Silver Crow Project

Junker Jane Style Monster ATC's

Hello Strangers,

It's high time I dusted down my blog proper and caught up with everything. In the Summer I took part in a swap over at the ATC's For All forum. We were to take inspiration from Junker Jane monster dolls and create 3 ATC's to swap. The forth was an extra for the host. I had never heard of Junker Jane but on googling, loved her little creepy monsters. They reminded me of the empathy monsters we created in the Willowing free class - remember that? Which might account for the shape of my first one - completely unintentional - just seeing it now!
Whoopidooings: Junker Jane Style monster - ATC #1
Whoopidooings: Junker Jane Style monster - ATC #2
Whoopidooings: Junker Jane Style monster - ATC #3
Whoopidooings: Junker Jane Style monster - ATC #4
Mine were done using acrylics and fineliners. This was the selection I got back. Don't they look  like they just belong together? "Patches" the Cat is by GwennieJo, The dog and "100% Chance of Rain" is by our lovely host Cheryl Ann, "Jimmy" is by H. Dietz and "Belinda" off to the side is by DmyLadyBug aka Angie Wilkins. I think they are a mixture of watercolours and pens, but they don't say for sure. They look amazing in real life. My camera work is getting worse - I swear. 
It was a lot of fun and I forgot how much I enjoy working on such small scale. I'll definitely do it again.

Rocking My World Friday - Week 2 of Summer Hols

This may or may not be published on Friday. But it will be published. I promise  started writing it on Friday. The thought and intention is here.

I have been keeping up with my (mostly) positive reflections even though I haven't been blogging them. I still take pictures of things that make me smile - no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to other people. But I have noticed my moods have been a bit low, a bit grey if not totally black since my course ended. I suspect that's all it is - my course ending. Going back to being "just" Mum as opposed to Carmen. I know that isn't the case - there isn't anything 'just' about being a Mum. It's a privilege.  But it's there - on the fringes.

It's time to start physically writing down all the things I have to be happy about again rather than slipping into bad habits that lead to bad moods. Then they are here - to look back on and they always make me smile when I do that.

So - this is the second week of the summer holidays. I am exhausted and I am broke. That's with us trying to find relatively cheap things to do. But we've had fun! Last week we signed the two monsters up to the Summer Reading Challenge at the library.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - Summer Reading Challenge
Little Miss was ecstatic as the rewards are all Roald Dahl themed which means Quentin Blake in abundance - one of her favourite illustrators. This week we went back and she got her first reward - two illustrated cards and a BFG bookmark.

This week saw Little Bear spend the week in Hastings with Daddy & Nanna.  Roo and Pheebs stayed home. This coming week they are swapping and Roo is getting to tire Nanna out and Mr Bear stays home. This way they get some much needed one on one time. It's bonkers here most days - no such thing as privacy or space.

Devvie came home this week so my girls and I headed to the local cinema to see Finding Dory. It was such a fun day and the first time we have been all together.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - Finding Dory
Best of all our local cinema only charges £3 entry. So for the four of us plus drinks and snacks it came to just over £20 to see a new film we REALLY wanted to see. I'm so pleased they re-opened this cinema - before they did it had been years and we had never gone as a family because it was just so expensive to go to the bigger cinemas in the area. It's a tiny cinema - I just hope they manage to stay open after the rumored regeneration (and big name cinema) opens a bit further into town. We loved the film too - recommended, definitely.

When I went back to school I really caught up on my reading and made massive use of their amazing library. Now that I have left I have kept this up via my local library which I hadn't visited in a long time. I also found out that via their website you can request they purchase books that you can't find through their search system. So far out of 4 books I have requested they have purchased 3! One of them was a newly published one. I'm really loving the library at the moment and these are the books I've bought home this week...
Whoopidooings: Library books
Yes, I raid the childrens section for the gorgeously illustrated books!
I have become a little obsessed with Tove Jansson. I somehow completely bypassed her growing up - I was aware of the Moomins cartoon, vaguely...but that's it. However, I have been researching her for a really fun ATC swap which I'll blog later. I'm now completely enamored with her. So I was really pleased when Sian told me there was a BBC documentary on iPlayer. I stayed up last night when everyone was in bed with my tea and biscuits and watched it. I do love a good documentary. Thanks Sian.

