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A new design-direction for me sees more of my HIGHLAND COLLECTION spring to vibrant life, featuring my photography of the CAIRNGORM MOUNTAIN in the Scottish Highlands.

I love the bright saturation of colour that makes the nooks and crags of the Cairngorm mountain really sing. The Highland Cows (hi Henry! hi Henrietta!) have also taken on more adventurous personalities.




Using photographs from a trip up the CAIRNGORM on the Furnicular Mountain Railway (sadly, not currently in operation) last autumn, I was able to create these designs this week in time to enter them into the Wraptious Competition.

I’ve mentioned this competition before and it is a great kick-starter for the imagination - a deadline, a creative challenge. And anything goes.

Once uploaded, you get to see your designs mocked-up as square prints, canvas prints and on cushions, with customers able to purchase them for a limited time only (until 24th June 2019). It’s all very exciting.

I think my Highland Cows are rocking the cushion mock-ups!

What do you think? Would you welcome these designs into your home?

They would sit nicely in a contemporary living room or open plan kitchen/dining space i think. I quite fancy the blue cow for a bedroom too?

Find out more + purchase options on Wraptious. (The cushions are made with velvety vegan-suede…)Please also ‘like’ and ‘share’ on their Facebook page if you genuinely like these designs - these actions = points in the competition! Thank you for your support :)


Above was the view down the mountain about halfway through our descent. We also spotted some reindeer off in the distance, but not close enough to get a good photograph unfortunately. Another time?

Below, the minty green sky that melts into the landscape has to be my favourite. It speaks of a faraway place with no interruptions, clean, fresh air and a grounding, yet buoyant perspective. What do you see?
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Visiting a new place always gives me a surge of inspiration, new ideas and perspectives. I’d never been to Bristol before last weekend, but it had something I really wanted: FABRIC AFRICA, an exhibition featuring African textiles and fashion.

I’ll be writing a full post on FABRIC AFRICA, but for now I wanted to share my thoughts on Bristol itself - a buzzing university city with a big creative scene - and BANKSY.

We didn’t follow the Banksy walking trail, concluding instead that the mystery of his work is the main attraction in a way, perhaps more so than the art?

The example here above a fine art shop added to the tongue-in-cheek playfulness of the Banksy approach, though it also made me question whether this one was real! I’m sure it is…

The sun was shining and our hotel was Harbourside; right in the hub of things. People were wandering along, buskers ushering in the Friday afternoon vibe, ready for the weekend.

We noticed a LOT of people sitting not only in the many bars and cafes, but also by the water with carry-outs of cans and bottles of wine. I wasn’t sure if this meant the laws on drinking in the street were more relaxed here, or if there was more of a laissez-faire approach to enforcing them as everyone was so happy and chilled, and the weather was for once playing ball.

Bristol seems to have started a tradition of ‘love’ padlocks which I’ve seen to varying degrees in many European cities.

Kind of cute but also a hazard, when you consider what happened to the Pont des Arts in Paris (the origin of this romantic gesture?). Luckily, I think Pero’s Bridge is safe for now.

Talking of bridges, we walked up by the university and along to the Clifton area of town - the posh/west end with lots of eateries, delis, boutiques and interiors shops.

I spotted a girl wearing a vintage dress I bought in a vintage shop in London years ago (blue with white spots). I’ve toyed with getting rid of that dress the odd time in a Marie-Kondo-fest of wardrobe cleansing, but each time it has been saved because I love it.

The Clifton Suspension bridge is right there, so of course we wandered across and back.

It reminded me of the Brooklyn bridge, but much smaller in scale. It had the same kind of angles. And a decent view. The water looked decidedly murky though. There was a sign up with the number of the Samaritans.

The first time I saw my doppelganger dress-wearer outside a pub I didn’t stop to say anything. The second time I saw her on the suspension bridge and I totally said! Made my day :)

I always love seeing what people write on their street signage and in windows, especially in a new-to-me-city. The lettering and style of it, the colours. The vibe. Those first impressions are so random, dependent on where you choose to wander.

You might say you’ll walk back that way, the same way, once you have your bearings, but in my experience that never happens.

