Tag Archives: Art

I am an Artist

Facing my reflection

Today I had what I think they call a Damascus moment. I’m no spring chicken, next year I turn 50, half a blimmin century and I think I’m going to have a Croning ceremony as I embrace my status as an older  Feminist woman in our society. But this post isn’t about that. Although it does have something to do with my Feminist stance.

Let me explain…

I grew up believing my  ultimate goal as a woman was to grow up and get married. Some day my prince will come… I used to go to sleep as a young girl of 6 or 7 with my hair spread out beautifully on my pillow just in case my prince came in the door at night.

I did grow up and get married, not before having a stint in art school and discovering that I had a talent for drawing and painting. My tutors and colleagues really believed in me. It was a pity that I somehow never shared their belief.

Why didn’t I believe?

I think it was because my mum repeatedly told me that I was not an artist and never would be because I could only copy.

Those words would burn deep into my psyche and end up echoing round my head as an adolescent, then right throughout my adulthood. Until now.

But I’m running before I’ve learned to walk. So I got married and had two beautiful daughters who have now grown up to be wonderful young women, one of whom has a daughter of her own. I’m now a proud grandma.

I’m no longer married. Nobody told me that the Disney princess prophesy ended like this.

But I moved on and I grew. I now don’t believe in marriage. My goals in life have changed. When I grow up I want to be an artist instead.

Well, today I think I grew up.

After spending a day with my eldest artistic daughter at the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery it suddenly struck me. I should have my work on the walls. There was no reason why I couldn’t be amongst this fabulous display of diverse portraiture. What was I waiting for? I had already painted a portrait of a street drinker friend I had made about 10 years ago that I think would be worthy of submission. Jimmy1 Jimmy2 Jimmy3 Jimmy4For over ten years this painting had been rolled up in a corner, hiding. Today I took it out and looked at it with new eyes.  The word started to bubble up.


I was waiting to embrace the word. The word that for almost 40 years had felt far too big for me to handle. ARTIST.

It was hard to say. ARTIST. ( You’re not an artist, you can only copy) Shut up mum.

ARTIST. ( You’re not an artist … )


I went around my flat with my little camera, taking photos of myself , not smiling. Not posing. Just being me. Being serious. Taking myself seriously.  Just being me, the artist. Not the woman, not the mother, not the children’s entertainer, just me. THE ARTIST.


Then I started to feel like including myself and my work. My flat is full of my work. From painting and drawing to soft sculpture. It is a veritable private temple of my creativity. It’s time to go public and stop being afraid of showing the real me.

IAA12 IAA13 IAA14 IAA15 IAA16 IAA17 IAA18 IAA19 IAA20 IAA21 IAA22 IAA23 IAA24 IAA25 IAA26 Iaa27 IAA28 IAA29 IAA30

So  Mum. Now what do you think?

I’m a mother fucking artist.

Yes I am. Oh yes I am.

And today is the beginning of my artist journey as an artist. Not an apologist.

Unlike the adolescent me who had the ability but nothing to say with it, I’ve got so much to say now , it is hard to know where to start.

I’m starting tomorrow. Tomorrow I paint.

I am a woman and I am an artist.









Art squared: Portraits of sculpture

After making my crochet dollies, I’ve been left with a feeling of ” somethings not quite finished”.

So I embarked on painting portraits of my crochet curiosities.

After making these mini paintings, I knew I needed to create frames to suit. A regular wooden frame just wouldn’t fit. So I raided my studio for materials and created original frames from mixed materials to compliment the painting and match the quirkiness .

So, here’s what I made earlier:

paint3 paint7] paint13 paint17 paint24 paint31 paint37I’m really enjoying the process.

There will be more.

Some of the paintings will be exhibited soon at the Little Summer Benefits exhibition at the wonderful Vyner Street Gallery.

So, what do you think?



Creepy crochet oddities

I’ve made crochet dollies, even creepy crochet dollies and I’ve made cats and dogs from crochet. Now of course , in an obvious step, I’ve combined the two.

Now I’m making Crochet animal /human mix ups; crochet anthropomorphism if you will.

But why use words, when a picture tells the story far better?pugwoman12 pugwoman13 pugwoman16 box1 box6 bun9 kit6 kit16 kit18 kit24 Rooster Rooster2 Rooster3 Rooster5 Rooster7So  far there has been Pugwoman, a very worried looking lady with a few extra nipples with a very classical air.

Then there’s Bunny Girl, a very seductive creature indeed.

Then Kit E Kat , a pussy cat with a pvc mini skirt and black feather neckpiece.

Finally, probably the strangest of all so far is Cock a Doodle Dude. He’s pretty self explanatory.

I’m going to eventually set these dollies in environments to create art pieces  in their own right. ( Apart from Bunny Girl and Kit E Kat who are for sale in the wonderful alternative space that is the Brighton Arts Club. )


There will be others. My imagination is teeming with them , all woofing, miaaowing and mooing to get out.

Need more time…


Bags of Art/ Art of Bags

I’m still busy making bags in my new incarnation of c.Art ( craft meets Art / carry Art).

