Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Hint of Autumn in the Air

Living in rural north Fife, surrounded by barley, wheat and oat fields, it is impossible not to notice the transition from summer to autumn as the fields turn gold, the harvest is cut and bales start to dot the landscape.
Our roadsides and hedgerows are abundant with rosebay willow herb and every year the contrast of cerise pink against the colour of the ripened crops captures my imagination. 
This year I just had to have a go at including some hay bales in one of my needle felted pictures.


This is loosely based on a scene I see every day on my walk around our area. There is a riot of willowheb and grasses growing up around a dry stone wall with a wee cottage away in the distance. 



After needle felting the hay bales, I built up the flowers and grasses using machine stitch and embroidery.


The finished piece. 
Barley Field Cottage 22 x 22 cm in a 39 x 39 cm frame 
£155


Some autumnal colours made their way into some of my felt sheep jewellery this month as well. 


Sheep Pendants £24



Brooches £18

New to the Aileen Clarke Crafts range of gift items are these high gloss, super cute Fridge Magnets. 
They measure 5 x 5 cm and make a great little gift or treat for yourself.


I also had these Lens/Screen Cloths produced using my designs and they are just the best thing for cleaning your phone or tablet screen as well as making your glasses sparkle!



Lens / Screen Cloths £2.95


They come packaged on card in cellophane making them a perfect little present and light weight to post.



Also new this month are these fabulous bags! They measure 40 x 50 cm and fold away easily into a hand bag. They are really strong and washable. These are not in my Etsy shop yet but will be coming with me to Perth Festival of Yarn on Sunday 10th September.



It is advisable to buy tickets online for the festival as only a limited number will be available at the door and it's first come, first served. 
https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/


I'm really looking forward to the day, not only selling my wares but meeting up with friends only and new and seeing what all the other vendors have to offer.

I have been playing around with a bit of crochet over the summer. I'm just making it up as I go along and it's just for fun, not for selling.

Not sure if this idea is really working or not. I taught myself how to make the crochet flowers and thought I'd add them as a row onto this shawl. They are only tied on at the moment but I'd like to figure out how to make them more secure and carry on crocheting, making them a part of the shawl or maybe I should leave them as a trim. Or maybe I should have made them less three dimensional. 



It's fun to experiment and learn as I go.



Monday, 14 August 2017

All Aboard for Perth Festival of Yarn! Sunday September 10th 2017



I'm back from my holidays and already making and creating in readiness for my next run of events! I started the season with a stall at Aberfeldy Highland Show and Games at which I won a rosette in the Best Small Trader category! This was my first rosette for anything ever and I was chuffed to bits with it.


I had a great day and was in the craft marquee alongside David at Moulin Yarns and we were dishing out flyers for Perth Festival of Yarn at every opportunity. 

The line up for this year's event is just fabulous with many of my personal favourites coming along.


I will of course be bringing plenty of felt sheepies with me. This lot are in my Etsy shop just now. All £18 each.


I also have some new designs printed on notebooks. The pages alternate between plain and ruled. £5.95 each.



Lots of new cushions just arrived today! The artwork has been digitally reproduced onto suede effect fabric which gives a lovely soft feel but is completely washable and durable. 


These two seascape designs are new additions to the range.


And for something a bit different, I had this standing stone picture made as a cushion and I love the way the fibres look real in the print!


Cushions measure 45 x 45 cm
£40

I have a few more new things arriving from the printers in time for PFY and hope to have lots of new artwork ready as well.

I do have some originals available.

Wildflower Croft is in my Etsy shop just now.
£145


Look out for an update between now and 1oth September and remember you can keep up to date via Facebook and Instagram










Thursday, 8 June 2017

West Coast Inspirtaion

We have just enjoyed a long weekend camping in Ullapool and I thought I'd share some photos from our trip! 


We arrived at the campsite on the shores of Loch Broom quite late in the evening and after getting the tent up, were rewarded with this beautiful sunset.
The breeze got up enough to scare away the midgies so it was possible to have a glass of wine on the stony beach. 

After the sun dropped below the horizon, all these beautiful colours were reflected in the water with the seaweed creating a really interesting effect.


I always wake up really early in a tent but usually manage to doze off again. Not so last Saturday as someone was very inconsiderately flying a drone back and forth at 6am!
I gave up on sleep and went for a walk along Shore Street and got this lovely morning view of Loch Broom and the harbour.


Needless to say I was a bit tired for the rest of the day but we invigorated ourselves with a dip in the sea at Achmelvich.


There are two beaches at this lovely little spot and we walked over the headland to the second one for a more secluded swim. It was gloriously refreshing (ie freezing!) and we managed to get dried and dressed before the rain showers blew in.


