Made By Mrs M

Exhibition

Summer Exhibition 2019

Art, ExhibitionKate Marsden

Yes, I know… the Royal Acadamy Summer Exhibition ended WEEKS ago… But my first opportunity to go was only a few days before it closed, and I couldn’t resist sharing some images from our visit.

As in previous years, the exhibition is a feast for the eyes (and the “Acadamy hang” style of hanging the work is perhaps a little overwhelming, but also inspiring for home - more on this when we finally start work on our hallway). If I had a favourite gallery it was number 8 for it’s riot of colour (of course!).

Anyway, here are just a few of my highlights to inspire you to visit (or maybe even apply!) next year…

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The 2020 Summer Exhibition will run from June-August - tickets are usually available in the Spring.

Mary Quant

Exhibition, FashionKate Marsden

Back at the beginning of May the small-ish boy and I took a trip into town to visit the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A (although I think he was rather more excited by the subsequent visit to Whole Foods but each to their own…). The exhibition documents the designer’s career and while it was rather busy, it was colourful and insping. If I hadn’t been with a slightly bored 9 year old boy I would have stayed a lot longer!

If you’re going to visit the Dior exhibition I would definitely get tickets for this one too (or go and see it if you haven’t managed to snag tickets - it will go a little way towards making up for your dissapointment!).

Here are just a few photos I took on the day…

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Mary Quant is at the V&A until 16 February 2020.


National Centre For Craft & Design - February 2019

Craft, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, TextilesKate Marsden

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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.

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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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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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!

 

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.

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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...

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.

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...

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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.

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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).

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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!

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

False starts, plans and intentions

Business, ExhibitionKate Marsden

I'm writing this from bed, as I'm not well (yet again). 2017 was not a great year for me in so many respects and I'm keen to just put it behind me if I'm honest, but one of the most irritating things about it was the fact that I felt like I was ill (with one thing or another) pretty much ALL the time. I'm sure my anxiety about my business and a few personal things didn't help this at all, but on this occassion I'm on antibiotics so I've decided it's time to let myself have a proper rest (it's a rest and not really a false start!).

Back in Novemeber when I made my big decision to change my business, my plan was to take the best part of January off. Clear my head and sort out what I wanted to focus on. But before the school holidays were over my diary was already almost full with "stuff". Being unwell has forced me to cancel some things, and take a harder look at whether I need to be doing all of the others, and I suppose that's positive.

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One thing I have started looking at is my Dream Plan Do planner. I had one last year too and I have to admit that I struggled (the fact that I filled it in in pencil is quite telling). I don't think I really realised in January 2017 that I was going to have such a terrible year sales wise, and that I'd be forced to make a change - 2016 had been great and I just needed to keep building on that... but when I look back on my 3 juicy goals and my plans written a year ago (which I spent nearly two months writing) they don't exactly scream optimism, in fact I don't really sound all that keen.

In the end I spent 2017 mostly firefighting. Not creating very much new work, desperately trying to shift £3 notebooks and making less money than I did the year before. My husband told me in November that I had to face reality and I think that was it - I'd convinced myself that it just had to work, failure wasn't an option, and I'd keep on going until it killed me...

Fast forward to today (having partially achieved 2 of last year's 3 goals and failed totally at the 3rd) and I actually feel that I'm in a better position to plan. I raced through the first 47 pages of this year's planner (yes 47!) in pen - I have a plan I think I can stick to (if I manage to avoid being sick CONSTANTLY) and it's all sounding a lot more positive. February's chapter is about finances though so I may well come unstuck there again!

I like that Patricia (van den Akker of The Design Trust who wrote the planner) has placed a stronger emphasis on self care and things other than your business this time, as I've come to realise that this is essential for me. 2017 found me spending a lot more time with (read worrying myself sick over) friends and family - this year I'm aiming to spend more time with them without so much of the worrying! And of course there's my health...

