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.

Monday 28 October 2013

Country Living Magazine - December issue

The cat's out of the bag!

Some of you might have noticed already . . . there's a feature about me and the inspirations for my block prints in this year's Christmas issue of Country Living Magazine. If you subscribe you probably received it last week, but it will be on the news stands very soon.

I'll tell you a few behind the scenes secrets . . .

I've had to keep this under my hat for 10 months.

I designed my "Christmas 2013" designs just before last Christmas (which was weird!)

The photos, were taken by Laura Edwards early last February when Suffolk was under a blanket of snow.

I pretended to draw non-existing birds in a hedge for one of the shots.

Cheep and his hens upstage me in another photo.

The studio assistants refused to co-operate.

Before writing the article, Louise Elliot spent a whole day with me in the summer, both in my studio and visiting some of my favourite local places.

I enjoyed meeting both Louise and Laura, hope you like the feature they put together.


Sunday 27 October 2013

St Jude . . . SuperStorm or storm in a teacup?

The weather forecasters are issuing a warning of a huge storm system sweeping eastwards on the jet-stream over the Altantic. St Jude (it's due to hit land just after midnight on Monday, St Jude's day) may not be as bad as the Great Storm that flattened thousands of trees in 1987 or the Burns Day Storm in 1990, but we've been warned to . . . er? stay indoors and have a cup of tea, or something.

However, today dawned bright and breezy, the sky was a deep blue and clouds scudded briskly across the sky. I felt the need to get out there in the fields, to go for a walk.

I started by walking under the Lime trees in the churchyard opposite my studio, the colours are swiftly changing from green to pale primrose.
Out along the footpath that follows the Stour Brook the gently sloping valley fields are bright green with young shoots of winter wheat and the trees in the woods have barely a tinge of autumnal tints.
I love the framed views through breaks in the hedgerows, as winter creeps toward us I'll look for migrating flocks of birds; and fallow deer and hares nibbling the crops. But today I was enjoying the sunshine, the sound of the wind in the trees and just being happy to stride out in my walking boots. If you follow me on Twitter you'll be aware of my slow recovery from Achilles problems which has meant months of not being able to walk far on uneven ground or to wear my boots. Well, I'm happy to report that I'm on the mend, the damage to the surrounds to my tendons is healing well and as long as I do as I'm told by the physio and the podiatrist, I'll be able to gradually build up to 6 or 7 mile walks this winter.  
This is a huge relief, outside in the fields is where I gather inspiration and walking gently distils the ideas into images I jot down when I get back to my studio. Like the beautiful silver and faded gold of the Crack Willow leaves against the blue sky; or the crouched shapes of the woods.
I walked as far as the derelict WWII Nissan huts where the Barn Owls live.
On the way home I noted the black Sloes in the hedgerows and made a mental note to check whether we have enough gin to make a bottle of Sloe Gin from the Sloes in our garden.
Of course my hand was full of leaves I couldn't resist picking up along the way . . . Oak, Hawthorn, Pear, Lime, Aspen, Dogwood, Gelder Rose and my favourite buttery yellow Field Maple.

So, if you're in the path of the St Jude's Day Storm tonight and tomorrow morning, don't get blown away and stay safe. Let's hope St Jude remains the patron of desperate causes and not synonymous with a devastating weather event. 

"May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, 
loved and preserved now and forever. 
Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us, 
Saint Jude worker of Miracles, pray for us, 
Saint Jude helper and keeper of the hopeless, pray for us, 
Thank you Saint Jude."


Friday 11 October 2013

My blog is a RHS Gardening Blogs 2013 Finalist

I could hardly believe the email I received last night . . . my blogpost "As UN-like as peas in a pod" has been been shortlisted for the RHS Gardening Blogs Competition 2013!

There are 10 finalists and I have to admit that they are all very very good. The winner will be decided by a public vote . . . so please follow the link above or click on the green button in the side bar, then scroll down to find all 10 blogs (mine is at the bottom by the way).

As as finalist I've already won a lovely prize – I can attend the press preview day of one of the RHS garden shows . . . maybe I'll go to Chelsea! If I do, I'll definitely blog about it.

