Made By Mrs M

Inspiration

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!

ACS_0977.jpg
ACS_0986.jpg
ACS_0997.jpg
ACS_0993.jpg
IMG_1722.jpg
ACS_0998.jpg
IMG_1755.jpg
ACS_0996.jpg
IMG_1744.jpg
IMG_1762.jpg
ACS_0999.jpg
ACS_0988.jpg
ACS_1000.jpg
IMG_1740.jpg
ACS_0987.jpg
IMG_1686.jpg
IMG_1757.jpg


Recent Drawings

Drawing, Fashion, InspirationKate Marsden

I  always seem to end up going off on a bit of a tangent and playing with different ideas in these last couple of weeks before the summer holidays. Probably because business tends to be pretty slow, but at the same time I know I don't have much time left before commencing 6+ weeks of juggling!

This year has been no exception, and last week instead of working on things I actually needed to do (!!) I started a series of little drawings of ladies from magazines, as you do... Not sure if these will lead to anything else but they were certainly fun. Also a nice way to prove to myself that I haven't forgotten how to draw things that aren't buildings!

Square.jpg
ACS_0501.jpeg
ACS_0499.jpeg
ACS_0504.jpeg
ACS_0500 2.jpg
ACS_0490.jpeg
ACS_0503.jpeg

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"...

ACS_0473.jpeg
ACS_0474.jpeg

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!

ACS_0470.jpeg

Orla Kiely - A Life in Pattern

Exhibition, Fashion, Inspiration, London, Pattern Design, Review, TextilesKate Marsden

Like many people I ADORE Orla Kiely... I'd been excited about the exhibition at London's Fashion & Textile Museum ever since I found out about it last year and I booked my ticket months ago!

ACS_0431.jpeg

And I'm pleased to say it didn't dissappoint - the only alarming thing being the realisaton that I've owned rather more Orla Kiely things over the past 20 years than I'd realised (my poor bank balance!).

The exhibition is something of a visual feast and anyone with an interest in fashion, or pattern will just love it - I even had a turning a corner and gasping moment, which was nice (I won't spoil that one for you!).

ACS_0432.jpeg
ACS_0438.jpeg

The designer's whole career is covered in the stylish, colourful and exuberant manner you would expect - I didn't know which way to look. If anything I came away having fallen for her work even more.

ACS_0434.jpeg
ACS_0440.jpeg
ACS_0437.jpeg

Upon leaving the exhibition the shop is almost impossible to resist, as I'm sure you can imagine!

Orla Kiely: A Life In Pattern is at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London until 23 September 2018.

This is not a sponsored post.

ACS_0439.jpeg
ACS_0436.jpeg

Just A Card Week!

Business, Events, InspirationKate Marsden

I'm so excited to share that next week (14-22 June) will be Just A Card Week. Those of us at Team Just A Card and all of our supporters will be shouting very loudly about the importance of supporting independents and shopping small with an Instagram challenge, daily social media tip blog posts and an amazing giveaway (which will be run by yours truly).

Head over to the Just A Card blog to find out more about the week!

While I was away in the States the other week, something else exciting happened...

ACS_0418.JPG

We launched our wonderful Just A Card pins (here I am modelling mine in Seattle) and they SOLD OUT in less than 48 hours! They're beautifully made and are a great way to shout quietly about the campaign (if that's more your thing!). To find out when they're back in stock head to the Just A Card website and join the mailing list.

ACS_0364.JPG

Looking forward to sharing all the Just A Card love next week!

Do remember that if you're after a Just A Card sticker for your shop window you can collect one from me at Carshalton Artists Open Studios on 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July. I'll be at stop 14 on the trail which you can find here.

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...

IMG_6140.jpg

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.

ACS_0406.jpg

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!).

IMG_E6114.jpg
ACS_0402.jpg

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!

ACS_E0405.jpg

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.

IMG_6144.jpg

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!

IMG_6156.jpg

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!).

IMG_E6151.jpg

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...

IMG_6142.jpg

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!

IMG_E6139.jpg

Fabric Manipulation and New Ideas

Fashion, Inspiration, Products, Sewing, TextilesKate Marsden

As I said at the start of the year, I'm keen to go with the flow more in 2018 (and I've certainly been doing that for the last five months!). One thing I've been doing quite a lot of is playing with ideas that may be rather different to my usual style and approach, and just seeing where it takes me...

