Happy Birthday Dr Edwin Land

Maison Bleue, Edinburgh, SX70 Polaroid PaintingMaison Bleue, Edinburgh, SX70 Polaroid Painting

Maison Bleue, Edinburgh,
SX70 Polaroid Painting

(This image was taken soon after I started using this technnique.)

As I was about to sit down and write a post this morning I happened to glance through my emails first – and promptly abandoned my previous subject. Today is Dr Edwin Land’s birthday ( Thank you, Impossible folks, for the reminder.) He is the inventor behind all things Polaroid, but most importantly in my book, created the SX70 camera and the film it used.

If I were to compile a top ten list of people who have influenced my creative life then he would have to be on it. From the day I discovered what could be achieved with his materials I was hooked. The person I have to thank for this introduction is a Hungarian photographer, Turi Geza who was working in Edinburgh at the time. Around 2002 He had an exhibition of his photographs,referred to as from a Polaroid Land camera. At the time I had no idea what the “Land” referred to and was rather mystified. As soon as I got home I set about finding out what I needed to try my hand at the technique.

An SX70 camera and TimeZero film was the answer. Ebay came up with the former , and in those days the film was still readily available in high street camema shops. There followed a steep learning curve, with lots of images falling by the wayside – but soon there were more hits than misses.

Why was this combination of film and camera so special ? The camera itself was such a lovely object to work with , transforming itself with a slight tug from a rectangular block into a recognisable camera. The magic of the film was that for a short period – perhaps an hour or so – the film emulsion remained fluid and could be manipulated. So the resulting images were not from computer manipulation , but rather created on the actual image.

This is a little video I made a few years ago showing how it works.

From that time until the film went out of production (sob ) this was my principal medium. Of course I bought up as much of the film as I could ( and I still have a tiny bit left – but probably it will not function properly after all this time.) but I hit a huge block. What had previously been quite a carefree process became rather gloomy. In an effort to move past this obstacle I launched into my “12 City Project” which saw me travel to a different city every month for a year , using my remaining film. In the end it turned into a wonderful adventure. ( As I searched through my archive for a post that neatly summed up the whole idea behind this project, I realised I hadn’t written one – so keep a look out for that in the next few days if you’d like to know more.)

There are two consolations for me – one – I have a huge archive of images shot with the film and I continue to work with them to this day ( for example in my cushion collection) and secondly The Impossible Project have worked hard to create new films ( completely new formulations of film) so that those amazing SX70 cameras still have a future.

So Happy Birthday Dr Edwin Land and Thank You !

Other resources – The Impossible Project’s Blog today.

The image at the top of the post is of Maison Bleue restaurant on Edinburgh’s Victoria Street – highly recommended.

* If you’d like to keep up to date with behind the scenes snippets and subscriber offers I would invite you to subscribe to my studio newsletter here *

Etsy shop – last day !

I’ve had a few questions about why I’m closing my Etsy shop so I thought I’d just expand on that a bit. It is something that has been brewing for a little while, in fact , ever since I opened the shop at my main site over at www.rhiannonconnelly.com . It has just seemed a bit confusing to have two places selling work based on similar images. In order to make things a bit more streamlined I’ve decided to close my Etsy shop, review the range I was selling there, and add an edited collection to the Rhiannon Connelly site.
So a lot of the items currently available ( for one more day ! ) will be disappearing once I close the door.

I will admit to feeling a bit sad about the huge policy changes that Etsy have made in the last couple of months which has completely changed the feel of the site and it is no longer the resource for hand made products that it once was.

That said, I do still feel very attached to the Starrybluesky name, after all, I’ve been working under that name for quite a few years. So I may well revive it for another project in the next few months. I’ll need to wait and see how things evolve.

If you’d like to make sure you are kept informed about any changes or studio news you are welcome to subscribe to my studio newsletter.

Time for changes – Closing Etsy shop


Hello ! An unintended blogging break but one that just happened naturally with the change of the year. I hope 2014 will be kind to you.

I’ve had a less reflective start to the year than in the past, having opted for more of a review at the end of October. And that seems to suit me much better than examining things in the middle of winter.

Nonetheless some changes do bubble up to the surface if you take a bit of time to be still. And what emerged for me was that it was time to close my StarryBlueSky Etsy shop. I think its a little confusing to have similar photographic work in two places even though they are on paper and textiles. So the time has come to wave goodbye to this little shop in its current format. I do still feel very fond of the StarryBlueSky name so that may well re-emerge later on in another form. But for now, I’m having a sale until Saturday and the shop prices already reflect the new half price offers. When they’re gone they’re gone !

Sinterklaas bonus ..


A nice colourful vase of ranunculus as an antidote to the wild weather . Got completely drenched in the hail and driving rain. Glad to be toasty and dry again now .

If you’ve had your eye on something from my etsy shop then there is a 25% discount with the coupon code SINTERKLAAS . If you are a newsletter subscriber then check the email from today for a couple of other wee offers .

Brightening up December

Now that it is December and there is precious little left in the garden ( although I am impressed by the few hardy plants that are still flowering ) I thought it was a good time to finally hang up the second Ixxi that I had made while I was in Holland.

