House Portraits

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Cantastic Cookbook - a quirky little cookbook zine that celebrates the contents of your tin stash!

Hello boys and girls!

I'm sorry it's been a little while. I like to babble you see, so I seem to think I need time to babble if I'm going to sit and blog. But I know I should blog more and babble less so here's a quick hello and an update on one of my latest projects... The cantastic cookbook.

The Cantastic Cookbook on my etsy shop

I decided to make a cookbook zine when I was preparing for Sheffield Zine Festival in February. I was told by one of the organisers that my work would fit in well, even though I didn't have any zines exactly. Securing a place at the zine festival seemed like the perfect excuse to set myself the challenge of producing my first zine.

Some bits from my sketchbook

A lot of people have asked me what a zine is, so incase you don't know, it's basically a self made publication, often on a (sometimes very niche) topic or theme that the maker or writer is passionate about. And I'm passionate about food. Very! Food is my hobby and I love to think and talk about it as much as possible, as well as eat it. So a cookbook zine was the natural result of my brainstorming. I am also a very thrifty lady and I pride myself on my moneysaving weeks between food shops (struggling artist and all that), when I get creative with what's in my cupboards when all the fresh things have gone.

All the copies were hand folded and stapled,
with the covers printed on lovely multi-coloured sugar paper

I definitely want to make more food zines in future - there are so many cross referenced collections in my notebook of different things I make for different reasons... I'm a big believer in medicinal cookery and will tell anyone who will listen! Some people won't believe that there are foods that can help stop a cold in it's tracks for example. I'll save that for another day, anyway, or another zine...

I do feel like quite a healthy lady and there was a time when I couldn't imagine feeling like that. It's happened over a long time, but if you'd have told me five years ago that I would end up over four stone lighter (or that I would love mushrooms, or get a kick out of kidney beans), I wouldn't have believed you. Don't get me wrong, my love for food combines treaty things with lots of healthy food too. But I think it was still worth noting that I'm quite mindful with food and that the recipes are balanced, use lots of veg, don't involve any suspicious processed ingredients and are pretty low in fat and sugar.

That was the serious part! But rest assured my zine is actually quite silly and hopefully a bit funny. Producing it as a zine made me feel more comfortable in being myself and letting my quirky humour be free. Readers will hopefully get to know me a little and laugh a bit at the same time.

I shall leave it there and hope that people let me know what they think!

Here is the link if you want to get your mitts on a copy for just £3. It is also currently available to buy in my Artist Showcase in The Civic, Barnsley.

Thankyou for reading, have a fantastic or cantastic day (whichever suits). Guess I did have time to babble after all!

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Makery in Barugh Green, Barnsley

I have a new local stockist!

I recently discovered that The Makery in Barugh Green is run by the staff and students from Greenacre School, a school in Barnsley for children and young people aged 3-19 with severe and complex needs.

It is such a lovely space - half of the shop is stocked with high quality, crafted items made by both local makers and the learners at Greenacre. The other half is laid out as a vintage inspired cafe, serving homemade cakes and afternoon teas. With it's open plan layout, it's nice to see the table at the back, behind the counter area, where students learn together and where crafting sessions for children's birthday parties take place. It has a lovely, calm atmosphere and a perfect place to stock my work I thought.

The Makery has stocked a selection of my 
illustration prints, colouring books and mugs.

Shopping and eating at The Makery is a lovely way to support both the school and local makers - with donations from artists' sales going towards the school - the cafe and shop provides a place where students can learn in a vocational environment and get work experience. Locally crafted items include home decor and gifts, greetings cards, knitted delights and framed artwork.

To find out more about The Makery, you can visit their Facebook page here.

The Makery, Barugh Green Road, S75 1JT

Opening Hours:
Monday - Wednesday 9am-5pm
Thursday 10am-4pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 9am-4pm
Closed Sundays

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bridlington Contemporary Art Gallery

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Bridlington Contemporary. Supported by East Street Arts, an old Cooperative supermarket has been converted to the new exhibition space and studio of contemporary artists, Nigel Folds and Vivien Stamford.

Lots of the supermarket features remain, including fridges and checkouts, used as stands for Nigel's canvases - they were my favourite bit! These quirky features and the sheer size of the space provide an exciting and inspirational backdrop for the artwork.

On show is 'Garden of Signs' by Nigel Folds and 'Sea Cloths and other pieces' by textile artist, Vivien Stamford, until the 14th March. A wonderful venture for the artists and community, it is well worth a visit for the curious, as well as art lovers. Plus, you can have lots of seaside fun while you're there, like I did... 2p machines, donuts, fish and chips, a haunted house, I crammed in all the novelty coastal delights and couldn't have wished for more!

Find out more about the gallery here, where you can view photos of the transformation progress, from it's original state as an supermarket to a contemporary and inspirational space.

