Saturday, 28 September 2013

Shrink Plastic Brooches

I'm totally on this blogging thing at the moment, aren't I?

Today I come bearing news about something a little different for me: brooches. I discovered shrink plastic earlier in the year, and since I was dying to expand my work into more than just art prints, it seemed like an easy, fun thing to try. Fast forward half a year, I'm still piddling around, deciding what should actually be on the things. I should probably have been more conscientious and designed a set that tied in with one another, but instead I just did the things I fancied drawing at the time. 

If you didn't know already, and I can't see why you should, I love storks. I quite like most long-legged birds really. They're so graceful and majestic in flight (the ones that can fly, at least), and really awkward and gangling on their feet. I love 'um. So that explains that. I'm probably going to pick up more on the long-legged avifauna in the coming months, so if you like them too, watch this space.

Next up, is the typewriter. I was inspired to do this one by a lady I was at uni with. I drew many a type-writer when working on my final major project (if you've ever seen my H.G.Wells prints, you'll understand why), and I do love a nice bit of retro. The hot air balloon with the ship is just a continuation of my most recent work, although I messed up varnishing it, hence the orange ran all over the shop. I don't know why but they all seem to sit nicely together when I look at them, even though they're nothing to do with one another. I suppose it's the orange running through them, but perhaps it's also that they're very me, and my style, which is a nice feeling.

I am selling these on a made-to-order basis. It makes more sense this way, seeing as they're individually hand-drawn, and I can never know how many of each I'm going to sell. For now, only the stork and the typewriter are available until I redo the hot air balloon, but keep your eye out on twitter or send me a message if you're interested in that one.

For now, do hop on over to my Etsy shop and have a look. Tell your friends!

Yours truly - I went to a DJ event that some friends put on, and thought my collar incomplete without the little fella

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

France 2013 - Alsace

And so, the second part part of our trip to France. We stayed in the village of Riquewihr, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Alsace. I'm sure a lot of you, unless you have an interest in wine, won't have heard much about the region. It's in the east of the country, sharing a border with Germany. It was mentioned to us that its inhabitants sound like Germans speaking French; one bus driver actually couldn't even speak French. Historically Alsace was part of the German realm, and having been passed between France and Germany numerous times in recent centuries, there's a real mix of culture. Although it's part of France, the rural villages definitely maintain that Germanic, traditional feel when it comes to food and architecture.

Admittedly, I didn't know much about the place before we decided to go. My boyfriend, however, is a lover of wine, and Alsace is famous for its dry Rieslings, and sweet, floral Gewürztraminers. We were watching an episode of Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman, in which Raymond actually visits and cooks in Riquewihr, when Mark decided we had to go.

Riquewihr is absolutely stunning, and more than lived up to our expectations. It was the most relaxed and comfortable I think I've ever been. The holiday was basically spent walking the vineyards to visit neighbouring towns and take in the views; eating the most excellent food, a lot of which was cooked in our little gîte by Mark (we pushed the boat out and ate at La Table du Gourmet too - look it up!), and trying a LOT of wine. There was an incredible amount of wine tasting salons. Put it this way: our cases were much heavier on the return journey. I'm talking wheels splayed to breaking point!

Our first home cooked meal (note the Easy French Phrasebook I found in a drawer - it was at least 40 years old)
I don't want to write much more because I don't want to sound all soppy and gloating. When we next go back, hopefully when we have a car to drive, I'd like to see Strasbourg and Colmar, do all that touristy stuff, and hopefully see more of the wine route. I'd like to stay in the same gîte in Riquewihr, too. It feels like it's ours, somehow. (See- soppy!) Anyway, I'll just leave you with a few more snaps. I hope you like them. You'll notice that Riquewihr is indeed one of those favoured places of mine, in that it is full of colourful buildings. Illustrations imminent!

Wine tasting at Maison Zimmer 

The day we walked a 10 mile route to check out the neighbouring villages and came home quite burnt!
Storks are everywhere - people have purpose-built platforms on their roofs for them to nest on

Going home - it's always worth straying from train stations to get a decent sandwich for your journey

Friday, 13 September 2013

Airship 3

Allow me to present to you the final illustration in my little 'Airship' triptych. It would have been a crime for me to finish this submarine one in any colour other than yellow, for obvious reasons. I hope you like it in yellow, anyway. I do.

I invested in an A3 printer earlier this year, when I was having trouble with my old Epson. I had always intended these to be produced at A3 size (I even drew them large-scale, which is unusual for me), so I'm hoping to get some nice paper and do a small run of each, say a limited edition of 15. I'm a bit of a frugal type, so I might start those based on pre-order to see if anyone is even interested first, before I blow my wad/ink. What are people's thoughts on pre-orders?

For those of you who would like any of these prints at A4 size, they're all available in my Etsy shop now.

Monday, 2 September 2013

France 2013 - Paris

Starting as we meant to go on: brunch and cocktails at the Gilbert Scott before we caught the Eurostar

Okay, time for another long overdue blog. At the end of May/beginning of June, my boyfriend and I took a holiday to France.We started in Paris for three nights, then escaped the hustle and bustle of the city for a little village in the Alsace, where we stayed for a week. I don't want to write too much, but I would like to share with you a selection of photos from our trip. There will be plenty of food, and not too many photos of the usual tourist attractions. You've all seen La Tour Eiffel and L'Arc de Triomphe a million times, I'm sure. 
Patisserie from Pierre Hermé - you can't get them from their London boutiques! 
We took the stairs

We climbed the Eiffel Tower on the first night, despite being quite tired and full of patisserie. It was the absolute perfect time. We got there at a quiet juncture in the day, so we didn't have to queue at all, and the sun had started to go down over the city on our descent, highlighting all the architecture.

The gorgeous bathroom in our apartment was worth a picture, I think

One for the drawing list - it's been too long since I last drew a row of attractive buildings!
We did a lot of walking, and he made sure I got to see all of the main tourist-type places that were worth seeing, but for the most part we let our stomachs and inclinations guide us. We had dinner at a quintessential French restaurant on a quiet street near our apartment on the second night, and sought out a few recommendations, like the excellent Gontran Cherrier's artisan bakery, and Jean Paul Hévan for chocolates and macarons (when in Paris!). We couldn't not dip into the Ladureé tea salon while we were around the Champs-Élyseés, either. 

Treats from Jean Paul Hévan

Tarte Passion Frambroise and a pot of tea at Ladurée

The counter inside Gontran Cherrier - so many ingenious breads and flavour combinations

Our host Matthieu recommended Gontran Cherrier, which is in Montmartre, and he also recommended that instead of getting the metro back, we take a wander down the covered galleries. They're so well maintained, and full of books, art and curiosities. I got a Tin Tin comic for 10€.

On the last night we met up with our friend Stéphane, who took us to this completely MAD restaurant. It's known for serving up "typical" french delights, like escargot and frogs legs. Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not a stranger to snails. The mad part was the size of the queue (we nearly gave up!) and the size of the hall (it was huge! Total chaos!--In an entertaining way). I wish I'd gotten a picture of the room, but I'm sure that 2D wouldn't do it justice. I have no idea how the waiters managed to remember everyone's orders, but it was all present and correct. Mark had a calf's head. It was.. Interesting.

On that note, I'm getting hungry, but I always intended this to be a two-parter. Next time - Alsace.