this offer to everyone until next Sunday 15 July. Order any A4 or A3 illustration here and a 10% discount will be applied automatically.

If you'd like me to produce larger scale images or something completely different, do drop me a line to discuss. I can even put your house on fabric if you like!

Illustration for Uppercase Magazine

Art, DrawingKate Marsden

Those of you who've been with me here for a while may recall that a few years ago I was selected for inclusion in the beautiful Compendium of Craft and Creativity from Uppercase Magazine (sadly now out of print). This was really exciting for me, partly because it was the first time I'd been in a book, but also because I love Uppercase so much. It's a thing of beauty, so lovingly put together, and the book was no exception.

Despite this though I've always wanted to feature in the magazine itself, and I'm over the moon to say that one of my illustrations is in the new issue which is out this week!

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The brief was to illustrate your favourite packaging, and while French's mustard is not my favourite thing to eat, I do love the bottle (plus it's yellow of course!) so that's what I chose.

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Keep an eye out for it in issue 38 of Uppercase (shown above). I just need to get my hands on a copy myself now...!

Open Studios - continues this weekend...

Art, Events, Exhibition, London, StudiosKate Marsden

The sun was most definitely shining on the first weekend of Carshalton Artists Open Studios! Despite competing with the football and a local music festival we still had a good time.

 My set up...

My set up...

 Claire Chandler's gorgeous studio

Claire Chandler's gorgeous studio

We'll be back for more this coming weekend 30 June/1 July and Claire will be hosting a slient auction in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association - you can bid on all sorts of fab stuff - and I've donated a space on a lampshade making workshop.

I have a wide range of new items and old favourites available at the open studios, including a few bargains,  so do pop by and see us if you can! I'm popping up at Claire Chandler's studio - 133a Stanley Park Road, SM5 3JJ - we're stop 14 on a trail of 20 so there's plenty to see and do (and something for everyone!). See all the other artists and events here.

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In the Sketchbook - Playing with Paper...

Art, Inspiration, Paper, SketchbookKate Marsden

I've fallen off the sketchbook wagon a little over the past couple of months, but I was having a tidy out ahead of open studios (which continue this coming weekend folks - details here!) and in the interests of not wasting stuff I started making some little woven paper collages with old bits of work I'd kept hold of "just in case"...

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It was quite interesting putting pieces of work together which were never intended to be! I've been doing a little weaving with yarn recently too, but I'm thinking of signing up to a weaving workshop using a loom - either The London Loom or maybe at The Fashion & Textile Museum - do let me know if you have any recommendations!

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Open Studios - This Weekend!

Art, Events, Exhibition, London, Products, StudiosKate Marsden

We're nearly there! I've had such a busy couple of months and Carshalton Artists Open Studios has definitely come around very quickly this year... I'm looking forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces this weekend and next!

I'm finally getting close to being fully prepared (sort of anyway!) and I thought I'd share some of the new things you can expect to see from me...

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I will have three of my little zines available to purchase, including my new lavender coloured booklet about Wallington and Carshalton, which I've made especially for the event.

I also have new colour ways of some of my most popular prints and have restocked the Carshalton Ponds prints which sold out last year.

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Prints will be availiable framed and unframed.

I've a new sign, and I have some unique one off monoprinted fabric panels for sale.

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In addition to this I will have all of my usual bits and bobs, including fabrics (and my brand new designs as well!).

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Don't forget that I will also be a pick up point for Just A Card shop window stickers like the one show below. So if you have a shop or gallery based in London or the South East come and see me!

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Carshalton Artists Open Studios runs this weekend and next - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July and locations will be open from 11-5 each day. I will be at stop 14 on the trail; 133a Stanley Park Road, SM5 3JJ with Claire Chandler and Marie Ratnam. For full details of all the artists involved head to the Carshalton Artists website.

48 Hours in Portland (with an 8 year old!)

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

I know you're keen to know what we got up to in Portland, and you no doubt want to know all about the top nightspots, so I'm afraid I'll disappoint! We were tucked up in our room pretty early each night as we were traveling with the little man, but here are some of the things we got up to in the first city I've visited since Sydney which I think I'd really like to move to...

