My Christmas countdown begins..

 

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One of my recent paintings. A bit of a change from my usual paper work.

Its been so busy here that I’ve neglected my blog lately. The busy-ness at this time of year is business as usual as I get stock ready for Christmas. Most days I’m working through my job list or cutting in the studio so its good to have a day like today where I can sit in the kitchen, update my etsy shop and do some writing. Its misty and murky outside and so I have candles lit on my table top to convince me I’m not actually working.

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The blank page…a good or bad thing?

Lots has happened since September although if you look outside my window you wouldn’t believe we’re so close to Christmas. The mild weather means I still have summer flowers thriving in the garden and the trees are looking beautiful with their autumn leaves still hanging on.

Last month I started to sell my paintings and artwork, putting some with stockists and promoting others online. I wasn’t sure it was a wise move as sometimes people don’t like it if you seem to work in more than one area. I work in many more than one and I worry a bit that I might be seen as a bit of a jack of all trades and master of none! Luckily most of my customers have been really supportive and I’ve been really pleased at the response.

While I love the cutting it can be frustrating just working in one colour. Painting lets me really go for it in terms of tone and light and abstracts so although my subjects are pretty much the same the work is actually very different and I love it. It feels like I’m being let out of the box. Quite a few new things sold at our annual Open Studio in the village which was a big success last week thanks to Lynn and Sophie from Ruby Button. They hosted it and made their beautiful studio very festive.

Last night I gave a talk about my work at a local WI and that was really enjoyable. I explained, in my usual haphazard way, how I fell into papercutting as a job, and then 20 or so ladies were put to work making their own version of my nightlight winter houses. These little paper houses look very sweet when they’re lit by a battery nightlight and this year they’ve formed part of the Christmas window at the Norwich Giggly Goat, one of my favourite stockists. Owner Helen had spoken to lots of customers who were keen to buy the trees and houses in the window so I’ve now put a set together that people can buy and the houses the WI ladies made were the same design as those. They’re cut as a flat shape that is then folded and glued into a 3D house. Easy enough to make, if a little bit fiddly.

There were a few apprehensive looks at first as the ladies sat down to the little pile of paper cut outs in front of their seats but most people got stuck right in and the results were a surprise to them I think. There were lots of happy people taking home what they’d made. It reminded me that I need to run some more workshops in the new year and encourage people to try their hand at paper art. Quite a few of the people who come along to my workshops say they don’t have a creative bone in their body but they still manage to produce some lovely things when they’re finished. It also reminded me that it is good to get out there when you can and talk about what you do and how you do it. I’m always surprised at how interested people are in the creative process and where you get your ideas and skills from.

As we go into December I’ll be busy keeping my stock topped up, ready to go out to stockists if they start to run out. But I’ll also be busy with my own Christmas preparations, which takes a bit of planning. Like the Scandinavians I start my Christmas at Advent although I don’t usually put up my tree and decorations until mid December at the earliest. Instead, for me its all about the feeling and the build up – making things to give my friends, getting things like my Christmas cake started, preparing my table decorations, gathering the foliage and flowers I’ll need for wreaths and swags and so on.

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Christmas prep starts early here, gathering the pine cones for table centres and wreaths before the squirrels get to them.

Lots of the things I make are really simple to do so I’m hoping to add some instructions and how-to guides here so that my readers can join in with me if they want to. When my children were younger I sometimes felt that I was so consumed with their school calendars and events and my own to-do list of shopping and planning that I lost sight of the reason I was celebrating and didn’t have time to do the Christmassy things I enjoyed the most like going to a carol service, making mince pies and spending time with my little ones making decorations we could bring out year after year. Now I make time to do those things. If that means my washing pile is a bit bigger than normal at the end of the week because I’ve been having some fun then so be it.

Wishing you all a happy and productive week – with plenty of fun x

 

 

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