Monday, 4 August 2014

A Bit About Me.

This is a blog hop with a difference. This is going to be a bit of a different blog post from me. I will be describing my creative process and inspirations.  I also have to link up the person who invited me, and invite 3 new people... lots of links to wonderfully creative people for you to visit. I was "tagged" by my friend, Nicole Maki  who blogs at Made by Nicole if you have never seen her work then you must pop over and take a look. I am constantly in awe of Nicole's creativity. I had a bit of a girl-crush on her for a while before we got to know each other. She is just so quirky and bubbly and inventive, and of course super cute too. She amazes me with her strength of character, continuing to create whilst overcoming bouts of ill health and pain. She has homeschooled her 3 gorgeous boys, and done a brilliant job with them. There is so much to see on Nicole's blog, all of it bright and vibrant. There is everything from original painted pieces, mixed media canvasses, to upcycled  items such as cushions and scissors! yes decorated scissors.. and recipes. Nicole's blog hop answers can be seen in THIS POST. 
These are the question's that I am supposed to answer as part of this blog hop. 

1. what am I working on?
I am a blog admin ,coordinator and stamp designer for PaperArtsy, this keeps me busy, there is always lots to do. I have just finished a new collection of stamps and they are in the shops this week. My desk is always covered in sketches/ideas for new stamps. 
I also create a project each month for their blog, recently it has been a journal page each month that has formed the basis of a monthly challenge for other people to play along and join in. The most recent one can be found HERE. 
As for other non PA related projects: I do attempt to draw/sketch/paint/collage a face each week. Sometimes I run out of time and I can only manage a quick whimsy type face, but other weeks I am able to spend more time on the face. On these weeks I try and sketch people that I know, trying to improve my drawing skills each week. I am by no means a portrait artist, it isn't even my first love, but I am enjoying the improvements. My favourites are on THIS PAGE. 
Although I am lucky enough to have a craft room, I am always short of storage, so at the moment I have 2 pieces of storage that I am making, one is for rubber stamps. The other is going to be a jewellery box, both in their early stages. I have some small drawing of fairies (drawn by my friend Jay) that I am incorporating into small mixed media pieces, these are a gift for a friend, when they eventually get finished. I am also struggling to draw a rooster... don't ask...
This will be the jewellery box... at some point. 

I contribute to the Letraset Blog each month, so at the back of my mind I am always thinking up projects that I can make that will showcase their pens. Over on THIS PAGE are some of my projects made with promarkers,flexmarkers and aquamarkers.  
My background is in fabrics and embroidery, so I also have half made bags and embroideries on the go. Aswell as a half made pair of knitted socks.... so many UFO's so little time. 
Some of my handmade socks.. 

This babette blanket is also a WIP.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
First up, what genre am I in? I draw, I paint, sometimes lifelike, sometimes whimsy, sometimes just a pencil drawing and sometimes mixed media. i love to build, see the jewellery box above, all built from scratch. I adore texture, and try to incorporate texture and layers into everything (except pencil portraits) I also sew, embroider, and knit... so what does all that make me? ohh let's not forget the cakes, I love to bake. See some of my recipes HERE. 
I guess I would have to call it all mixed media, that covers everything. So how does my style differ? This is not a question I ask myself really, I just get on and do my thing. I am not trying to be like anyone else, nor am I striving to be totally different either. I just do whatever I am inspired to do in that moment. Of course if I am following a work brief from a company then that does sometimes dictate the style a little. 
I am incredibly proud of my range of stamps, made by PaperArtsy. They are not everyone's cup of tea, some are a little odd looking lol but i like them. You can see some of the things i have made with them HERE.  There is also a Facebook page for my stamps, where you are free to add photos of the projects that you have made with my stamps. Find it HERE. 

