Monday, 23 November 2015

Open Studios

It was a wonderful experience to take part in my first Open Studios event at Banks Mill this past weekend. I remember the studios being set up while I was studying at Derby University at the Britannia Mill site and thinking how it would be fabulous to work from there. So 15 years later I have finally moved in and I am incredibly happy to be using the space creating what I love.

I have been an affiliate for a long time first as Trash Revamp then as EcoCreate, the networking group is still going strong and had a stand at this years Artisan Fair. Several of the Artists taking part in the January 'Fairtytales, Myths & Legends' exhibition came to visit during the weekend and it was fabulous to finally meet those that I have only spoken to online.

There is a wonderful, friendly and supportive atmosphere, which is lovely to be a part of and am so pleased that I (finally!) took the plunge and moved in.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Magazine Collage Commission 'Reid Family'

This piece was relatively straight forward as it was taken from just the one photograph. Although I am happy to build compositions I do think the single image pieces are naturally the most accurate. The piece is made entirely from ripped and cut magazines, as always no paint was used.

This is an A2 piece depicting the father and his three children, commissioned and gifted by his wife as a 40th birthday present.

Alan created a wonderful handmade wooden frame from reclaimed fencing which I think compliments the piece beautifully.

I have quite a large waiting list now for the commissions so if you are considering having one for a specific date please do contact me as far in advance as possible to ensure I can make your deadline.

My 2016 Calendar

I am very excited to present my first calendar!!!! They feature imagery taken from my original magazine collages.

An A5 image with an A5 calendar page below. Printed on recycled paper using vegetable based ink.

They are page per month, I have tried to choose my more seasonal pieces to reflect the months.

I have only ordered a small print run as I was unsure how well they would be received, I am however thrilled that they most have already found new homes! They are available through the EcoCreate website here 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

New Studio At Bank's Mill!!!!

I am very excited to have moved into my new studio at Bank's Mill, Derby, this month! I have been an associate for many years and to become a resident is a dream come true. My studio, 4:11, is quite small and on the 4th floor (no lift!) but I love it and have already spent several productive days there.

I am looking forward to making it my own and taking part in my first open studios November 20th - 22nd 2015. Banks Mill houses many talented artists and an artisan fair will be running at the Enterprise centre which is well worth a visit. The EcoCreate team will be at the fair, do pop and say hello if you can.

It's still looking a bit bare and so I have several plans to upcycle some old furniture which I will be adding to the EcoCreate blog in due course. It is lovely and light and a wonderful space to work in.

The Woodsman having a well earned rest after lugging my rammel up four flights of stairs!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Magazine Collage Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

This magazine collage was a lovely piece to work on. It is an A2 piece made entirely of ripped and cut magazines, on recycled board using non-toxic adhesives.

Magazine Collage Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

The composition was made up of several photographs, making the required changes to clothing and placement. I also had the added request of a rainbow!

Original Photographs

I always roughly sketch out before beginning to collage

Rough Sketch

There is quite a lot of detail in this piece so I was able to play with technique, using cut and ripped magazines to emulate the landscape and subject features.

I spend quite a lot of time adjusting the height of the figures as some of the images were old and didn't reflect the correct scale.

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

I absolutely love the little girls colourful unicorn dress and so spent time making sure this was as accurate as possible.

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

The beautiful caravan made a wonderful feature,

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

I was quite liberal with my artistic license when working on the shelter as the exact details were a little difficult to make out.

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

I love this ladies hair! I had to cut lots of tiny pieces of magazine in varying shades to capture the lovely curls.

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

Did you spot the duck?

Detail from Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

I was asked to take lots of photographs during construction so that the family could see the way the piece was built up. I put them altogether in this video

The piece was framed by Alan at Roaring Tree using reclaimed weathered fencing to make this gorgeous frame.

Framed Commission 'Hogben-Smith Family'

Monday, 13 July 2015

Countryside Adventure Magazine Collage

This upcycled magazine collage 'Countryside Adventure' is a revisit of an early piece. It is based on an image of my nephew and daughter walking along the path to the local woodland.