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I'd been wanting to visit Portland for a few years so it could quite easily have failed to live up to my expectations. On the first day I was a little out of sorts post flight to Seattle and then early morning train (I had been to bed between the two fortunately!) but it didn't stop me falling for Portland pretty much straight away. The atmosphere is fab and it's so green - the amount of trees in the place came as a surprise - probably even more than we have in London (for the size at least). My only disappointment was to find that the Museum of Contemporary Craft which I'd hoped to visit had closed down, but otherwise it was great.

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First we need to talk about Voodoo Doughnut - every other person seemed to be wandering around town with an intriguing looking pink box! A bit like London's Vicky's Doughnuts (I assume as I haven't been!) it's built a cult following and there was always a queue (I believe it's open 24 hours though so presumably it's not that constant) but it was worth it. The chocolate glazed also removed the small boy's wobbly tooth which had been threatening to come out for weeks. The only side effect being that the tooth fairy seems to have a going rate of $5 when she only gives £2 here - shocking!

The Voodoo Doughnut boxes were piled high on the tables (next to other lovely more savory delights) at Pine Street Market where we went to eat both nights as it worked so well for the small boy. Part Boxpark, part Mercato Metropolitano it was nice and had a wide range of different food on offer. We went for burgers and ice cream on the first night and pizza on the second (followed by the legendary doughnuts!).

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We were fortunate enough to be there during the Portland Rose Festival and spent a very nice evening entertaining the boy at the sizeable fair which ran along the banks of the river. There were loads of rides suitable for all ages - we spent a small fortune but he was happy!

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I also went looking for shops and found some real treats. Firstly I stumbled upon Ecru - a really lovely little stationery/card shop - where I obviously did my Just A Card duty. They had a lovely range of letterpress and hand printed Portland cards and lots more besides.

Made Here PDX was on my must visit list and it was almost overwhelmingly good. Fortunately the fact that I had to be able to get the stuff home stopped me overindulging, but I did get a lovely print. Everything they sell here is made locally.

We also visited design shop Canoe which was very smart - they stock a range of items from across the world which is beautifully curated.

I can't not mention Powell's City of Books which is huge (apparently the world's largest independent bookstore) and rather wonderful (so huge in fact it has a map and loosing the small boy was likely rather than possible!) - they stock both new and used books on just about every topic you can imagine.

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For the boy we found Finnegan's Toys & Gifts - not massive but a very nice toy shop. I spotted a box of Lisa Congdon badges on the counter so had to pick some of those up for myself!

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We spent quite a bit of time just wandering about and admiring the place - in particular we loved the Pearl District, which is bordered by some lovely houses like these above. We also found a great fountain for the small boy to cool off and splash about in (for a whole hour!).

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Other family friendly meal spots we enjoyed were the Picnic House on Salmon Street and Deschutes Brewery where Mr M was able to indulge his love of beer and the small boy his love of clams...

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It was a bit of a whistle stop visit and I so hope I can visit again some time - leaving was hard! I also know that there were many things we didn't get to see (partly as we were aiming to appease the little man for a large part of the time).

So the important question.... is Portland weird? Well yes, just a little bit though and it all the right ways!

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Less than a month to go until Open Studios!

Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Painting, StudiosKate Marsden

Preparatinos for this year's Carshalton Artists Open Studios are in full swing and everyone is working hard to bring you all some fabulous new work. I thought I'd take this opportunity to whet your appetites for the end of next month with a reminder of some of the wonderful studios I've toured for the blog. All of the artists featured here will be opening again this year so do come and visit us on 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July!

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 Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

 Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

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A New Zine! The A-Z of British Buildings Part 1...

Architecture, Art, Books, Drawing, TravelKate Marsden

After the success of my Croydon zine last month, I decided to make another featuring the artwork from my A-Z project on Instagram! As I'm aiming to keep all of my zines short and sweet I've split the project into two, and so I give you A-M...

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The zine features black and white images of my drawings - you can see them all on Instagram here - together with handwritten notes.

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The locations in this first part are: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Coventry, Durham, Edinburgh, the Finsbury Estate (London), the Giant's Causeway, Harlow, Ironbridge, Johnstone, King's Lynn, Liverpool and Mancheser.

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Once again this is a limited edition zine. You can get hold of your copy here.

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Finding Inspiration in the Unexpected - Rodin and the art of ancient Greece

Art, Architecture, Exhibition, Inspiration, LondonKate Marsden

I know, I'm very aware that the great artist Rodin has been an inspiration to many many people... but as a reader of this here blog, viewer of my Instagram feed or just someone who is aware of my work, you may this this is a bit of a departure for me!

