“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” (Jim Bishop).
Savouring those last warm days, enjoying the crisp coolness of early mornings and evenings, the beautiful colours of nature, sightings of squirrels and robins and the lighting of an open fire all add up to why autumn is by far my favourite season.
New items for autumn, like this squirrel brooch in mustard felt and little hanging artwork in sunflower yellow, have been inspired by the changing colours of nature. Endeavouring to be a little more adventurous with my mixed media style, I’m enjoying combining different colours and patterns of fabrics and embellishments to build a boho style piece, with a hint of vintage.
Thought I’d give a little insight into how my items begin life and evolve to become a finished product. This journey can take several weeks, especially once I reach embellishment stage (my own quote, “an artist can’t art unless they feel artistic” rings true many times!).
Although I’m not a night bird, never have been and most probably never will be, I do find my brain gets a spurt of energy around 9:30 in the evening and it starts to fill with new ideas, colour schemes and what not. It’s a little annoying to be honest as there’s no way the rest of my body can start to put these thoughts into practise as I’m physically too tired. Before hitting the sack I’ll jot down any light bulb ideas and perhaps pull out a couple of fabric squares or embellishments to remind me to pick up the inspiration the next day.
Sometimes a new product will come from something I’ve seen or heard that day, or perhaps from a client with an idea for a commission. My first port of call is either the felt colour or the fabric choice, or perhaps the combination of both. I have a colourful selection of felts to choose from and an even bigger collection of fabric, many of which have been donated or ready to be repurposed.
Once the initial colour scheme has been decided and the charm or main feature has been picked, then it’s down to finding embellishments and having a good old play around to get a feel for how I’d like my new piece to look. This will include ribbons, lace, buttons and seed beads, perhaps with printed words too, but I’m toying with idea of including other media in my work in the near future – building up the confidence for this one.
Neatly sewing everything in its right place is the final stage, often with additional stitching or further decoration as I move things along. I love the process and how everything gradually comes together, producing a totally unique item with many hours of love and attention given to it.
Cats have been in our family since forever and so I can declare that I, and hubs, are big feline lovers. Although I don’t remember Winkie (the first cat on my side of the family), according to old cine-film of me as a baby, he was around from the day I was born – a super cuddly, rather chunky ginger puss. There have been so many others after him: Misty, Tandy, Checkie, Sandy, Titus, Kuching … the list goes on … in fact I can’t remember there ever being a time when a cat hasn’t been in our lives.
As a couple, we bought our first cat Jasper soon after moving in to our first flat. He was a one in a million medium/long haired black and white moggy rescue from the Blue Cross in London. I still miss him, he made a big impact on our lives and those of our close friends and he is still talked about many years after he moved over to cat heaven.
Our current puss is Pepper. Although not exactly a rescue, he was an unwanted kitten from an unexpected litter and as we’d just moved in to our current home we felt he’d be the perfect lucky black cat for us. He guards his patch, as many do, but he is such a wimp too! He scoots off to hide behind the washing machine when people visit and leaps off the windowsill if something scares him outside. He loves a lap in the evenings and is picky with his food (his tastes change from day to day, so you can’t stock up on one type of cat food!). The funniest things about Pepper are his disdainful looks and changeable attitude towards Poppy, the dog (friendly one minute and lashing out the next) – you get the picture I’m sure. We adore him, as we’ve adored all the others before him and all those that are to come in the future.
So, today being Black Cat Appreciation Day, we are celebrating all black cats around the world, including our lovely Pepper. I know some countries believe black cats to be unlucky – if they cross your path bad luck will follow. For me, I have always seen them as lucky mascots, especially if on runs across the road within my sight. My son and I used to share a private joke as I’d drive him to and from collage – it seemed every black cat we saw running across the road would result in a “kerching” on my phone meaning an Etsy sale. We had quite a long run of this happening, but I can only assume the black cats have gone away for their Summer holidays these last two months as this weird and wonderful phenomenon sadly seems to have stopped.
Cats also inspire my creations. I have quite a collection of different cat themed charms and am always on the look out for new ones to add to my supplies as I know I am not alone in loving felines, black ones or otherwise. Below is a photo of Oliver with a commissioned cat themed bag charm which he seems to appreciate as much as his owner (the perfect charm to replicate Oliver himself)*.
Just by browsing the social media sites you can see how much we love our cats … but are they more popular than dogs? Who knows
* thank you for letting me share this super photo “L”.