Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Thrifting

It's time for a round up of everything I thrifted this Spring! Over the Spring months I have had a really good run of luck with thrift finds. I actually worked for a chain of charity shops until this year, and although I found a lot of awesome stuff at work, the last thing I wanted to do in my free time was thrift. Leaving that job has re-awoken my love of searching for thrifted treasures, and I've been enjoying exploring some of the charity and second hand shops in my new area. 

I picked up some brilliant art supply bargains, starting with this wooden case full of watercolour paints for only £2. I'm still finding my feet with watercolour, so having some low cost paints to play around with without worrying about the expense is perfect.

I also found a set of synthetic paint brushes, a big palette (which I've been wanting for ages!) and a roll of painting canvas. Now I just need to make time to actually do some artwork...

This punch and eyelet set was just £1 and seems to be really good quality. I think the eyelets are intended for scrapbooking, but I'm hoping they'll be strong enough for some decorative eyelet and lacing details on some clothing I'm planning to make.

After seeing them everywhere on the stationery tags on Instagram, I really wanted a vintage letter writing case, and I found a gorgeous black leather one! I also got a vintage brown leather case which originally held a toiletry set, but I am going to fill it with art supplies and use it as a portable art kit. 

When I went to the sculpture event at Bristol Botanic Garden there was a book sale being held to raise money for the gardens. Most of the books were gardening related, but there were a few natural history books, and I snapped up this Mushrooms and Toadstools book and Marjorie Blamey's Flowers of the Countryside. The people running the book sale were so helpful and sweet, and looked through all the books, trying to find ones with good illustrations for me! The mushroom book is very detailed and describes the biology and growth of fungi, which is exactly what I have been looking for. Flowers of the Countryside has the most gorgeous illustrations, and a surprising amount of information on creating your own botanical illustrations. I also got a tiny little Observer Book of Birds, which has the most charming pictures, from a charity shop.

I got this sheer blouse, which has a photographic print of fields of lupins in pastel colours. The print reminds me of the flowers in Skyrim. It will need some altering to make it suit me-right now it is baggy in all the wrong places and has tight elastic at a sort of awkward mid hip level. I couldn't pass up pastel lupins though!

I got some gorgeous jewellery from a charity shop that always seems to have loads of jewellery for really low prices. The silver necklace is Indian, and has a beautiful intricate design and shiny rhinestones. The lily of the valley pin is so precious, and I really like that the leaf pendant can also be taken off the chain and used as a pin. I think it looks a bit Lord of the Rings-esque.

One of my luckiest finds perhaps of all time was a pristine Arthurian Tarot deck, in the original box with the book.  The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and Arthurian imagery is very significant to me-I first learned about paganism from reading The Mists of Avalon, and the legends have had a huge influence on my aesthetic and interests. It seemed really magical that this deck found me, especially as I bought it on Beltane.
[As a side note, is anyone interested in some posts on Tarot? Let me know in the comments if so!]

I have been really getting back into pastels recently, and especially loving soft blues and purples. Fitting the pastel phase was this darling vintage biscuit tin, which has Japanese scenes in misty hues on the lid and each side. I finally found a stunning paua shell, which is entirely iridescent mother of pearl gorgeousness on both sides, and makes me very happy to look at. I also got some vintage trim with a lovely cherry blossom design. 

The pastel piece de resistance was this AMAZING painting, which mixes autumnal trees (one of my favourite things) with the dreamiest lilac mountains. It is kitschy as heck but I love it so much! I can't wait to get it up on a wall.

I hope you enjoyed seeing all my thrift finds! Let me know which was your favourite in the comments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Crystal Collection

Over the last few years I have slowly built up a collection of crystals. Many of them were bought in a very lucky charity (thrift) shop find of what must have been someones geology collection, and I have added more thrifted finds and a few pieces from various crystal shops. I love how crystals look and they are very much a part of my "aesthetic", I enjoy learning about geology and the scientific aspects of them, and I also like to have them around for their energy and metaphysical properties.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Jack In The Green

 ♫ Dance with me Jack, dance along the highway ♪

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sculpture Festival at Bristol Botanic Garden

Over the Easter bank holiday weekend I visited Bristol Botanic Garden, for their Easter Sculpture Festival and Quilting Exhibition. I had been to the Botanic Garden many times before, but never for this particular event, so I was intrigued.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Playlist: Moving On to Better Things

I wasn't really sure how to phrase this post. Suffice to say, there's been a lot of crappy stuff happening in the last half decade or so of my life, and it has weighed heavy on me. I finally feel like my life is moving on from that. I really want to leave it all well and truly behind me and emerge shiny, happy and FABULOUS from the ashes!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Adventures In Fabric Dyeing

A while ago I thrifted a carrier bag full of very old Dylon dyes (the ones that came in tins, anyone remember those?). There were an array of wonderful colours, and I wanted to experiment, so I grabbed all the light coloured natural fabrics I had to hand and set to work.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Museum of the Moon

