Always the Same or Something Different?

Wow a big catch up – while looking through my website links I clicked on ‘News and Blog’ – you’ll find it above on the right…  July 2017 it said!  Ok, so a lot has happened since then and here I am going to endeavour to say it all in a nutshell.

Last year was the last time you’d see Larryware at craft fairs – so much work usually and although good, not really worth it… Since I gave them up I have felt so free and free to do whatever work my heart so desires!  Although at the moment, I am a little worried…

You see I have always been unique and have always received the line ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’ – but as I fly close to what everyone else seems to be doing right now – whales, hares and foxes – it now looks like my work isn’t as originally thought up as it once was!

So yesterday – taking a well loved and known bird – I strove forth and created this:

Using my own unique style – although it’s an idea I’m sure you all well recognise, painting a beautiful scene in an outline – I have seen this with faces, whales (!) and other animals – but I’ve only ever seen a blank background, not another pattern as well – so this is what I’m going to explore!

This actually started around Christmas time – painting a scene within a scene…

Suddenly heavily inspired by the amazing film ‘Loving Vincent‘  I think Vincent has always been in me somewhere, my love of bright and intense colour, this is my Dutchness coming out… (my mum was Dutch and so was Vincent!  I know, I know…  But it’s a nice thought!)

So with this style I shall allow myself to be the same with hares, whales and foxes, but differently expressed then I have been, if you know what I mean – although between you and me I am at the moment preparing to paint my first ever manta ray….!

Keep checking out my website shop – I try and update it with something new every other day… And as for Etsy, I’ll keep it up, and there are some beautiful things listed for sale right now, but I think I need to really concentrate on my website for the time being!

Thanks for reading and see you all soon – definitely a lot sooner then July 2018! x

Tweeting @ all hours

Twitter!  Now there’s an interesting concept!  I have come across so many people who are downright terrified of it… It moves so fast and your first tweet is daunting – how do you start? How do you add followers?  How do you gain followers? How do you just ‘be‘?!

Well – for a business owner – it’s perfectly simple – you have a brand, you need to sell yourself! It’s like the old line for ebay – ‘I sold my soul on ebay’ – now all you need to do is ‘sell your soul on twitter’ too…

This is a simple guide – and ok, you’ll look at my account and say ‘wait a minute, you haven’t followed your own guidelines’ – I know, I am sorry, I joined Twitter when it all began and then I had to delete that account as I got trolled and I didn’t want to protect my account, so I started again… But it was before I started Larryware – so my twitter name is, and confusingly, @EmyJSkylark  (follow me and say hello!) – Emy because that’s my nickname from Emily – J because that’s the beginning letter of my middle name (Jane) and Skylark because they are my favourite birds – and that was my name for various nature forums and the original BBC Science & Nature Messageboard back in the day… before it was shut down due to, yeah, trolls!

Anyhoooo

  1. Sign up to Twitter (seems simple enough)
  2. Create a username which relates to your business, whether it’s the name, what you make, what your interests are, a combination of all, make it easily remembered though and not too long either as it will take up valuable character space.
  3.  Follow people!  If you’re a small business owner like myself – type in search ‘handmade’ and see what comes up – @HandmadeHour for example may come up – follow that… and keep searching – look up ‘Craft’, ‘Small Business’ and then add some celebs, news channels, charities – anything that interests you and you alone, not because you ‘think’ that is what you should be following and looks ‘trendy’ on your profile, no-one is going to care and at the end of the day, you want to follow accounts which will tweet content which you WANT TO SEE!
  4.  Start adding content – remember each tweet size is just 140 characters long, and this includes twitter names and links, but thankfully, doesn’t include images (it used to!)  It’s the little symbol with the feather inside the square, that will give you a tweeting box!
  5. If you have an online shop – whether it’s Etsy, Folksy or a Facebook page, or even a website – then add this in the tweet, with the correct link – but instead of adding a direct linked image, physically add the image yourself from your computer and then copy and paste the link as occasionally, the etsy shop image or folksy or whatever, won’t show as the correct size and in fact, if you directly tweet from any of these other social media platforms, sometimes you won’t get a picture at all and I, like the rest of the world, is a lazy so and so and if I can’t see your image on your tweet and only see a link, I ain’t going to spend time clicking it – sorry!    5b – Now if the link is massively long, there’s a great free service which will shorten it for you, just copy and paste it to here  – Bitly URL Shortener – brilliant!  So add about 5 tweets of content – just to start off with for now
  6.  Start to ‘connect’ your other social media accounts to Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, tumblr, etsy…  you will find your account settings, top right on your profile page,next to the feather symbol which you can click when you want to start a new tweet.
  7.  Hashtags – easy to make a ‘hash’ of…  There are so so many… But you have to be selective, due to the 140 characters only in each tweet…  Looking around for my own hashtags for my own particular line of business, these are the ones I’ve found that work well for me – it only takes an hour of research on Twitter…

