Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Testing my new online shop

I've been busy framing and packing my two new woodcuts 'My heart leaps' and 'Love song' for sending out to galleries; and the new range of 'not just for Valentine's Day' cards is in my card shop. But I wanted an online shop for selling my original unframed prints directly from my web site . . . and I think I've found a way . . . there's nothing like jumping in the deep end, is there?!

I've found that the only way to really learn and test these things is to go live in a small way and see if it works. You can find my new online shop via my web site (when you get there, click on 'the new online shop' in the web site menu, I'm not giving you a direct link, because I want to test that it all works).

I'd really appreciate feed back, so please let me know about the things I've missed that you'd need to know about the prints that are for sale; or stuff that doesn't work; or anything bad (or good). It's the only way I'll learn and make the shop work.

And if anyone does really want to buy one of the new unframed woodcuts via the new online shop, hopefully it will work but in case it doesn't please give me a shout and I'll put on my 'customer services hat' to sort it all out for you.

**** The shipping prices to UK mainland addresses are now working ****
**** Found a solution for additional overseas shipping charges ****


Friday 25 January 2013


The room next-door to my studio has a multitude of uses . . . study, gallery, meeting room, bedroom, breakfast room, guest room. We call it 'the book room' – er, because it it full of books . . . and maps, many many maps!

But I don't think it ever looked loved, it was usually a dump for stuff in transit between other rooms.

For years I've had a plan, but never actioned it . . . what the room should be is a 'snug'.

Snug, noun
English : a small comfortable room (usually in a pub) with seats for only a few people

Last week Cliff and I drove over to a nearby furniture store to see what was in their sale, and now – ta-daaah!!!!

 The studio snug :-)

The pale gold velvet upholstery wouldn't have been my choice, but it was a bargain and it's a sofa-bed too. It is also the perfect place to use my crazy patchwork quilt . . . I made it over many years and has hardly ever been unfolded since I finished it about 10 years ago.

So, now I have a convenient cosy place to sit when I'm planning ideas, or packing cards, or just putting my feet up for five minutes.

Surprise, surprise! of course the studio assistants think this has been done just for them! The trouble is they aren't very good at sharing (with each other or with me).


Monday 21 January 2013

The shop is open!

Many of you have already found my new-look Etsy shop . . . and my Etsy iPhone app has already "ker-chinged" Thank you!!!

On the blog layout, you'll notice there's a new button to take you to the shop (if you're watching in google reader, mobile version or whatever, you may not see it).

While dusting down the shelves I noticed a new  Etsy thingy . . . 'About', so I've added a fun little intro – you can see it here.

I though you might like to see the 'real' shop . . .  yes it does exist ;-) it's a red shoe box and looks like this

. . . and as you can see, I need to get busy packing and posting those orders; which means I'll have to go outside . . . in the snow! Yes, like most of the UK our corner of Suffolk is looking very wintery indeed.

This is our village green . . . don't Suffolk pink cottages cheer up a snow scene!


Thursday 17 January 2013

Re-stocking the shop

I'm surrounded by boxes full of printed cards . . . the new 'not just for Valentine's Day" range has been printed and arrived this morning – and I took advantage of the sunshine this afternoon to photograph them.

I promised that my Etsy shop would re-open early in 2013 – well, I've dusted down the shelves and the new shop front is up . . .

. . . I'll re-stock the shop over the next few days; and update all the links and update the web site, so "bear with".

This morning, after Lorna had delivered the boxes of cards, I drove over to the picture framer's to collect some more frames – these are for the new woodcuts 'Love song' and 'My heart leaps' – they will be in the galleries soon.

It was a glorious day, cold (well below freezing all day) but the sunshine made the remaining snow and hoar frost twinkle; so it was a pleasure to drive up to Depden, a little village not far away, where I had arranged to meet Tim to persuade him to stock my cards in his lovely farm shop/café.

At the farm shop it was a pleasure to meet Cheryl, she is a very keen stitcher and knitter and was holding a 'stitch'n'bitch' session in the cosy café, so I joined her and had a bowl of Tim's delicious lentil soup for lunch.

And the good news is that my cards are now for sale in Depden Farm Shop.

Must go, I have cards to pack and prints to frame!


Thursday 10 January 2013

Snow Country – Japanese woodcuts at the Fitz

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a wonderful collection of Japanese woodcuts and about once a year a selection is displayed in the Shiba Gallery . . . a small room at the top of the stairs from the entrance lobby. These exhibitions are always a treat – beautifully displayed, sensitively curated and with fascinating information in the labels.

Utagawa Kunisada (1786 1865) Winter – Shinobazu Pond

This winter the theme has been Snow, the exhibition closes this Sunday (13th January 2013) if you haven't seen it yet and are able to get there, I can recommend going along (entrance is free!) – there is no substitute to seeing the real prints for appreciating the scale, intricate details and meticulous printmaking techniques. But if you can't get there or even if you can visit (or, like me, you have visited but didn't have time to read all the labels thoroughly – there's a huge amount of information to take in) 'Snow Country - woodcuts of the Japanese Winter' is now online . . . and the Fitz does this sort of thing very very well!

So, if the snow is falling outside your window this weekend, find a comfortable and warm place to sit and be transported to 18th/19th century Japan.

For printmakers I can highly recommend the section about the various techniques for depicting snow.

For a taster . . . here are two of my favourite prints . . .

Hiroshige lets the paper do the talking . . .

A triptych by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Mountain and river on the Kiso road

ばちゃ    bacha    splat!
Utagawa Kuniyasu (1794-1832)
Kabuki actors Segawa Kikunojô V and Bandô Mitsugorô III

Stay warm!


Wednesday 2 January 2013

New Year confession . . . my desk is a mess!

I'm back in my studio and raring to go . . . er, but . . .

. . . yes, my desk is a mess!

Does that happen to you when things get busy? Or are you always neat and tidy?


Tuesday 1 January 2013

A sunny start to a new year

Sunshine makes a big difference doesn't it? I like the winter months, but mild and muddy get me down; so to start a new year with sunshine and a blue sky was refreshing in many ways.

We decided to seize the day and drive to the coast . . . well, almost the coast, we went to Woodbridge and walked along the waterfront of the Deben estuary. Then we went to one of my favourite places - Sutton Hoo, where we had lunch before walking around the burial mounds.
Did Mrs Pretty (or her friend) really see ghosts in the grounds of her house? Or did she make that up . . . it's a good story, whatever. The Sutton Hoo treasure discovered when archaeologists dug in the hummocky field in the grounds of Mrs Pretty's home on the banks of the Deben estuary, is now in the British Museum; but the exhibits in the visitor centre are very informative and include a reconstruction of the Saxon Kings's burial.
I love the sense of connection to the Saxon heritage around the shores of the North Sea, that this place has. Suffolk looks very much like Denmark when viewed from these fields sloping gently down to the estuary snaking out to the North Sea.

I also love the sunshine yellow gorse blooming on the first day of the year

I hope you too had a good start to 2013.