You see new things and get distracted and there’s something better around the corner or a map that diverts your attention to another street, another landmark or building of note. On the journey home when it’s too late, you might remember. Or not!

So I always snap what I see now and don’t wait to go back.

WE THE CURIOUS piqued my interest for sure (it’s the Science Centre), and I found the shop there, M-Shed and Arnolfini (Bristol’s Centre for Contemporary Art) to be places I’d happily spend an afternoon in themselves. So many exciting books for all ages, but I particularly honed in on the children’s books. From an illustration point of view, there were so many fantastic examples to draw inspiration from (sorry!).

There seemed to be a heavy Soviet influence in the architecture by the harbour. We almost had breakfast one of the days in The Soviet Cafe. I found this quite interesting and unexpected.

The windows on this building suggest the Cryillic alphabet to me.

And I could imagine a whole pattern collection based on the protruding diamond-shapes here.

I like the juxtaposition of the grey concrete repetition next to the lush, organic greenery. Very pleasing to the eye.

Venturing further afield was the creative hub PAINTWORKS where I saw Mandy Barker’s ALTERED OCEANS photography exhibition.

Shining a light on the problem of PLASTIC POLLUTION in our oceans and our environments, this was a captivating, beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking experience. I’ll do a separate post on this to do it justice.

Her sketchbooks and journals of notes and accompanying video of how she grouped and arranged the objects she found was fascinating. The synchronicities of how it all came together felt important; the universe urging us to take note. I was slightly heartened to discover that of the 9 tips on how to cut down on single-use plastic, I was doing most of them. What we need however, is for everyone to get onboard.

At Bristol Museum & Art Gallery we wandered into the Chinese glass section (en route to the Masters of Japanese prints) and spotted cabinets of colour and curiosities. I love all the shapes and styles, which would make a beautiful, modern pattern for the home. Leave that with me!

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I visited this exhibition ARTIST TEXTILES: PICASSO to WARHOL at the wonderfully picturesque and historic New Lanark Visitor Centre OVER A YEAR AGO.

Planning to share the delights at the time, it seems that life happened and I didn’t manage it. Having recently stumbled upon the trove of images I took as I wandered round the carefully curated space, I realised the time to share them is NOW.

Tracing the history of 20th century ART in TEXTILES, the exhibition features a host of feted designers across key art movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism and Pop Art.

With any exhibition like this featuring designs from the past, there is no real ‘expiry’ date to the inspiration and wonder. It first ran at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London circa 2014, but has been on tour ever since, only finishing next week (6th May) at the Modern Art Museum in Shanghai.

“I’ve spent my life ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich.”William Morris, Textiles Designer, 1876

The florals here are timeless and have a collaged vibe. The colour palette is refined, beautiful and graceful, bringing to mind afternoon tea in a stately home.

Quickly we move on to geometrics and Russian aeroplanes, the latter roller-printed on cotton circa 1920’s. I love their simple, fun form and can imagine dressing my little boy in an outfit featuring such a delightful print.

Gerald Wilde, screen-printed silk fashion textile, 1944

“After the second world war, artists methods and the subjects they portrayed began to embrace the dynamism of contemporary life. They focused not on representational images, but on pattern, colour and abstraction. This new style translated perfectly into textile design.”

The art itself is telling a story, whether in block-print repeat or through the stark yet abundant landscapes that make a dramatic statement through their imaginative use of colour. I love the whispering women below, ‘Gossips’ by Textile Designer Virginia Lee Burton with their huge bustled skirts. Are they friend or foe? I would LOVE a skirt or dress in that print! (It was also available as a gorgeous deep green.)

Moving on to the bright-brights, I lingered around these Surrealist silk headscarves by Salvador Dali, none of which would look out of place AT ALL in a boutique anywhere in the world RIGHT THIS SECOND.

I admire his bold use of colour and almost naive rendering of the abstract shapes. I don’t think he would mind me saying that. He always appeared so friendly with his tapered moustache and mischievous eyes…

Am I right in thinking these are telephones hanging on a wall in an underwater cave, or a train tunnel, or simply floating in a swimming pool?

It’s like taking a trip each time you look at these as the multiple layers of meaning in the art reveal themselves as though in a mass Rorschach experiment. I remember circling back a few times to stare into them as though I was furiously churning the end of a kaleidoscope.

