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  1. Wraptious-Autumn-competition-blog-title

     It’s that time of year again - not the run up to Christmas, but the Wraptious Artist Competition.  If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I entered the Spring competition.  I didn’t place, but I did make a few sales.  You can see my earlier blog post here.

    I wasn’t sure whether to enter again, but this time I have had some advanced warning and I was working on a project that I thought would fit the criteria.  Much of what I do for the rest of the year is creating repeat patterns for fabric, but these current designs work as stand-alone pieces. They would, therefore, work as either cushion covers or art prints.

    The inspiration began when I reworked the guide book for my local church, St Mary’s, North Mymms.  There was a brief leaflet and I worked it into a guide book, for which we could charge to raise money for the church.  This little parish church is blessed with lots of historically interesting architectural details and monuments.  However, what I discovered was that there was no information about the stained glass, which is beautiful.  I have always loved Church stained glass. 

    As you will see from my work, I am a lover of colour and stained glass embodies the joy of colour in art.  I am always drawn to stained glass first and I love traditional stained glass colours and patterns used in church stained glass.

     I was not interested in creating religious subject matter, but I wanted to take loose inspiration from stained glass.  When I started to create my first motifs, I really enjoyed the combination of natural hand-drawn shapes and geometrical shapes, and I have gone on to explore this further.

    Wraptious-competition---preliminary-sketchesThe colours I have chosen all come from a church stained glass window.  I have limited the palette but used three different tones of the same colour, which you will be able to see from the finished designs.


    The designs are available to buy as art prints and cushions until 25th December 2019.  See link here.



     I would also really appreciate a vote over on Facebook, to help me become a finalist.  Click here to vote.  Thank you so much!


  2. African-influences-in-my-design-work-blog-title

    It’s a funny thing how sometimes one doesn’t realise one’s own influences.  Just in the past week two people have told me that they can see African influences in my surface pattern design work.  I hadn’t seen it, though it isn’t a surprise to me.  The exception is the pattern featured in my blog title, which is inspired by the amazing colours of the Southern Carmine Bee-Eater, a little African bird.

    I spent two and a half years living in the South African bush several years ago.  I gave up my responsible job at an auction house in Edinburgh to move to Africa and trained for six months to become a safari guide.  I then worked at an amazing riding safari lodge for over two years, before returning to the UK.   Several years before that I had lived in the wilds of Namibia for six months, so I think it is fair to say I have the Africa “bug.”  I still try to get back to southern Africa as often as I can and have explored lots of South Africa.


     However, having spent so much time in the African bush, my abiding colour associations are with khaki and olive.  In fact it took me a while, on my return to the UK, not to be drawn to the drab olives when I went clothes shopping.  It is, perhaps, therefore, not surprising that my patterns are bright and cheerful, not muted and subtle.

    My time in Africa was before I started on my surface pattern design journey so, while I was drawn to African textiles, I did not study them closely or, indeed, collect samples of them.  In fact, I would love to do a “study trip” to look at them more closely.  However, at the lodge where I worked, one of the owners was from Kenya, and the design influences in the lodges were definitely East African and added lots of colour to contrast with the natural stone and wood.  I was also drawn to the beautiful beaded jewellery and crafts made throughout South Africa, which explains my attraction to jewel colours.


     While most of my patterns are influenced by nature, particularly flowers, I also use abstract “doodle” patterns in some of my designs, and I think it may be in these that people see as being African in influence.


     It makes me happy to think that my time in South Africa has, even unconsciously, influenced my design work.  However, the main thing is that I create beautiful and appealing patterns to make my potential customers happy.