Inspiration for Countryside Adventure

I first collaged this in 2010 when I was starting to develop my technique, this piece seems extremely crude to my eyes now but was an important stage in my development.

'Countryside Adventure' 2010

My Mum is the proud owner of the original and now new version of this. Until recently the first one was hung in the same room as 'Over the wall' and the striking contrast in technique made me want to recreate it in my current style.

'Over the wall' magazine collage 
When I resketched this out I decided to go with a portrait composition, filling in the rest of the path from memory. I want to illustrate the path to the woods and feeling of adventure.

Rough Sketch 'Countryside Adventure
I wanted to give the shadow more definition in the new piece

Detail from 'Countryside Adventure'
I also tried a new technique to create the grasses bordering the path, I'm using more and more cut magazines mixed in with the ripped than I did previously. Mixing the two methods gives me much more accuracy in depicting scenes.

Detail from 'Countryside Adventure'
I'm really pleased with the way my technique is developing and I am looking forward to further exploring the possibilities in this medium.

The new version of 'Countryside Adventure' has been added to my eco print range and I hope to add to my greetings cards designs before the end of the year.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Connect Exhibition

The Connect Exhibition
I am very excited to have three of my magazine collages in the Connect exhibition at the Royal Derby Hospital as part of the Air Arts project. Artists from Banks Mill studios are exhibiting work across five floors of the hospital as part of the scheme that serves to enhance the environment within the corridors.

"Connect is a collaborative exhibition that features work by 11 of our resident artists and affiliate members. This exhibition spans over five floors of the Royal Derby Hospital and is co-ordinated by Air Arts, a project funded by investment from the National Lottery through the Arts Council’s Grants for the arts programme. This investment is matched by funding from Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, its commercial partners and through charitable donations made to Derby Hospitals Charity". Banks Mill Studios

The exhibition launched in June it was lovely to attend the event and meet some of the wonderful artists involved. I also took along some items from the EcoCreate project to promote upcycling and eco friendly creating while there.

The EcoCreate Stand
The exhibition has had a mention in the local press too, I'm the one holding up the cardboard tube garland that I made for the EcoCreate tutorials section. The story can also be found online here

Article Derby Telegraph
My work is exhibited under the collective name 'Nature's Child' which is an ongoing theme in my work.

Exhibition Panel
Nature's Child 

This collection of works reflects the innocent pleasure that children take in their environment, often lost as we grow older. Depicting precious moments in time and preserving happy memories, captures in essence my main drive in pursuing environmentally friendly practices. What is precious to us is worth protecting and the greatest motivation is working for the those we love. Each piece is constructed entirely from ripped and cut magazines, all on recycled board using non-toxic adhesives. Framed with reclaimed wood by a local artisan.

The exhibition will be running until 31st August. More information can be found on the Evolve website

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Magazine collage 'For Kicks'

Magazine collage 'For Kicks'

This A3 magazine collage 'For Kicks' is part of an on going collection of childhood, celebrating enjoyment in the 'simple things'. I photographed both my children playing in the leaves last autumn, I particularly loved this image of my son and decided to use it for an autumnal piece. 

When I sketched out the piece I kept mainly to the original image.

Rough Sketch

As I began to collage I made the decision to remove the bench and replace it with the trunk of a tree. I also added subtle hints to suggest the texture of the grass.

Close-up  'For Kicks'

I really wanted to capture the movement of the falling leaves that was missing in the original photograph. I used the same technique I have used in the past to depict waves. I also had to introduce more contrast into these to make them stand out from those behind.

Close-up  'For Kicks'

This piece has been submitted for exhibition, more details soon.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Magazine Collage Commission 'Halford Family'

I was so pleased with how this piece turned out, a slightly more complicated commission as the client had quite a strong idea of what she'd like to achieve but no photograph that matched the desired composition. Between us we managed to create her vision and it was worth all the hard work for the reaction from the client, their family and friends. The most enthusiastic response I have ever had to a project, it was immensely satisfying.

