Upcycled snuggly patchwork blanket

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In the spirit of clearing out clutter and making our house all nice for Christmas, I finally (about four years after I stashed them there) pulled out the pile of old/outgrown/accidentally felted woollen jumpers from under my desk. So snuggly, and so useless, and so bulky – ugh. I cut them into large squares, along with a couple of charity shop scarves I’d got

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Elephants at the Edge

pink elephant

It’s funny when I hear people talking about how ‘storytelling is dead’, or maybe, ‘storytelling is “the dawn of a new creative movement”, when in fact, it’s as old as humanity, and has never gone out of fashion. This summer saw the 24th storytelling Festival at the Edge, in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, and I was invited to take along my crafting skills and weave some crafty-story magic.

I know, sounds amazing right? It’s just

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A Just-Past-Midsummer Night’s Dream

MSNDflowers

Fellow crafters and creatives, here’s a question: do you have a stash of ‘craft/art supplies’ that you swear you’ll find a use for one day? A big pile of boxes or bags or just stuff, filled with shiny things, pretty things, useful things, things to be made into other things? Do you? Will you ever use them? Will you? Really?

Yeah, I know, you don’t have to answer

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Imaginations running wild

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We did it!  We maked a shop! So, last weekend (Midsummer) was DNweekeND – Doncaster’s free festival.  There was a LOT of fun going on, all across town, in empty shops, town squares, and all over the place.  But for our part, the great Dr de Cleyre and myself – masketeer Abigail Emilia – transformed “Unit 24, Waterdale” into the “Imaginarium of Wonder, Wyrdness, and Curious Tales”, with just

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How to build an Imaginarium

Close up of two chicken figures, one wearing a bow tie, the other a lace veil. Of course.

There are great things brewing here, make no mistake. For Dr De Cleyre’s Imaginarium of Wonderment is taking shape…

Curiously pitted lump of volcanic rock
… just appeared all over the top meadow! Honestly I have NO idea…

I’m very excited to have been given the chance to work with storyteller fantastique Tim Ralphs, and bringer-together-of-things superbe Warren Draper, to fill an empty shop in Doncaster with the most amazing and gasp-inducing … stuff.  Together, this coming Midsummer weekend, we’re creating an Imaginarium of Wyrdness, Wonder and Curious Tales, in which I will show people how to make their own masks, and Tim, er sorry, Dr De Cleyre will be beguiling and entertaining all comers with tales of his travels and the mysterious objects he has collected upon the way.

Row of brightly coloured fox masks, and a piano accordion
Yeah, and you know what it’s like when *that* lot are in town…

 

Weird stuff in jars - cuttlefish beak, rat skull, bits of lung
… and this was all they ever found of him. Tragic.

It is an utter delight to work with Tim and Warren, and they are awesome people to bounce creative ideas off.  Right now I’m still making masks, putting things in jars of vinegar, and tying on labels.  There are walls to be covered, paintings to be painted, and plenty more to keep my idle hands busy before we open up on Friday.

Dr De Cleyre’s Imaginarium is part of DNweekeND – Doncaster’s free festival – and can be found (betwixt British Heart Foundation and Iceland) in the Waterdale Centre, Doncaster.  Open on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.  Full details, and more information about the huge wealth of amazingness happening right across town, can be found on the Right Up Our Street website.  Plus I’m sure I will be tweeting about all the last minute preparations, so follow me on Twitter for pics and links as they come in. I hope you feel teased to come along and see…

And if you’re still unsure, and you’re wondering about the chickens, take five more of your earth minutes to listen to this enchanting tale told by Dr de Cleyre himself…

We’ll see you there… 😉

Welcome to my new website! This is how I got here…

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Hallo you gorgeous things, and welcome to my shiny new website! Do you like it? I’m pretty gosh darned pleased with what the fabulous team at Nobody on Fire have come up with, but now that it’s down to me to maintain it, I’m all ears if you have any suggestions for improvement.

This site is the result of over a year of working and learning and growing, myself and my business, to get to the point where I was ready to launch into the wide blue yonder and really believe in what I do. I didn’t do it alone, I couldn’t have done.  I think trying to go it alone has been what’s held me back for so long.  My first butt-kicker (in the nicest and pinkest possible way) was Gala Darling.  Her Radical Self Love e-course (Dare Dream Do) got me believing in myself and my art again.

Screenshot of silly-face selfie, with Instagram comments
Radical Self Love even got me posting daft selfies on Instagram. Hmm.

So when I found out about Leonie Dawson‘s Shining Year book, I was in the right place to take up that challenge and get moving.  And wow, it’s been brilliant, I cannot recommend it enough (as you can tell, because this isn’t the first time I’ve done so!). And she led me to Jennifer Lee and her Right Brainers in Business annual video summit, which then led me to an enormous wealth of amazingness and inspiration which I’m still working through. And then I read Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking, which is Truly Most Excellent. Phew!

'Meet Amanda Palmer' sign outside Waterstones bookshop
I totally did. My book is now signed. Squeee!

 

I’m telling you all that because I want you to go and check these people out, and see if they can help or inspire you in your turn. Maybe, maybe not, but it is the human prerogative to point and show when we see something we like (no really, it is – as far as we know no other animal does it, yet human babies do it as soon as they can control their fingers), so *POINT* look at these shiny things!