“Surrealism aimed to revolutionise human experience, rejecting a rational vision of life in favour of one that asserted the value of the unconscious and dreams, championing the irrational, the poetic and the revolutionary.”

Sticking with the brights this angelic/cherub, parcels of florals, a woman with carrots and onions in her hair and a quartet of female-clown faces.

Maybe I’m being too literal and I sound perhaps like these pieces weren’t/aren’t to my taste, but quite the contrary. I love the energy in the lines and the distinctive style that flows through the artist’s hand (Marcel Vertes).

Faces are a perennial attraction in design - mostly female faces. The image below is not a good photograph, but I love this Picasso print with the dove at the centre in primary colours with the text around the outside. It’s like the four faces of the world, designed clearly for the ‘Festival Mundial’ in Berlin, 1951.

The array of prints was dizzying with far too many to describe or include here, but taken together these had my synapses firing and inspire(d) me to work harder on my own art and surface pattern design.

There is nothing better to ‘fill your creative bucket’ than an exhibition like this featuring some of the best designers of the last century, plus.

I haven’t even started on the fashion part yet or the Warhol prints.

I’m saving those for Part 2 :)

Angelo Testa, screen-printed cotton wall-hanging, 1947

I’m going to finish Part 1 with this - ‘A Fish is a Fish is Fish’ by Ken Scott.

As a Piscean, I’m always inspired by and interested in fish prints and the sea. Curiously, there were a few different hen prints too. Quite interesting how they could easily be imagined on upholstery or even fashion, particularly the smaller, non-directional ditzy print?

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Dainty Dora by Rebecca Johnstone - 4M ago

Introducing my take on the iconic Scottish Highland Cow.

With my Glasgow and Paisley collections well-stocked with designs, I thought it was time I turned my attention to my roots in the Scottish Highlands.

I think a lot of tourists visiting Scotland imagine seeing a Highland Cow as soon as they arrive on Scottish soil, maybe even grazing in a field outside the airport, but the Highland cow is in fact a little more elusive.

I realised just how elusive when I went to photograph some of these gorgeous beasts in their natural habitat.

Lots of artists and designers feature Highland cows in their work, and instead of just jumping on the bandwagon, I wanted to experiment with the story I was trying to tell through my designs.

As I called to them from the fields, I fondly named the handsome pair I found grazing Hamish and Henrietta.

I imagined a love story under the Highland stars; a courtship at the back of the cow shed. But maybe they’re both girls, or maybe they’re both boys, or maybe they’re even siblings - I’m not bias! Free (Highland Cow) love!

I wanted to create a simple line illustration I could use in different ways, and then add texture. Creating the texture was fun! This is Hamish.

I love both versions of Hamish, and the slightly disinterested expression. I mean, if anything sums up the attitude of a Highland Cow it’s disinterest surely?

This next version of the print with a background of my Mackintosh-inspired TARTAN ROSE pattern feels like it fits my more ‘maximalist’ style. Or maybe the simple white version on the patterned background would be better?

What do you think? Is it too much to have THREE Scottish trends in one image?!

Now I need to work a bit more on Henrietta to get that Highland romance off the ground…moooo!

Those gorgeous tousled fringes swishing in the breeze, the cute slobbery snouts and trusting eyes. I wish I could have taken one or both of them home with me, but that’s neither practical, responsible - or legal!

Highland Cows deserve to stay in the habitat they love, and that’s firmly in the Scottish Highlands enjoying the best of the Scottish weather, come rain or shine.

I see a Highland Cow pattern in my future. Watch this space for more Highlands-inspired designs. Also a big shout-out to my Dad, who knew just the spot for me to photograph Hamish & Henrietta :D

Accessibility: a lovely reader got in touch to ask for an audio version of my posts. This is the first time I’ve tried it but you should be able to listen to the audio below. Please note, neither of these are my own voice!

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Dainty Dora by Rebecca Johnstone - 5M ago
I was lucky to catch the last day of the Hannah Frank 110th Birthday Exhibition this week, on display at the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel.

Consisting of a small selection of her work grouped according to three distinctive ‘eras’ of her style + printing templates and personal ephemera, it gave me plenty to immerse in as I entered her beautiful, often intricate world of black and white.