I would say my style is eclectic, and grungy... definitely not CAS (clean and simple)I really struggle to keep my work clean lol I love colours, and find neutral tones very difficult to work with. As previously stated i adore texture and layers. For me the process of creating is often far more important than the end product. ..even if that means covering up several layers so that they are never seen again, to me that doesn't matter, I have had the enjoyment of making each layer, I am happy to let each layer go and move onto the next one. i guess much of my work is of the moment, transient, fleeting,often covered up by something else/another layer. 
I do like to experiment, and projects can sometimes end up looking quirky because I have used mediums in unusual ways, but just as often I can make stuff that looks fairly mainstream... 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I can't not create. it is part of who I am, it's what I do, like breathing. I have been creating for over 35 years. I will never stop. It does of course come and go in phases. For a long time I only created with fabric and yarn, then it was mostly papercrafts, and now it is mixed media. I think this is my most favourite period as I get to incorporate all the things I have ever loved into one project. Some projects are made out of necessity, if they are required for a design team, some things such as storage, again are made because I need them. Then there are the items made as gifts.... all these things are conceived because of outside influences. Sadly it is rare that I get to make something just for me, yes of course I have a say in the direction all projects go, but not often do I get to make all the choices. Probably only when I am knitting a pair of socks for myself lol I am very much led by colours and shapes.  
I do like to create journal pages, or more specifically journal books, as I seem to have about 12 on the go at once. i like to keep each one separate for different types of pages. I recently started 'yet another' small journal in which i am doing a series of 'Dreary dead Girls' 

This giraffe was inspired by a set of stamps, don't ask me how but I just envisaged them being spots on his body and it grew from there. Actually it grew bigger than I anticipated, and ended up being 4ft tall. 

I don't see working to other people's requirements as a major problem, having a starting point such as a colour scheme that needs to be adhered to, or a certain stamp that needs to be used, can be beneficial. We all lose our mojo from time to time, having a jumping off point can be helpful On the rare occasion I have time for myself, I do find myself struggling to decide what to make. Then I turn to the internet for inspiration, get sucked into youtube videos and before I know it, 3 hours have gone by...
But when I am 'in the zone' totally engrossed in what I am making, then the world at large disappears, or at least seems to stop. There is nothing quite like it, I adore being lost in the moment.  I lose all track of time, I forget to eat and this happens  A LOT, I suddenly look up and it is light outside! i then realise I have crafted right through the night, the birds are singing, and the 'daywalkers' are just getting up for work. oops! 
How does my writing/creating process work?
I am tempted to say more by luck than management lol I very often don't know exactly what the end product will be, so I am never sure if what I am doing is working.... until it works.. or doesn't!
I do not have a set routine to work from. if I am working to a brief, of course that is my starting point. I may sit and stare at paint bottles or stamps for a while allowing random images to float around in my head. I do love the internet  for inspiration. From blogs to fine art sites, to good old google images. I take a notebook and scribble ideas, these then spark other ideas and so on. I Like to work in advance, this way I can mull over initial ideas in my head, in my dreams... yes i do dream about creating... if the project is to have many layers I may make a list of ones to include, but it is a flexible list and changes as i work through it. 
i love to experiment, and even 'mistakes' can turn out to be exciting. I am not a follower of rules when it comes to art, i like to play and just see what happens. I do usually have a vague idea before I sit down to begin, i really don't like being made to create on the spot with no preparation at all. I have tried most techniques, which is great, it gives me a wealth of experience to bring to most projects. As one experiment or layer or technique leads to another, I can react to each outcome and change direction if I need to. 

This does not mean there is nothing left to learn, I am hungry for inspiration and knowledge, I love to learn about how stuff is made. Equally I am always thrilled to see someone who is just starting out, seeing them discover something for the first time and excitedly blog about it. Often it is a technique that I have already done, years ago, but have forgotten along the way. So it suddenly becomes like a new one to me too. Having a dreadful memory contributes to this aswell, I am always discovering 'new' stuff that isn't really new to me at all, i've just forgotten it lol  If you are a newbie, never think that you have nothing to offer, because you are the ones that reignite the passion in other people. 
All techniques, colour theory and practical skills can be taught, anyone can learn them. The two things I believe people struggle with are composition and knowing when to stop. these two things come only with experience, and even now i sometimes keep 'fiddling' with a project long after I should have just stopped. 
inspiration is key, and it is everywhere. I am thankful for having a smart phone and a decent camera. I am always taking photos, you can never have enough. As I have already said i love texture, if I see old wood, or peeling paint, or rusty metal, or cobble stones then I am immediately drawn to them, wondering how i can recreate that texture with paint or fabric. i am fascinated by trees, I probably have more photos of trees than anything else. 
After wandering my local cemetery and taking over 200 photos of trees I came home and made this journal page. The tree is hand drawn and coloured with prisma pencils, inspired by the photos that I had taken. 