ACS_0395.jpeg

A couple of weeks ago I attended an interview (which I'm pleased to say was successful), and as part of this interview process I had to devise and deliver a "micro teach" workshop to a group of 12 students (and the whole thing had to be completed in 20 minutes!). It was to be around the topic of fabric manipulation, and I sought out the fashion designers I most associate with sculptural and interesting work to see what I could come up with to base the session on.

Micro-Teach Session Handout.jpg

I settled upon this Spring 2018 collaboration between Viktor & Rold and Zalando and prepared handouts together with a couple of samples which you can see in the first image above.

During the session I encouraged the students to play with the materials provided then go with their gut instinct and run something up quickly. Now this was partly out of necessity due to the time contstraints, but also because this is one of my favourite ways to generate ideas. My preparations for the session led me on to play more with felt and look at how I could combine this with my fabrics once I got back into the studio.

ACS_0388.jpeg

As you probably know, I'm not really doing products this year, but Open Studios are around the corner and I do need a few items! I ran up this cushion, inspured by my micro teach session to accompany some of the other new work I'll be showing at the end of next month.

ACS_0389.jpeg
ACS_0391.jpeg
ACS_0387.jpeg
ACS_0392.jpeg

So I'll be bringing this baby along together with the quilted cushion I made to showcase my Spring fabrics, and the rather fetching sewing machine cushion which is a favourite of mine!

ACS_0390.jpeg
ACS_0394.jpeg

Watch this space for previews of more of the new work I'll be sharing at Carshalton Artists Open Studios this summer!

Out and About in Oxford

Architecture, Inspiration, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

Having only ever visited Oxford once before in my life, I've now been twice in 3 months! No sleeping behind bars this time though, as last Saturday Lisa (a.k.a. Martha Loves) and I headed down there to meet up with locals, Natasha (whose blog, Candy Pop, you may be familiar with) and Rosie of A Rosie Life.

ACS_0358.jpeg

We were definitely blessed with the weather - not too sunny so none of those nasty harsh shadows and the rain held off until we were on our way home - and we had a lovely time. It's so nice to walk around a place with people who know it well and Natasha and Rosie knew exactly where to find the colour (and the good chocolate brownies!).

ACS_0357.jpeg

I also think there's something really nice about going on a very small photowalk - no worries about keeping up and not getting lost/more opportunities to be spontaneous! I am however planning to join the In Colourful Company walk in London on 7 July and that's set to be huge!

In the meantime, here are some more photos from last Saturday...

ACS_0360.jpeg
ACS_0356.jpeg
ACS_0361.jpeg
ACS_0362.jpeg
ACS_0359.jpeg

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!

ACS_0335.jpeg

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.

ACS_0331.jpeg
ACS_0334.jpeg

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!

ACS_0328.jpeg
ACS_0326.jpeg

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.

ACS_0322.jpeg
ACS_0329.jpeg

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!

ACS_0333.jpeg

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.

ACS_0325.jpeg
ACS_0327.jpeg

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.

ACS_0283.JPG

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.

Isle of Dogs

Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, PhotographyKate Marsden

I do love a Wes Anderson film. The colours, the symmetry... Just over a week ago we went to see his new animation Isle of Dogs at the cinema (it's fab - go and see it - we all loved it and it held the little man's attention for the full 100 minutes!). I was then lucky enough to make it into town last Tuesday to see the exhibition of sets from the film (and now I love it even more!).

Sadly the exhibition has now finished, so if you didn't make it you'll have to live vicariously through this blog post! It was so popular though I think it'd be well worth doing a tour. Here are some of my favourite photos of the beautiful sets.

ACS_0187.JPG
DSC_5733.jpg
DSC_5721.jpg
DSC_5736.jpg
DSC_5728.jpg
DSC_5760.jpg
ACS_0189.JPG
DSC_5749.jpg
DSC_5764.jpg
ACS_0188.JPG
DSC_5719.jpg
ACS_0190.JPG

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.

Sketchbook.jpg
ACS_0087.jpg
ACS_0170.jpg
Square Branding Image for Instagram_edited-1.jpg
ACS_0128.jpg
ACS_0173.jpeg
ACS_0168.jpg
ACS_0147.jpg
ACS_0166.jpg
ACS_0180.jpeg
ACS_0179.jpeg
ACS_0165.jpg
ACS_0143.jpg
DSC_5712.jpg
Square for Instagram_edited-1.jpg
ACS_0167.jpg
DSC_5655.jpg

Juicy Goals and Good Distractions...