I've been following Bristol based artist Luke Jerram's work since I went to his wonderful, surreal Withdrawn installation in 2015. So when I read that he would be touring a new, moon themed installation, I was very excited, and hoped that it would stop off in his home city at some point. After much anticipation, it was announced that Museum of the Moon would be open to the public at the beautiful Wills Memorial Building (part of Bristol University) over the last weekend in March. The amazing Neo Gothic architecture of the building was the perfect backdrop to the surreal sight of a mini (but still pretty large!) moon, seemingly floating above the ground of its own accord.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Last Snowdrop Necklace & Giveaway

Because I love snowdrops so much, I decided to make a little souvenir of their beauty, that would last beyond the short season of their fragile blooms. I decided on a necklace.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Goats In The Gully

The Avon Gorge and the land on top of it, known as The Downs, is a pretty special place. Not only is it rather spectacular to look at, it's home to everything from nesting peregrine falcons, to rare plants such as the Bristol onion, Bristol rockcress, and Bristol whitebeam trees (which you will notice all have EXTREMELY ORIGINAL names).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Serene Snowdrops

I am endlessly delighted and fascinated by snowdrops. Every year when the first shoots start appearing, I enter a full on snowdrop obsession and have to seek out as many as I can for their short flowering season. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Mermaid Playlist

Recently I started to think about mermaid music. Music that makes me feel (more) like a mermaid, music that I think mermaids would listen to, music that could be made by actual mermaids who are masquerading as music artists. The result was this watery mermaid playlist. Do you have any favourite mermaid-y songs?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Window Wanderland

In February I went to a lovely community event called Window Wanderland. It was started in Bristol and now takes place in several areas of the city, plus a few other cities across the UK. The idea of it is that people decorate the windows of their home or business, and when darkness falls they light them up, creating an illuminated artwork, installation or scene. Something to brighten up the dark nights and bring a little light and joy to the cold, gloomy winter.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What's Inspiring Me Right Now: The Ac!d Reign Chronicles

Although I've liked Grimes' music for a while, her album came out when I was going through a very different musical phase and deep in an obsession with a different band. So although I thought the visuals for the first video from her Art Angels album were interesting, I didn't pay a lot of attention to the rest of them. That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when Youtube autoplay did something good for once and started playing the video for World Princess Part II. The castle they were dancing around in looked awfully familiar, and I realised that it was Chepstow Castle, a place I've visited many times.  In fact, all but one of the video locations were places that I'm very familiar with and have spent a lot of time around at different points in my life. It was really eerie but strangely fascinating to watch a music video shot in all these places that I knew so well.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nature Journal | January

This year I decided to keep a nature journal, with paintings and drawings of the animals, plants and weather I see each month. I thought it would be interesting to look back on at the end of the year, as well as being a great way of improving my art skills. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lantern Parade

Last week I went to Bedminster Lantern Parade, a procession of handmade lanterns and local bands through the streets of the Bedminster area of Bristol, put on to bring a little light and cheer to the winter darkness. It was sweet, uplifting, and very, very Bristol.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Winter Sunset

Monday, January 23, 2017

How I Made My Thrifty & Creative Planner Set Up

I really want to be more organised this year, so I set out to re-vamp my planner in a way that would encourage me to use it. I ended up being really pleased with my planner layout and the way I decorated it, especially as it ended up being very low cost! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

OOTD | Fairy Tale Forest

This is the outfit I put together for visiting Strange Worlds. It seemed appropriate to dress for the occasion, wearing something with a hint of dark fairy tale. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter

The Fairy Tale, Di Oliver

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by fairy tales. As a child I was enthralled by the pretty princesses and magical phenomena, but as I grew older I started to notice the darker elements of the tales, to wonder what was going on behind the scenes. Why were the (usually female) protagonists always warned to stay out of the woods, away from the tower, or not to go to the ball? What was lurking there that was so dangerous? And was it really dangerous to the protagonist, or was there something more oppressive at work? When I discovered the work of Angela Carter, who so skillfully weaves all these questions into a tapestry of magical realism, carnival colours, and often shocking sexuality, I was completely entranced. Her writing made me think deeper about not only the stories I had grown up with, but the real world, and my place in it. It made me realise that magic can be found in the strangest of places. Above all though, her writing conjured up a series of very clear images, pictures in my mind which have influenced me ever since.

Monday, January 16, 2017

#Creative365 | Week 1-2

I've had several failed attempts at a 365 day challenge before, but somehow I still wanted to come back to the idea. So I decided to quietly start one on January 1st 2017, and wait a couple of weeks to see if I could actually pull it off. So far, so good. 
During my past attempts I felt like I had to have massive variety in what I was showing, but this year I am much more focused on ACTUALLY FINISHING THINGS. There may end up being multiple photos of the same project, but I think that will be an interesting progression to look back on, and it will be a good learning experience to work out different ways of photographing the same project. I'm also going to be much easier on myself this time, allowing any art challenges I do to count as part of this 365 day challenge, if needs be. So without further ado, let's dive right in.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

#CreativeKickstart October, November and December

#CreativeKickstart is a hashtag to share what we've been making and being inspired by each month, created by my merfriend Cuttlefishlove. I kept up with it for a few months in 2015 but then lost track. In 2016 I wanted to post a photo for each month, so that I could look back at the end of the year and see my creative journey. The last quarter of 2016 got pretty hectic for me, but I was determined to finish my year of #CreativeKickstart, so here are the photos for October, November and December!