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…

img_9903

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

a-robin-in-the-making

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:

img_6580

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…

img_8440-version-3img_0426 img_0806 img_8807 img_8982

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!!!

img_3904 img_3877 img_3853 img_3851 img_3843 img_3842

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:

img_1362

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:

blank

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

p1650053 p1650056

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:

p1650004 p1650007 p1650009 p1650020 p1650022 p1650025 p1650028 p1650029 p1650032 p1650034 p1650036 p1650037 p1650038 p1650075

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!

p1650044 p1650040 p1650014 p1650078

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’:

p1650051

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!

p1650049 p1650018

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!

p1650001

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!