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When the lovely team at The British Museum asked me back to attend a breakfast preview of Rodin and the art of ancient Greece last week my first thought was that this may not be the exhibition for me. 19th Century sculpture is not something I'm really that much of a fan of, I know very little about Rodin himself, and it's a radically different style to the sort of thing I tend to go for and that which inspires my work.

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But in the interests of 2018 being my year of doing different stuff and trying new things I decided to say yes... I set myself the challenge of finding inspiration for my colourful work in a monochromatic exhibition of figurative sculpture!

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I think I therefore went in with the right attitude. There's no denying that The British Museum know how to put on a good exhibition. The space has been transformed since my last visit and has a spacious, light atmosphere. I enjoyed seeing a playful, almost Dada-esque scupture on arrival featuring a female head with the Parthenon springing from the top, and throughout the exhibition I enjoyed the pieces which had more abstract qualities. The architectural link obviously appealed to me too, even if the architecture in question isn't quite to my taste.

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As I left the exhibition with little germs of ideas buzzing around, I entered the shop and spotted a rather lovely range of textiles inspired by the works on display, but with a mid-century look. This led me to the conculsion that someone else was also inspired by something which was a little out of character for their design style. I'm going to let the ideas stew in my head for a while and see if I can come up with anything!

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Rodin and the art of ancient Greece is at the British Museum until 29 July 2018. I was invited to attend a free preview, but this is not a sponsored post.

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Being more like Picasso...

Art, Exhibition, Inspiration, LondonKate Marsden

You know that thing where you go to an exhibition and come away all inspired and desperate to get your art materials out? This happens to me all the time, but mostly with the smaller exhibitions. If I go to a "blockbuster" exhibition with a really big name artist I obviously can't compete with their greatness, and while it's all very nice and you can take inspiration for colour pallets, composition etc that's pretty much it.

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I went a step further though with Picasso 1932 at Tate Modern the other week... As the title suggests, its focussed on the year 1932, and it's a whole, 10 room, exhibition at Tate Modern. So what inspired me in that? I need to produce A LOT more work. It was staggering - the man managed to fit such a ridiculous amount into his life and produce an actual finished painting (or 2!) pretty much every single day.... Now obviously he was a man, and this was the 1930s so he didn't need to concern himself with childcare or chores, his women (plural) were presumably at his beck and call and fitted in around his painting time, however even with nothing else to do whatsoever I think I'd struggle to be that prolific.

So I've set myself a challenge... no I will not be doing the 100 day project this year (and I'd already be way behind if I decided to start now) and to be fair 100 pieces of work isn't enough! There are plenty of days where I genuinely don't have the time (or the inspiration) to create new illustrations, sketchbook pages, patterns, but when I do I'm going to take full advantage of this and churn!! I'm going to stop worrying about whether something will sell - do the work, get it out there, and move on to the next thing. Some of my bestsellers over the years have been things I created on the spur of the moment without too much thought after all...

Since visiting the exhibition just over a fortnight ago I've produced lots more monoprints, new patterns and finished my Croydon zine I've been thinking about for a very long time. Got on with them and got them out there! I've sold quite a few things too so let's see.

No pressure Kate, but it's time to get churning!!

Picasso 1932 is at Tate Modern until 9 September 2018.

Pop Art, Collage and Open Studios prep

Art, Events, Exhibition, StudiosKate Marsden

It's approaching that time of year again! Carshalton Artists Open Studios is only a matter of weeks away (so please cross your fingers for an improvement in the weather!) and preparations are in full swing.

I've been working on lots of new things, but one in particular is a little collage inspired by local artist Pauline Boty...

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Pauline was born in Carshalton in 1938 and went on to become a leading member of the British Pop Art movement. She died at the very young age of 28 and her work and influence had been pretty much forgotten until recently. In what would have been her 80th year, Carshalton Artists Open Studios are celebrating her work and legacy.

The exhibiting artists have been asked to produce A5 collages inspired by her work and they will be shown at local businesses during the event. Local schools will also be involved with the project, so hopefully the people of Carshalton will be very much aware of Pauline Boty's work by the end of the summer!