Her designs are ethereal and dreamy, exquisite in their confident lines that express so much, often in extreme simplicity.

Female portraits and sideways glances. Liquid eyes filled with sorrow or something deeper and more mysterious. Swarming tendrils of hair, a fish swimming through like it is instead seaweed on the ocean floor.

A weird spell cast by a wandering elfThat charms with fingers cold

Haunting and beautiful, I see a mother and a child in both the image above and below. I wonder if that is because I am viewing it through the filter of being a (relatively) new mum myself? Hannah Frank had no children so perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps they are nymphs or sprites or spirits or just beautiful, sad girls?

These intricate printing plates were a wonderful surprise I hadn’t expected to find. Their shimmering gold and silver surfaces added an even stronger Egyptian/Eastern flavour for me, and when one of the curators told me it was OK to touch them and even take etchings, I happily grabbed a pencil and paper.

The bird symbolism was strong, and I got the sense that the birds held an ominous portent.

The stars and florals and swirling shapes put me in mind of Mucha, and the masculine female faces and lettering of Alistair Gray. Art Nouveau influences wrought in fluid darkness.

Another allusion to Egyptology - the illustrated lines below published in the Glasgow University Magazine, Christmas 1934 - pictured in a cabinet alongside her official wedding invitation and other papers.

‘I am thy soul, Nikoptis. I have read out the gold upon the wall,And wearied out my thought upon the signs.And there is no new thing in all this place. ‘

From the poem The Tomb At Akr Çaar by Ezra Pound.

I hadn’t realised before seeing this exhibition that Hannah Frank had turned her attention to sculpture in the 1950’s. Well-expressed female forms in plaster and bronze, they often had long, regal necks, again quite Egyptian in style.

I like the relaxed, casual poses they strike, although I think I prefer her black and white drawings the best, for which she is probably better known.

From the very beginning of her career, her style was so obviously hers. Undeniably so. Distinctive and pure.

This is a lesson I needed to see because I’ve struggled to hone my own identify as an artist, purely because I enjoy trying lots of different styles of work.

Success comes from recognition and that can only truly occur when as an artist, you focus, focus, focus and hone in on your specific niche. Thank you Hannah Frank for this nugget of gold!

I did once ‘meet’ Hannah in person - at her 100th birthday exhibition, just before she died.

What a fantastic, spirited and talented woman she was.

Please note, this exhibition is now finished, though there are some signed prints left in the GU Shop. I couldn’t leave without buying the book!

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To usher in the start of 2019 last week, we went to Nairn beach to see the sea. Ah the sea, the sea!

I’d love to live closer to the sea; to have its roar and tumble and gentle numbing reassurance right there on my doorstep. It widens perspectives and disperses problems like nothing else for me.

There is something so bracing and dramatic and levelling about walking towards waves cresting onto shell-scattered sands with the wind in your face and clear blue skies; dogs dashing in and out of the surf.

I love this shot I took of myself, a lone photographer as if on stilts on the sand. The light was just perfect.

And then again from the dunes, the two of us anonymous in silhouette.

The above image transported me to Cape Town, to where my mother and grandmother were born. It’s as though in the distance lies Table Mountain beyond, not the Moray Firth.

Oh how my imagination thrives on the sparest of details!

Sea-treasure and heart-shaped stones. I wanted to take home a whole pocket-full, but resisted for the sake of my already burgeoning shelves and memory-boxes.

The sailboats in the harbour had lovely names like SEAMOON, ELEANOR, MARIETTE and JETSTREAM. I love reading the names of boats, often hand-painted by the owners. Imagine having a boat named after you. That would be so special.

The sea and boats are a great theme for a pattern collection, and I’ve had an old book of shell drawings for a few years that I’d like to use as inspiration for some new designs. Soon. Definitely soon.

‘The sea is my brother’, as Jack Kerouac said. Or at least, a long-lost cousin.

Until next time lovely waves, though I must admit I wasn’t brave enough to dip my toes in. It was baltic!

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Dainty Dora by Rebecca Johnstone - 7M ago
So this year I sent my first batch of Christmas E-CARDS. Christmas e-cards are a ‘thing’.

