Hi! I wanted to blog about a new thing I’ve started this year. I’ve enrolled in Stella’s Art School, an online art school run by a fabulous artist who I love, Stella Vine. I found out about it on twitter before Xmas and thought it sounded fun. There are two projects every month for a year. The theme of the first project is ‘Toy Theatre’ and the brief is very open. Stella works on the projects at the same time and posts her progress in a series of videos on the Art School blog. You can make the same thing or do your own thing. You can make stuff, paint, photograph, draw ….anything. There are no strict rules or deadlines, which is lucky for me actually as I’m not good with deadlines and am already behind!
Here are some artworks I love by Stella Vine.
For the 1st project, I googled toy theatres to get a few ideas. There are some very extravagant theatres out there if you check google images. I wasn’t sure how I wanted mine to look except I wanted it to be colourful.
When I was little I made a similar thing from a shoe box. It was covered with leftover sage green wallpaper which had been used to decorate my parent’s bedroom, and the curtains were made from blue floral material left from the PE kit bag my Mum made me. Inside were around 10 pictures I had drawn on coloured sugar paper, all sellotaped together in one continuous sequence to tell a story. They were rolled onto thin pieces of dowel, with help from my Mum, and the sticks turned to make the pictures roll and appear one by one. It was really good fun, I loved it.
Here are some progress pix of my new theatre…
Luckily I had a good size box that I could use. It’s the one our kitchen waste recycle bin came in. Who knew when I was selecting that box from the shelf in John Lewis kitchenware department that it’d finish up as a toy theatre? Certainly not me. I cut three of the sides out and then reinforced the frame with extra cardboard and glue.
I wanted a nice proscenium with a fancy top and I copied the shape vaguely from a picture of a theatre I saw online – The Avalon New Regal Theatre in Chicago. I used more cardboard to create a stage which slots inside the bottom of the box.
I painted the inside black and made two flaps for the sides. Not sure if flaps are a real thing at theatres, but I thought they’d look good. I had a piece of red velvet material going spare which was ideal for the curtains. Unfortunately I’m not all that good at making curtains, and they haven’t turned out great. They need something inside the hem to weigh them down I think. They are attached using a piece of beading wire which was tricky to fix to the cardboard.
I painted the stage black and gold with lots of glitter, and decorated the sides of the proscenium with sparkly pipe cleaners. The sides were meant to be gold, but turned out sandy brown. Also I really should have attached the curtains after I’d done all the gluing, but for some reason I put them in first and had to keep dabbing spots of PVA off them! grr. There was lots of drying time involved. The orange piece above the stage was added first and left to dry overnight, then the pink top which had to be held in place using pegs!
This where I’m up to so far. Originally I wanted to make 2 or 3 different backdrops to slide in, but now I’m not sure if I’ll do this or not. The black background was meant to be hidden behind the backdrops but I quite like it as it is, so I’ll see.
I still need to glue on the flaps, sort out the scruffy bit at the front of the stage and paint the sides. I don’t think the theatre will necessarily be used to act out a specific play. I had thought I’d make my own stop-motion film of something or other, which I might still do, or I might take a series of photographs with different characters inside. I’ll post more pics soon, but think it might be an ongoing project.
A toy theatre project from a Blue Peter annual I found in a charity shop, dated 1967…
I’m very behind with the second project, which is history themed. I’ve decided to paint something as I haven’t painted for a few years. I’m thinking maybe local history, either Sheffield or Yeovil would be a good subject? I’m a bit worried how it will turn out as I’m better at making things and drawing than painting! I really like that I’m doing stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of though, and am looking forward to working on lots of different projects this year.
I’m running my first ever special offer in my Etsy shop right now. Trying to get in the Black Friday spirit ‘n’ all that. So yes, it’s 25% off anything, until Monday 30th November. Have a look! Dilys Treacle Treasures cards, vintage cards, bric-a-brac, the lot, all 25% off.
Enter the code BLACKFRIDAYNOV2015 at the checkout, if you so desire.
We went to see the wonderful Vinny Peculiar at The Rocking Chair in Sheffield this week and he was bloody brilliant…
Here is a good tune…
My favourite VP tunes…
Go and see Vinny Peculiar live if you can, he is amazing, I love him!
I have decided to start curating some Treasuries on Etsy. One of my favourite things to do when I’m meant to be working, is to browse Etsy instead for things I like, so I thought a good way to gather them all together and show them off is to use the Treasury feature which allows you to choose a theme and add 16 different items, which people can browse and shop from. Here is my first one, it’s got a vintage Halloween theme. Click on the image below to visit Etsy and see each item individually. (If any of them are no longer featured, that means they’ve been sold). I think my favourite thing here is the orange witch pin with winking eyes, it’s very cool. I’d probably be scared to wear it though just incase it fell off!
Hi, welcome to my first blog entry in five months! It’s been so long since I logged into WordPress that I couldn’t even remember how to get on the dashboard bit to start a new post!
I haven’t been up to much – this has definitely not been my most productive year! I got disheartened with my card publishing stuff (as I think I mentioned before) after I did two largely unsuccessful trade shows. What with that, and the fact that I’m the least entrepreneurially gifted person in the world, I must confess that things seem to have ground to a complete halt while I decide what to do next. I have sometimes wondered whether to leave the card world behind as it’s become more and more obvious that the business side of things takes up far more time than the creative stuff. I don’t enjoy business/admin/sales and I’m not very good at it, I just like sewing and drawing.
It’s a shame that the shows didn’t go as well as I’d hoped as I loved doing them – I learned a lot and met loads of other people in the industry, which was great. I’ve found it difficult to stay positive about it though, as I spent a fortune and only ended up covering the cost of the train fare both times (if that)! I think if you can afford to keep attending them regularly throughout the year then it’s only a matter of time before the hard work starts paying off, however I can’t, so will have to start looking at other options instead and decide which road to take.
Meanwhile, my Dilys Treacle Treasures Etsy shop which I mentioned back in March is now fully up and running and I’m happy to see it slowly gaining momentum, although I still have a mountain of items waiting to be listed. At the start of the year I decided to expand beyond selling just greeting cards, and there is now a random selection of bric-a-brac to choose from too (direct from my collection of stuff in the loft). I’ve always loved collecting random curios so it makes sense to start including a few things in the shop. Coming soon there will also be vintage cards, plus some original art and photos. I’m working on a brand new look for Etsy as we speak and will be reviving my Dilys Treacle social media too – the only one I’ve really kept going is Instagram. You can follow my Insta account here – @dilys_treacle_treasures
I have continued with creating special handmade cards for weddings and birthdays over the last few months (as and when I’ve been asked) and will share pix of my most recent commissions on here soon.
As for my Dilys Treacle Treasures greeting cards, I will be designing some new ones next year, just not taking them to any trade shows for the forseeable future! This time I want to stick with doing the sort of thing that I want to do, rather than try to go down the more commercial route to appeal to buyers at shows. Although tbh the intentionally commercial designs I came up with before PG Live were the ones that actually sold (and the ones that still do best in my Etsy shop too) so I’ll probably be cutting off my nose to spite my face!
The one thing I do seem to have managed to do over the summer is take a lot of photos. I’ve been sticking them all on an external hard drive and now there are several thousand to sort out, which I will probably never get round to. Here are just ten of them from our trip to the East coast in August…
‘Til next time X
Hello! My Easter and Spring-themed cards are now listed in my Etsy shop. These four cards are some of the first I designed back in 2009. The Butterflies have been the most popular, but I think the Daffodils one is my favourite.
The cards are priced at £2.25 each, or I have sets of all four available for £5.00.