Tuesday, 28 December 2010

why I ♥ vintage...

...and I don't mean a well aged wine. Been teetotal since August!

No sir, I mean pre-worn, pre-loved clothing and accessories.

Trawling the chazza shops is a hobby I inherited from my Grandma Lord, who I am realising I am becoming more and more like. As a kid it would be a guilty pleasure, which I'd never have carried out in Doncaster for fear of being seen (hey, I got picked on enough at school!).

As I hit my teens and cared less about what others thought, I realised my home town, as well as having nearly as many charity shops as pubs, offered a wealth of treasures. I have often thought, and don't hate me Doncastrians, that this is because most of the inhabitants have little style...meaning canary yellow 80's two-pieces with musical prints, or neon pink leopard print Fiorucci mini skirts remain hanging from the rails, gathering dust and waiting for me to discover them!

I've also spent a lot of my life either hopelessly skint or manic about money, so second-hand has been the way to feed my voracious clothing appetite. I know people with more clothes, but I certainly know a great many with less.

So heres just a very, very, small selection of some of my favourites...

...and the kittens. They heart vintage also. Included is one half of the afore mention -ned two piece, and a cute-as-a-button purple print 60's number I picked up at a vintage fair at the Bloomsbury Lanes when I took a trip 'dahn sarrf' in early December.

When in London you also must, must visit the legendary Beyond Retro. Not quite as cheap as it used to be now word has spread, but you're sure to find some gems, like the pink sequin heels in the picture above.

click for Beyond Retro online... 

Anyway, please excuse my poor image quality. No daylight plus ageing point and shoot equals appalling photos!

I mourn the loss of my favourite ever vintage purchase, and learned my lesson the hard way, after a eurovison night out at Bar NY a few years back, I stuffed this incredible pink and pastel paisley frock in the waching machine, to be left with it all felted together and several sizes smaller than it's own lining. ALWAYS, BUT ALWAYS HAND WASH!

I have no idea who the person in the background is. Or why I have a halo of green light above my head. This was a rather long time ago.

My replacement favourite is a black dress passed on to me by the mum. I hacked off the bottom to make it a cuter length, as with this blue dress scattered with oriental characters I neither know the origin or meaning of. Also from the Bloomsbury vintage fair. The black dress is particularly special because it's what I was wearing when I saw my Grandad for the very last time. He told me I looked pretty.

Vintage clothes not only bring with them their own histories. They keep on creating new stories.

Stay Strange xxx

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Hoppy Christmas!

It's started!

Actually, I've been excited since about mid august. Excited is pretty much my average state of being.

But spent this morning making (somewhat over inflated) quiches and cleaning up ready for my family boxing day extravaganza, when, I heard the clatter of the letter box...(can't be that much of a backlog, mr. Royal Mail!)

If I don't count my work secret santa, and earrings from Kat which I chose myself, it's my first official Christmas gift! And no, I don't do waiting...

The boy disaster is every bit as excitable as I am, and has to be involved whenever there's a camera about. Sadly, during the ten minutes or so he toddled round with a sequin stuck to his nose, he wasn't quite still enough to photograph (what was that about working with children or animals? Or animal children?!)

You can just make out in the bakground my latest work in progress. I intend to post about it as soon as I can get some better light for pictures -hey, the days are getting longer now!

Ugh no make-up! But check out them bunny ears, courtesy of the beautiful, bunny enthusiast Miss Flora Leung. She should sell these for sure! I'm subconsciously styling a zillion Gaga-esque outfits right this second... Merry Christmas Flo!

Monday, 29 November 2010

I love to hate you.

We are obsessed with Love. Songs, stories, cinema, sentiments. Not to mention real life and our quests to co-habit and pro-create.

The word itself has become almost like a logo, and of late has been rather a la mode -jewellery, clothing prints and what have you.

The trend is exemplified at its kistch, cute and quirky best on Folksy, not least in these four fabulous finds...

(Clockwise from top left http://www.folksy.com/items/1017253-big-love, http://www.folksy.com/items/594389-Love-letters, http://www.folksy.com/items/719513-Love-Print-Knitted-Jumper, http://www.folksy.com/items/826665-Love)

Amazingly 3 of these sellers have yet to make sales on Folksy, so get over there and have a look!

