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.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Lovely Folk at FolkEast

At the eleventh hour I decided to pull a new print out of the hat, this is my special 'Folk East 2013' linocut hanging up to dry. It features the impressive facade of the folk festival venue Glemham Hall with the FolkEast sun and swallows in the sky and Suffolk hare and seagull landing on the roof. In the garden the topiary bushes are fiddling and whistling a toe-tapping tune to make even the flowers dance.

I'd opted to have a stand for just one day, Saturday; I'd also agreed to do 'demonstrations' so was allowed a second table and an extra free day-pass for an assistant (Cliff). To drive across Suffolk from our corner of the county to almost the coast and set up our stand by 9am, meant getting up at 5am – the sunshine and heat of Friday had deteriorated into persistent rain, we tried not to get downcast.

Ta-dah! here's my stall all set up and ready to roll! From the 10am start there was a steady flow of people through the Art Arcade tents, they were all friendly and polite, lots were very interested in the blocks I was carving – each of a flying swallow  - from different materials: eraser rubber, Japanese vinyl and lino. 

But, for most of the day very few bought anything. The showers came and went and came back. Across the field form the main stage we could here Gypsy Fire's most enjoyable set. I had time to run across to the food area to buy tea and flapjacks but I was mostly busy all the time. Cliff reported that takings still had barely covered the modest stall fee. The rain turned into a torrential downpour of biblical proportions, the ArtArcade roof drummed with the deluge drowning out the music, people sheltered inside and so there were even more to talk to.

Then it brightened up! The field of tough Suffolk grass didn't turn into a quagmire and more people arrived at the festival arena for the headline acts in the evening.

There was a general move to start to pack up the art stalls, but Cliff sensed sales were up! We decided to stay put for another hour and thanks to being able to take credit card payments (via PayPal on my website using my iPad) our takings were respectable.

With the stall dismantled and everything packed into the car, it was time to enjoy the festival. Sadly I'd missed the Vintage Market and Social Knitworks yarn-bombing teepee as they had closed for the day, but we had been tipped off that Sam Lee and Friends were worth seeing on the Broadroots Stage . . . and so they were! 

After that we realised we were starving! So we bought a tub of chow mein pork noodles and wandered over to the main stage in time to see the end of the very last ever gig of Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray's Wayward Tour . . . Eliza was a frenzy of fiddling and powerful voice as she bounded back and forth!

We were now in the mood to stay to the end, so Cliff fetched our waterproof picnic blanket from the car and we found a good vantage point at the top of the slope from which to see The Dhol Foundation – a fusion of Punjabi drumming and dancers and just about any and every music genre you can think of – great fun! And it got even more fun when Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray joined them for a folk mash-up extraordinaire.

So, all in all we had a great day – we met lots of lovely people and heard some great music. And after being awake for 19 hours we  arrived home absolutely shattered!

I might even be prepared to do it all again next year . . . and maybe for more than one day.


btw let me know if you'd like to buy a special Folk East 2013 linocuts . . . I have some left.
The Folk East 2013 linocut is now available to buy here for £35.00 inc. p&p to UK addresses (for shipping overseas please add the £7 overseas shipping surcharge)

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Variations on a theme - Tomatoes

At the beginning if June I would not have believed that the summer would be so gloriously warm and sunny! It's been such a treat to eat all our meals outdoors (I think we had two meals outside last year) and in the greenhouse the tomatoes have been thriving.

Today I was able to pick some of all the seven varieties
Red Cherry
Imur Prior Beta
Orange Strawberry
Madame Jardell's Black
Marianna's Peace

I love the variation of shapes and colours. Even more interesting is the subtle differences in texture and flavour.
I'll try to add some tasting notes later, but for now here's a photo.


Thursday 15 August 2013

August is show time!

The past few weeks have been so busy! I'm gradually synching with the timetable of the retailer's year . . . the Christmas cards are printed and already I have orders coming in from my increasing list of stockists, it's all very exciting!

Summer is the month for holidays and festivals, I'm taking part in two . . .

The first is this weekend, Saffron Walden Maze Festival; Helen at the Church Street Gallery asked for prints on the theme of "A State of Bewilderment" for the special maze-related exhibition.

My linocut 'When I find you' will be available at the exhibition, framed and unframed (in the smart new packaging). Cards are also for sale, if you are unable to get to the exhibition you can buy the cards here.

So, with my prints and cards safely delivered to the gallery for the opening of the exhibition tomorrow, I could turn my attention to FOLKEAST. This major festival has moving to a stunning new venue - Glemham Hall in Suffolk. A huge amount of work has gone into making this year's festival fatastic in everyway (I know, beacuse my best friend Kathy has been working her socks off making the web site and facebook page look great, as well as designing the printed programme while her other half is gearing up to run the sound). So when fellow Suffolk printmaker Mandy Walden got involved to organise 'something arty' on the festival site, I could hardly say no to taking part.

On Saturday 24th August I'll be at my stall in the Art Arcade on the FolkEast festival site, selling my prints and cards and also demonstrating cutting lino and wood blocks and maybe doing some printing too. So, if you're at the festival please drop by and say hello.

With just over a week to go there's still a lot to do! Framing, packing, etc. But why not add more pressure? So yesterday I started work on a new linocut specially for FolkEast . . . I'd better do some carving!


Monday 5 August 2013

Big Butterfly Count 2013

Small Tortoieshell on Marjoram

There has been much in the media lately about the plight of Britain's butterflies; the idyllic picture of flowery meadows a-flutter is sadly no longer reality.

Red Admiral on Buddleia

After last year's record wet summer and the long harsh winter, it is good to see butterflies back in good numbers . . . but is this true of all or just some species and habitats?

Gatekeeper on Whitecurrant leaf

To find out what is going on across the UK, Butterfly Conservation is holding a Big Butterfly Count. If you have a Smart Phone or Tablet you can download a free App to make recording and submitting your survey really easy. 

Large White on Buddleia

I've just done a count in our garden (it only takes 15 minutes) here are the results:

4 x Large White
1 x Small White
2 x Green-veined White
2 x Meadow Brown
1 x Gatekeeper
11 x Peacock
2 x Small Tortoiseshell
1 x Red Admiral
2 x Comma 

Of course Buddleia is great for attracting a crowd of butterflies and nettles are the food plant of a few species BUT there is more you need to do to help our native butterflies – here are my tips for attracting more butterflies to your garden:

- don't use pesticides or fungicides

- leave messy areas, not just nettles! rough grass is important for the life cycle of many species.

- grow native British wildflowers and shrubs

- grow lots of herbs and let them flower

If you haven't already done so, please take 15 minutes this week to do the Big Butterfly Count.


PS the photos were all taken in our garden during my 15 minute survey, with my iPhone.

Friday 2 August 2013


Some of you may remember that last August I took part in the #ippdailydraw, you can see all my drawings here . . . mmm? 25, looks like I didn't manage to do one every day!

This year a similar challenge has been set by Jean Stevens, here are the rules (they are very simple) basically draw a picture and share it on Twitter with the hash tag #DrawingAugust.

There are over 125 participating artists, so at the end of the month there will probably be about 3000 drawings to be viewed here.

I had a busy day yesterday, so I ended up taking my sketchbook and a pen with me to a performance of Richard III in the garden of St John's College Cambridge. I had 15 minutes between eating my picnic supper and the performance beginning, to take out my pen, do a quick sketch then pack up and take my seat.

This is what I drew:

#DrawingAugust Day 1
You will be able to view all my drawings
for #DrawingAugust 2013 here.

Celia x