Come with me to the annual Bywell Arts Festival, it is a very short walk from The Stencil Library.
We'll walk down our drive and over Bywell Bridge, the light is rubbish for enhancing the view from either side of the bridge this morning but it will give you an idea of where this place is.
Turn the corner into Bywell....
and we are almost there. The cakes are being unwrapped, early birds are buying plants, I bought several but more were arriving.
Already the car park is filling. Original paintings are hung in both churches and there are a selection of prints for sale. I am tempted by one of Stocksfield in the snow. My mother is tempted by one of tree roots
There is a good mixture of professional and amateur painters, some only show at Bywell and some create work especially for the weekend. Most are from the surrounding area. I am not showing this year but my husband is.
Bywell is tiny, there are two churches, St Peter's and St Andrew's, a handful of beautiful old stone houses and a castle. The Arts Festival weekend is a rare chance to see both of churches open. There is free entry and plenty of parking. #BywellArtsFest is open today until 4.30 and tomorrow from 11. Tonight there is a concert by Prudhoe Communty Choir and there are tickets from the central store in nearby Stocksfield.
Bywell on Tyne, Stocksfield, NE43, Northumberland.
We had a lovely mention Homes & Antiques magazine this month, they showed our staircase stencilled with BU2 small butterfly stencil and my husband's stencilled painting of The Girl With The Pearl Earring.
On another page they featured our stencil classes.
There are lots of exciting goodies to look at including a feature called Master Strokes; creative ways with paint which I am looking forward to reading. Thank you H&A.
Sarah-Jane Szikora makes quirky paintings that make me smile. In this snippet from the painting Damien's Dress a woman has fashioned a dress from a canvas on the gallery wall. If she had thinner legs it could have been me.
The scissored painting looks like ones that I create from my MD33 dots stencil. She is wearing my trademark red shoes and that hairdo and colour is spookily familiar!
Visit sarah-janesszikora.com to see more of her paintings, prints and other arty things. I challenge you not to smile.
Of course, I will not be getting a pug dog for Christmas but here is the next best thing.
UK design company The Graduate Collection have licensed some of my paintings of pugs. They have reproduced them onto various items and so my Pugnalia Collection will be going to homes..including mine this Christmas.
There are pug pillows. The image is printed onto cotton satin and the back is made of velvet. The cushion is as soft, squishy and stroke-able as a pug!
Three of my original pug canvases have been reproduced as prints and I have framed one of each to sell at a forthcoming art exhibition. I bought the picture frames from Ikea and I purchased a small square frame to display one of the greetings cards.
I think the framed card may make a nice gift.
This morning The Graduate Collection sent me two notebooks, one with the Pugs & Kisses design and one with Pug Rocks, these are the newest items on their website and they feature in the latest 'Graduate Collection Pop Up Event' which opens for one week from Nov 28th to 4th Dec at 211-214 Piccadilly, London.
The Graduate Collection wholesale the work of their designers to stores and shopping sites. They sell individual items worldwide by mail order. Pugnalia can be ordered through me at The Stencil Library if preferred, however, I think that it is worth visiting the Graduate Collection's site and pop up shop because they represent a diverse selection of artists and designers from Britain. My work is shown as 'Helen Morris' rather than Pugnalia. The framed prints are for sale at The Forum Cinema in Hexham, Northumberland from 30th Nov to 26th Jan
I am just about to travel to London for the last day of Top Drawer and the start of many other design led trade shows. I shall finish my interior design fix with Decorex on Sunday and return over night. Amongst other things I am hoping to see a collection of cards, prints and cushions made from designs that I stencilled. It is called Pugnalia by Helen Morris and my collection is just one of the ranges offered by The Graduate Collection. I have not seen Pugnalia yet but if the pieces look as lovely as other things that I have seen from The Graduate Collection I shall be well pleased. If the trade visitors have liked them they should be in shops by next month.... I'll be buying some.
An email from the fab designers at Raskl reached me yesterday. It carried an attachment from Deco Home magazine in Germany asking where to buy the modern Girl with Pearl Earring painting in the photo. The press cutting and enquiry was a nice surprise, my husband Chips painted the picture though the page has nothing to do with him. The text in February's Deco Home featured the aforementioned fab, Newcastle based Raskl Design. The picture shows their Agranda Bench which is telescopic...
Isn't that handsome?
The Raskl photo shoot was at the beautiful home of one of the North East's brightest artists. I am surprised that this home has not appeared in more shoots it is very lovely. The owner used to be an editor at Conde Nast, she is extremely stylish and creative and just happened to have bought one of my husband's dot paintings. You may remember me blogging about his progress and the sale of this piece when I visited the house to hang it. So in a roundabout, abstract way. Chips has had a piece of international press exposure this month.
He is working on a collection of smaller paintings at the moment for Chippendale and Morris and I'll look forward to showing you, when he lets me. Now that Deco Home Magazine has details of the painting you never know he might make another sale.
They started life as a plain cork pin board from IKEA. Very soon I shall post a project on stencilling an IKEA pinboard. I used our SIB14-S Dogs stencil from the Stencil It book. Tomorrow I will visit the Portrait of The Queen exhibition in Stocksfield. I'm dying to show you what my For Queen and Corgi partner Sabina painted.
For Queen and Corgi now has a Facebook page, we have had some lovely press recently and you will find it there.
Pearl Earring was painted by Michael Chippendale for Art Tour 2010.
She was one of four celebrity portraits that he created for the occasion. Many people admired her. Pearl was bought from us last week and I went to hang the painting in it's new home.
She now looks totally comfortable at the foot of a staircase at the end of a long gallery. I'm not sure who was happier with the result, the new owner or I.
The painting is my husband's interpretation of the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer. Vermeer's portrait inspired the book and more than one film of the same name. Chip's version is painted in uniformly sized dots that resolve themselves into the recognisable image as the distance from it increases. The new location allows Pearl Earring the space to be appreciated, she can be viewed close up and at distance. Her new residence is stunning, it is the home of an accomplished artist and features a lot of the artist's own work.
I think Pearl looks very much at home there. For a while she leaned against the wall in Chip's studio watching him paint. You probably would not guess from this picture that the face that he is working on is Muhammad Ali. The other two portraits in the collection were Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Since then he has added George Washington, me and Queen Elizabeth to the collection. Some have been featured at the Chippendale and Morris site and I'll get the others on there soon.