I like to be a bit strange as you know, quite contrary. I thought I'd go against the grain and celebrate that other extreme and passionate emotion -hatred. And as I like to juxtapose the opposite ends of the spectrum I chose to combine ridgid, stencilled, hateful lettering with all things sweet, sparkly and candy-coated -i.e. I Hate Nice Things.

This will be on sale in my Folksy shop as soon as the snow stops casting its odd, eerie glow over every photo I try to take!

Soon to come, a love of all things grim, ghoulish and gross, or Love Turns to Hate, for all you Eighties Matchbox fans out there...

Stay strange xxx

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Further Good Things That Happened Lately...

Been a bit absent lately. Not been at my best for one reason or another. So took a few days and some time out oop North to convalesce.

Mother took me to Carnforth Station, used as the setting for the 1945 classic 'Brief Encounter'. Probably my most favouritest film ever, even ahead of 'Gone With the Wind'. Lead actress Celia Johnson has the saddest eyes ever seen, as she recounts her tale of infidelity, guilt, and the violence of fleeting and unconsummated passions. If you haven't seen it you must. Pure cinematic heartbreak.

A reminder that -'this misery can't last'. And won't last.

Plus we took tea at Betty's and I stocked up on bathing goodies at Emma's Apothecary, Skipton http://www.emmasapothecary.co.uk/

How fabulous we Emma's are :-)

Am starting to learn about CBT, and am realising that I need to overcome my intense fear of relaxing.

Oh, and I've begun to realise that the best nights out are sans alcohol. And that friends understand when I need them to.

(also finished my trinket box)

Stay Strange x

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Work in Progress.

Trinket box based on one of my favouritest quotes, Matthew Chapter 6, Verses 19-21:

  'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where theives do not break through nor steal:
  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'

I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Everybody digs a swinging* cat!

Counting down the days til my lovely friend Flora's 30th, which we will be celebrating with a woodland animal-themed fancy dress picnic in Epping Forest. That is so Flo.

Above you can see me modelling an integral part of my costume, my home-made Capser Disaster mask. And very proud of it I am too. Note the bozz-eyes. I used to have to wear a patch when I was little!

Although my beloved cat isn't strictly a woodland creature, he was found abandonned in woods as a tiny kitten by my little bro, and that is how our love story began. I nursed him back to health, and these days it seems he is more the owner, and I am the pet. Or slave.

So very fitting I feel. Plus I have tonnes of black and white clothes to match. And sadly I have neither the time or funds to craft a fantastic Mr. Fox outfit!

(*the only swinging I do is at Vintage Rockbar once monthly. And doesn't involve car keys. Just thought I'd better clear that one up!)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

No Spain, no gain.

A week back in the UK, my meagre tan is already beginning to fade, and I can just about review my holiday snaps without wincing at the thought of my holiday being over...

Buenas noches to terrifying kids entertainers with rats tails, the crazy aqua aerobics lady, random french words written in the sand, tiny lizards, mad sweets, surfer bars that serve vodka measures like I've never seen, amusing no/si signs, and sea that's even better than a swimming pool.

Collected some exciting stuff to collage with!

(I could have bored you with hundreds more, trust me!)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

August is Awesome!

I am so excited about the upcoming month.

It’s my birthday (29 if you must ask!), I’m off on a girly spa trip with my mum, and I’m also going on holiday to Spain for the first time ever!

I want to share the excitement via my lil' Folksy shop. Click the button to your right if you'd like to see more (I actually had to look at my hands to decide if it was right or left then. Oh dear!)

Until 4th August, when my shop will go into holiday mode, all buyers will have a choice of 2, yes 2 special offers, on my curious collection of collaged treasures.

Like this…

('...Your Secret's Safe With Me...' collaged trinket box)

Firstly, you could choose free postage and packaging on any single purchase.

Alternatively, if you want to buy more than one item you could choose buy one get one half price.

Here's hoping you'll help make these next few weeks even more exciting for me!

