Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Titania's Treasure

Well, summer has finally arrived in old Blighty, although who knows how long it will last?

I've had a busy few months, making stuff for a new shop, recently opened in my town.

Lollyrocket is a wonderful gift shop, set up by Hayleigh and Michelle and it's been incredibly successful.
Being the enterprising pair they are, they then opened up a shop on the top floor, called Finders Keepers. They rent out different size spaces to various sellers, including art, craft, antique and vintage ware. Again, it has taken off really well. 

This is my little space, below and I'm thrilled that I've sold so much in the first month, so thanks friendly customers!
shop photos courtesy of Lollyrocket

The link above will take you to their Facebook page and you'll be able to see all the fabulous sellers there.
Next in their little empire, is the vintage tearoom.

I'm very proud to announce that I was asked to display my work again, at our local gallery, for July and August.
This is the Alfred East Gallery, opened in 1913 and I'm lucky that my display will be there for the centenary celebrations, this month. (Photo courtesy of Tony Smith.)

Mixed media collage by Jo Archer

I wanted to do something a little prettier than I normally do, so I based my theme on Titania and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Thankfully, I still found time to get out in the sunshine and go strawberry picking with my children. Hope you're all enjoying the summer.

Friday, 20 July 2012

New and Improved

It's been a long time, yet again, but I have a good excuse for my non-blogging this time. As some of you know, I have the degenerative spinal condition, scoliosis and in April I went into hospital for my seventh operation. (More about my story here) I was in a hospital in Oxford, about 50 miles from my home, so it made it a bit awkward for people to come and visit, although my man, Si made regular trips. He's such a star.

In The Arms Of Morpheus by Sir William Ernest Reynolds-Stephens - 1894

Although, to be honest, I spent much of the time on morphine, so I was in a little sleepy world of my own. After being declared and excellent patient, the new and improved me was discharged.

"Just one more enema I think, nurse."

Back home, I spent almost 6 weeks recovering in bed and pottering about. I was pampered and spoilt by family and lovely friends, to whom I'm so grateful.

As I wasn't sleeping very well at nights, I would creep up to my attic studio and make stuff. I could only sit for 15 mins or so, but I had to finish some jewellery I was making for the art gallery. I'd been booked to display my stuff in the craft cabinet for the whole of June, so as you can imagine I was panicking a bit! Not sure how, but I got it done. With the help of my good friend Miss. Billie, we made a beautiful display in the cabinet. Apparently, everyone loved it and I even sold some stuff!

I also managed to make something to submit for the Open Exhibition at the gallery and luckily it was accepted.
'The Book Thief' by Jo Archer

Other news is, some friends have recently opened a shop selling all handcrafted goods from local artists/crafters. It's in the lovely village of Warkton, just on the edge of our town and is in a 19th century, former stable and they have decorated it beautifully. You can see The Gift Box here. It's nice to be able to sell my stuff in a real shop, but I will also be selling online at the Little Gift Store, which has some very beautiful things.

Ok, that's my plugs over with. I'm off to catch up with everyone else's blogs now. I have to do it soon, as the school holidays start tomorrow!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Whisky, blood and the terribly lonely bears.

These images are by the artist Herbert Pfostl, who has long been a favourite of mine. He has just announced that he is selling some of his artwork, so if you are interested in having one of these beauties (and many others) on your wall, then please contact him via his blog: Herbert Pfostl's Paper Graveyard
'The sky still farther away'

The themes are generally about death and loss, but there is such heartbreaking beauty in the subtle, smoky charcoal colouring and they are quiet pictures. That's not strictly true; often they wail with grief, but it seems to me, a silent wail. I'm not sure how else to describe them, so I won't: Herbert does it infinitely better. This description is taken from his other blog, Blind Pony Books..................

 An idea of books from a yearning
to counter the all-polluting imagery-machines
with parables of plants and animals
and old stories
of black robbers and white stags.
Fragments on death like mirrors
from a black sleep
in the forests of fairy tales.
All stories from the dust of the dead
in fragments and footnotes
like melodies of heartbreak
and north and night and exploration–breakdowns.
About saints with no promise of heaven
and lost sailors forgotten
and the terribly lonely bears.
The unknown, the ugly – and the odd.
Collected grand mistakes,
noble errors from many sources.
Sinking signals - conscious or not – sonatas and last letters
and great insults.
The impossible tears in landscapes
of ocean or stranded whales.
A going far back to coals
and cruelties and sobbing
like songs in whiskey and blood.
Of soldiers’ last letters and all seven seas.
With pirates and wars and prayers
in holes in the ground.
Of fallen women and orphaned children
and drowned slaves and burned saints.
To make songs from doubt
and books to live by.

Who could not fall in love with robber barons and the terribly lonely bears?

'Little care I take'
Die Nebensonnen

'Better farther on'
'The things of this world'

He has also published a book with his friend, Kristofer Minta, which I have and love. It can be bought here at  Blind Pony Books and is called, 'To Die No More'.
Dedicated to the deeply dead and the truly living.

Herbert's New York studio is also a visual feast; I could spend a happy few hours/days in here.

Other links:

All images courtesy of Herbert Pfostl. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Fare Thee Well Barton Hall

This is final goodbye to our beloved Barton Hall. Today is the day that all the artists have to be out, before it is handed over to people who will turn it into an hotel and spa!

So, farewell to....   Simon's 'Attic of Doom'

the view from the window......
the beautiful staircase......
....and stained glass window.

Goodbye to the Open Studios and Art Fairs, that helped to promote and encourage all artists and artisans... and to the people who worked hard to make it happen...

..not forgetting the wonderful tearoom and Kelly's fabulous cakes!

 The champagne and absinthe fuelled Burlesque evening is one that will go down as a night to remember....

...and goodbye to the ghosts who roamed the corridors...

and also to the stone bench, where I would sit for an illicit cigarette... (yes, I know, you don't need to say it!)
...and look at the beautiful orangery (before vandals broke every pane of glass!)
...the dovecote....
....playing hide and seek with the children and collecting pine cones in winter.

....but most of all I will miss the people and camaraderie of a creative community. Here's hoping it won't be too long before we find another.

(extra photos courtesy of Carolyn Bushell)