I was taking a photo of this next one, which I'd reserved - I've been wanting to read it for ages but there was a queue for it - I can see why, it's gorgeous. Anyway after I took the photo I realised I had a little feather on my desk...
Whoopidooings: Library books
My workdesk is in my bedroom these days which is in the attic. There is often a little curious feathered face watching me from the roof window. This is the first time I've had a little gift appear on my desk though. It did make me smile. Especially because of the particular book I was taking a picture of at the time.

When we took Devvie back to Canterbury we stayed for the day and had a wander - I love it there. We really loved this wonky secondhand bookshop which is actually a charity called Catching Lives which helps support the homeless in the city. The inside is just as wonky - you feel a little drunk on the uneven upper floor.
Whoopidooings: Wonky Bookshop Canterbury
The inscription above the door reads "...a very old house bulging over the road...leaning forward, trying to see who was passing on the narrow pavement below..." Charles Dickens, 1849 

Other things that have made me smile:

  • Cooler evenings so I can snuggle under my quilt - I hate the hot weather.
  • New internet connection meaning I can blog and read websites and start my online classes finally. (See ya BT - I'd like to say it was a blast but I'd be lying!)
  • Friends who help in the most unexpected ways. I'm now going to teach myself to read French so that I can read some beautiful illustrated books I've bought.
  • Seeing my school buddies getting excited for the start of their degrees. (Tinge of jealousy too but so happy for them.)
And that will do for now - there is more but a certain Bear has just ransacked my desk and is drawing perilously close to said snuggly quilt! It's a start, hopefully I will get back in the habit. I miss my blog and fully intend to start blogging regularly again. I was toying with starting a fresh one, still am if I'm honest. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by today  - how has your week been? 

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 366

Actual stuff! That's what!
And just pretend it's Wednesday OK? I did take the pictures yesterday and then promptly forgot to do anything with them. Memory=sieve.

First up - my compulsory weather whinge. After all that rain last week - it's been far, far to hot this week. Like, change my clothes and have a bath as soon as I get in from the first school run hot. What is that all about? Lots of cloud cover today though and a nice breeze so you happen upon a happy Whoopidoo right here.

I joined up to a new (to me) forum this week (ATCsForAll) and am taking part in an ATC swap for the first time in - nearly two years. I'm really enjoying it too. That's what you can see on my desk - I finished them last night so will be getting them posted at some point. I haven't blogged them yet but if you are reading this on a pc you can look on my sidebar there on the right, they are on my  instagram feed.
What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 366
*Ahem* Excuse the washing pile. It's now been put away. (Checks) Yes, yes it has.
What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 366
Last week Annie Claxton asked what the display was at the back of my desk. Mainly postcards. One I picked up at the (aptly named) Pick Me Up show earlier in the year - it's for the Museum of British Folklore, one is a Disney quote which reads "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing"  A reminder to myself. One is a favourite image of Mucha's and the other is an ink blot image in the shape of a skull. Not mine - it was a freebie print from

The long image is a card from a wonderful friend. When I was back at school I discovered Mark Hearld for the first time and he was a huge influence in my final work and trying out lino cutting. His dedication to doing what he loves and being inspired by what he loves had a massive impact on me. Like a lightbulb moment. This sounds daft but for the first time I realised I could combine all the things I love and use all of them as inspiration - not just bits and pieces. He is hugely influenced by nature. I realised that I was allowed to be influenced by creepy spooky things and nature if I wanted to - they didn't have to be separate,  But it was a revelation to me. I became a little obsessed with him. I really recommend his book. It's one of the most beautiful books I own. I will review it at some point.

Anyway - he did a show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and my friend goes there a lot.  She saw this there and picked it up for me. 
 Mark Hearld Card
The card is a print of one of his collages and it folds into three, I don't know what the proper term for that is. I just love it and will be getting it framed eventually as a long image. But for now I am enjoying it above my desk.
What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 366 - Mark Hearld Card
I'm going to pop over to LLJans page now to link up - why not follow me over? You'll find a list of people all taking part in showing their creative spaces.

My love goes out to our founder Julia while she recuperates.

Thanks for the warm welcome back last week, I really enjoyed it. And thanks also for stopping by today :)

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 365

Good afternoon from sodden Kent. Our back yard is under water. And it's June 1st. There is a heat wave forecast for next week. Great British weather eh?

Today you happen by my blog as I take part in What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday for the first time in... (looks back in blog history)... a year! A year? Wow. But this week is the week for restarting things on my blog so what better time?

