Banbury ArtFest 2017

Last weekend, myself and Victoria (of Victoria Anne Illustrations & Design) had a stall at Banbury ArtFest. This was the inaugural event; organised by Artist, Art Shop and Gallery owner Barry Whitehouse.

The plan was to house 30+ of the areas Artists and makers demonstrating their work in one place during the Banbury & District Show, an annual event organised by Banbury Town Council, so that the public could see how the art is made. With such a warm, sunny day, you couldn’t have asked for better weather to bring out the crowds!

Banbury & District Show

For our stall we decided to showcase Linocutting (me) and rubber stamp making (Victoria), with a bit of knitting thrown in! We are working on the format of our knitting event/s so stay tuned for more information on that soon.

Our Stall

I started the day by carving a design I had already sketched out in my sketchbook. It’s a vintage stand mixer to accompany the retro bowl and spoon print you can just about see in the background.

©Modern Parlance Photos

[Note: I’m removing a bit of lino from the tool in this pic, do not carve with your free hand near the tool, they are super sharp. Use a corner tool to keep the lino steady!]

I ended the day working on a linocut of the goats that were in the pop-up farm outside the tent. I’ve never carved animals before, perhaps it was the influence of the wonderful Melanie Charles and her animal portraits, as she was based beside us for the day!

It’s all ready to be inked now, when I have done so I will pop up a photo on my instagram.

The highlights of the day were being able to spend time surrounded by so many talented, creative people and having the opportunity to chat to them, as well as talking to the general public about what we were working on and about our course. We are so lucky to live in a community that is so richly populated by artists! It was also interesting how the main connection most people have with lino is from carving lino at school. This was something we definitely didn’t do; I was completely fresh to it as a medium about 18 months ago. My favourite responses were definitely from children; it’s really enjoyable to explain the process.

I think we learned a lot about how we’re going to market our work in the future, and how we can draw interest to our work. We’re already planning for next year!

I now have some work for sale at Church Lane Gallery. A linoprint of Church Lane and one of my retro bowl prints!


2017 has broken with the typical type of wet Sunday you’d expect. Its a gift to everyone sorely in need of a duvet day. For once, that isn’t me, the fire to get things up and running for the year is firmly lit!

My Christmas cards for 2016. A Christmas Bauble lino cut. I made 4 variations of this, 3 with red, blue and yellow in rotation and 1 that is just black. Lino is definitely something I want to work and improve on over the next year, and hopefully create some prints for my Etsy Shop.

Lino has really taken off this year, it was my friends at The Artery’s best seller, and rightly so as its a fab process and you can do it at home without too much fuss. If you’re in the Oxfordshire area, Barry is running a class on Lino Prints in February.

I have finished my first semester on my FdA course, and it is wonderful. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment, I have access to all the processes I could wish for and am challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone. I’m looking forward to starting a major project in a couple of weeks, I can’t wait to see what comes of it! I am blogging as part of my FdA over at KittyAF.

I had intended to write a post about the Access Course I was enrolled on last year, and I still do, so sit tight! I have a lot to say about the importance of this sort of course existing; without it I wouldn’t be where I am now!

Lastly, plans for 2017 as an artist separate from my student work. I picked up two concertina sketchbooks from a local charity shop a couple of months ago with a germ of an idea for 2017 in my mind. In 2015 I spent 6 months doodling every day, but called a halt to it because of the time constraints of my Access Course. The benefits of daily practice were massive though and I now have 6 months worth of ideas sitting in my studio for when I need inspiration. I’m still hashing out the rules for my 2017 project but I can tell you that it will be weekly and is likely to involve watercolour or ink illustration as I want to brush up on both of those! I reckon I can get 52 weeks out of the two sketchbooks.

My other plan is to set up my Etsy shop. Depending on time and inspiration it will be a mix of: zines, prints, cards and hopefully some acrylic items. Exciting times!

Wishing you all a creative and happy 2017.

Cat Memorial Tattoo

After our cat, Charlie, passed away in 2014, I wanted to memorialise her in a tattoo. SInce then, I’ve known what I wanted to do, but feeling ready to do it was another story. The first step to realising the design was extracting and creating a waveform of her purr. Firstly I needed to isolate a snippet of the sound of her purring; a comforting and fairly unique bubbly little sound, from a video I had of her. I seperated the audio from the video using VDSC and then imported the audio into Audacity and tidied it up a bit. After I had done that I zoomed in on the chosen section and took a screenshot, which I then finished up in photoshop. It came out looking a little something like this:

The Waveform of her purr
The Waveform of her purr

On its own, the image of her purr would have been a nice tribute, but I felt it was lacking something. Inspiration came to me whilst looking through the photos I have of her, and realising that one in particular happened to fit the shape of the purr really well. It also happened to be my favourite photo I took of her, which was a nice piece of serendipity.

My favourite photo of Charlie
My favourite photo of Charlie

Having decided to marry up the photo with the waveform, I printed out a sheet of the sound images and set to work with a brush pen. I really wanted to freehand it because I wanted a simple and fluid image, the temptation for me is always towards the accurate, and that wasn’t what I wanted in this instance. It was also very important to me that this tattoo was one entirely created by me. I came up with three designs:

Tattoo Options
Tattoo Options

Initially, I was drawn towards the third one, but in between designing the tattoo and booking the appointment, I came to prefer the gentle sketchy nature of the first option. I am really pleased I went for that one now, as the detail in the other two obscures the waveform a bit too for it to really be effective. This is how it looked freshly inked, it is still healing, so not quite ready for a final photo yet!

Freshly Inked
Freshly Inked

My tattoo was inked by Alex of Empire Tattoo Studios, who did my first tattoo (which is directly above my cat tattoo) and is absolutely awesome. You can check out his work over on Instagram, the designs he comes up with are amazing, and I’m looking forward to having him design something for me later this year.

New Year, New Blog

One of my final acts for 2015 was to post something to this blog. I still have the rest of the site to get up, but there is a page for our Winter Showcase Exhibition, so I’ll call that a win.  Hopefully I will be able to add some “press” to the page soon. It would be nice to write a post about my experience of setting it up, but I have to say it was pretty straightforward, so I’m unsure if it would be a useful read or not!

The primary aim of this blog is to share my experiences of college – and hopefully university – as a mature student. I am really enjoying my course and the art I’m producing, so I’m pretty enthusiastic to share that! My current aim is to finish off my sketchbook for the Body Project, submit my UCAS application and prepare my portfolio for interview.

— Kitty