Business, Books, InspirationKate Marsden

We're nearly at the end of March - how did that happen?! After what's felt like an almost endless winter we've seemingly time travelled and it's suddenly (supposedly) spring! While I get my head around the fact that we're less than 3 months away from Open Studios (more on that later) I thought I'd reflect on January to March.

As with last year I started out with the Dream Plan Do planner from Patricia van den Akker of The Design Trust. Last year I stumbled at the second hurdle... February (or the look at your accounts and do some maths chapter). With hindsight I think this was because I knew things weren't going well with my business, and had a combination of feeling stuck and not wanting to face facts (such a lovely heady combination....). Anyway, by the start of this year my facts had been very much faced and I was ready for new beginnings!

ACS_0167.jpg

So here we are and I've completed the March chapter and lined up my next 90 day juicy goal (which relates to making a success of said Open Studios - I'll be writing about this a lot more over the coming months but if you're interested now you can read all about it here!), but for now I want to reflect on the first one.

Patricia has put the book together in such a way that you look at your business but also other aspects of your life too. I think this is particularly important for business owners as it's so easy to get totally absorbed in your work, and then forget about anything else that isn't essential to everyday life. At the start of the year I looked at the wheel of life and the wheel of business (an example of the former is below) and it was pretty dire - I'm pleased to say though that I've achieved all of the things I aimed to (including my financial targets for the first three months which is a relief as well as a surprise!). I think this is partly (and perhaps ironically) due to taking more time away from work - you can read my earlier post about this here.

IMG_4839.jpg

My first 90 day juicy goal though was to work out what on earth I'm doing/offering then update everything to reflect and promote that (sounds simple enough - it wasn't!). Admittedly there are still a few tweaks needed (and I may need to revisit my plan to use Facebook advertising to get in front of my customers better...) but I made such good progress that I'm basically considering it achieved. As I mentioned in my post last Thursday, I had no plans whatsoever to launch a Kickstater so that was an extra job! I have to say though that coming to the end of March having achieved my goal and funded my Kickstarter (it's still running until 9 April here folks!) has made me feel a lot more positive about my business generally.

ACS_0166.jpg

You can get your own Dream Plan Do planner here (not sponsored!) - you have some catching up to do but sticking to the schedule isn't essential. This month I really found the SWOT analysis helpful (something I've always hated doing in the past) and things like that can definitely be done at any time. Fingers crossed I keep up with it this year as I'm really seeing the difference it makes to be a bit more disciplined. Then check back with me in another 90 days!

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...

IMG_5076.jpg

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!

IMG_0656.jpg

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!

IMG_4375.jpeg
IMG_4383.jpeg
IMG_4378.jpeg
IMG_4382.jpeg
IMG_4377.jpeg
IMG_4379.jpeg
IMG_4380.jpeg
IMG_4376.jpeg

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.

ACS_0007.jpeg

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!!).

ACS_0006.jpeg

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.

Things to Look Forward to in February

Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, Month in the LifeKate Marsden

So I'm trying something new... for about 5 years now (yes 5 - quite ridiculous!) I've been starting each month by looking back on the last one. Last year in particular I found that a touch depressing (in a kind of ticking off the days until it ends sort of a way) so this year rather than going through the previous month, I'm going to list some things to look forward to in the new one! And here's my first stab at it...

ACS_0005.jpg

February can be a bit of a miserable month. It's still pretty dark, the weather is still rubbish, and summer is a long long way away... However it is getting lighter, and:

1. Pancakes!!!! Who doesn't like a pancake? Enjoy lots of pancakes with toppings of your choice on Shrove Tuesday (13 February).

2. Go and see the Elizabeth Friedlander exhibition at Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft - it's open now and I'm hoping to go this month.

3. I'm also hoping to go and look at some fab upholstery at the National Centre for Craft & Design.

IMG_1293.jpg

4. I have my first workshop of 2018 lined up on Satuday 24th - come and make a painted lampshade with me!

5. Valentines Day - can be good or bad depending on how you look at it, but increasingly it's about friends and family and doing nice things for people you care about rather than just the mushy stuff, and I think this has to be a good thing/excuse to do some crafting...

6. Joanne Payne (of Adventures & Tea Parties) is running a Colour My Everyday challenge on Instagram (it started on Monday but goes on until Sunday so there's still time to get involved/take in all the colour).