Comment here, or message me if you want to make a purchase and I will reserve the item(s) and make the necessary pricing alterations.

Stay strange x

Monday, 5 July 2010

My Grandad

Salty old sea dog.

The only person for whom a beard is not only acceptable, but endearing, and indispensible.

Your Boxing Day leftover turkey curries were legendary (especially when 'teaspoons' was misread for 'tablespoons').

You encouraged me, entertained me. Two Little Dicky Birds, for me, your pussycat.

And very much like a cat -at least nine lives, keeping coming back fighting. I believed you'd outlive us all.

I'm in awe of your strength and spirit.

Dignified, a true country gent -cutting a fine figure in khaki -cords and waxed jacket. Educating me to revere nature, as we explored the moors or coastline with Dan, your best friend ever. The comforting smell of the toast you'd share before we were allowed out of bed.

Mensa-sharp, imparting your knowledge. You admired and applauded intelligence, and didn't suffer fools, except when invigillating incessant games of Bamboozle!

I can still feel the last time we hugged. You called me pretty.

I'll never be able to hear Buddy Holly without remembering you casually crooning 'Every Day' for me back when I was smaller.

Your gentle voice -on occasions when raised we knew you really meant it. You commanded respect, and it was deserved.

Times we spent together are precious. I've been the captivated audience to your reminiscences.

I hope I always speak my mind -just like you. Your forthright manner and the driest wit, not quite masking the kindest heart. The filthy sense of humour when Grandma's back was turned -limericks about the Duchess and such.

The strong scent of your carbolic soap. Your walking cane collection. Your old rocking chair, which I'd snatch a seat in when you were out of the room.

Your open face, and the eyes I think I inherited. I feel privileged to be the Grandchild to have spent so many years with you.

My hero. You'll roam the moors forever.

Harry Lord 1928 - 2010.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Good things that happened lately...

1) Saw my hero.

2) Met my good buddy Russ who I've not seen for aaages! (note my awesome dress by Tales of the Howdy Girl, on Folksy)

3) Met some new friends.

4 & 5) Finished, and listed, two new pieces :-)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Wood be nice.

Been doodling. I feel like I might be on to something here :-)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

sell out.

As Selection Day for The Great Sheffield Art Show 2010 http://www.gsas.co.uk/ is fast approaching (and I start to panic about ever having enough work ready!), I began musing over the pieces of my art that I no longer own, that have been bought by anonymous admirers, or passed on to friends in exchange for kind words.

I first sold work when I lived in Hatfield, a village just outside Doncaster. I got involved in the running of an art show at the parish church. A small girl who lived locally was my biggest benefactor. Barbie-pink kitsch appealed to her young eye, and she begged her Dad to buy her two collages over consecutive years. She requested that I sign them, like a proper artist, her hoping they'd be worth something one day. Me too!

I've had some luck at Sheffield too. Although this time of a more mysterious nature. I love the idea that someone I've never met, who knows nothing about me, was interested enough to put their hand in their pocket and buy something so personal to me, that I laboured over, shifting elements by milimetres until I perceived the perfect composition. And that they don't know fully what the piece means, because they've never had chance to ask, but instead they make their own interpretations. I wonder how they display my work? Where does it hang? Is it still in one piece?!

Thus was the fate of these two collages. I love red white and blue. Not just because I'm patriotic. I own more blue dresses than anyone, seriously! More than Alice and Dorothy put together! And you can't go wrong with red shoes.

The dinky tray that this piece started out as was found in a charity shop in Chester, my second home.

And this American themed piece was inspired by the 'Liberty' frame I scavenged at a car boot sale.

When money is tight (and even when it's not) a hand made gift is the perfect sentiment for a dear friend. I've given many an artwork to mates and to family, perhaps opening myself up to potentially the harshest criticism! Thankfully everyone's been grateful so far...!