Halford A2 Magazine Collage Commission

The commission was a surprise wedding anniversary gift to the clients husband who loves fell running. They particularly wanted the scene to be set in the Lake District, Langdale. This was our first stumbling block as I can only work from photographs that are owned by the client or have permission to use to avoid copyright issues. The client spent a lot of time obtaining all the images required, including covert trips to take photos of her daughters and herself in the required poses.

I would normally sketch out the composition at this stage but I wasn't entirely confident that I had the correct layout in mind. It was for this reason I decided to make a Photoshop mock up so that we could hash out the details. This enabled us to make sure all the elements were included and ensure proportions and layout were correct.

Client Images

Halford Mock-up
Small details were then addressed such as the wall in the mock up not matching the area and where the other runners would be added. The long hair of the daughters was included from other images, making sure everyone's hair was blowing in the same direction. I then sketched out the composition on a piece of stretched recycled board.

Halford Sketch

I really wanted to capture the texture of the landscape in this piece, representing the long grasses and landmarks as accurately as possible as the location was such and important element.

Halford Close-up

Halford Close-up
I love to capture movement in my collages whenever possible in this case the windswept hair and runners.

Halford Close-up

Halford Close-up
The client left me a wonderful review and recommended my work to friends and family, it was so lovely to know that they genuinely loved their new collage, I couldn't have asked for a better reaction.

"As the person who commissioned the fell race picture of the Lake District I feel a desperate urge to tell the world how fantastic it is. The whole experience from start to finish was great. We took pictures galore that poor Kirstie had to make sense of ("can you make my hair fly in the breeze?", "can you make me look thin" etc!), of the people who were going to figure in it and the landscape, and sent them off to her in fear and trembling. She kept us posted every step of the way, reassuring us about what she planned to do and sending mock ups and sketches. (By us I mean myself and my two daughters - it was a surprise for my husband - a 25th wedding anniversary gift.) Kirstie completed the collage well within the time frame she promised, and also mounted and framed it for us. The picture is beyond what we could have hoped for. Look closely and you can see words in the grass, but look from a distance and the completeness of this through-composed collage just takes your breath away. The Langdale Pikes are portrayed with extraordinary accuracy, the figures are all instantly recognisable, and the sky is just unbelievable. The whole picture is captivating and evocative and my husband's reaction to it was a joy to behold! . I have never commissioned a piece of art before and was very anxious, but my family agrees that it is our favourite thing we own. We are all mesmerised! I would love to commission another and am thinking hard of an excuse...Apologies for gushing, but it is really the only appropriate reaction."

For more information on commissioning a magazine collage please visit my main website

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Magazine Collage 'Skimming Stones'

I am continually inspired by my wonderful family who beautifully encompass my ethos of capturing precious moments in time. They are my main motivation in pursuing eco friendly practices. This piece was based on a family trip to the beach in Norfolk.

'Skimming Stones' Magazine Collage

The photos I took that day were a little dark and lacked a lot of detail but I managed to put together a composition I was happy with.

Inspiration For 'Skimming Stones'

Inspiration For 'Skimming Stones'

I rearranged the figures into a slightly different composition to those in the photograph. I wanted to capture the position of my husband throwing the stone, my daughters failed attempts (that she enjoyed regardless) and my son's search for the perfect pebbles.

Rough Sketch For 'Skimming Stones'

The previous beach scene I worked on had quite a smooth sandy texture compared to the rough texture I wanted to capture here.

Magazine Collage Vrouwenpolder Beach, The Netherlands

I applied a gradient of sandy coloured pieces of magazines and then covered this with a layer of small cut pieces.

Texture Sand - Small Cut Pieces Of Magazines

The next challenge was to represent the rippling concentric circles as the stones skimmed the water. In this case I felt 'less is more' and so kept this really simple. Adding small pieces of ripped magazines to add the highlights and shadows.

Concentric circles

I feel this collage was a great transitional piece for me as I experimented with new techniques and effects. I find I am putting more and more detail into my work as my experience and confidence with this medium grows.

This piece is currently available, please contact me for details.