04 Nov

#shoutoutrevolution – Just Sew Helen

Who are you and what do you do? 
I’m Helen & by day I’m a midwife working with high risk pregnancies. I have a small textile art business ranging from dressmaking to embroidery and fabric ornaments.

When did you begin embroidering? 
I have been sewing all of my life, well as long as I can remember, as Mom taught me as a little girl.  She worked from home as a dress maker in the 1970’s and I made little dresses for my dolls and teddies whilst she took in orders.  Over the years, I have undertaken many different projects and returned to needlework & embroidery in 2015 when I started creating remembrance pictures.

What inspired you to create your beautiful pictures and keepsakes?
Sadly, after a very short illness in 2015, my mom died from Ovarian Cancer (OC) and I wanted to use the skills Mom taught me to raise money for an OC charity.  At the same time, two friends also lost their Moms to cancer and I created each of them a picture in memory of their Mom using applique and embroidery.  Over time I researched the handmade market and joined Etsy and finally created my own website and launched my small business in 2016.  My most popular items are Angel Baby Remembrance pictures and I’ve been privileged to create some very personal keepsakes.

What is your one essential tool that you cannot live without (for your art)?
As with any craft, many tools are required to complete a job – some vital and some just to help overall process.  However, I think my most essential tool would have to be my sewing machine as many of my items involve additional construction rather than just decorative hand embroidery.

Where can I find you on the web? 
I can be found in lots of places and would love you to come and say ‘hi’ –

justsewhelen.com
twitter.com/justsewhelen
instagram.com/justsewhelen
facebook.com/justsewhelen
justsewhelen.etsy.com
pinterest.com/JustSewHelen

What do you like to do when you are not creating? 
I procrastinate very well and can get lost on the laptop on Pinterest etc but I’m usually researching projects or techniques and so actually spend a lot of time creating in one way or another.

Our family is expanding, now with 5 grandchildren, elderly parents and our two boys at home are still at school, so spare time is precious.  We enjoy spending time as a family at our holiday home in Wales  – such a beautiful country and I can sit and embroider to my heart’s content.

Have you got any pets? 
We have two 15 year old ginger cats,  a boy Tigger and a girl Winnie.  Tigger is showing his age and is slowing down but is perfectly content to plonk himself on top of me and my laptop. His sister is a bit more particular often enjoying her own company.

What is your favourite art book?
My go to craft book is The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden and although I research a lot online nothing beats being able to flick through pages for inspiration. I also have a nice collection of vintage sewing & embroidery books that I inherited from my mom and I love flicking through and reminiscing my childhood and memories of Mom using these books for her crafts.

24 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Sue Kerrigan-Harris

So, who is Sue?  Sue Kerrigan-Harris is a pastel portrait artist based in Marchwood in Hampshire which is on the edge of the beautiful New Forest. She specialises in amazing realistic pet portraits and child portraits.  She works from photos and beautifully captures the character and energy of the person or animal she is painting.
Where can I find her? She’s active on Facebook mostly and dabbles with Twitter and Instagram.

How did she become a professional artist?  Sue has honed her skills over 40 years not thinking that a career in art was ever possible, but when she had her son and could no longer run her private tutoring business she started drawing in earnest and sharing on Facebook.  With the huge encouragement of her friends and family she started getting commissions of children.  She was then asked to paint pets so she gave it a go.  Having spent all her life drawing people, she discovered that she could paint pets right off the bat and so begin a budding pet portrait business and also the child portraits – it turns out that people love their pets way more than there children as she gets far more requests for pets!  Haha, that is just a joke, I’m sure that’s not the case.  Our pets are only with us a short time and don’t change how they look whereas our children are changing constantly – I’m sure this has something to do with it.

What is her favourite artbook? Eternal Truths for Every Artist by Harley Brown*.  He’s a renowned pastel artist primarily but also oil.  It’s a delve in and out of book and he says at the start that he wants the book to end up dog eared and full of notes which I love the idea of.  His use of colour and the use of the Munsell Colour system is mesmerising and he has a lot of good tips.  I read it all the time delving in and out of it.  It almost feels like you have Harley in the room with you – you can feel his personality through the book.

*Amazon associates link
22 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Phantom Art Drop

Phantom Art Drop is a beautiful project akin to the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Rather than dropping notes and acts of kindness, Phantom goes a whole leap further and drops her/his beautiful artwork in a public place with an accompanying handwritten note attached.

The project tickles my soul, and as soon as it stops raining so damned much I am going to join in.  Part of my fear of involvement is a fear that someone will trash my hard work, either binning it or otherwise vandalising it.  It takes a brave soul and a leap of faith to transcend this.

The Phantom Artist’s concept is beautiful, spiritual and heart blossoming.

So, I asked a few questions:

Who are you?  I’m a hopeless idealist. An anonymous artist who believes that through art we can learn to care for each other more. Strengthen the bonds of community and recognize the need for kindness without the want of fanfare.

Where can I find you?  I’m found in the Caribbean. I live a life of sand, sea and sun. In a way it influences my art. The people and the island life, it’s all apart of me and who I am.

On the web:

https://www.instagram.com/phantomartdrop/

https://www.facebook.com/fantomuartdrop/

What made you come up with your unique idea?  I can’t attest to the novelty of the idea but the reason behind it stems from the need to truly make a connection with someone. To reach out and provide both solace and inspiration.

How I’ve chosen to do it simply happened as a result of my skill set. Honestly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ could have been anything so long as the ‘why’ was satisfied.

So the art and the handwritten letters were my means of doing that. And that’s really the point. For each to take what they have as a gift or talent and give that freely to another in an effort to touch their life positively.

How can I join in?  I encourage any and everyone to take up this cause for kindness. I think we live in a time where it’s desperately needed. Love has become so conditional. Favor and kindness are typically only served if reciprocated with attention and adulation.

This is why I remain anonymous. It’s not about who does it but rather; simply; that it’s done for its sake and nothing more. So to join, do a kind thing for someone for no other reason than to see them smile. Using whatever God has given you. The Phantom Art Drop project is a notion of selflessness and giving… One that I hope we all can embody in our own way.

Note- creatives try leaving a random gift out in the open for anyone to receive. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on life. ?

Can you recommend and amazing art book?  Oh wow hmmm, I quite like ‘ The Story of ArtThe story of art‘ by E. H Gombrich*. It outlines how art developed alongside the people it was made for and how it helps shape and transforms civilizations. It forces one to consider just how influential and important art is or can be.

I love the style of the Phantom Artist, what do you think?

*Amazon associates link