Painted canvases propped up on checkouts

The big open space exciting lots of people

Artwork and supermarket fridges living joyfully beside eachother

The old stock room provides a separate space (and more to explore)

Nigel's materials and work in progress to be seen alongside finished artwork.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Etsy Made Local, Sheffield - December 2016

So my January has been a little less crazy than December, which means I am working through a few things I needed to catch up on, blogging being one of them! I've been mega busy lately and feel like I've got a really good momentum going now - having a day job plus running a double-sided business (being a freelance illustrator and having an online shop) does take some getting used to, but I now feel like I get enough chill time to savour as well as working like a beaver!

Etsy Made Local in December was my first full weekend fair and I felt so privileged to be there. Not only was Sheffield Town Hall a beautiful, festive and atmospheric venue, but the people were absolutely wonderful. The Etsy Sheffield team were brilliantly organised and the city centre location meant lots of footfall, feedback and sales too - hooray!

Visit my etsy shop here to see what you missed or what I've added to my shop since.

Here are some photos of my stall and the venue...

Though I spotted lots of gorgeous things to ask Santa for, I had to be strict not to buy for myself, for all my pennies and more had gone on expenses recently. But I instantly fell in love with this little guy and HAD to call him mine!

This gorgeous little bear is made by Holly Balfour of Holly Heartfelt. Since seeing her lovely characters at Etsy Made Local, I have followed her on instagram and love seeing her adorable quirky creations, many with endearing, smiling faces like my bear! 

I was also delighted when I found a basket of felted acorns (oh, I did buy more than one thing then) - they felt so delicate and all different from each other. I love saving real acorns when I find them on a walk, but unfortunately they do perish, so Holly's felt acorns had Josephine written allover them. I decided they made fabulous earrings for my Christmas reindeer:

One of the amazing organisers of Etsy Made Local was Sophie Cooke, a milliner and owner of Imogen's Imagination. Sophie makes beautifully vintage inspired hats and accessories, I loved her headbands with big bows on and most of all, gorgeous felt berets. Her lovely website is very inspirational to look at for style ideas for yourself as well as great gifts.

I have always been a beret fan (though I haven't had one I've been attached to for a while) and I saw a particular one I fancied on the website before the christmas market. When I saw that the navy beret with navy velvet ribbon wasn't at the market, but tried lots of other lovely ones on, I casually mentioned this to Santa (my boyfriend) and what a gem, he remembered! So this is me modelling my very special christmas present...

Friday, 6 January 2017

Happy New Year! A new work round up.

Hello and happy new year!

I hope you have all had a wonderful start to the year so far. I got so busy towards the end of the year, so I thought I'd do a quick round up and share some snaps of new work I've recently listed on my etsy shop. 

Regular blogging is not my strongest point, so do please follow me on twitter, instagram or Facebook for updates in between my more detailed blog posts :)

A 24 page colouring book full of busy streets, detailed houses,
quirky shops and lots of bricks to colour!

Printed in Leeds, Yorkshire. Dishwasher & microwave safe.

Printed in Leeds, Yorkshire. Dishwasher & microwave safe.

Sheffield Town Hall Screen Prints, £48-£50
Available in blue and pink, pink/purple tonal and single colours coming soon.
Limited edition, numbered and signed
Printed by myself in Mirfield, Yorkshire, using archival inks and acid free paper.

Available in blue, pink and yellow.
Limited edition, numbered and signed
Printed by myself in Mirfield, Yorkshire, using archival inks and acid free paper.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Screenprinting Sheffield Town Hall - experiments!

After returning to screen printing at West Yorkshire Print Workshop, the next piece I screen printed was another experimental run, using a drawing I showed recently of Sheffield Town Hall. I printed some block colours digitally and then screen printed the linework over, to see what colours and options worked best. I had also experimented at some hand coloured techniques again and chine colle (tissue paper collage). 

In the end, the prints with coloured sky were my favourite. Because the town hall is such a finely detailed building and the drawing is so delicate, I found it worked best staying in black and white, with a block colour in the sky behind to frame it and contrast against the detailed line drawing. 

My next plans are to make more prints of Sheffield Town Hall, this time with the colour also being screen printed, now that I’ve found what works best. I’m also working on some other new drawings of places in Sheffield that I’ll be making into screen prints in time to sell at the Etsy Sheffield fair in December. 

I haven't put these prints on my etsy shop yet, but please email me at or message on etsy, if you would like one.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Drawing Sheffield Town Hall

I recently set myself the challenge of drawing Sheffield Town Hall. It turned out to be quite a big project with it being such a detailed building with so many ornate features. I worked out it took me about twelve hours to draw. It was a big project but I’m very happy with the result, I hope other people will like it too! I’ll be making it into an edition of screen prints soon.

I've had some exciting news that I've been accepted to have a stall at Etsy Made Local Christmas Market in Sheffield on the 3rd & 4th December! So it has fuelled me to make more pieces that are Sheffield based, in time for the market.

Here are some progress shots from me drawing Sheffield Town Hall...