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

Be Patient

I live by this rule these days – but is it really a rule?  Isn’t it more like common sense?  Most of us spend our whole lives rushing around at speed, trying to get things done, trying to get everything done in very little time, so we can relax and enjoy – but trouble is, once you start doing everything, other things show themselves and so you have to do those things too (you know what it’s like –  once you’re on a roll) and before you know it, you’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re ill.

I fell into this trap.  I stopped my creations and tried to sort out my Etsy shop – I retook ALL of my photos and with 200+ listings, that was a hell of a lot and it took me weeks!  I had to wait for the good weather and got frustrated with the constant wind that blew everything around and then the stifling hot sun…  I wish I had just done a few a day and not attempted to do them all…  I mean, I’d probably still be doing them, but perhaps I would have enjoyed it rather then it become a chore?

Everything I find just takes patience – nothing is going to be a crazy success overnight – if you just take the time and stop worrying, the hard work will pay off.  But meanwhile, in-between that patience, observe what’s around you too!  Most of the time I take a few time out days, I leave my business altogether… I just go outside, enjoy the garden, see my friends, go for long walks and visit the sea – I am so lucky to have so many beautiful places within reach here in North Devon to go to, but then I did grow up in London, I experienced a city life, not always grey and busy… But I managed to escape there too – the parks were great, there were wildlife reserves and woodland and it was 45 minutes in the car to Kent – super!  No matter where you are, there is something to see – you just have to be patient, you won’t get to it in seconds! 

Below are a few of my pictures just to prove, if you take the time, if you be patience, you will be rewarded – so sit back,  let everything come to you – being a wildlife photographer, I’ve stopped ‘seeking’, it’s now whatever I find, and it’s much more relaxing and I think my pictures are improving because of this, what do you think?  From left to right a wildflower called a corncockle, a dragonfly called a broad bodied chaser, a robin called Louie (!), a perfect Devon sunset and a beautiful poppy.

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Running a business is all about patience, you just have to put in the work – I’ve worked hard at it all year round now, now I’m no longer doing craft fairs, and I’ve put in the time, the effort and the energy – I have a formula now to work with (apart from sorting out this blog, this is where I fall down!) and I’m so enjoying what I’m doing and I’m getting some of the best feedback I’ve ever had.  It’s a good feeling.   Everyone I believe can achieve this – just be patience, be still.

Emy xx

Lists and Plans

How many of us make lists?  Are they listed on your phone?  Or do you still write them down?  Or like me, are they just listed somewhere in the vast space of your brain?  My brain can hold an awful lot of information (not all of it rather useful though!)

Last night I took part in #folksyhour all about blogging and how to blog and what to blog… I think I tweeted some valid points, since I started my first blog in 2006 (No I’m not bragging, it’s rather shameful really, too much time on my hands?) and that’s the problem now – there’s not enough time to do everything!

Life used to be so simple when all you needed to do was to blog – now there’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr… Not to mention the shop platforms – Etsy and Folksy (I will not even consider NOTHS being in with that, I don’t agree with their handmade policies, since I found a shop owner sticking a bought bird charm on a bought chain and selling it for £15!!!  Disgusting.)  Which ones do you pick?  Do you do all of them?  Do you do some of them one week and the rest next week?  Do you sign up for these apps which you pay good money in order for them to do it for you, hence losing the personal touch?  Well, you really don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do, no-one is telling you otherwise – just stop worrying and listen…, sorry, read!

PLAN.

Yep, that’s right.  Don’t rush into anything headfirst – PLAN.  The best day to plan is on a Sunday and it shouldn’t take more then an hour.  Look at the week ahead, create a timetable – personally I like to ‘draw’ one out, so I can refer to it as it’s sitting next to me, by my laptop – and I find if I write things down, rather then type them, I find it better to remember what I’ve written!

The trick is, is to do a little bit of everything. 

Blog at least once a week – I had a plan to do that 3 times a week…  The plan is still in place people! 😉

I always make sure I post one thing a day on Facebook, maybe twice – a piece of work, followed by a picture of what I’ve been doing – a bit like this:

“Today I have been busy, I’ve managed to find time to paint and enjoy what I have painted, I hope you like it too… Am I flying bird obsessed?

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Followed by later on:

“Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?”  Hey Louie!

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I tend to post anything to Instagram after 7pm – as that’s when it seems to be busy as people have returned to work, have had their dinner and are now on their phones/laptops – I post new work, work in progress (WIP) and photographs of either Louie or a nice sunset…

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When it comes to Twitter – I look back at my own handy blog as a guide – I love joining in with some of the ‘hours’ that take place – there are so many and it’s best to be selective – I don’t always do them, but during my time tabled week on a Sunday I make sure I’m there for at least ONE!  I like to re-write my timetable every single week…!

I make sure I list at least one new item per day on both my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop – so today’s offering for folksy, click on the picture to get you to the shop listing:

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And Etsy:

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Of course I don’t stick 100% to my timetable, it’s just a guideline – and it’s needed for people like myself who forget things so easily!  But I am indeed a creature of habit – I once read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit, as long as you’re doing this every day for 21 days that is!  Bare that in mind!

As for tumblr – I tend to steer clear of it – I don’t quite understand how it works, I’ve never liked it – but some people it works well – I am on there as lovearobin << I know, terrible name!!

Pinterest?  I LOVE THAT PLACE – trouble is, I can spend hours on it – every new listing on any of my shops, or any new photo posted on Twitter, I then pin to one of my boards – don’t even begin to ask me what that place is all about and how it works for your business, I simply don’t have a clue and hope someday someone will enlighten me!

Google+ – another total confusion with me – although I did notice one of my posts quite high up on a search item on google about hand painted jewellery – so I shall try it again – if I’m successful, I’ll blog about it!

Sorry for being so vague… I chat to my blog like it’s a real person!

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I tend to do social media in the mornings and then work in the afternoons and then network like crazy in the evenings – although some days I just disappear off the map, out with my camera, out for the day, away completely, which is so needed in this day and age or you will just about drive yourself insane.

As always, bare in mind that what works for you, doesn’t always work for others – it’s all trial and error – and as you can see I’ve rambled on and on here and because of that, I’ve actually created a blog post out of it!

I guess with blogging – be yourself, be funny (if you’re not funny usually then here’s your chance to be that funny person you’ve always wanted to be), write about everything – write about the book your reading, the film you went to see, write about the artists you love and perhaps interview a few of them. Start your own trends – like ‘Treasury Tuesdays’ – found items from wherever – not just artists, but great articles to read, fantastic recipes.  Talk about yourself, your garden, your pets – what makes you happy, sad, angry – treat a blog like your own personal sounding board/soapbox – of course, everything is common sense and if you feel you’re getting too angry or heated, just move on… there’s a great ‘delete’ button, use it!  But above all, enjoy it – it’s not daunting and if anything, it doesn’t have to be straight away – I started this blog this morning, I’ve been coming back and forth to it, and it’s already lunchtime and I’ve prattled on already with over 1000 words (how the hell did that happen?)

Anyhooooo…  I’ll be back to blog some more soon!

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

 

Welcome to my brand new website!

Hello!  What a momentous occasion this is!  I am so looking forward to this brand new platform where I shall be launching brand new Larryware designed work, exciting blog posts and daily archiving of some of my best photography to date – including of course the famous Louie!

So this is just a quick post to say a big hello and please feel free to take a look around the new site, let me know what you think by leaving a comment and please share any content you like on your own social media platforms!

Thank you!