Hi I’m Vanessa and I run inkblok from my sunny (sometimes), Brighton studio on the south coast of England.
My background is in Art, Architecture and 3D Design although I have been creating and drawing since I was a very little girl!
I love detailed drawing, pattern and typography and I hope for inkblok to become my main creative outlet for my illustrative prints and stationery.
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.”
Do you know the way to San Jose? This week’s Shop Local post is coming at you from sunny San Jose, California.
The Sharma Designs shop is full of funky jewelry that is refined enough to go just about anywhere! She has a wide selection of painted wood earrings and earrings made from vintage lucite, as well as jewelry crafted from various other materials. While this selection could easily be distracting, the Sharma Designs aesthetic brings a great consistency to the entire shop.
This fabric tea cup, by Atelier Usagi’s Quilt, would make a whimsical touch to a mantel or coffee table. Fill it with pens or paper clips. Store sweetener packets inside and serve it with your afternoon tea.
Acrylic rings are HOT and these are some of the very best I’ve seen anywhere! PoppyJoy‘s rings are colorful – with beautiful patterns and prints. At just $3.99 a piece, you can treat yourself to a little bling without breaking the bank. Love that! Poppy also has a bulk option to purchase larger quantities of rings at a discount. They would make outrageous & affordable party favors for a bridal shower or ladies brunch.
At only 18 years old, and an Etsy member since only January, Poppy – with over 200 sales – has a promising craft career in front of her!
Amy from Bandamy Boutique creates hand-knit bags & purses. The purse pictured above is knit from a wool and alpaca blend and features an antique brass kisslock snap frame. Such a luxurious place to keep a bit of change and a lip balm!
My husband and I have collected many pieces from one our favorite artists, Leia Bell. We are especially fond of her venue posters that she has designed over the past decade. It’s always thrilling when one of our favorite bands has been married to Leia’s fabulous art! The lines in her work remind me of block cut prints and her bold use of color is unique and happy.
Leia writes this about herself:
After graduating with a BFA in Printmaking in 2001, I really had no idea how I could ever use my fancy art degree until I started hanging out with Phil, the owner of the rock venue I frequented (it’s called Kilby Court, if you were wondering). He suggested that I screenprint posters for the venue– small, colorful, eye-catching pieces that would also be collectible to the townsfolk. The plan seemed to work beautifully, for not long after I would hang up my posters, I’d walk back by the same spot and they would already be swiped. So then it began.
Aside from being an artist, Leia is also a mother to three young children. I am always inspired when I read about artists who also manage a family and a business. I’m sure there is never a dull moment! You can read more about Leia here.
These featured pieces are some of the posters that I have in my personal collection. Leia has posters, art prints, paintings and drawing available over at her website. Go see what you can find!
Matthew Parker is a photographer with a distinctive point of view, and an incredibly unusual technique for sharing that point of view. He makes photographic collages, but don’t let the word “collage” let you think of chopped up, scattered, and randomly pasted-together images. Matthew’s photographic collages take the same time, planning, and critical decision making that any master painting would take.
Each collage starts out as a sketch. As a trained architect, Matthew is drawn to objects in the built environment, and how structures interact with their space. After sketching out how he would like his subject to appear, the camera comes out. Instead of chopping up photographs to create the individual collage elements, each piece is actually a single, complete, unaltered photograph, which was deliberately framed and angled to follow the lines of Matthew’s original sketch.
In addition to viewing his subjects through multiple angles, Matthew’s collages also add an element of time. The collages are made up of multiple photographs – more than thirty, sometimes approaching one hundred separate images – but they also span multiple time periods. Sometimes the photographs are taken over the course of a single day, or a time span of several hours. Some of the collages include images from several different months or years – all taken from the same spot, and all of the same subject.
Adding the element of time allows Matthew to portray how moods and atmosphere change over the time of day, or seasons of the year. The variations in the images allow the viewer to experience the subject in a way that a single photograph (or even a real-life visit) never could. Matthew’s collages are a totally unique way to understand and experience a subject.
Because of his background in architecture, Matthew is very drawn to the abundance of beautiful buildings in Washington DC. But one of his favorite subjects is the cherry blossoms, because the look of the blossoms change so dramatically in different light. Additionally, images of crowds are another favorite subject. People are never static, and multiple images layered on top of each other really help the viewer to feel like they are actually part of the crowd.
Matthew’s customers also love images of the cherry blossoms, probably for the same reasons he does, but also because they are such an iconic symbol of Washington, DC. If you see one you like, you need to act fast, because all the prints are limited edition, and won’t be available forever. New collages are always being planned, but there is no set schedule on when new ones will be introduced. After all, it could take years to capture all the necessary images!
Matthew is currently working on a collage of the tidal basin that has already been three years in the making. It’s not hard to imagine the difficulty of capturing the cherry blossoms during their notoriously short lifespan, and finding and maintaining the exact spot in the tidal basin days, months or years apart!
There are plenty of amazing collages in his current collection, depicting beautiful scenes of Washington DC as well as other cities. He’s even open to suggestions for new collages. If you have an idea, drop him a line and let him know!
You can see all of Matthew’s work at his online gallery, as well as purchase prints in various sizes from his online store, or from the National Building Museum shop. Also, you can visit Matthew’s web site to find him at fine art and craft shows in the DC area.