#womensart #smallbusiness #etsyshop #onlinecraft #craftbuzz #womaninbiz #shopsmall #etsysocial #handmade #giftidea #shopping

And those are just a few!

8. Someone has tweeted you!  Way to go!  Go to your ‘notifcations’ and hit ‘reply’ to start off with, it’s the little arrow which is heading to the left, if you float your cursor from your mouse over each symbol, it will tell you what they do!  A box will appear already with their @profile name, so you don’t have to type that – once you’ve typed in an answer, click ‘tweet’ and then it should come up on your timeline, click ‘Home’.

9. You like a Tweet – so, Retweet it!  It’s the middle symbol below, the arrows going to the left and the right in a box image.  Or you like a tweet – then click on the ‘heart’ and it’ll get saved ro your ‘Likes’ which you can view from your own ‘Profile’ – click your name or your twitter name on ‘Home’ – to the left!

10. Now we come to the hours – of course, there’s a small matter of your profile pic, your small bit of bio which includes your shop url too – and of course, your cover picture… And not to mention what colour you’d like to be on the screen – I’ve always gone for blue, as I can ‘see’ it – I see many in light green and light yellow, which simply does not show up on the white background when I click their profiles to be nosy!  10b – if you want to follow someone without opening their profile, again float the cursor over their name and there’s a little person in a box in grey, just click that and you’ll know you’re following by the little tick to the side of their head.

But the hours, oh the hours and of course they have to relate to you and your business!  If you click on each link, it will take you to the relevant Twitter account – you’re welcome! 😀

Monday 

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1  #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

9-10pm #britcrafthour << no account as such, but FOLLOW @BritishCrafters (Facebook too!)

Tuesday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1  #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

8-9pm #FolksyHour 

Wednesday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

7:30 – 8:30pm  #HandmadeHour

8-9pm #ArtistHour

Thursday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

Friday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

Saturday

11-12pm #WeekendHour << no account as such, just a hashtag #

Sunday

5-7:30pm #SBS – promote yourself to Theo Paphitis – Small Business Sunday

7-8pm #CraftHour

8-9pm – #HandmadeHour

9pm – #EnglandHour 

There are also ‘county hours’ – my own is #DevonHour Wednesdays – 8-9pm – so do search for your own, it’s worth it!

Just make sure you use the relevant hashtag (#) to the relevant hour in your tweets, or no-one from that hour will see your tweet!

I’ve probably missed out a lot of other things – but this was meant to be just a simple guide!

Oh my word!  I hear you all exclaim – but like someone pointed out today, you don’t HAVE to do them all every week – just mix and match and try them out – some will work for you, some won’t… it’s all trial and error!

Twitter like any social platform is not just for you, it’s for everyone, so the more you help others by RT’s or Follow Fridays #FF and just taking part in the ‘hours’, the more of the possibility that they’ll help you back too!  Just to get yourself ‘out there’ is all that matters!

There are of course paid websites which will help you – you can schedule tweets, in fact, you can tweet in your sleep if you wanted to… I’ve tried several websites but I’m in love with Around.io – there’s a free trial to use, then it’s a monthly sub, which I am paying $9.99 – but it’s a massive help, it connects to my Etsy shop and I can schedule as many posts as I want to my Facebook business page, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, google+ – using all relevant hashtags and even schedule them to be sent actually ‘in’ those hours themselves… you just need a bit of time to schedule and then you’ll be set….