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My collage is actually a self portrait (this is me aged 17...) and combines digital print and monoprinted pieces. The colours are quite subdued by my usual standards!

Find out more about Pauline Boty here.

Carshalton Artists Open Studios runs over two weekends - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July 2018. Information about all the artists and the trail map can be found on the website. Please also follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

 

March Meet the Maker

Art, Business, Drawing, Inspiration, Painting, Paper, Pattern Design, Photography, Textiles, SketchbookKate Marsden

I had so much fun taking part in #marchmeetthemaker over on Instagram again this year. In case you haven't heard of it, it's an annual challenge organised by Joanne Hawker (who even won a Mollie Makes Award for it last year) where you post an image every day following prompts set by Joanne. It's a great way to meet new people and to share your work too. I've popped some of my photos from the month below, you can see them all (and the full captions) over on my Instagram.

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Things to look forward to in March

Art, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

It's nearly spring!!! Yes, really! Here are 10 good things coming up this month...

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1. Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings at Tate St Ives - Oh how I wish I lived closer to St Ives - I'd be visiting this exhibition in a heartbeat. I've been a fan of Virginia Woolf since I was a teenager (as evidenced recently by my illustration below).

 To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway print available in my Etsy shop

To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway print available in my Etsy shop

2. A Journey Through Brutalism at RISE Gallery Croydon - one for all you concrete fans. This new exhibition at one of my local favourites opened last week.

3. Crafty Fox Market is going monthly! While I'm cutting down on selling events this year I see some more shopping in my future... the first one is this Saturday.

4. Spring blossom (goes without saying!).

5. I'll be running two lampshade workshops on Saturday 24th at Creative Happy London - you can choose from morning or afternoon slots. Only a few spaces left so get booking!

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6. The National Trust are running a series of walking tours in Croydon to accompany the RISE Gallery exhibition above - now taking bookings.

7. If you're up in Scotland, the wonderful Artists' Textiles exhibition which has been touring since it's appearance at London's Fashion & Textile Museum is open now at New Lanark.

8. Hot cross buns (mmmm).

9. If you're quick, there's still time to see the Bridget Riley exhibition in Mayfair (open until 10 March).

10. And if you're still feeling far too wintery, British Summer Time begins on Sunday 25th! Not long now...

A New Sketchbook!

Art, Drawing, Inspiration, SketchbookKate Marsden

Last week I took advantage of a moment of inspiration and bought myself a new sketchbook. The little man was planning an end of half term exhibition of all the things we'd made during the course of the week (including paper dragons, fimo dinosaurs and nature finds from my parent's garden!) and my main contribution ended up being the book. When we were out and about I picked up a set of coloured brush pens (which I'd never used before) and ended up having all sorts of fun. Here are a few images of the many pages I worked on. If you'd like to have a flick through it yourself, come and see me at Carshalton Artists Open Studios in the summer!

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Studio Tour - Adrienne Roberts

Art, Ceramics, Events, Exhibition, StudiosKate Marsden

We're well into February, and that means that Carshalton Artists Open Studios are creeping up on us again! We had such a brilliant time at the first event last year and I'm really excited about doing it all over again this summer.

You may recall that I wrote a short series of studio tour posts on the run up last year, and they were really popular (as everyone likes a nosey around a studio!), so here's my first for 2018.... A few months ago I popped to see Adrienne Roberts in her studio, set at the end of a garden which was beautiful even on a miserable wet day (so I can just imagine how lovely it will be in the summer) and here are the resulting photos.

Adrienne is a ceramicist, who mostly works with porcelain paper clay. Her delicate pieces are inspired by the natural world, and there are lots of fascinating little bits and bobs all over her enviably large studio. See more of Adrienne's work and find out all about her here. Adrienne's studio will be open for both weekends of Carshalton Artists Open Studios - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July 2018.

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Dulwich Village, Moomins and the urge to paint...

Art, Architecture, Exhibition, Inspiration, LondonKate Marsden

The main point of my plan to get out more this year was to help with my total lack of inspiration. January was a funny old month, in that despite spending less time working (more time either being ill or at the gym - unsure as to whether these two are connected) and not getting out anywhere near as much as I'd wanted, the inspiration was forthcoming to the extent that it was a little overwhelming at times.

Not content with this though, I really do need to get out and see exhibitions and generally do stuff, even if the ideas are just tucked away in a notebook for the time being (as there's bound to be another drought at some point!).