You might remember I wrote about my research into the current e-card options earlier in the year - whether to go paper or paperless - but I had never actually sent any.

Then a few weeks before Christmas my husband revealed he’d booked us a trip to the Christmas markets in Berlin as a treat. Yay! It was in that moment that I realised I would never be able to get everything done, and that in fact, something had to give. The cards.

A bit flustered and almost out of time to send traditional through-the-post cards to friends and family anyway - especially those living abroad (definitely those living abroad), I decided it was the perfect time to give e-cards a go

Full disclosure - I had some ‘credit’ at Paperless Post due to having featured many of their cards in my earlier post, so with an account all set up and ready to go, it was the easiest option. And it was actually really easy.

You don’t need instructions because once you click on a card, the options just present themselves and you progress through them choosing things like the colour of the envelope and liner, the font and size of your message, and whether you want a background or not. You even get to change the stamp to show postage in your home country - impressive - though I didn’t do it myself (because, time).

I chose this lovely ‘Christmas Square’ scene of skaters in the snow, with a backdrop of foliage and berries. What do you think? I’m always drawn to this kind of vintage-nostalgic image.

You have the option of sending yourself a ‘test’ version of your design to see how it all looks and to make sure you’re happy with it. I found the process so quick I wanted to make sure I had actually created a personalised card, but I had. Simple.

Then came the hard part: who did I want to send it to and did I have their email addresses?

You can upload email addresses in bulk in various different formats which would be handy for next time or for those more organised than me. I did it line by line and sent 10 cards initially to test out the process.

What I found particularly heartening is a ‘reply’ function that appears automatically, so the recipient can send you a message back. You never normally hear back from sending someone a card (especially to friends and family you hardly see or speak to IRL), so this added an unexpected interactive element to the whole thing which was a pleasant surprise. Who said e-cards are impersonal?

in summary, I would say e-cards are set to become increasingly popular as people lead busier lives and live a more global/nomadic lifestyle. I did feel a nice warm glow from having done something, rather than giving in and doing nothing due to lack of time and missed posting dates; I connected with family members in Dubai and Cape Town, as well as friends down the road. I will definitely do this again. One friend even messaged to say she loved the eco-credentials of my e-card - another fab bonus. Just remember: you’re still only as good as your (email) address book.

So although I saw another friend post on social media that her collection of Christmas cards makes Christmas special - the reliving of special memories while she is writing to a particular person, as well as the joy of receiving cards back, sometimes a trip to Berlin beckons. Maybe I could put this on an e-card?

PS. In the last few years I’ve noticed ‘New Year’ cards becoming a ‘thing’. I’ve only ever sent one to my Mum, because, well because she’s my Mum and I saw the most beautiful card one year that I knew she would love (she did). But it’s not something I want to start with everyone - double the December workload and all that, but I just checked, and there is a whole section for New Year cards. It’s not too late!

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Dainty Dora by Rebecca Johnstone - 7M ago
Back in October I had a whirlwind weekend in London, and my first port of call was the Christmas Shop in situ on the 4th floor of Liberty.

The Christmas Shop is a destination in itself, but I also got quite distracted by the interiors floor and all the wild and wonderful creatures on display. I realised right then, I would happily live in the shop.

The soap is beautifully wrapped in patterned paper, the Moroccan rugs transport you as if on a magic carpet ride to a dusty, secret bizarre, and the fabrics - well I could browse those all day, stroking them as if they were special pets. (Yes that’s a tad concerning.)

It was all laid out for me like a dream, and due to it being only an hour before closing (one precious hour), it was remarkably quiet to the point I felt like I almost had this wonderland to myself.

I loved the winter toadstools, both the wooden version and the metallic-glazed bauble version. They don’t do anything but they do look pretty. I think that’s partly the point of decorations…

There were lots of ‘London’ themed baubles, as you might expect. Corgis, black cabs, the Queen’s Guard, scenes featuring Liberty itself.

I like them but they’re a bit touristy for my taste. I prefer the ice skates and the robins and the more trad Christmas symbols.

This cross-stitch stocking deserves a mention because it’s so intricate and gorgeous. I know I would never have the patience (or skills) to complete a project such as this, but I stood to admire it and considered buying the pack for my aunt who adores cross-stitching.

