Made By Mrs M

New Patterns and a trip to the V&A

Kate Marsden

A couple of weeks ago I headed off to the V&A to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition. The exhibition itself was fab (albeit rather crowded) and as usual at the V&A photography wasn't allowed, so I won't be sharing much of that! What I can say though is that the final room, which contains a selection pieces from her wardrobe is just amazing and the exhibition is well worth visiting if you can.

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I made the most of my time there and revisited the Fashion and Tapestry galleries (off which is the Costume and Theatre gallery which I'd somehow never seen before - well worth a trip in itself) and decided to do a bit of sketching. I'm always quite self concious sketching in public as my drawings aren't always great when I feel rushed (and I'm standing up) and people tend to lean over to see what you're doing (or actually comment!) but I decided to just go for it.

I was on the look out for some different motifs to use in pattern designs and somehow ended up really drawn to florals, as well as some bolder abstract shapes in the costume gallery.

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In the tapestry gallery (which has THE BEST aircon...) I was drawn to the details in the amazing tapestries (dating from the 1500s) and found these rather wonderful flowers.

Now as is often the way with me, when inspiration strikes I have to just go with it! I turned my drawings into repeat patterns which I coloured to match my current designs and I was really pleased with the results...

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And so I decided to get them sampled on fabric. All three fabric designs are now available to pre-order here - they look great alongside my A-Z fabric (if I say so myself!).

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I'm also having a bit of a studio clearout at the moment, so do pop over to the shop to grab a bargain. Hopefully once I can see the floor again I'll be able to get on with some new work for the autumn!

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Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is at the V&A until Sunday 4 November 2018.

Mollie Makes Awards 2018

Kate Marsden

I had the complete honour of being invited to attend the Mollie Makes Awards again this year to represent the Just A Card campaign. I joined Sarah Hamilton and our new JAC team member Emily Quinton at the event at The Dead Dolls House in Islington on Monday. Despite the heatwave we all had a great time chatting about Just A Card and handmade and independent businesses generally. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet more people I've only previously known online in real life!

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I'll let Mollie Makes themselves announce the winners, but here's a little rundown of my day at the awards...

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We started out with a really fun photowalk  - I haven't wandered around in Islington for years, so this made a nice change. Also a chance to catch up and get chatting to some new people! 

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Then back to the venue for a great talk about self doubt from Sas Petherick. My main takeaway being that if David Attenborough has self doubt, I'm in a pretty good club!

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Lunch was gargantuon and very nice - an almost bottomless banquet - I heard people making reference to meals at Hogwarts...

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I also had a chance for a really good catch up with Sarah and Emily.

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In the afternoon I jonined a macrame workshop with Peas & Needles - had a good time but discovered that macrame is not something I'm naturally skilled at!!

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Following that we had a panel discussion led by Yvette Streeter of Mollie Makes, in which Sara Tasker, Elisalex de Castro Peake and Katie Leamon chatted about working smarter not harder - something that resonated with a lot of us in the room!

Then following a closing speach from the wonderful Keith Brymer Jones it was time for the winners to be announced (and for a glass of fizz!).

Congratulations again to the winners and thank you so much to Mollie Makes for giving us the opportunity to attend the event and shout about Just A Card with such a great group of people!

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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!

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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.

The First Patchwork Workshop and Dates for the Autumn...

Craft, Events, London, Sewing, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

Last week I hosted my first English Paper Piecing patchwork workshop at Creative Happy London and it went really well. Here are some photos of the session...

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As EPP is a slow, hand stitching technique, the aim was for each of the attendees to get started on their first piece of patchwork and go away with all the skills they need to continue with it on their own at home. People planned a range of items with their patchwork including cushions, pin cushions and of course quilts!

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I will be running this workshop again on Saturday 29 September and Saturday 10 November. Bookings for both sessions are open now.

In the afternoon I taught my popular lampshade making workshop...

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My next lampshade making workshops are on Saturday 15 September (in Tooting), Saturday 29 September and Saturday 20 October. Again, all open for bookings now.

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!

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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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Workshops this weekend!

Craft, Events, London, Sewing, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

This coming Saturday (9 June) I will be running two workshops at Creative Happy London in Camberwell. There are still a handful of spaces, but don't delay your bookings.

