Baggelboy: Artist and illustrator. At the moment I live in Cambridge a small medieval city on the edge of the world. Originally from London I came here to study illustration and found the medieval life suited me.
The linocut pictures I make come from a mixture of the fun side of our darker life and the fairy tales that Grandma used to tell us. They are firmly rooted in the tradition of Medieval woodcuts and early book printing but with a little twist in the tail. Some of these pictures will become book illustrations and others are workings for larger prints and posters.
I first came across Helen Dalgairns’s bright and eye-catching work when researching a product profile inspired by my cats. I Her print of a cat basking in the sun (above) stayed with me as I thought about how it captured the very essence of most house cats. I was intrigued to learn more about Helen and her work, and to share it with you.
Helen lives in Hull, in Northern England with her husband and a black cat called Neo. Working full-time as a youth worker with the local council, Helen illustrates in her spare time, creating visual artwork that depicts her love for cats! She loves to use bold colours, patterns, vintage, nature and animal humour. “I have also recently started to introduce some human creatures into my artwork, mainly pretty ladies and their cats. The first of this new work is illustration ‘No:1 Crazy Cat Lady’ [below], which was inspired by the many crazy cat ladies out there.”
Helen says she’s always been “obsessed with drawing” and studied art and design at Hull College, with a focus on illustration, photography and textiles – sounds like a perfect mix! After graduating, Helen didn’t create much artwork until about three years ago, when she started creating and selling her work. “One day I had this creative urge, I realized I was not utilizing my creative skills to their full potential, something was missing from my life including the opportunity to express things in a visual way. I wanted to introduce some colour amongst the grey and I wanted to create artwork that made people smile.”
What keeps Helen going with her busy dual lives is knowing that her artwork is making its way into people’s homes, and particularly when she gets positive feedback on her pieces, “especially when someone shows appreciation for your vision and creations, this is very special to me. Buyers and visitors have often shown me things I have never even noticed about my work.”
Last weekend was the end-of-summer Bank Holiday in England and school will be starting again soon. There’s still time for a picnic though (weather permitting)! I’ve put together this product showcase full of unique handmade items to make up the perfect picnic.
Spread the word about your picnic with this adorable invitation design from Paperslice. The design is customized just for you and conveniently sent via email so that you can print as many or as few invites as you need!
Why not have a breakfast picnic featuring this gorgeous “Menage a Trois” marmalade? Lyn of Marmalady has been making marmalade for years and selling at farmers’ markets as well as online. Lyn explained that the combination of Seville oranges, lemons and grapefruit is very popular as it blends the sharpness of traditional marmalade with a touch of sweetness. When renaming her products a couple of years ago, Lyn wanted to move away from bland descriptive names, so her “Three Fruit Marmalade” became “Menage a Trois” as it is the perfect marriage of three fruits!
You’ll need something pretty to sit on, of course! Instead of the traditional blanket, spread out a pretty tablecloth like this one by Ellen from Tuwhittuwhoo. The Betty Brown tablecloth was inspired by a vintage charity shop (thrift store) find. Ellen especially loves how each of her tablecloths looks so different with a change of colour and fabric pattern.
Cupcakes are essential picnic food and these sweet EAT ME cake toppers by Rowena from Crafty Pagan Design would be a great decoration! Just like me, Rowena was caught up in Alice-in-Wonderland mania and was searching to create new items that could work well for lots of occasions whilst still having a touch of whimsy to them. The cake toppers have been used in Alice in Wonderland weddings, birthday parties, book club meetings and bridal and baby showers. The toppers are fully customizable.
In England, bad weather can often ruin even the most well-planned picnic. If rain should occur, don’t fret! Move your picnic inside and decorate with bunting and food-themed artwork. The inspiration for the ‘American Foods’ picture (top) began when Kitty put a print up on Etsy of an illustration she had made with all her favourite foods, which were mainly hearty English dishes! Kitty was then asked if she could make a similar illustration but with lots of American foods, and here is the result. Kitty is now planning to explore some different countries’ edible delights too!
Heidi started making bunting earlier this year for fun and relaxation and her boyfriend Will came up with the perfect name for her new line: Good Will Bunting! Heidi decided to develop a small range and sell it through her Etsy shop, which focuses mainly on fine art prints. At the time she was preparing for a summer holiday to New York with friends and decided to make Stars, Stripes and Denim bunting as a tribute to our friends in the US and their Independence Day celebrations.
Have you peppered your picnic with handmade delights? Share your links here!
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Gemma Correll’s work. Gemma is a well-known freelance illustrator who also makes greetings cards, screenprinted tote bags and T shirts, pocket mirrors and art prints. Her Etsy shop is my go-to place for funny cards and gifts for my husband, who also loves Gemma’s work!
Gemma has been crafting her whole life, beginning with sewing, knitting and crochet, which she was taught by her grandmother. While at college, she started to make plush characters to accompany her illustration work, and she considers this to be her first ‘serious’ foray into crafting. At the same time, Gemma began to sell her plush characters and felt brooches at bi-monthly craft fairs, organised by Gemma and her friends.
When a friend told her about Etsy, which was not well-known in the UK at the time, Gemma decided to start selling online too. She’s since expanded her reach, selling in shops worldwide and online via her own fantastically illustrated website and Etsy shop, as well as the odd craft fair.
As well as selling handmade items, Gemma is a big fan of buying as many handmade products as possible and would much rather find something unique than buy items from large companies, as she feels there’s more of a personal touch. Unfortunately, Gemma has in the past had ideas stolen by large companies, which is a concern for many independent designer-makers and can put many people off sharing ideas with the wider handmade community.
“In five years’ time, I hope that I am still crafting for fun. As I spend more time working and outsourcing products, rather than making them myself – I simply do not have the time or the facilities to print 500 tote bags by hand, sadly – I hope that I can still enjoy making things just for myself. I hope that I’m still going to craft nights with my friends.”
Barking Bird Art: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I live in Portland, Oregon with a baby, a teenager, a husband, two nice cats and a REALLY stubborn dog. I like illustration, cute things, and a strong cup of tea.