These are the gifts that become a tradition, or rather the Christmas decorations that become heirlooms, unveiled year after year. If someone made me this stocking, it’d definitely be a keeper!

And now for the NUTCRACKERS!

It definitely felt it was a ‘Nutcracker Christmas’ this year, with more cards and wrapping paper devoted to this dapper dude than ever before. I really, really wanted one of the musical box versions, but he was rather heavy and we only had carry-on luggage. Next year perhaps.

The stockings were lovely though of course I had designs unravelling in my head for my own stockings. Unfortunately I ran out of time this year which was especially disappointing as I’d wanted to make a special stocking for baby Jack. Another to-do for next year’s festive list.

Then came the more exotic baubles. The fruits and festive jumpers (never seen any like that before), the vodka and rum bottles and the inevitable Day of the Dead skulls. I like them well enough at Halloween but I’m not sold on these for Christmas. Am I getting old and boring? Probably!

One thing I do know - Gisela Graham really has Christmas sewn up doesn’t she? I mean, is there anywhere or anything that she has not conquered for Christmas?

I think my overall favourite was this gorgeous peacock, perfectly poised and perched amidst the boxed delights. I love the deep turquoise with the gold and green. There is even a fairy + a brace of pheasants to coordinate too!

Overall it was the best Friday night I’ve had in ages, wandering the rows of glittery offerings, the baubles in baskets and bowls, the twinkling lights and the life-sized deer/stag. A very special place indeed.

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Dainty Dora by Rebecca Johnstone - 9M ago
This week I had an arty evening at Oliver Bonas, Glasgow, creating animal characters with their London-based designers and a small class of like-minded creatives.

The theme was all about the brand’s autumn/winter ‘story’ of KINSHIP, WOODLAND ADVENTURES and FANTASTICAL FRIENDS.

Browsing around the store beforehand was a delight, as the colours, patterns and designs they feature on their fashion and homewares are always innovative, clever and VIBRANT.

The packaging on products like soap and beauty products and even their tissue paper is just so FUN. Bold/neon abstract prints that are really quite simple but so eye-catching. Even the inserts on their frames are amazing enough to just keep instead!

Here’s some insight into their A/W animal theme and why TIGERS feature so prominently.

The patterns make you want to buy the product, and this is why I wanted to get into pattern design because it is so versatile, persuasive, exciting and EVERYWHERE. Oh, and I now want to live in a branch of Oliver Bonas!

Gold handled tea pots and tea sets. Jazzy chartreuse and sage abstract florals. Fabulous!

I loved the embroidery detail on this sage green scarf (above) which gives it a real hand-finished quality with the level of detail. It also fits nicely into the idea of woodland walks all cosy in autumn layers. I love stitch marks and want to use them a bit more in my own designs. Maybe even in my characters?

The metallic print on this bag (below) also taps into the animal theme, and I can really see myself buying it - if I didn’t already have too many cute bags…

The blankets/throws are really cool too in sorbet shades which seem like they would suit summer best, but work so well in-store; a bright yet cosy contrast to the darker, more opulent shades.

So after a browse and a few sips of pink lemonade (Prosecco for some but I was driving), it was time to get started.

We had a few rounds of warm-up exercises lasting from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, where we had to interpret a ‘character’ from a random selection of animals, using a colour and a specified ‘decoration’ for that animal, also picked at random and limited to one. Pressure!

Luckily there were a few Oliver Bonas ceramic animal ‘friends’ dotted around for inspiration, which helped me a lot with faces and basic body shapes.

It was quick-fire fun and we initially used felt tip pens. Some of my combinations were:

  • A purple lion + bear with spots
  • A yellow owl with stars
  • A blue dinosaur with flowers
  • A turquoise bear with dots

My drawings - really more like sketches or outlines - are naive and childlike, but I quite like that aspect.

Obviously this Tiger & Bear duo are not very polished after only 2 or 3 minutes, but I like how having a time limit and colour restriction can shake up your interpretations into something that you wouldn’t normally create. An interesting dynamic.

I think my FLORA-SAURUS was pretty ingenious:

Once we all agreed we were raring to go on our main animal character of the night, the same rules applied and I my pick got me a GREEN OWL with stripes.