IMG_1804.jpg

6. It's still cold and dark enough to justify lighting the fire.

7. From 22-25 February you can visit Collect at the Saatchi Gallery - I found this really inspiring last year - be prepared for very high end craft.

8. The spring bulbs are starting to appear. I'm looking forward to the daffs and then my really blousy tulips in another couple of months.

9. The Modigliani exhibition continues at Tate Modern.

10. Oh, and if you really do hate February, it's a nice short month so payday (and March!) will be here soon!

IMG_2319.jpg

What do you have planned? Anything I should add to my list?

Back to School...

Inspiration, London, Pattern DesignKate Marsden

In the interests of boosting the portfolio, I signed up to the Make it in Design Winter School. I took part in their summer school several years ago (when the little man was still at nursery, so I actually had some time to myself in the summer holidays!) and found it useful, so I thought this might be a nice kickstart for 2018...

Bright Blooms Room Set.jpg

Winter School is split into three tracks - Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced, and I signed up to both the Intermediate and Advanced briefs. What's particularly nice is the fact that you get a detailed brief, which may be radically different to the kind of work you usualy produce (it certainly is in my case anyway!) and it's great for pushing you out of your comfort zone and adding new and interesting work to the portfolio.

I submitted my first pieces last week, and by the time you're reading this I expect I'll be cracking on with the next ones. I most enjoyed the Intermediate brief on this occassion, as I really stuggled to get inspired by the advanced one (the theme for that was American Prairie - very similar to something I'd worked on before, and I'd stuggled to find anything to interest me then - this time was no better!). The intermediate brief still pushed me out of the old comfort zone though, as it was florals (the theme was Bright Blooms), and as we all know... I don't do florals!

I submitted the main blue design shown above and below, but also worked up a few others to accompany it, shown here...

Kate_Marsden_Int_CB1.jpg
Bright Blooms 2 2000px_edited-1.jpg
Bright Blooms Stripe.jpg
Bright Blooms 3_edited-1.jpg
Bright Blooms Polka_edited-1.jpg

As I mentioned, inspiration for the advanced brief was not forthcoming...! I did manage to pull one design together though - the only thing I could get even vaguely excited about was looking at quilts, so here's my submitted design on a room set mock up (it includes some drawn quilting stitches which aren't terribly clear in this image)...

American Prairie Room Set_edited-1.jpg

In addition to the main creative briefs, we're also set some shorter exercises. For the intermediate track, the first one of these was to create a colour pallet inspired by the current season wherever we are. So here's mine, taken from my photo of Notting Hill a couple of weeks ago.

Notting Hill Colour Pallet.jpg

And for advanced, we were encouraged to make our own washi tape. I ran out of time to paint up pieces of tissue etc but had a go with some offcuts of my Battersea fabric...

IMG_2694.jpg

Keep your eyes out for another post in a couple of weeks sharing how I got on with the second set of briefs.

So far, I'm considering working up a full quilting fabric collection based on Bright Blooms, and also thinking about designing a Notting Hill pattern. Watch this space!

I made a book!

Books, Inspiration, Photography, ProductsKate Marsden

As I reached the end of my 365 project back in December, I started to think about making something to mark the end of it. I did manage the whole year after all (and nobody was more surprised about this than I was!). Then I came across Blurb and decided to make myself a book (by the way this is not a sponsored post)...

IMG_2665.jpg

It's small, but perfectly formed, and I absolutely love it!

IMG_2660.jpg

Now, Blurb books come with an ISBN (which excited me more than is natural) and you can sell your books through them or Amazon. I was really keen to list it on Amazon, but aside from the fact that the books end up costing a small fortune to buy, the terms and conditions as the owner of the book left me quaking in my boots, so I'm giving that a miss for the time being!

IMG_2659.jpg

That hasn't stopped me wanting to share it with the world though, so it's currently available as a pdf download in my Etsy shop (at about a 5th of the price it would've been for a hard copy). Blog readers can also save 20% on this using code COLOURBOOK - the code is valid until the end of January and you can find full details in the listing.

IMG_2658.jpg

 

 

 

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

IMG_8932.jpg

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

IMG_3331.jpg

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

IMG_3409.jpg

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

IMG_4721.jpg

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

IMG_6083.jpg

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

IMG_7132.jpg

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

IMG_4722.jpg

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

IMG_6410.jpg

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

IMG_8450.jpg

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

IMG_8694.jpg

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?