Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Mosaic of Makes from 2011

2011 has been a fabulous year for Aileen Clarke Crafts.

My work has sold really well through various gift shops and galleries here in Scotland and gone all over the world thanks to the wonders of online shopping sites like Etsy and Folksy. Apparently my shop is among the top 250 sellers on Folsky which truly amazes me. It is one of my goals for 2012 to keep both of my online shops well stocked with a full range of items.
Events like Open Studios North Fife and The Handmade Show have also helped me focus and given me the opportunity to meet so many more people face to face, both customers and fellow artists.

Textile Trinket Boxes

My little boxes were an instant hit and have all gone to new homes over the past couple of months. Only two left in stock.
I do hope to develop new ideas for these and make them regularly available.

These photo mosaics are just a snap shot of pieces I have made during 2011.

Textile Wrist Cuffs

My range has certainly expanded and will hopefully continue to grow throughout 2012. I have enjoyed making a few commission pieces this year including pendants, earrings, brooches, wrist cuffs, handmade cards and art work. 

Fibre, Textile, Glass and Resin Pendants



New to my range this year have been these rings. I love wearing them myself and have to admit to owning at least five in all different colours.

Also new this year have been the Sheep Pendants, Earrings and Rings.

There are so many different colour combinations and different fibres that can be used that the possibilities are endless! It means that every single design is different. It also means that it is sometimes hard to choose. I've had customers at fairs swithering for ages not knowing which one to get for a friend and ending up buying one for themselves instead.

A variety of Sheep Jewellery is still available in my Etsy Shop

Card making was my first love and really how my whole Aileen Clarke Crafts business came about. I still make hundreds of cards but most of them go out to local shops and sell at craft fairs. I find them difficult to photograph for selling online and the time taken to get the photos just right is worth more than what the card will sell for. One of my plans for the new year is to buy a  new and better camera during the sales so hopefully that will allow me to make more of my cards available online.
The bookmarks continue to be a hit but again, I have struggled to find time to make more of them in recent weeks. Much of January will be spent making back ground felt for lots of different projects so hopefully I'll get some new bookmarks made in the new year.

Over the past year I have met people in real life that are regular visitors to my blog and fans of my page on Facebook. They have all helped and inspired me to come up with new ideas and make more of everyone's favourite items. Thank you to all of you who take the time to leave comments. It's such a great source of feedback and encouragement especially for someone who works from home. 
It's great to be part of such a wonderful creative community as well. So many of us are busy making and creating trying to make a living doing what we love and the internet has certainly provided us with a fantastic way of helping and supporting each other.

Felt Art Work

I'll leave you with this little selection of cosy cottages.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Bonnie Wee Hooses

 I think it's fair to say and obvious through my work that I have a bit of a thing for wee cottages.
I was brought up living in a cottage on the outskirts of Perth and I've lived in a few different ones over the years including the one I live in now with my husband and two children. 
This is the cottage I grew up in as a teenager. My brother lives in it now.

Painting By Jim Douglas

This is the cottage we live in now.
You can just about make it out behind the trees! The trees provide a nice bit of shelter and are home to lots of Greenfinch in the summer. Thankfully they are all still standing after yesterday's gale force winds! I felt like I was in the opening scenes of a disaster movie yesterday when I went out for wood and coal!

 I found these old photos taken in 1996 on a visit to Donegal with my Mum. I can remember we were ridiculously over excited with these cottages much to the bemusement of the old fella we met in the driveway.

 We were even more over excited when we saw that this one was a florists!
Mum and I both worked as florists for years and we thought this our absolute dream place.

A few weeks ago I spotted a photo on Craft Blog UK that really intrigued me.
It was of a knitted cottage against the backdrop of the beautiful Scottish Highlands. I immediately went in search of it's maker and got chatting via email to Julia Marsh, owner of Hand Knitted Things based in the north west of Scotland. 
Julia sells knitting patterns for her little croft house cottages but seeing as knitting is not one of my talents she offered to knit one for me!

 Drum roll please.............

Ta da!!!

 I am so delighted with it! I think it's the cutest thing ever.

It reminds me of some of the wee hooses we saw on holiday this summer out on Harris.

And of course it's like a 3D version of one of my own little needle felted ones.


You can find out more about Julia and her Hand Knitted Things here

So we had an unusually wild and windy day here yesterday with the children off school and the fire needing fed like a hungry animal.
My postie still got through though and brought me some new supplies to play with.

 These new Felt Flower Pendants are now available in both my Etsy and Folksy shops priced £20.

More colours coming soon.

I also have these new Sheep Earrings available in both my shops. Just click the images to go to the listings.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

December and It Finally Feels Like Winter!

Here are a few pieces I made using all that stash shown in the last post.

Heart Shaped Pendant

 Wrist Cuff

Wrist Cuff
Just click the photos to go to the listings for more information and use your 'back' button to come back here.

