Rain and Wild Roses.

Anyone who has visited the UK recently will testify to the remarkable amount of rainfall we have had. Our "green and pleasant lands" rely on the rainfall but it would be good if it would fall only when we are sleeping!

I often get asked where I get my inspiration from, something every creative person must have been asked at some point. Some artists carry sketch books and make notes of inspiring subjects to refer to at a later date; to be honest I have never been able to work in a sketchbook. I find it too inhibiting, instead I prefer to surround myself with images, books, prints, photographs, objects from the natural world - all help in the creative process. By far the most inspiring thing for me to do is to simply walk and look. As I lead a fairly sedentary life I find that walking is essential and I gain great benefit from being surrounded by woodland, wild flowers, birdsong, insect life etc. Whenever I walk I try to take my little pocket sized camera with me. The painting of wild dog roses (above) was inspired by walking and observing a favourite footpath near my home in Cheshire. I probably took about fifty or so images of bees, trees, roses in order to create the painting back in my studio.

I am so fortunate to have a choice of footpaths close to my home. This one is a disused railway line once used to transport goods to the nearby potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. It is now maintained as a nature reserve, popular with walkers but also with the various wildlife that call it home. We have all kinds of native trees and wild flowers. At the moment it is the turn of the dog roses and cow parsley, each plant puts on a show lasting no more than a few weeks before it is superseded by another species. I think the transient nature adds to the attraction of the walk, each visit brings something new to see; a new birdsong to hear, a new insect to discover.

The beneficial effects of walking in nature is something that has been known for centuries by many different people. The Japanese call it "forest bathing", perhaps forest breathing would also be an apt description. The dictionary definition of "Inspire" is "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something creative", perhaps it is no coincidence that there is a simpler definition- "an act of drawing in, especially of air into the lungs". So the next time you find that you are in need of inspiration, get your coat on, pick up your umbrella and breathe in the inspiration that nature so freely provides.

If you would like a copy of my wild roses print you can find it here in my Etsy shop Acornmoon.


Half drop pattern design tutorial. Making a seamless repeat.

I have been asked to explain my method of making a half drop seamless repeat. This is the way I was taught as a textile design student before computers existed and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

1, the first thing you need to do is to design the elements in your design and think about how you want them to appear. This design started with doodles.

2. Decide on the size of your repeat and the kind of repeat you want, this one is going to be half drop. This means that the design repeats at half way intervals to the side.

Mark registration corners on your layout paper using simple crosses. This will determine the size of repeat.

3. Trace a piece of your design making sure you mark the crosses at the corners.
Transfer the design onto your layout paper and repeat, matching up the crosses.

4. Begin to grow the design sideways to meet up with the repeat.
Now repeat your new area accordingly.

5. Now start to fill in the areas above to meet up with the repeat, and repeat!

6. Continue filling in all the gaps until you have a seamless repeat, keep going, nearly there!

7. Carry on until all the elements are joined. Now you have your final tracing, complete one full repeat in colour adding more details as required. 

8. Give yourself a round of applause! and repeat !!