Close up of two chicken figures, one wearing a bow tie, the other a lace veil. Of course.
Philomena and Count Emil. You’ll see.

So, anyway, here we all are. I have some really exciting projects lined up for the summer, and I can’t wait to share them with you – I promise there will be lots of pretty pictures 🙂  In the meantime though, off you go and check out those links 🙂  Especially Gala Darling, because she is glorious.

 

All change!

Cross stitch golden carp, with the words 'Carpe Diem'

I’ve decided to shuffle things up a bit here at Picky Miss, and I’m excited to announce that the wonderful folks at Nobody On Fire are crafting me a spanking new website to match.  This year I want to put greater emphasis on what I can do for you. This summer will see me collaborating with masterful storytellers and anarchic gardeners, as well as (finally) completing a five-part commission of 3.5m high embroidered wall hangings. Add in an art fair, a children’s festival and a storytelling course, and you can see that already I have lots I want to tell you about!  And while this may sound like a lot, I really want to shout about it because I want people to book me to do more.

Do you want a fabric craft workshop at your festival this summer? An artistic collaborator? A hand-embroidered wedding gift? Stage backdrop, marching banner, geeky cross stitch? Crafty hen party?  Just drop me a message.

Keep your eyes peeled for a new site, with new pics, and exciting new… new stuff 🙂  And while you’re waiting, check out Festival at the Edge Storytelling Festival, where I shall be working with the inimitable Peter Chand, creating masks and flags for the children’s parade. Because if you’ve never been to FatE, you really should try it. It’s such a lovely, fun festival.

Spring clean, Spring sale!

spring clean spring sale

spring clean spring sale

I was recently invited to bring some artworks to join my amazing friends Grace Kaya and Sarah Smout at their gig.  I wasn’t sure what to bring, but I knew the venue was small, with no real space to display or hang stuff, so instead of gathering up my carefully framed pieces, I rummaged in my box of unframed ‘things I have created just because I wanted to create’.  This made me realise that I really need to have a clear-out of these bits and pieces, because hoarding them in a box serves no-one. Art is not meant to be hidden away in boxes, just as boxes of hidden art are not meant to clutter up my precious and limited workspace!  So anyway, for many reasons (it’s nearly my birthday, I’m totally skint, I need to clear some space), but mostly because I think these creations want to be shared, I am having a Spring Clean Sale!  Below are all the pieces for sale, with dimensions. If you like the look of one (or more), just use the contact form and make me an offer. Seriously, you decide what you think it’s worth, and what you’re willing to pay. It’s first come first served, and I’ll mark items as sold as they go.  Postage is just £2 flat rate, no matter if you buy one piece or all of ’em.

Grumpy monster
Grumpy Monster 28x26cm Chain stitch (mostly) on stiff cotton.
monster
Hug Me monster SOLD
carpe diem cross stitch
Carpe Diem, with sparkly carpe 🙂 21x9cm on pale blue Aida cotton
carpe diem
Same stitching, different view
mario
Ey, Mario! Stitched area 15x6cm Cross stitch on even-weave linen.
Well ain't that a bitch embroidery
Sympathy. Stitched area 25x11cm. Cross stitch on evenweave linen.
scraptreepink
Purple scrap tree. 38x38cm Appliqued fabric and machine embroidery on cotton. £30 ono.
Blue/yellow scrap tree. 38x38cm. Appliqued fabric and machine embroidery on cotton. £30 ono
Blue/yellow scrap tree. 38x38cm. Appliqued fabric and machine embroidery on cotton.
large monochrome tree, drawing on fabric
Large monochrome tree 38x47cm. Pen on fabric.
Green tree. 18x27cm (at widest point). Pen on fabric. £10
Green tree. 18x27cm (at widest point). Pen on fabric.
benjaminbunny
Benjamin Bunny. Not my design, just something I stitched. Stitched area 12x15cm.
tree on slate
Slate tree. 12x20cm, pencil on slate. Local (Sheffield) pick-up only, I don’t want to post this.
pen on fabric, tree
Not quite so large monochrome tree SOLD

With muchas kudos and thanks to Warren Draper for the last two photos. Way more professional than mine.

Live Long and Prosper

Live Long and Prosper

One of my very first attempts at making my own cross-stitch pattern resulted in a rather lovely (I think) piece of traditional redwork. Traditional Vulcan, that is.  My first rendering was very poorly executed, on teeny tiny even-weave linen. This reworking is somewhat larger, and neater, and hey, it’s for sale! You can own this for your very own, and help me pay my bills at the same time! What a very logical exchange.

Live Long and Prosper

Work in progress – winter tree

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So, I’ve been snipping and stitching, and I’ve nearly finished the Winter installment of my ‘exceedingly large wall hanging trees’. I’m keeping this one much more muted, trying to stick to black and white as much as possible.

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I asked the client if there was anything in particular they’d like, and they sent me a picture of two metal bird sculptures they have in their yard.

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They said it would be nice to try and get the birds on the hanging, as it would feel like they’d been able to ‘bring them in for the winter’ 🙂  Not quite done yet, as I ran out of embroidery thread, so am waiting on an Ebay delivery before I can finish off, but here’s one to be getting on with.

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I am really enjoying making these, and am more than open to many more commissions – large or small.  So get in touch if you might be interested, and let’s have a chat about what can be done 🙂