I did that thing everyone does, and joined a gym and cut down on alcohol at the beginning of December (to be fair it was pretty quiet down there!). I'm absolutely loving going (and gutted that I'm not there at the moment - hopefully the antibiotics will kick in and I'll be swimming by the time you're reading this) - my aim is to fix my bad back, feel generally more positive (and less panicky), and hopefully loose a bit of weight (I'm not going on a diet as such - I hate them - I'd rather move more and still eat cake).

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So, my overall goal for 2018 is to be easier on myself and look after myself better. Other than that, I have the following plans at the moment (they might change - plus my first Dream Plan Do goal is for three months so there will be new ones in the spring anyway).

  • Go to the gym as often as I can, even if it's just for a quick swim and a dip in the jacuzzi.
  • Plan some fun things with friends and family (which will hopefully be easier to do as it's my big birthday year...)
  • Diarise trips into town to see exhibitions as I didn't do this enough last year. On my list at the moment are: Rachel Whiteread and Tove Jansson (need to get my skates on for these two), Orla Kiely, Red Star Over Russia and Modigliani, Elizabeth Friedlander and Frida Kahlo...
  • Plan some photowalks and trips with just a couple of people - not opening them up to others/giving me masses of work to do for very little reward.
  • Business wise:
    • Relaunching with a clear strategy - so this involves properly planning out what I intend to offer and what I don't, along with improving my communication with regard to what I do - revamping my website to reflect this and then just getting on with it.
    • Boosting my portfolio - as I said I mostly fought fires last year and the lack of new, interesting work I have to show is holding me back. I've already started on this.
    • Finally sorting out Pinterest and SEO for my blog - which I've been avoiding as it's not fun, and I don't really know what I'm doing...

So there we go. Nothing too major. I've never been one for embracing change and if 2017 taught me anything it's that I need to learn how to. My ideas about what I want my life and my business to look like in the future have changed (and to be fair, are rather hazy at the moment) but that shouldn't matter. I've also learnt that tenacity is good but there comes a point where ploughing on regardless with something that isn't working is really damaging.

Watch this space for some new stuff (very soon!), oh and if you see me flagging, do give me a kick and remind me of what my priorities need to be!

 

All the Fun of Open Studios!

Art, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Painting, Pattern Design, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

A slightly belated end of open studios post for you! We had a brilliant second weekend (you can read about the first one here) and a lovely celebratory get together afterwards. A few more images from our stop on the trail are below. The dates for 2018 have now been set so get them in your diaries - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July 2018 - see you there!

Claire Chandler's Studio

Claire Chandler's Studio

My gazebo

My gazebo

Marie Ratnam's paintings

Marie Ratnam's paintings

The view from the road!

The view from the road!

Claire's much admired mosaic paving slabs

Claire's much admired mosaic paving slabs

The after party! Image (c) Stuart James

The after party! Image (c) Stuart James

Carshalton Artists Open Studios - Week 1

Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Painting, Pattern Design, Photography, Shopping, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

What an amazing time we had last weekend! We were overwhelmed by the wonderful response to our first open studios event (and I'm mainlining coffee as I type!!) - so many people came to see us and the reaction to my work actually left me feeling a little tearful (in a good way!). Here are a few images (and a little film) from the weekend - Come back and see us when we do it all again tomorrow and Sunday from 11-5 - find all the details here. I'm at stop 11 on the trail - 133a Stanley Park Road.

New Work for Carshalton Artists Open Studios

Art, Events, Exhibition, London, StudiosKate Marsden

Preparation for Carshalton Artists Open Studios is now in full swing - we start this Saturday folks - eeek! As I have a rare opportunity to take some larger and heavier work to this event I've been putting together some new original pieces. I'll also be lugging along a stack of sketchbooks for people to look through, alongside my usual work. Here's a little sneak peek at some of the new stuff you can expect to see...

Come and see me this weekend - 24/25 June and next - 1/2 July at 133a Stanley Park Road. Find out more about the event and all the artists taking part on the Carshalton Artists Open Studios website.