For this more in-depth character we moved on to using watercolours which upped the ante a bit.

We were advised we could sketch outlines in pencil first, but with only 15 minutes in total, I just wanted to dive straight in with my watercolour brush!

I really like my owl, and would like to work on him a little more. Or maybe it’s a her?

I know owls have been a bit over-represented in the last decade or more, but they are popular for a reason and I have always loved them - one of my childhood cuddly toys being an owl.

Finally, we had 5-10 minutes left to work freestyle on anything we wanted - any animal in any medium. I really enjoyed working on my FLORA-SAURUS dino so I created a more in-depth version who I named ‘RUPERT’.

He came out in fire-breathing orange and as there were metallic oil-pastels being passed around, I added those in too - the bronze feels like a nice touch don’t you think? I’d like to experiment with this medium a little more as the pastels resist the paint giving a lovely texture, though precision isn’t easy after a few minutes of use and the warmth of your hand.

A really great evening all round and I made some new friends too. Watch this space for more character creations!

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Yesterday I launched a collection of my wares in the new Scottish Design Exchange, Glasgow.

Located in the heart of the city centre within busy Buchanan Galleries (facing you when you exit the car park into the mall, and just along from John Lewis), the shop is testament to everything that is great about Scottish design.

I feel honoured to be part of it this not-for-profit social enterprise that supports and nurtures local designers, especially as we inch ever-closer to Christmas and the demands of keeping up pace and presence to catch the attention of shoppers.

My range is displayed on the wall towards the back of the shop (an inch to the left from the mannequin in the middle in the image at the top!), and totally visible from one of the main doors.

YOU WILL FIND:
Limited Edition Risograph prints (numbered/signed), Glasgow Triptychs of The Lane, The Crest and The Crane, my exclusive 100% silk scarf collection, Paisley in Pattern 2019 calendars, mounted A4 and 8x6 prints featuring my take on the Glasgow Crest/Coat of Arms + Pattern-Bombed Photo prints of iconic scenes around the city, and a small selection of postcards.

Stepping back to take in my display once I’d finished tweaking and changing things around, I had to pinch myself as it is still feels hard to believe I have a range of art and accessories, all designed and made by me, on display in such a central and significant retail environment.

It feels incredible and I’m so grateful to every customer who has bought work from me and shared it with their friends and family, as gifts, or just by displaying it in their homes.

But I couldn’t have done it alone.

My long-suffering husband who having escaped becoming an Instagram Husband has gradually morphed into my Business Partner/IT Manager/Confidante/Handy-Man extraordinaire, and has been instrumental in my success.

When I asked him to reconfigure a vintage record player for me to use in my display he agreed without complaint, and then proceeded to spend 4 hours making it right, even crafting new wooden knobs for the front. That was after half an hour searching the loft for the missing legs…

And when I needed help hanging up my shelves, he was there, by my side. Even the typewriter above was bought as a spare for parts to make sure my actual typewriter works <3

I mean he did accidentally bar-code some Lion Christmas cards as Penguins, but it’s an easy mistake to make when you’re thrust into the public eye against your will, isn’t it?

Even my 9-month-old son has played his part, because ever since I found out I was pregnant, he has been a good-luck charm in everything I have done. Cheesy, but true - pregnancy was amazing for my creativity!

So - a big week of preparation and planning for us, and maybe it sounds a bit soppy to mention my husband and my son; to mix my business persona with my wife and mother self, but I believe in working from the heart and I know I couldn’t have done it without them both.

Glasgow Crest 4-colour illustrative print

Mackintosh Birds 100% Silk Scarf + Print

Ashton Lane Thistles Pattern-Bomb Photo Print + Postcard

Check out my work and that of all the other amazing designer-makers on display at the Scottish Design Exchange, Glasgow. (There is also an Edinburgh store, based at Ocean Terminal.)

If there is something in my oeuvre that you would like/have seen that is not in stock, or that you can imagine that isn’t currently available, let me know and I’ll make it happen, if I can.

Scottish Design Exchange, 2nd Floor (near John Lewis), Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow

Mon-Sat 10am-6pm
Sun 10am-5pm

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