Having failed miserably to make it to the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain before it closed, I was determined to drag my sorry self up to Dulwich Picture Gallery to see Tove Jansson.

Tove was famous for creating the rather magical Moomins, but they were only a part of her wider work...

 Tove Jansson -  Sleeping in the Roots, c.1930s -   Credit: Yehia Eweis

Tove Jansson - Sleeping in the Roots, c.1930s - Credit: Yehia Eweis

The exhibition closed on 28 January (so sorry if you're reading this and are now desperate to visit!). It was very very busy (on a Friday morning in term time...) but just wonderful. I found the range of Tove's work really inspiring and it made me want to crack my paints out immediately (most specifically the gouache - I need to check what I have as a know I'm running a bit low..). I also spent time thinking about scale - perhaps working on some larger illustrations, if I can find the space in my tiny studio, and just all manner of different ideas.

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So in my new spirit of experimenting with my work, I think it was quite timely. As well as making me want to do some painting, I felt inspired to do more sketching (I'm actually considering taking my sketchbook to a cafe this afternoon but I'm not sure I'm brave enough for that just yet!). As a fan of drawing buildings, Dulwich itself definitey doesn't dissapoint as it's just so pretty. This house was a VERY popular post on Instagram, and I feel an illustration coming on (maybe I'll actually paint it for a change!!).

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I may need a lottery win to be able to afford to live in Dulwich, but it's a lovely place for a wander, and I would have spent longer if it hadn't been so bitingly cold. There was also the lure of Gail's and the cinnamon buns, which I'm sure are meant for 2-3 people to share, but I persevered like a trooper!

I'm detemined not to let any more exhibitions pass me by this year - maybe I need to start viewing these things as work rather than just a nice day out. My lack of such experiences last year definitely showed when it came to my (lack of) new work, so...

What's next? I think it's nearly time to book Orla Kiely and I'm expecting that one to be very good/inspiring/overwhelming.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) was on at Dulwich Picture Gallery from 25 October 2017 and closed on 28 January 2018. Next up they have a rather interesting looking exhibition of paintings from Canadian artist David Milne (from 14 February).

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern will be at the Fashion & Textile Museum and opens on 25 May 2018.

My 10 Favourite Things to do in London

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, London, TravelKate Marsden

In 2018 I will have lived in one London borough or another for 20 years (and in 2018 that will also represent half of my life - eeek!). During the last 20 years the places I love the most have changed a little but some are the same - here are a few of my favourite spots at the moment. A nice little list if you're visiting over the Christmas break!

So, in no particular order...

1. Shoreditch

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I'll admit I chose this first as I love this picture so much! Shoreditch is really easy to get to on the Overground from West Croydon, so I actually visit more often since we moved further out of town. Great street art, the first ever social housing (the stunning Arnold Circus - definitely worth a stroll away from the main drag), and if you walk a little further on a Sunday morning the lovely (if heaving) Columbia Road Flower Market. So many photo opportunties...

2. The Geffrye Museum

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Just up the road in Hoxton is the Geffrye Museum - the Geffrye is amazing and features room sets from the 1600s to the 1990s (at this time of year it's all decorated for Christmas too!). In the summer you can take a stroll in the beautiful walled garden and almost forget you're in London.

3. The Horniman Museum

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Heading back down the Ginger Line (or the Overground) you come to Forest Hill and my son's favourite place in London (or so he told me this morning!). The Horniman is a lovely spot with a brilliant natural history gallery ("I love the stuffed in animals best Mummy") including the famous walrus, and a bargantastic aquarium in the basement and lots more besides. Another lovely garden if you visit when the weather's nice too.

4. Tate Modern

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I became a member of the Tate in 2000 and it's been the best investment. I haven't managed to visit as much as usual this year but I intend to remedy that in 2018! I love the new Switch House extension shown above (you need to see the stairs!) and I make full use of the members rooms as places to sit and relax to get away from it all.

5. Tate Britain

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And that leads nicely onto Tate Britain - very different architectually but still completely ace. I love the Pre-Raphelites and this floor (amongst other things!).

6. The View from Alexandra Palace

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Whether the view from Ally Pally is worth the trip up there is perhaps debatable but I do turn and stare in wonder ever time I visit. The view above is from the terrace at the front of the buiding but you get a pretty awesome view on the walk up the hill too - use it as an excuse to stop and catch your breath on the way up!