I gave this bottle to Alex aka Bentley, as he often likes to remind me that poison comes in little bottles (being that I am on the petite side of things)

To Katherine, my bestest mate since I was but 12, possibly my favouritest piece I ever made, my proudest, most Joseph Cornell moment. Yeah, she's been known to keep it in the bathroom, but that's chaotic Kat all over. And I know she appreciates it deep down ;-)

I try to create stories when I make my art. But after that I guess their fates are in their own hands. And maybe in a hundred years, when they've been handed down through generations, people will wonder about the girl who made them and what she was thinking. I only hope the glue holds out!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Button it!

I'm growing fond of swaps. Especially ones that don't involve me having to stress over making something good enough to send to, and be appreciated by a stranger.

So when I saw that swap queen noodlebubble http://www.folksy.com/shops/noodleBubble was organising a button swap I HAD to get involved. Buttons are just the kind of trinketty thing that I just can't resist collaging all over everything.

The idea was that you sorted out 40 buttons for swapping (nice ones, not any old tat), to send twenty each to two fellow swappees.

Sticking to that amount was hard! I have so many. Here's a few that I sent...

Lovingly packaged to wing their way to susiej and sugarmice.

It took me ages to tie the ribbons. To say I have tiny fingers, they're not vey nimble. Pictured with the parcels are some of the unlucky buttons that didn't quite make it into the swap!

And I did vey well out of it myself. Over the past week I've received special deliveries from Claire-Lou of Realicoul fame http://www.folksy.com/shops/Realicoul, and Robyn of Rose Lullaby Dolls http://www.folksy.com/shops/RoseLullabyDolls, both greatly appreciated.

I've wasted no time incorporating these treasures into my latest project :-)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Hole Lotta Love

I am VERY Excited.

Stacey 'The Crow' Crowcroft and I are going to see Hole in May. And although it's not strictly Hole, being that Courtney Love is the only remaining member, words cannot express the admiration I feel for the artisitic anarchy that is this woman.

I am intrigued by her aesthetic. Her early 90s 'Kinder whore' styled fused innocence with the perverse in the exact same way I try to in my art.

My collage '...and all the stars were just like little fish'  http://www.folksy.com/items/299545--and-all-the-stars-were-just-like-little-fish-?shop=yes is named after the second line from 'Violet' -probably her most famous song.

I guess I always wanted to be 'the girl with the most cake'.

And although remarkably (and relievedly) it's been years since I passed out drunk or caused a scene in a nightclub, I'm still a grunge girl at heart.

As a teenager strong female role models like Courtney taught me to belive in myself, to have ambition, and to take risks. Distracted me from all the things in my life I hated. Gave a voice to the way I was feeling.

When Hole toured 1998 album 'Celebrity Skin' I had to miss out because of my a-levels. Kat and I read reviews in the music press and cried because we couldn't be there.

I dressed in vintage nightwear. I realised it was okay that my hair was never going to be straight.

This come back, and the forthcoming album 'Nobody's Daughter' could be disasterous. It could be what I've been dreaming of, waiting for. Michael Jackson style, it might even never happen. Either way, it's going to be memorable <3

(Courtney pics courtesy of http://www.courtney-love.org/)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Two hearts...

..beating as one!

Or, as part of the Folksy Valentine's Heart swap.

I sent mine to MiMi B last weekend, and I'm pleased to say I think it arrived in one piece!

I agonised over making this box collage. I find it very difficult to work to a brief, however loose it may be. I also struggle to make something 'nice' without a sinister edge. I think I got the balance about right...

The heart design is taken from my tattoo (custom designed by myself, of course), which makes it quite personal. I got the tattoo not long before the end of a relationship which makes it, er, not very romantic after all...

The wonderful Magic Alice http://www.folksy.com/shops/magicalice AKA Jen Field gave me her heart, a fab acrylic brooch to be exact, and a cute button badge as a bonus, as modelled by yours truly...best myspace faces at the ready...! And plenty of flash to disguise my terrible skin (it's only cos it's so dark in my house, honest. Roll on Spring and lots of natural light!)

As for my true love, I'm sure he'll be thrilled with this sweet card from Eyeshoot Photography http://www.folksy.com/shops/eyeshootphotography (Sarah is so clever!). We have a thing for Scrabble. And they say romance is dead!

Do people still send Valentine's cards anonymously?

Love from Guess Who?