I showed the other one I made a while back – which was of pictures from a “Leiden Year”. This second one is of flower images taken throughout a year. As with a lot of things that you leave for a while and come back to , there are changes that you would make second time around, but I still enjoy the reminder of all these flowers that have crossed my path. Some were taken out and about in Holland , others on my favourite Scottish windowsill and yet others are wildflowers from the meadows of Transylvania.

Even if you don’t live in the Netherlands you can use Ixxi to create a design for you, or you can also select something from their own collection.

If you’d like to know a bit more about the “behind the scenes” and get tipped off about my regular subscriber bonus you can make sure you get the studio newsletter by subscribing here . There should be one coming along quite soon.


Instagram, Pinterest , and an Invitation.

After trying out Pinterest early on and being rather confused by their guidelines at the time , I’ve gone back to have another look. They have sorted out a lot of their earlier issues and people seem to have tightened up on making sure that images are correctly attributed. I did a spot check and only one image that I tried didn’t lead me back to the source.

As with Instagram, there is also rather a community building up on Pinterest and it is fun to use both for inspiration and sharing work. If you are researching a particular theme or designing a new room, for example, it really comes in handy.

One of the things I’ve recently discovered is that you can have a board that a group of people can contribute to. Inspired by that I’ve set up a “Today’s Favourite” board – and I plan to add a photo to that most days. I’ve made it a collective board , so if you would like to add a picture daily ( or when the whim strikes) just let me know and I’ll send you an invitation. I thought it would an interesting way to see daily favourites from different locations.

As most of my “day to day” images are shot with my phone and end up on Instagram I investigated whether it was possible to link between the two – and of course you can – enter www.gramfeed.com With this site, once you are logged in, you see your normal Instgram feed with “Pin it” buttons alongside. Easy !

August Break day 16



Ironically – the day I finally catch up with the August Break prompts the topic is “floral ” !

Have a lovely weekend ! ( And wee note, if you want to get a tip off when I have my annual birthday bonus subscribe to my newsletter here and you won’t miss out. )

Day 30 – Wrapping up the Blogging Experiment

mini utrecht
Today is the last day of my 30 day blogging experiment. And it has definitely been a useful thing to do. I have got back into more of a pattern with blogging and also uncovered a bit about the direction I want this blog to take. And above all, it has to stay enjoyable to do.

One of the motivators for doing this was the fact that I knew I would be off to the Hive blogging conference and I hoped that by blogging more regularly I would be more likely to put into practise what I learnt.

So what will I take away from this experience ?

I really like having just a couple of blog posts prepared ahead of time so that if “real life” takes over there is a little bit of built in margin. Mostly this wasn’t in place during this 30 day stint – but it would be my ideal scenario.

I also enjoyed having a couple of themes to keep going back to. Not so rigid that there was no room for talking about current inspirations, but with enough of a structure to not start from a blank page every time. I will be keeping going with the DIY Fridays and also the My Edinburgh feature. ( If I’m away from home for a trip I might stretch that to a more travel oriented direction.)

I enjoyed doing the posts that had more images in them. In the past I’ve tended to just post one image at the top, but actually it was nice to include more than one.

Although it is great to share inspirations and resources perhaps I don’t post enough work in progress and new pieces ? There will be some changes coming along on that front.

Do you have a blogging structure that you stick to ? Do you blog ahead ? Do you mostly share images and resources from other places or do you create original content ? Why do you blog ?

Ever since the Hive I have been mulling over what I’d like to change about my blog so I’d be interested to read your thoughts about blogging ( see questions above ) and also – what would you like me to blog about ?

(No Friday DIY today. To be honest, my quick and easy little project turned out to be easy – but a little more time consuming as it had to allow for paint layers to dry. So I’ll hold it over for next week. )

Day 8 – My Windowsill Laboratory.


In every place I’ve lived there is usually one spot that becomes my favourite place to shoot. And in the South Queensferry house it is this windowsill. Quite often I work at a table right alongside, which I like because I can see the comings and goings in the street outside while I am working on the computer.

The sill is nice and broad and so can cope with quite a big vase of flowers and the painted wooden surface adds a nice element to many photographs. Every week I choose some new flowers, often from the really lovely little florists ( Bees Flower Shop – drop in if you are passing ! ) just along the street and then arrange a still life for the windowsill.


Before leaving Holland I did a bit of a mad shop of all kinds of little vases and props , which seemed a bit excessive at the time ( not to me, but you know, to some other folks ! ). Now I’m very glad that I did build up this stash as I’ve been able to make a lot of different colour combinations , and so far no bunch of flowers has failed to fit in with one or two pieces.

Of course these images show up in my Instagram feed quite often, but I’ve also been shooting with other cameras and some images will be appearing as prints before long.

Day 7 – Evolving and Growing

rotterdam lighthouse

( This fabulous lighthouse is at the maritime museum in Rotterdam.)

Although I have loved being on Etsy and have no plans to close my Etsy shop anytime soon, I have started to feel that I want to spread my wings beyond the site.

This is largely related to my new textile venture. In order for my work to be on Etsy I would have to be doing all the sewing up myself. And while I think it is important to know how to make all the components of a product, I really don’t want to be sewing all day. If I learned anything from my time as a silk painter it is that I don’t want to be doing all the making again.

So behind the scenes I am working away at a new site. Part of the site also incorporates a blog but I am undecided yet what to do about my blog. Should I close this one and just redirect traffic over there ? Should I repeat the content in both places ? Do you have any advice based on moving your own blog from one place or another ?