7. The Fashion & Textile Museum

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A brilliant line-up of exhibitions in a lovely little museum. The Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey is a real gem (and also has a lovely cafe). I think this year's Josef Frank exhibition above is probably my favourite so far.

8. The Barbican

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I love this place so much. Back in the day I used to run around here in my lunchbreak or after work (particularly good on a wet day as so much of it is under cover) and I stared at it from my office window. The Barbican boasts amazing Brutalist architecture, great places to eat, look at art, see shows, shop... the list goes on!

9. The South Bank

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The picture above was taken just outside the Royal Festival Hall during the Mollie Makes Awards Photowalk this summer, but I love pretty much the whole stretch of the South Bank (the National Theatre being a highlight though of course). Last year for a homework project for the little man we walked (and photographed all of the bridges) from Tower Bridge to Battersea Park and there are so many great things to see and do along the way. Friends who visit London almost always get dragged along here!

10. Croydon

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Croydon is my neighbour (and yes it's a London Borough so counts!) and it's having a bit of a renaissance. When I get suburban cabin fever but don't have time to venture into town I hop on the 157 and go to Croydon instead. Boxpark isn't massively popular with all the locals but it's bringing people from all over the place so is basically a good thing, and the street art is starting to rival Shoreditch. They even had a month long Warhol festival back in September. So plenty to see and do!

Where do you like to visit in London? Anywhere a little different/off the beaten track?

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Books, Art, Inspiration, ReviewKate Marsden

I'll admit that I'm struggling a little bit at the moment. My motivation is lacking (yes I know, again). I'm finding it quite hard to keep ploughing on and putting everything into my work when business is so slow, and I'm wondering where it's all going. Add to that a seeminly endless list of personal stuff that's weighing me down, and well I'm sure you can imagine...

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I received what felt like a rather timely surprise last week. It was a surprise as it was a book I'd preordered months ago, and then completely forgotten about. Regular readers and friends will know that I'm a massive fangirl of artist Lisa Congdon, and A Glorious Freedom is her latest book. We chatted about this one when I sat opposite her at dinner after Blogtacular last year and I'd been keenly awaiting it'a arrival ever since (I suppose I forgot about it once I'd pre-ordered as that meant I didn't need to think about it anymore!).

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I say timely, as not only was I in need of some cheer and inspiration, but so far I'm finding being 39 pretty rubbish. I'm sure it's psychological - next year I'll be middle aged after all! And what have I achieved so far? Well, not a lot! Back in the summer I toyed with doing a 40 before 40 list, but my birthday was more than 2 months ago now and that hasn't happended. Anxiety, being generally busy, and the feeling that I'm certain I won't achieve it has stopped me. A Glorious Freedom is making me feel a bit better about this though (oh, and I'm not going to bother with the list).

The book profiles a wide range of women (all over 40, some well into their 80s) who were what we might call "late bloomers" or who had a complete change later in life. Perhaps a much needed reminder to keep going, but also stories and situations I see cropping up all the time with my friends, and realising that when many of us are the age I am now we can feel as though that's it - if the current situation isn't working for us for any reason that's the end. We're supposed to be grown-ups by now and have it all sorted (so apologies to my younger readers - I'm 39 and I don't feel like a grown-up yet).

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This quote from Brene Brown has resonated with me the most. I think this is so true - I made the jump 4 years ago (4 years ago this month since I resigned from my job), but despite that I still spend a lot of time focussing on what I'm supposed to be doing, and what society expects me to be doing - although I am the Mum at the school gates in the slightly crazy brightly coloured clothes (I've stopped worrying about that)!

I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm working through and plan to read the every page. I think the one thing I'm taking from it so far though, is that what you're doing is never set in stone, not at any point. If this doesn't work out for me (as I fear) there will be something else, and what's to say that thing won't be even better? I'm also realising that sometimes it's good to have a bad week - read non-productive, can't focus on work - as this can be a sign that you need to switch off, or focus on yourself for a while (even though you're not supposed to focus on yourself!).

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So, I'll continue putting one foot in front of the other (I have the school run to do later so don't have any choice in that matter really!), keep working hard, keep hoping everything will turn out OK in the end, as it probably will. It's quite telling that all I look to read at the moment are books and blogs about motivation, but all I really want to do is curl up under a blanket in front of the fire...