Do you like the flower arrangement? It was inspired by the amazing floral arrangements I saw at Het Loo while on holiday. The in-house florist (can you imagine that job?!) creates the most stunning exuberant arrangements in all the palace rooms, using the beautiful antique ceramics as containers. We had a peek inbetween the flowers and the secret was tall, tiered up containers ;-) so I experimented with a tall jar standing inside a Victorian planter . . . it looks OK don't you think?


Friday 4 October 2013

Tah-daaah! My first fabric collection

I've wanted to do this for years – adapt my block print designs for a repeat pattern for fabric. Then someone pointed me towards Spoonflower, and I got very excited!

There were other options of course . . .
Such as, printing directly onto fabric from hand cut blocks (tempting but it would mean completely reorganising my studio and I had other priority projects this summer)then printing to order - and I don't think I could handle the stress (perfectionist).
Or finding a UK digital fabric printer – yes there are some good ones BUT I would need to order everything and then resell it.

With a Spoonflower "studio" I could upload all my design ideas and order swatches/trial lengths and test them out before then opening a shop for anyone to order from. Fun and no wastage :-) Everthing is printed to order using eco-friendly water-based ink on beautiful natural fibre fabrics.

I've put together a collection Birds Wedding based on my print and popular card design 'The birds' wedding day'.

There is a large repeat design 'Hearts', a solid colour with small white motifs 'Sprigs' each are available in three colourways: Ruby, Sea and Stone. And also a modern Regency-style  'Stripe', which is available in the two pastel colours, Sea and Stone.

Well, the sample lengths arrived and I skipped around a bit because they were very very lovely. Then I snipped them up into pieces and made up three bundles of the beautiful linen/cotton soft furnishing quality canvas for my "Secret Sewers".

Later today they are going to blog about what they made, so pop over to visit:
Tracy's blog – where there is some superb patchwork (a table runner, coasters and cushions) and a give-away!
Over on Gina's blog there is a stunning tea cosy, a lovely red cushion and a make-up purse (which she's giving away to one lucky person)
And on Su's blog her makes are a large comfy cushion and padded case for her iPad.

For myself, I ordered a length of the cotton voile fabric printed in the Stone Stripe design . . .

My vintage Singer Starlet helped me stitch it into a simple curtain (a pole slides through a large hem at the top)

It makes the little window in the old stable room look very charmimg :-)

Although it was very difficult to photograph because the room is always quite dark . . . so I took the curtain outside and pegged it onto an apple tree to watch it ripple in the breeze.

And to admire my neat stitches :-) In fact it was a dream to sew, no slipping and the design makes it easy to align the hems perfectly straight.

So there we have it! 'Birds Wedding' my first ever fabric collection, available to order here.
Please don't let ordering from the US put you off, it is incredible efficient and even if you have to pay a little extra shipping/vat (duty is only charged for parcels over £135) the prices are very reasonable for such good quality fabrics.

btw I've started a Pinterest board Sew me! to collect together all the things that have been made from my fabrics, so if you buy some fabric and make something, please let me know and I'll Pin it :-)  

PS with quilters in mind two small scale prints, "Small Sprigs" and "Small Stripe", will be available soon (I am trialing them in the quilting weight cotton this month).

Wednesday 2 October 2013

The Secret Sewing Project

I promised in a previous post fabrics designed by me . . . and there isn't long to wait!

In fact sample lengths arrived in my studio earlier in the summer, but I knew I'd be too busy to make things from them . . .
then I had a cunning plan :-)

The Secret Sewing Project

I enlisted the help of three of clever creative blogging friends who I knew wouldn't be able to resist a free parcel of fabric :-D

And I invited them to . . .

Then, inspired by the excited emails I received with attached photos of work-in-progress, I got out Starlet and did some sewing myself :-) The fabric was so lovely I've found my long-lost stitching mojo!

The Secret Sewing Project big 'reveal' is coming to a blog near you very soon . . . Friday 4th October is tah-daaah day :-)

I'm excited to see what Gina, Su and Tracy have been stitching, aren't you?!

And my trusty Starlet will share her 'make' too!


Psst! I've heard a rumour there may be a give-away