I received a commission from a customer to make her a silvery grey felt brooch so I made a few and let her choose which one she preferred. 
This one is now available in my Folksy Shop

Silvery Grey Brooch

I also managed to get a couple of new boxes made. I sold all but one of the previous ones.

These are both in my Etsy Shop priced £30 each.

I have also been busy with more sheep pendants
Got some new ones available both on Etsy and Folksy but they are selling out really quickly.

All my chains now come with a little extension making them wearable up to 18 inches long. 

I wore one of my own pendants and a matching ring to the Trad Music Awards last night in Perth. My outfit was purple and mauve so I wore a textile and resin heart and purple textile ring to match and I did feel that the 16" chain was a little short on this occasion. 

The Trad Awards were fantastic with such a great line up and everyone decked out in their finery and killer heels! Except I don't do heels. It's hard enough negotiating stairs in a long flouncy skirt never mind heels as well! We were on the lower balcony seats but I still managed to come home with these beautiful Amaryllis from one of the tables.

You can watch highlights from the Trad Awards on BBC Alba on Monday night and on the BBC i player for a week after. I'll be watching with my daughter and playing 'Spot Granny In The Crowd'! My Mum was at one of the tables with other Folk Club and TMSA members enjoying the wine and chocolates.

And last but not least on this little catch up post, I have made this felt landscape available in my Folksy Shop also.

'Red Poppies Along The Wall'

Monday, 28 November 2011

A New Week and New Supplies

I find these colours so uplifting and on rummaging through my stash I realise I have quite a lot of them! So I'm planning to make a background panel today featuring all these lovelies plus  some sari silk snippets for extra texture.

When I go shopping for supplies I am always drawn to the same colours so buying a mixed bag or a mixed skein of something helps me to move out of my comfort zone and work with colours I may not have thought of using.

I was in Perth on Saturday and took the opportunity to visit Elena Costello's most fabulous shop at Bridgend. Elena sells the most beautiful yarns and fibres in a shop/studio that makes you want to move in and never leave!

All my purchases came in this cute little newspaper bag that was handmade in India by street children.

Here's a wee shot of some threads I have at the ready. I try and keep my work table tidy by putting the threads away in a wee drawer but some colours are just permanently in use.

Last week I made up a batch of bookmarks to send over to Oban so I was getting busy with my paints and teabag tissue. Teabag tissue is great for using in mixed media projects. If you iron it onto Vilene it becomes like a paper and a fabric which can be painted and stitched. 
Above is a piece ironed onto Vilene with washes of turquoise and purple in simple sweeping strokes.

Below is the same effect but the teabag tissue has been ironed onto purple commercial felt after it has been painted. The purple felt gives more depth to the colours and shows up the texture of the paper more. 
I used the above piece for my bookmarks and still have this piece below to work into with my sewing machine.

And here is a lovely new bundle of sari silk yarn waiting to be put through the embellisher machine along with other fibres, yarns and fabrics.

So who knows what will come out of all these new supplies! Designing things on paper has it's place but you can't beat a 'play day', just going with the flow and letting the creative process take over.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Nights Have Fair Drawn In

As we move from darker day to darker day through this odd time of the year when it's too warm to be Winter but too dark and wet to be Autumn, I find keeping busy creatively a real solace.

Most of this week has been spent making stock for a wee shop in Oban called Room 15.
I did manage to make some extra sheep pendants for my Etsy shop as well though.

 Most of my framed pieces go out to stockists but I have made a few available online too.

Sunset Behind The Croft

 Red Poppy Cottage

My tweed supplies are dwindling so the boxes are becoming few and far between.

Harris Tweed and Felt Box

Smaller Tweed and Felt Box 

Moontide Pendant

My Folksy Shop is also full of colourful makes, some of which you can see below. Just click the picture to go to my shop.

And when I am not busy making new things, you will find me here.

Is it a dog? Is it a bear? No it's a big fluffy beanbag! and once my children have stopped fighting over who is sitting on it and gone off to bed, it's mine!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Art Tokens and Other News

The lovely people at are working very hard to promote their new site.
Art Tokens are like Book Tokens, but for art!
Go and check out the site and sign up if you are an artist or designer/maker looking for more outlets for your work. (You can also play 'spot the sheep' on the front page!)

Talking of sheep I am working as hard and as fast as I can to produce more pendants for both my online shops as well as some of my outlets here in Scotland.

One of the sites I use to sell online has undergone a massive overhaul and is looking fantastic.
You can visit my shop at here and see how snazzy it is looking. 
Among other new listings are a set of ten printed cards including two new designs.

The cards are selling for £2.50 each or five for £10. When you buy ten, however, you save a bit more by getting them for £19.50. I have had customers telling me they look great framed and others giving the set as a gift.

On a completely different note, I found this map of the world the other day and was showing it to my children. I found myself saying, "Oh, I've sent one of my pieces to that state and that state and that state" so I thought it would be fun to trawl through my Etsy sales and put a dot in each state that I have sent things too. Wow!

It has certainly improved our geography of America. Now we need to find a map of the world!

All contributed content © Aileen Clarke