If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – just leave me a comment underneath and I’ll reply as soon as I can!

I hope Twitter doesn’t feel as daunting now to any of you who haven’t tried… It really won’t bite!

Thanks for reading – please share this blog to anyone who needs a Twitter hand 😀 x

Treasury Tuesday

A month or so ago, Etsy decided to scrap their very popular Treasuries – they were a list of findings which you yourself could create, out of your favourites or matching colours or for different seasons – Sadly I never did get much time to look and make lots myself, but since the deletion, I do kind of miss it!

I am hoping to write a series of blog posts on my fellow artists via interview type questions, and especially the ones I admire & would love to buy from in the future – that’s if I haven’t done so already!  But first…

I’ve decided to make my own ‘Treasury’ and not always on a Tuesday either… It just happens to be Tuesday!  There will be 5 shops shared each time!

Anyhow… Here goes, instead of just one picture per shop, I’ve screen shot their Etsy shop pages – as in the first 6 listings, please click on them to be taken to each individual shop:

Let me introduce you to the stunning and original work of Jakeart1

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She has an endless and boundless talent, I swear this lady could paint anything and as you can see, top right corner, my own Louie Robin has had the fabulous Justine treatment!  I call her the Queen of the Hares – her hare paintings are stunning!  She’s also a lovely lady, I go through so many confidence crisis’s and she’s always there to make it better!  You can commission her to do anything – and she’ll do it for you and you’ll be so happy, as her work is amazing!  I cannot stress that enough!

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Next… Let me introduce you to EarthBalanceCraft and her copper wire art – I do myself own one of her beautiful robin creations and I really must photograph it for her and post it in situ asap!  I simply love her work and I have my eye on so many pieces… her sense of colour is extraordinary, as I always home into colour more then anything else!  This must take her hours, it shows!  The love and the passion she has for her creations literally ooze out of the wire!

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For the third shop here is LilCritterDesigns – I have absolutely no talent in stitching of any kind at all… Knitting, crochet, sowing… Nothing, it has totally passed me by…!  But if I could stitch as half as good at this incredibly talented lady then I’d be very happy indeed!  I have recently purchased one of her robin decorations too and it’s hanging pride of place on the dresser right now in the sitting room – again it’s the use of colour, I can’t get enough of it!

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None of these shops are in any particular order… so let’s get to the fourth shop in my Tuesday Treasury – Let me introduce you to the multitalented Fawa1 – I stumbled across her shop on one of my first Etsy hunts for anything robin (Yes, robins are indeed my obsession!) and I found one of her beautiful robin brooches which I immediately ordered and only recently I’ve been wearing it again… Her drawings are beautiful, there is so much character in all of her designs and they are so simple too, with a great modern twist:

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Lastly and in no way least – let me introduce you to DancingHarePottery – another ‘stumble upon’ while searching ‘crows’ and I found her crow bowl and another impulse buy and I use it to keep my watch and rings safe!  Another art form which has completely passed me by – pottery – although I love it very much indeed, but what I love about hers is that it’s just not about the bowl, it’s about the drawings and the designs too… her bowls are her canvas’s and they’re extremely beautiful and simple too… and of course, colourful!  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Gorgeous work, I have my eye on so many pieces!

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I hope you all enjoyed my little foray into the world of Etsy and my favourite shops and artisans – I shall be doing a blog post like this again soon!  Plus I won’t only be looking on Etsy, I shall be sharing Facebook, Instagram and Folksy… I’ve never really found many shops on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Emily 🙂 x

About My Inspiration

I have always loved art – I went to art college and studied painting, so I’ve always been creative in one way or the other!

Yet I also love taking photographs and especially wildlife photography, nothing thrills me more then seeing something so beautiful like a butterfly, dragonfly or bird and being able to capture what I see and then to share it for others to see too!