Just up the coast a bit is beautiful Clachtoll. I really wanted to camp here but for the time we had, Ullapool made a better base. I have been round this bit of coastline before but it was ten years ago and I didn't really remember it. I also did not do my research properly and missed the opportunity to visit Ripples Crafts as by the time we passed there, it was too late to visit.


We did walk out to the broch though and really enjoyed the sea views.





I have rarely enjoyed a cup of tea so much as the one we got at Flossie's Beach Store. Having been up so early, hiked over headlands and swam in the sea, I really needed a cup of tea!



We got back to torrential rain in Ullapool which thankfully stopped by the time we got into our tent. I took the photo below at 11pm! I couldn't believe how much colour there was in the sky at that time of night.


On Sunday we took it easy again and went for a gentle stroll along the coast at Achnahaird. 


We were tempted to swim again but it was really breezy and we were enjoying being warm and dry.



After a tea stop at the Summer Isles hotel in Achiltibuie, we back tracked and walked the ridge at Knockan Crag which gives stunning views through the hills to Stac Polly.
We only got rained on a little bit and it was a really accessible walk. 


We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Argyll Hotel back in Ullapool on Sunday night and came out to this view over Loch Broom late evening. No matter what the weather does in this part of the world, it can be stunning, wild, tranquil or atmospheric. We really enjoyed our long weekend and now I must put some of the inspiration collected here and on Skye back in April, into my work!



A couple of new things in my Etsy shop this week include these two cushions.



Wee Coo Cushion £40


Lambing Time Cushion £40

You can also find an exhibition of my work at Lagom Felt Studio in Crieff.

Tracy has a selection of my framed pictures, brooches, pendants, earrings, cards and calendars in her beautiful shop until the end of June.












Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Merry Month of May

Ah, the merry month of May has nearly been and gone but what a busy month it has been for me! 
Open Studios North Fife 2017 was a great success with nearly 400 visitors to my venue over the three days. Here I am with all my work on display. A few visitors thought we had set up shop permanently but sadly it was just for the weekend. It was great fun playing at shops but an important part of Open Studios is giving people an insight into how things are made and a sense of the spaces that artists and makers work in.




I did my best to recreate my work space by bringing all my fibres and tools and putting them on display as well.



This year I had Kirsty Tudor from Falkland Felts helping me with the demos which left me free to talk to visitors. 


My seascapes were a big hit with both the piece above and below selling and commissions being taken. The two pieces below right are canvas prints. I have two owls still available in the 20 x 20 cm size. So many people commented on how the canvasses really look textured like the felt originals.


I wasn't able to slow down too much after Open Studios as I then only had three weeks to prepare for the Outlandish UK Gathering which was on Saturday 20th May in Aviemore. I have been taking time in the evenings though to enjoy local walks and the glorious May sunshine we have been having. This wee patch of bluebells is in our garden!


The Outlander event was great fun to attend. Here's my stall next to a rather scary Jamie.


I made a few items especially for Outlander fans which went down really well.
I have one Standing Stones box left. I didn't use tweed for this one but used a gorgeous rust and green tartan instead.


Felt Trinket Box £45



I also made some dragonfly jewellery.

The Shawl Pins are £18



Pendants £26 with a choice of 16, 18 or 30 inch chain.


Also available in the dragonfly range are these A5 notebooks. The pages alternate between plain and ruled making them perfect for sketching as well as keeping notes.



My 2018 Calendar is here! I was super organised and got it ready in time for Open Studios.
It features 12 prints from some of my most popular felt picture designs. The calendars also open up to double the size, giving a whole calendar page to write on.


Calendars £10




I made lots and lots of boxes in the run up to my events so all these are now in my Etsy shop as well. They range from £30 - £35, £45 - £48.


New textile and resin jewellery includes these elegant heart pendants and earrings. Some of these are away to The Atholl Gallery in Dunkeld and Lagom Felt Studio in Crieff.


I have lots of felt sheep jewellery in stock. This is a great time to purchase these popular items as come Autumn time, I struggle to keep my online shop well stocked as I am busy with events.

The rest of May I have been busy catching up with household jobs that get put off during crazy making times. I have quite enjoyed a week or so of being a domestic Godess! Back to the making in June though as I start preparing for Perth Festival of Yarn in September.

This is shaping up to be a very exciting event and as I have taken up crochet for fun this year, I am even more excited!


This is a shawl I made using fibre I purchased at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, some scraps I was gifted and some hand spun that I bought on The Isle of Skye. I totally made it up as I went along but now I am excited to buy interesting yarn and actually think about what I will make with it.


So that's all from me this month. You can keep up with what's new on my social media, especially Instagram and Facebook. I uploaded a couple of videos of my work space but haven't figured out how to upload to the blog. I should probably ask the nearest child for techno advice! :)




All contributed content © Aileen Clarke