Posts tagged ‘children’

June 26, 2012

British Summertime and Vintage Caravan Drawings

There is something unmistakable about holidaying in Britain, and this time of year brings up memories of childhood trips with surprising fervour. I believe it may be partially due to the weather, which seems to change its mood hourly; the smell of rain mingled with cut grass and sunshine, wet sandal-footed feet and BBQ’s that end with in a crowded kitchen, or sheltering under a porch. This June I’ve found myself looking at holidays in Devon with a kind of longing, whilst mulling over old photographs and doodling vintage-style caravans decked with bunting and flowers. The caravans and trailers owned by parents and their friends were always decorated and altered with personal touches, in honour of their travelling days.

Having a dog throughout most of my childhood meant we felt compelled to  take relatively local trips which allowed our furry friend to join us, and so I have a great nostalgia for British holidays. I can safely say that those planned for July and August share the same possibility of being dictated by the weather as those booked for June. Alongside that, however, they equally have the potential for some amazing memories. On the occasions where the sun shone and the heat was almost unbearable, we would hike to high places so that the deep blue of the sky stretched for miles around, or make dens in the fields surrounding the campsite or play hide and seek in apple orchards and have picnics on chequered blankets. The rain tested our innovation and our ability to conjure up new ways to make fun; board games were always a firm favourite, building forts from the chair cushions, or making up stories, like that one time we were oceanographers and our caravan was a submarine lost in the Atlantic. In later years we got Gameboys, and would trade Pokémon and narrate our adventures; when the rain cleared again, we would explore the long grass.

I am certain things were not always so rosy as I remember – a bunch of children in a confined space is never wholly pleasant – but the boredom and childish squabbles are easily forgotten and only the wonderful bitter-sweet moments remain in my memory. Such is the nature of nostalgia.

A few years ago a small group of friends and I stayed in a caravan in Devon for a week in June, and a half-hearted attempt to celebrate our collective childhood British holidays. That June bought thunderstorms and torrential rain instead of the usual intermittent drizzle and showers. We spent half the week in a caravan with water pouring down the windows, busying ourselves with games of scrabble and Artist Charades, (in which the players use famous artworks – installations, paintings, sculptures, sound and video, – instead of the usual books, films and TV shows,)  and when the clouds cleared we donned wellingtons and took walks across country fields, discovered secret beaches, explored rock pools and ate cheese sandwiches under the shelter of oak trees.

Although I have no time for a holiday this year, I have been looking for some kind of caravan escape for next summer, or even scraping together some impromptu weekend camping before then. Last night I discovered a website for an enchanting campsite in Cornwall, which offers some truly beautiful converted vintage vehicles as accommodation, which I feel is definitely worth perusing by anyone considering a holiday soon. In the mean time, I wanted to make a bag that would encompass these happy memories, which I could take on my outdoor wanderings to carry my spare leggings and jumpers for when the weather turns! I found it difficult to decide whether I wanted a blue or mustard colour on the illustration, and settled with making both so I could mix-and-match depending on my outfit. Even when it is raining I am now able to have cheerful little reminder of summer with me.

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February 8, 2012

Valentine Heart and Fairytale Papercuts

It’s been such a wonderfully busy week in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, but I’ve finally found time to finish off some papercuts and upload them to this blog and to my etsy shop. The first follows along the Valentines theme, with a decorated heart and the delicately cut words ‘You Make My Heart Sing’. I am very fond of the two little birds in this, and the ornate decoration took such a long time to perfect! When designing papercuts, it’s really important to make sure the lines are all connected so that it doesn’t ‘fall apart’ once you begin cutting. I quickly found a good way to work this out is to draw the image in pencil, then go over it in pen, checking all the joins. It sometimes takes a little while for your eyes to adjust to which bit is being cut out, so I usually scribble a pencil shading on the cut out bits if I keep getting confused! The image is then scanned into my computer and printed out on thin printer paper, and attached to a piece of card so that printer paper acts as a guideline for where to cut the card. It’s really useful to masking tape it to a self healing cutting mat to stop them sliding around as you cut!

The second is inspired by all the fairytales I’ve been reading lately, and features a fairytale scene with an elegantly written ‘Believe’ across the page. I spent such a long time picking out coloured card for backing, and eventually decided on a lovely light blue shade which always reminds me of the painted illustrations in old fairy story books.

I really love the imperfections that come from hand cutting paper, but I wanted to be able to sell multiples of these at a reasonable price in my etsy shop. I decided to compromise, by hand cutting both of the designs and cutting electronically cut duplicates for my shop. I am hoping to have many more papercuts availible soon, as I enjoy the process of designing and making them so much!

January 25, 2012

Girl on a Swing Papercut

I’ve been playing around with papercuts a lot these days. This latest one reminds me of Victorian children’s stories and the power of the imagination. It features a beautiful illustration of a young girl on a swing, which is pulled forwards from the children’s story text in the background, creating a 3D effect as if she is swinging out of the book. Since she swings from the tops of the ropes, the piece is quite delicate, but the glass in the frame protects her from harm.

The cut itself is a continuous line, nowhere near as complicated as the paper cuts I was making last week, but the 3D aspect adds extra depth and the design means I’m able to make a few to sell in my etsy shop, without the price raising because of the time it takes to make. The paper cut is made from aged off-white card which reveals natural brown card underneath, and framed in a charmingly distressed shadow box frame, which creates a lovely old style which features in some of my other paper cuts. The Colours of Love papercut below is larger and uses the same colour scheme, and has recycled paint charts showing through the cut card. Both of these are now for sale in my etsy shop.

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