My family left London in 2007 and moved to North Devon and for the first time, we had a biggish garden in which we made into a wildlife haven!  Adding another wildlife pond, a wildflower meadow, a mini orchard and lots of bird and animal homes around the garden.  The wildlife came thick and fast, from grass snakes to broad bodied chasers and hedgehogs!  (all featured in my gallery)

In April 2011 I decided to feed the birds live mealworms – I had read how much they loved them and especially when it came to nesting season – easy pickings for very hungry and fast growing chicks.  Of course unbeknown to me I had made a decision which would change my life and the life for another too.  He first appeared to me after I had frustratingly decided to ‘drown’ the live and living mealworms because the birds were turning their beaks up at them and I was feeling I had wasted my money… He was a robin and he was angry – so angry in fact, he took a dead mealworm in his beak and slammed it down on the floor, then he picked it up again and did the same and then glared at me through my study window as if he was yelling ‘Why are they dead???  I want them alive!’ – so I shot out with a handful of ‘live’ and ‘living’ mealworms and replaced them… and the robin came back and took 3 away in his beak and then he just continued to do that for the rest of the Spring and Summer.  He came very close to me, in fact, he would come when I called him – ‘Larry Legs’, or just plain ‘Larry’ but the ‘Legs’ because he had long thin legs…

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In mid July that year Larry Legs introduced me to his son:

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Then shortly after, he disappeared and I didn’t see him again.  I’m absolutely convinced that he knew what he was doing – he knew that when he left, his fledglings and particularly this one would be safe.  I hope one day to meet him again when my time has come and to thank him for giving me such a wonderful small flock of amazing best robin friends!  But he certainly knew!!!

This robin I also called ‘Larry’ – but ‘Little Larry’ – as I figured he’d recognise me calling his dad’s name when he was in the nest, so I was familiar to him, the sound of my voice and my ‘shape’ too – so he was immediately a part of me – although never a ‘hand perching bird’ – he was a wild creature, not a plaything!  I literally brought him up – I would call him every day – my whole life was dedicated to him – I would sit for hours with him as he sung to me, preened, perched deep in thought… And if I moved some place else, he’d follow!  I couldn’t go away on holiday without asking friends to ‘robin sit’, I couldn’t go very far in the Winter months as I ‘had’ to get home before it got dark to make sure he was ok.  I had him from July 2011 to June 2013 – in-between he helped me through the sad loss of my beautiful mum to cancer, she loved him too and he being by my side when her physical presence had gone, made me feel like she was still with me in him.  Until he left too.  I fear his nest was attacked by magpies, as he didn’t turn up for his breakfast one morning, that fateful day of 7th June 2013 – but his wife ‘Lila’ turned up that evening, with one fledgling in tow.  My beloved Larry:

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I mourned Larry’s loss for so long, I was totally heartbroken and the grief of losing my mum, came back tenfold and it took me a long long time to not be tearful when I thought of Larry and his demise.  But you can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?  As it didn’t end there, far from it – even though I convinced myself not to get involved with another robin – their lives are short and full of danger, I’d be worrying all over again and much worse, so I won’t whatsoever – no no no – fall for another robin….

Well…

I didn’t listen to myself.  Although it took me a year, and the ground work was done – when this little bird was a fledgling, I called him using a particular whistle and then came up with a name a few days later ‘Louie’ – and finally after a few days of being very very scared and without his dad to show him how… Louie stepped out for a photograph or 10…

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Then he disappeared as all youngsters generally do to moult and gain their beautiful adult plumage and make their way into the world.  Although he didn’t go far, I would see him watching me deep in the hedge as I was out with my camera, or he would pop out occasionally to say hello!  It was my Dad who kept him friendly, he would call him every morning for some food and Louie would answer and come down.

Finally I just swallowed my fear of getting too close and I began to call him too and using that whistle I taught him to recognise when he was a youngster and the rest – well – that’s another story for another day!  But here is Louie from today – 18th November – I see him every single day now, at least 3 times, for chats and photographs and live mealworms…  He’s coming into his 4th season and he is stronger then ever!  And boy am I utterly in love with him, as in, I’ve got it so bad!!!

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But how I hear you ask is this your inspiration?  Well – note the name of my business up there – LARRYWARE – when Larry disappeared, I decided to make myself a little momento of him to keep forever – so I took one of his many pictures and made myself a pendant!  And that gave me the idea to make jewellery out of my own images from photographs and now to paintings – and it’s all Larry’s fault!  Of course Louie has been made into jewellery pieces too and he also has an official 2017 calendar:

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Which you can purchase here

I am robin mad.  In fact, I am so robin, perhaps I should change my name?!