Today we are at my indoors desk which is now situated in my bedroom. Usually it's lovely and bright and airy up here because I'm in the attic room. But did I mention the weather? So please excuse the terrible lighting here.
Not much creative going on... yet. I have my index cards in preparation of starting (and completing godammit!) Index Card a Day.

The notepad is because I am currently doing a couple of online classes and am being all studious and taking notes. One is through the Society of Visual Storytellers and the other is a free one through The Shaw Academy. Hopefully there will be less note taking and more pretties to show you next time.

My thoughts are with Julia, the creator of WOYWW and her family today as she comes out the other side of her operation. Sending the hugest hugs possible from me and mine Julia. 

If you would like to join in today and show your creative space and also see where many other people work and play - then hop on over to LLJans place to link up and find everyone else.

Any questions? Leave me a comment and I'll reply there and via email if you have one associated with your name. 

Thanks for stopping by today :)

That Was Then and This Is Now

I have been  putting off doing this post for ages. I have neglected and missed my lovely blog for to long. Purely for lack of time. But it feels like I have forgotten how to do it or where to start.

So I'm just going to do what I do best. Ramble. Maybe a stream of thought will emerge as I go along.

I have missed this, missed connecting through here. Oh I know there's Facebook and it feels like a lot of the blogs I used to follow have stopped posting and switched to posting there or on Instagram but I want to fight that trend. I'm digging my heels in. This blog, started originally as a way to store photos when an old pc was dying, has brought me so much. Friends, confidence to explore, an improved mental attitude (through Rocking Fridays - thank you Virginia) my first sales, confidence to go back to school, BACK TO SCHOOL! At 38. I was so flaming scared. But the support through here and by my family had me doing a Maths GCSE and then a pre-degree Art & Design course. It's been a weird and wonderful couple of years.

Isn't it funny though that the platform that helped me most has also been neglected the most. No more.

I have just finished the Art & Design Access. That consisted of 2 weekly rotations in Fine Art, Fashion & Textiles, Visual Communication and 3D. With Photography intertwined between them all. You then picked one of them as a pathway to finish the rest of your course on. Now I started this thinking I was going on to a Fine Art degree - mainly because I couldn't find any Illustration degrees locally but I had found a part time Fine Art degree at Canterbury Christchurch. Had attended their open day, seemed really amazing and they had guided me towards the UCA Access but told me not to let them steal me. Sorry guys.

I absolutely hated, with a passion, the Fine Art rotation. My head and heart just does not get Fine Art. At least, not what we covered in those two weeks. I add that last bit because a friend is currently doing a Fine Art degree in a different part of the country and I absolutely love what she is producing.

I was dreading the Fashion & Textiles rotation and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it. Lots of illustration involved, that helped but also the tactile nature of textiles. Loved it. Towards the end of that rotation I also took myself off on an outside workshop which involved sketching with thread - I'll post about that another day. So I was actually torn between Fashion & Textiles and Visual Communication in the end but went with Vis Comm for a couple of reasons. Illustration was a big thing in there. A friend who was going into Fashion warned me that I might have to go in extra days for sewing workshops which I just couldn't do and she did end up going in nearly every day. I was also worried it would be heavily fashion based and I really have zero interest in that.

I learnt so much in Vis Comm, we covered Typography, Graphic Design, Illustration, different artists I'd never heard of... some I knew their work but not the names... The input and feedback was brutally honest but not nasty. It was all helpful and positively enforced with what to do to improve. How to push yourself and take things further. Think outside the box (and sometimes realise, you know what? I'm getting back in my box!) And yet I don't think we even scratched the surface. I want to learn so much more.

So we come to the end. We had 10 weeks leading up to our final pieces that were then, and still are until the 12th of June, exhibited. Mine was based on Folklore - it changed loads over that 10 weeks. I ended up basing it on my local area and creating a new folklore legend from animals that are abundant here. I used lino cutting which I never had before and I taught myself through Youtube videos.

Am I happy with my final piece? Yes and no. I had intended there to be four different images. I managed one 12 x12" image. I seriously underestimated the designing time, ended up cutting - I think it was 4 versions of my final tile before I was happy. Then you see the exhibition and there is all this amazing work on display and I just wish I had got done what I wanted done.


