Keri Smith’s Artist’s Survival Kit and other Snippets….

artist survival kit
Is another “oldie but goodie” that I unearthed during my studio tidy -up. I had a quick check that Keri still has this available on her site, and I’m pleased to say she does, so if you haven’t seen this before you can get a copy here. I printed it out ages ago, as she suggests and it is full of stellar advice for all manner of situations.
part of artist kit

She has a page of one word prompts to print out and refer to when stuck. A project acceptance checklist to match new work against and see if it fits your goals and requirements. Other checklists such as – “How to feel misearable as an artist” – ie “constantly compare yourself to other artists”. And a “Procrastination justificiation” list – “I’ll be more inspired at a cafe” strikes a chord with me. But also an “Accomplishments” card to fill out and see that you have probably done more than you thought.

Anyway, its a good print out to have lying some where in your workspace or in your bag to refer to when needed ! I’m going to keep mine handy now that I’ve unearthed it again.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve already made a start with piecing together the patchwork from my last post. I plan to stitch it during the “Granny Green” sessions this winter. The advantage over knitting is that it is contained in a nice small box for transport. There, I’ve written it in black and white – let’s hope that gives me a push to keep at it, for it is a rather mammoth undertaking – lots and lots of tiny squares.

And a quick sneak preview from my photoshoot yesterday – the cushions will be available very soon !


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Kaffe Fassett Exhibition

Kaffe 1

When I heard that there was going to be an exhibition of Kaffe Fassett’s work this year I knew I’d have to make a point of seeing it. As I’ve mentioned in other posts he has been a big inspiration for a very long time. And the exhibition didn’t disappoint. You are surrounded by colour and pattern in all directions. There are working sketches and objects that have inspired him. And one wall of pinned items that you are allowed to touch . As pictures do speak louder than words here are a few impressions of my visit. Fortunately photography is permitted as long as flash isn’t used.

If you would like to catch the exhibition you have until the end of June at London Fashion and Textile Museum. – here is the info.

Kaffe does still teach quite a lot of workshops every year, together with his studio manager Brandon Mably – keep an eye on his website for information about where he will be going this year. I did do a patchwork workshop myself once and it was a real treat.

And there is still time to enter my blog giveaway – full info in this post . But the short version – to enter all you need to do is subscribe to my Studio Newsletter which you can do here.

Kaffe 3

Kaffe 2


Five on a Friday – Interior Inspirations

work in progress

work in progress

With having been on my travels for a couple of weeks I don’t have a guest poster lined up for today’s Five on a Friday. So today  I’m going to indulge a new direction that I’m going in –  moving some of my designs towards interior design applications. I’ve hinted at this before , and been “cooking” the idea for a while, but fresh from the energy boost of the retreat I have moved this up my priorities. It was always there in the background whispering “my turn” and I was always too busy attending to some other element of my photographic work . But now I have made space in my timetable to develop a range.

I think it is partly inspired by moving house after renting for a while. I am quite particular and can often not  find  quite what I am looking for.  Anyway, selfishly starting off with the things that I would like myself, I’m starting to build a range – and hopefully some other people will like them too !

Although I don’t have any formal training in interior design is has been a “side interest” for a very long time. When we sold our first house the buyers asked if they could just buy the whole lot, they liked the mood of it so much. Then later ,doing up a crumbling old house, from the floorboards up, I learnt “on the job”. I studied the effects of paint on walls, learning how to make big rooms feel cosier. Now ,in let’s say, a more “bijoux” residence , I am exercising the other kind of skill – making small spaces bigger ! And it also demands more restraint in terms of how many items are in the house so I am increasingly ruthless, editing out things that no longer please my eye or are appropriate to the space. I will never be a minimalist but everything has to earn the right to be there.

Over time I’ve realised that the things that give me most pleasure are the things which have some kind of story attached. The little wooden plank that my Oma had in her house to keep her keys and purse on . The green ginger jar that one grandmother gave to the other. An unusal green painted blown egg I was given in Romania. The rather forbidding carved wooden figure I bought from an amazing sculptor in northern Romania. Of course, I buy things for colour or shape or function as well – but they never achieve quite the same level as the “story” items.

I’ve digressed a little  – my intended “Five” was  a round up of past and present interior inspirations.

1. Tricia Guild from Designer’s Guild.

Around the time I did up the first house she had just launched a range for Next. It was very pale and faded and stood out against the harsher colours or overly floral chintz elsewhere. From then on I’ve followed her career. Visiting her shop was always a treat if I was in London and her books a more accesible resource. Inspiration  is a favourite – especially if I’m  looking to jump start a new colour combination.

2. Jocasta Innes – The other designer who influenced me at the outset wrote a book called “Paint Magic” ( published 1982 – goodness !) and went on to develop a wonderful range of paints , which, I’ve been sad to discover are no longer in production. But maybe her books are still available. The  second book “The Thrifty Decorator” ( 1993 ) was also ahead of its time, in restoring old furniature and reviving old skills .

And then zapping along to more recent inspirations …

3. VT Wonen – This Dutch interor design magazine really appeals to my liking for “crisp and clean” styling. But with contemporary unfussy shapes or bold use of colour. I pick up a copy everytime I am in Holland and keep meaning to set up a subscription. In the meantime they have a great website ( which is in Dutch , but the images are great if you’ve not needed to master that language).

ETC by Sibella Court -I’ve written about this book before, but I keep returning to it. I love how she writes about colour palettes and suggests creating palettes of ten colours and then using them in various combinations as a way to unify the style of a house.

5. And a new discovery for me – who is suddenly appearing all over the place -Sania Pell.  She has written a book, The Homemade Home,  which I’ll make a point of peeking at next time I am in a bookshop, but for now I’ve enjoyed her new blog, site and interviews, amongst others the one on the Do What You Love  site. I am delighted to see that there is an Edinburgh connection as she has studied and taught at Edinburgh College of Art.

By the way , if you want to join in this round of the Do What you Love ecourse – I think today is the last day to sign up.


I am planning a few changes with my Etsy shop and website in the next wee while – if you’d like to be “in the know” you can subscribe you my Studio Newsletter here. And if you’d like to contribute your “Five on a Friday ” just let me know.