So that is the 4 questions answered. 
Here are some of my most recently finished pieces. 

Here are the 3 girls that I would like to introduce you to, they will all be making a blog post with their answers, one week from today, on Monday Aug 11th. 

Clare Horner.: Clare blogs from Gotpaintinmyhair I cannot for the life of me remember how I got to know Clare, other than it was online. Then we and a couple of other girls met up one day and had such a great time, we continued to meet up. Clare is one of the funniest girls I know, she has an awesome sense of humour, and is the only girl I know that has run into a burning building! She is a demonstrator for IndigoBlu and can be seen up and down the country sharing her skills. 
Tee Thompson: Tee blogs from Tee thompson Studio  and also more recently from Irish Oaks Farm Tee is a wonderful artist, very creative, and a beautiful soul. At the moment her art is taking a back seat while she and her family set up a new life on a farm. Though her creative abilities are still being used everyday, just in different ways. Instead of learning how to layer colours she is learning how to build chicken houses and bunny retreats, aswell as discovering just how green her fingers are by growing a huge range of veggies and herbs.
Dana Christiansen.:Dana blogs from Dana's Inspirations I only know Dana through Twitter and Ustream. I have seen her art change and grow in the time I have known her. I have also watched her passion for art grow too. She is a genuine,lovely girl with a talent not to be missed. She has most recently been a guest teacher on the Soul Food online course. I was lucky enough to have a place on that course and have all the lessons saved for when I have some 'me' time. 



  1. Woo hoo!! A look behind the Wizard's curtain ;) I think so many of us have more in common than we realized and I loved seeing how similar (and different) we are in so many ways. Thank you for tagging me and I look forward to seeing what Clare and Tee have to say as well. Oh, and thank you for introducing me to Nicole! Love finding new artsy blogs xx

  2. Fabulous post, great to know more about you and your creative processes, you are so talented, off to find out more about your friends now!

  3. Very interesting post. Great to learn a bit about where the magic comes from

  4. Fascinating post Darcy & great to see some of your other projects too - that baby blanket is already gorgeous.

  5. Mega interesting Darcy, feel like i know you a little better and it is such a pleasure to know you as you are one very talented lady. Fantastic post, will pop over and see the other ladies very soon ;-) xxx

  6. I would say also a fascinating post Darcy... Thanks so much for sharing all this from you (Of course I remember your fabulous giraffe - it was even the first time I looked stunnnigly at your name and works if my memory serves me correctly -), but I also LOVE all your samples, they are so out-of-the-box and so gorgeous. I recognize some of them, but not all, and that's great to see your collection of socks and embroideries I've never seen before Lol! Also what you say is very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience and feelings. For example as regards to 'when to stop' and that to find the good balance is a matter of experience, I think you're totally right... I go sometimes far beyond the point I should stop! As a consolation I say to myself that we learn so much from our mistakes.. Well, it was great to read you!! Love, Coco xx

  7. What a truly wonderful post, Darcy. I was completely enchanted. You make socks! And blankets! How cool is that? Answer: Very. I had no idea.

    As I think we've both said before, I found myself nodding in agreement as I read your post. Your process and flow sounds very much like the sort of method to my madness as well.

    Love the projects you shared, it was especially great to see some of your older work.

    And thank you for the sweet words. I'm touched.

    Off to make new friends with the lovely artists you tagged.