As some of you already know, I moved home recently – just before lockdown (very strange times). And with the new house came my very own home studio in the form of a converted garage. It’s something I have been missing for a few years and I am very excited to have a special space for all my painting, sewing, crochet and linocutting activities. It’s currently a bit of a rambling mess, with boxes stacked everywhere, make-shift shelving and toddler painting activities everywhere, but it’s my creative space all the same and I love it.
So combining a studio space with a period ‘safe at home’ with my family, I have been creating, planning and reflecting. I know many people have used this time at home to do a similar thing. I find it has been a chance do discover what I love doing, to create stuff and to shift the way that my creative pursuits are working. Many to-do lists and strategy sessions have been going on alongside my creative activities!
In the Studio – Episode 1 (Lockdown Linocut and more…)
So without too much more rambling I decided that I would run a section on my blog where I feature some of the things that I am doing in the studio at the moment. A way to open up the doors to my ways of working and current pursuits. Hence the title of this blog ‘In the Studio with Susan.’ Now I seriously doubt I will be able to write a weekly article, but random updates on what I have been making and snippets of creative advice and behind the scenes videos of my arts practice and business ventures are certainly some of the things I can share.
As a creative entrepreneur I run a number of businesses (this one included) and like many creative people I have at least 100 hobbies, with new ones on the way literally each week! I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and many of my hobbies feed my ‘actual work’ – in fact they all blur into one big creative mess.
I know I personally find it fascinating to see behind the scenes with other artists – to see what people are working on at the moment and their creative process too! This week I have been working on a number of things, including linocutting, sewing, the final few days of my At Home in April sketchbook challenge and launching two new mini-courses!
Linocut is Back!
I had a little bit of a false-start with my linocutting after moving. All my linocut tools are missing – clearly I packed them somewhere safely and they are so safe I can’t find them. Bit of a disaster. So I hopped onto the TN Lawrence website and ordered the two cutters I use the most. Here are the links to my favourite Pheil tools (I selected a small and a medium sized U gouge). https://www.lawrence.co.uk/pfeil-lino-tool.html
A few days later and I am back in business (thank you TN Lawrence)! As I haven’t picked up my tools for a few months I decided to work on some scraps that I had doodled on a while ago and complete a few simple motifs such as flowers and leaves. Cutting didn’t take too long and then I pulled a ‘late-night-lino’ session where I printed proofs of the motifs. I was really loving the yellow ochre ink (Caligo Safewash Inks by Cranfield Colours), a colour I haven’t really explored much before. These are hanging up to dry at the moment on a make-shift drying rack (piece of string, two screws and some clothes pegs!)
It has been so nice returning to Linocut after a break from it and by selecting small pieces of lino and scraps to work on it has got me started with no pressure to create larger works. Yesterday I began tracing off some more motifs to transfer into Lino next week.
My mission after moving is to actually complete some of the sewing projects that had been building up and I’ve had no time to complete over the past few years. I have a HUGE stash of fabric and patterns and when I first moved, I spent time matching patterns to fabric so that I could actually use up some of it all and clear space in the studio. (Which really means ‘space to buy more fabric.’)
I have 20 sewing projects all lined up…. and over the past 6 weeks have completed 8! It has been very satisfying. I’ve made leggings and a dress for little one, a Fritha Khalo shirt dress for me, colourful leggings and this week was a gorgeous shirt from the Alex Shirt Pattern at Sew Over It. The link to the pattern is here in their capsule wardrobe collection https://sewoverit.co.uk/product/capsule-wardrobe-city-break-ebook/
I have a beautiful Orchid fabric on an olive green background that I had in my stash since the Handmade Festival last year and it has been waiting for a suitable shirt pattern. It was a slippery little sucker to sew (and sewing in the button holes resulted in a few choice words) but the end result is very pleasing. A really relaxed fit but smart shirt that will be great for evenings out (or in)!
At Home in April
Well, my BIG PROJECT of this April has been running my 30 Day Sketchbook challenge again. Click here for information on the challenge or to have a go if you missed it.
I love running this challenge but it is always a big task and bundle of work to run and administer it. Choosing the prompts is the fun part and then each day I film a video, send an email and visit Facebook for posting the links in there and viewing people’s work. There has been a really lovely feel to the challenge this time – a well-needed creative boost and focus during these difficult times.
Thank you to everyone that has taken part in the challenge this April and I do sincerely hope that it has helped you get through some of this very strange time, and boosted your creative practice!
Two New Mini-Courses!
Well, I don’t take things easy do I? Once I started writing this blog I realise how much I actually do. Alongside running the sketchbook challenge (and creating artwork myself), I have been putting together two new mini-courses that went live on 01.05.20. I really wanted to have something else that was free for people to enjoy during May and during these times when we all need a little creative fun in our lives.
These two courses have required planning, filming the tutorial videos, uploading the videos to the course portal along with text and imagery, email sequences set up and marketing materials designed. There is a lot that goes into planning and producing an online course – and even though these are FREE courses, I have treated them with the same care and attention that I would a paid course. In fact, even more care as I have bought a fancy new piece of sound equipment to level-up the sound quality of all my videos.
I must say that moving the studio around and creating make-shift filming set-ups (with easels and stacks of boxes) has been fun! I’ll share more info about filming course videos another week I think.
Details of the two FREE mini-courses can be found here (click on the images):
All my online courses including these two free ones can be found here:
Thank you For Reading
So thank you for reading my first ‘In the Studio with Susan’ blog. I suspect this was a slightly longer blog than this will be going forward as it’s the first one.
Please feel free to share your feedback and comments and let me know what you have been up to this week as well.
Stay safe and creative everyone. I’m off to grab another coffee and open the studio doors for the day…