It is the best thing I have ever done. I am not one for saying I like my own work usually but I frigging love my final piece. It may not be enough to get the grade I was secretly hoping for. In fact I know it isn't. But I love it. I love the detail in it. I love that I persevered to do one really good piece rather than a few mediocre ones. I love that I taught myself to do it. There is literally blood, sweat and tears in that thing. And I am super proud of it.
Carmen Wing : Werebatbunny - lino print
And then there is what happens next.  I have accepted a degree place at Canterbury UCA on their Illustration & Animation degree - a new course which is why I never found it before. I have deferred for a year while Mr Bear is still half days at nursery. In some ways I am a little heartbroken to do that. In other ways, it gives me time to think. 

This year has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. It's also been one of the most stressful and knackering. I'm going to try and go self employed this year, properly focus, not just mess about. I have signed up to and been accepted on an English GCSE course... I've also taken out a years subscription for classes with The Society of Visual Storytelling. Sooo... still going to be pretty busy. Plus - the Illustration degree does not do part time. I find it really odd that the same uni that caters for you to prepare for uni part time doesn't then allow you to do the actual degree part time. It doesn't work out part time at all when you add up what you do at home but I don't think I could physically get myself there and be back here for school times. I'm going to go on an open day soon and have a chat with them about  my options. Surely I'm not the first to come up against this problem. BUT if I can get myself enough work in the meantime I may not even need to go. I will miss my desk buddy who is starting there this year, different course but same area of the uni. But - like I say, going to be busy anyway.

Well will you look at that? I rambled long enough that I got myself a blog post. Now that I've dipped my toe in I am going to come back soon and do a more pretty one showing some stages of my final piece and some other bits from school. Plus - I am taking part in and determined to actually finish ICAD this year. I'm going to be dragging out and dusting off my sewing machine to explore textiles a wee bit more.

 Looking forward to catching up - thanks for stopping by today :)

Rotation Sketchbook Pages

*Picture heavy*
February already. I can't believe it - wasn't it just Christmas? Things are ramping up a gear here. We are just starting the FMP - Final Major Project - at school. This is the one we write the brief for ourselves. It takes 10 weeks, 12 if we count the Easter holidays. At the end the final result gets exhibited to the public. No pressure then.

We've had the past week off while our stage 2 work gets assessed and have just had a week of school trips. The majority  of people went to Amsterdam and those that couldn't make it had a couple of days visiting galleries in London. I stayed home and did the London trips - which was great as, although I live close I have never actually been to any London art galleries. The museums, yes but not the galleries. So in two days we did the V&A, The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. Loved it - will definitely go back. Maybe that's a post for another day.

So - I thought, while I am sat printing out pages and pages of paperwork for the final project, I'd show you my sketchbooks from the beginning. This post is a few pages from Stage 1 - Rotations. We have to use this and the stage 2 sketchbook to gather ideas for the final project.
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
This is my Stage 1 & Stage 2 sketchbooks underneath my shiny new Stage 3 book.
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
This is my very first entry detailing what we did on the first day. It was a kind of bonding/get to know each other day and we all sat and drew on these massive rolls of paper. We had to not be wary of drawing over the top of other peoples work and just go for it and work LARGE. Seems like so long ago now - I was terrified going in on that first day. 
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
Fine Art
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fine Art
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fine Art
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fine Art
Another group project - That cardboard spider was over 6' tall!
 Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Repeating patterns we designed in Photoshop.
Stuck the people in to give an idea how they might be used on fabric.
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - FAshion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
 The next pages were speed sketches after draping fabric, trying to get ideas from our designs.
 So - yeah - severed hand inspiration *g*
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
 Then had to model said garment that I had dodgily cobbled together. Oh joy!
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Fashion & Textiles
 This was an interesting colour mixing exercise. We had to try and get the greys just using orange, yellow, blue and white.
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Colour Chart
 Then cut out greyish shades from a magazine, do a full page collage and try to replicate, as close as possible, the tones. Again just using the red, blue, yellow and white.
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Colour mixing
 Visual Communication
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Visual Communication
Designing letters - So, naturally, I thought a headless Frankenstein's Monster makes a great 'i'
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Visual Communications
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Visual Communication
 Collage - I love it but am rubbish at it - these took me AGES!
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook - Collage
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
It's fair to say I struggled with the 3D rotation but I loved doing the plaster casting!
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
Whoopidooings - Stage 1 - Rotations Sketchbook
I tell you what - I have gone from someone thinking I would like to journal more - to doing it all the time! It's certainly teaching me how to use the sketchbook as a tool rather than be afraid of it. (Says She, afraid to jump in and start Stage 3!)

I'll pop back with a post from Stage 2 hopefully before I finish the actual course.

Thanks for stopping by today :)