I am ‘still’ writing a book about ‘My Wild Life with Robins’ – but that has been shelved for a bit (pardon the pun) until after Christmas, so in my hibernation period of early next year when the business goes quiet… I shall be writing then!  So watch this space!

Thanks for reading!

Emily 🙂  (& Louie!) x

P.S. You can keep in touch with Louie here daily.

About My Practice

This is not Yoga, but I find it just as therapeutic!  If not better and I don’t have to be forced into a stretch I simply cannot achieve!

I was going to call this blog post ‘Tricks of My Trade’ but it sounded like I was a plumber, so decided against that… But there is a process!

With the photography jewellery  it’s very much a case of seeing the picture through my ‘vast’ picture files and imagining that as a piece of original jewellery – it’s never over complicated, I always keep these things simple – but it’s a process, from picking the image, opening it through ‘photoshop’ and creating it via what is called a ‘collage sheet’, pictured below:

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Which I then print out and ‘put together’ like so:

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As for the hand painted items – that’s a different kettle of fish altogether!

I’ve always had an affinity with colour and design – my art practice has always leant towards the abstract side of things for many years and even though my wildlife photography is very important to me, so is the need to express myself through paint!

While browsing the internet, I came across some pens called ‘Uni Posca’ – looking at them in detail, I found they were water based paint – acrylic – and instead of using a brush, I could use the pens nibs directly onto my work, plus they paint on almost any surface and the colours are so bold and bright, just what I love!  So I bought myself a packet (I was a little alarmed at how expensive they are, a whole pack of pens costs me more then what I charge for my painted wooden brooches!)  Anyhow, I had a try and fell head over heels in love with them!  So now I could use acrylic paint AND these paint pens for  a second coat of really illustrative and decorative detail and I wouldn’t need a studio, nor have the fear of getting paint all over me and all over everything else (trust me, this has happened), I could sit anywhere and design and be contented!  But of course, like most of things I love, they become an obsession, and to such an extent, I even dream about painting them in my sleep!

Below are some pictures demonstrating what I do!  I tend to work in the conservatory for the best light and in the evenings, I use a daytime lamp:

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Depending on the size – each brooch takes me around an hour or just over to complete and then there’s the case of the 24 hours varnish drying time!  Of course I don’t only do brooches… I do so much more and always have several on the go at the same time, when I paint canvases, it’s the same – I can’t just stick with one… I have to leave it and continue with another!

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I have a ‘Tray of Tricks’ by my side, full of pre-painted shapes, all ready to be started with the posca pens – sometimes I’ll brush tubed acrylic paint on, in-between in the pens – depending on the mood and the ideas!  I have always been so spontaneous and always enjoyed working with mixed media – I want to use everything and I have lots of new paints I want to try out!

My ‘Tray of Tricks’:

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It’s on a Dutch Delft metal tray of a windmill – my mum was Dutch, so I like to think she’s here with me when I paint – I lost her a few years ago to cancer, she never saw any of this!  She of course saw my painted canvases – but never my jewellery, she would have been my perfect model and certainly my best critic!

Of course when I’m not photographing, designing, painting – I am putting everything together!

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Then of course I need to do my product photography and that takes time too!  But like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s all about a ‘process’ – I love the stages, there’s always something to look forward to, and it’s such a great feeling when the piece is completely finished, it’s a great sense of achievement!

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Every day it’s different!  Ahh, such is life!

My next blog post will be about my main inspiration behind everything I do… he’s feathered, sings extremely well and answers to the name of ‘Louie’ !

Thanks for reading – please ask any question, leave any comment and I’ll reply!

Emy 🙂 x

P.s.  A bonus little film – I apologise for the post coming through the letterbox, the arguing sparrows, the humming fridge and my heavy breathing (I have a cold!) and the fact I couldn’t paint on for longer, as my Dad came home and started banging things around!  Hope this works – it will take you to my public Facebook business page:

Painting a Horse