A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives is written by Lisa Congdon and published by Chronicle Books.

Warhol in Croydon? Yes, really...

Architecture, Art, Events, InspirationKate Marsden

During the walking tour I joined a couple of weeks ago, I was asked whether I think Croydon has changed over the years. As someone who has lived next door to the place for 7 years, I've gone from pretending I live in Sutton to proudly saying I live near Croydon, so I'm pretty sure that means it has. With no offence to Sutton (which SHOULD be really nice), it has a rather depressing, run down feel and very little is happening there (even my favourite restaurant has closed down and the cinema is shut for refurbishment, so there's really no reason to go at the moment), whereas Croydon feels a little bit exciting, as if more and more good things are about to happen.

 I made a little Warhol inspired version of my Number One Croydon drawing!  You can get hold of a copy here.

I made a little Warhol inspired version of my Number One Croydon drawing! You can get hold of a copy here.

This month something pretty exciting is happening... Warhol Croydon, organised by the rather amazing, street art supporting Rise Gallery, brings together an exhibition of original Warhol artwork to the gallery itself (yes, real Andy Warhols, in Croydon) alonside an exhibition of large scale contemporary artworks inspired by the great man.

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So as I mentioned, I joined one of the free guided tours and had a brilliant time, and I can really recommend you try and get yourself booked on one before the event finishes at the end of the month. Do make sure you book though - there were loads of us on a Wednesday lunchtime so I'm sure the evenings and weekends get very busy!

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If you don't manage to book a tour, you can use the Warhol Croydon app and take yourself on it instead. There are also other free events available - head to the Warhol Croydon website for more information.

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2 Minutes with... Georgie St Clair

Art, Business, Drawing, Inspiration, Painting, PhotographyKate Marsden

I’ve been following Georgie St Clair on Instagram for ages. Her images never fail to make me smile, and her unique, beautiful artwork literally stands out from the page! Read on for a little dose of floral inspiration…

Hello Georgie! Who are you and what do you do?

Hello! I’m an artist and illustrator living in Brighton with my gorgeous 3 kids and hubby. I create floral and botanical art and illustrations, created using real flowers and foliage. I sell my prints online and work with a variety of clients across the world. My latest client was in South Korea. They found me all thanks to the power of the internet and Instagram - which I’m slightly obsessed with!
Why do you love what you do?

Lately I have been finding myself feeling so grateful for what I do. It really is a dream come true; a dream I’ve had for a very long time (I’ve just turned 40 so it’s been years in the making). My creative business really only started in September 2016 when I decided to go freelance.

Now, I make beautiful things everyday from flowers and foliage - what’s not to love?! I love being my own boss, being accountable only to my clients, customers and myself. And importantly I can work around my 3 children.

What inspired you to start creating your beautiful illustrations incorporating real flowers?

When my daughter was born (she is now 4), my little treat during those early days with a newborn baby was a simple vase of fresh flowers.  I also started drawing again, during her nap times. I’d left my drawing board on the dining room table one day and a wilting flower dropped onto the drawing. It looked so pretty and voila an obsession was born!

I also discovered Instagram around this time, so started sharing my creative experiments and collages. People seemed to like what I was doing which gave me the confidence to carry on.

If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be?

The first person that comes to mind is Frida Kahlo. I discovered her as a teenager and have loved her ever since. Strong yet vulnerable. Original and bold both in her art and in life. And she could rock a flower crown like no other! She fascinates me. Along with Audrey Hepburn she’s one of the influences for my illustrated character ‘Sassy Du Fleur’

I’d also like to create a huge installation using real flowers and one of my portrait illustrations, so if there’s any florists out there who are up for an artistic challenge, get in touch ;)

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

Too many to list - but that’s my problem. I have too many ideas, ambitions and plans. So my first plan is to organise myself!

Latterly I have translated my illustrations and floral designs into personalised products and homewares, from phone cases to cushions. I soft launched the phone cases in June and they have been really well received so far. I’ll be launching notebooks and cushions next. I plan to expand the ranges even further and move into wholesaling and art licensing. Maybe even sign up to my first trade show. Watch this space!

Thank you so much! You can see more of Georgie's work on her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.