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In the morning I will be teaching a session on the English Paper Piecing patchwork technique (you can read more about this new workshop here) and you'll be able to get started on your very own heirloom quilt similar to mine below. You can use the fabrics provided or bring along your own... Book here.

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In the afternoon I'll be teaching my ever popular lampshade making workshop (and there's nothing stopping you doing both and making a day of it!). Bookings for the afternoon workshop are open here. Hope to see you on Saturday!

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If this Saturday doesn't work for you, you can find all of my upcoming workshops listed here.

The Kickstarter - How did it go and would I do it again?!

Books, BusinessKate Marsden

Well, it's pretty much done and dusted now! Only a couple of outstanding books to post (fill in your surveys kids!!) and all of my Kickstarter pledges have been fulfilled. I started thinking about whether I'd consider doing this again and I think I probably would. Here's what I've learnt...

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1. You MUST have a good idea. OK, so I flew by the seat of my pants and made a fairly impulsive decision to launch the Kickstarter, but only because I realised it was the only way I'd get the book printed. I could've invested in the printing myself and then tried to sell the books but not only did the Kickstarter campaign test the market, it also provided a certain amount of urgency which wouldn't have been there otherwise. So that leads me nicely to...

2. Treat it as a market research exercise. A soon as I got my head around this it ensured that the whole process of getting funded was a lot less stressful. If people didn't pledge it meant there wasn't a market for the book. All I'd loose would be time (as I'd had the sample book made for myself anyway).

3. Don't be greedy. Think about how much you really need and do try to make a profit if you can but really the purpose of the exercise is to get your thing out there. I really wanted a pile of my own books - I wanted to see them going out to their new homes - the fact that I made a (very small) profit was just a nice to have rather than an essential (and remember that I do still have copies left to sell - so I'm left with an asset).

4. It's not always necessary to have stretch goals - and do keep the rewards simple! Mine wasn't that complicated really, but when it came to dispatch there were still many variations - signed copy or not, with or without postcards, 2 copies, shipping destination. This part took a lot longer than I'd anticipated.

5. Manage people's expectations. I said May for dispatch (and allowed myself the whole month) - postcards actually went out in late April and the books went at the end of the first week in May. This allowed for unforseen delays (and in fact the printing of the books was delayed by a week) but meant that the backers all received their rewards when they expected to.

6. Don't leave it too late to plan packaging etc. I planned what I needed before the Kickstarter ended and had everything lined up ready to order as soon as the funds were released (bear in mind that this is 14 days after the end of the campaign).

7. Allow for people to drop out. I was pleasantly surprised as none of my backers pulled out before the end, however one person's credit card was declined so I lost that backer. Make sure you'll still have enough cash to satisfy the pledges in the event that this happens.

8. Celebrate but not too much. It's not over until it's over! In my case the fulfillment was a lot more time consuming than the funding stage. I know this isn't always the case.

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Would I do it again? Yes I think I would. I believe it's important to leave a good gap between campaigns and to wait until you really do have that amazing product (rather than looking around for something to do a Kickstarter for - it should be the other way around). Also, take a look at who your backers were - I rarely sell my work to friends and family but a lot of familiar names were in my backer report! Think of it a little like getting sponsorship for that half marathon you're doing and remember that people get bored of being asked for cash for these things too often - even if they are getting something out of it!

A little reminder that I do have a few copies of my Kickstarter book available here. I'll also be signing copies at 133a Stanley Park Road, Carshalton as part of Carshalton Artists Open Studios on 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July (more details here).

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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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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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.

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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!).

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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...

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The Books Arrived!!

Kate Marsden

It was like Christmas here last Wednesday when I drove to the printers to collect my 365 project books. They look wonderful and just as I'd imagined!

 I'm enjoying looking at the spines all lined up! These are the copies I'll have left once I've sent out the Kickstarter books.

I'm enjoying looking at the spines all lined up! These are the copies I'll have left once I've sent out the Kickstarter books.

As I type I'm mid way through the signing and packing marathon, but by the time you read this the books should all be in the post (or at least at the Post Office!). A little reminder that if you backed my project but haven't filled in your backer survey yet I can't send you your book(s) - so please complete yours!

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If you've received your book (or postcards) please do send me a photo/post to social media - I have a few copies left as you can see and I'll be listing these in my shop shortly and taking them to the Open Studios next month.

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