I’m intermittently working on the website too, it’s not ready yet, but soon, dear friends, soon.

Here are the most recent completed bags.

First here is a clutch bag made on the theme of Mercury.
The image is painted from a detail of a painting by Tiepolo of the Roman God Mercury . Words across the bag are from that god amongst rock gods, Freddie Mercury. I think it came out beautifully. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.



Next is a bag especially created for a singing goddess, the wonderful Miss Baby Sol. I first came upon her spectacular self when she was guesting with the amazing Lazy Habits.

Here she is singing with the Lazy Habits boys.

She is currently supplying splendid backing vocals for the lovely British Diva Paloma Faith. She won’t be long in the background, I’m sure , as she is destined to shine like the star that she is. Here’s her bag, based on an image by Steve Coleman of Three Images. Babysol1Babysol7Babysol12I can’t wait to hand it over to her.

Next bag is another version of the ever popular Tea Party clutch. This one is version number 3 and features a white chihuahua and a lady wearing a wonderful ship fascinator created by the lovely Bink of the wonderful Pearls and Swine. If you like pretty things , do yourself a favour and pop over and see her work. You will thank me.

Tea P&STeaP&S2

Oh I’ve got so many more, I think I’ll save them for another blog post. Don’t want to spoil you .

Would love to hear your thoughts. If you were to have a bag represent you, what would it look like?

To keep up with my progress do head over to my facebook page.

c.Art on Facebook

c.Art: where craft meets Art.

The Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know. I’ve not blogged for ages. I’m not going to apologise, I’ve been busy, very busy. Now don’t fall over with shock, but my latest project has nothing to do with crochet. I know, shocking, isn’t it? I thought I’d give my hands a break and go back to my roots of painting . I studied Fine Art ( painting)at art college way back when.

Back in the day when I was a young lady, I worked as a scenic artist for the Cape Performing Arts Board in South Africa. I spent my time tacking down massive canvases in warehouses and sloshing around horse glue size with a sweeping brush , preparing the backdrops for various operatic and theatrical productions.
Sometimes I would have the honours of actually painting the massive canvases too.  After all, my audition to get the job in the first place was having to paint a replica of the Mona Lisa, in poster paints for a production of Annie. The painting was a success, so much so that it was stolen by someone on tour. I learned to spatter with 8 ” decorating brushes like a pro, often having to ‘break down’ a copy of a Rococco painting  on the instructions of the set designer , as it read too well from the audience. Breaking down involved spattering great gobs of paint over a beautifully detailed painting- heartbreaking thing to do.

Fast forward 20 odd years and I’m back spattering on canvas and painting replicas of gorgeous pieces of art , except this time, instead of being on a huge scale, these canvas are tiny. And they are being turned into bags.

My new venture is c.Art.

The name stands for craft meets Art, or carry Art. Also you cart your stuff around in your bag.

The basic concept is turning paintings on canvas into bags . Most bags feature an image or two combined with appropriate embroidered text.  But words are not enough to describe the bags. You need pictures . So here they are:

This bag was made for a huge Aaliyah fan. It’s not terribly representative of the c.Art style but it was a commission.

Aaliyah3 Aaliyah5

Another commission, this bag truly showcases the c.Art style. Here we have a grafitti inspired image with words chosen by the client embroidered on to the bag.

Annebag1 Annebag3 Annebag5

Note the drippy, spattered canvas over written with text: that’s the c.Art style. All the bags are lined in luscious satin and fastened with magnetic snaps.

Here’s a bag made for my muse as a gift, the brilliant, creative, performance artist Marnie Scarlet. This is the back of the bag featuring appliqued flowers and a portrait of her in one of her costumes. This was based on a photo by the wonderful ML Imagery.


Here’s the front of the bag featuring a portrait of the great lady herself , based on a photograph this time by Helene Jaspers.


Detail of the stitching and glitter . bag4

This bag is a tribute to a legend, the late, great Bruce Lee. Here’s the inside of the bag showing one of his wonderful quotes:BL4

And here’s the front of the bag, with another one of his quotes. Image based on the famous cracked mirror scene of Enter the Dragon. BL5

This next bag is a clutch bag , an adaptation of one of my other bags, this time featuring a cat rather than a dog. The bag is lined with satin , with a zippered inner pocket and magnetic clasp. Bowie2 Bowie4

Sometimes I make from other materials, this time from a beautiful pearly pink pvc. This is based on a graffiti version of Frieda Kahlo.


This clutch bag made from the same pvc, this time with a very graphic image .


This drawing , by my eldest daughter, inspired  all of the bags. I transferred this drawing onto a bag made from some old oil paintings of mine , cut up to make a tote bag for her 21st birthday. Im bag drawing

This was how it worked out. Im bag2 Im bag3 Imbag4

She was very happy with her gift. 🙂

Here’s a small evening bag based on the famous painting of the Lady of Shalott.

Ladybag1 Ladybag5

Painted on canvas and lavishly oversewn, edged with red satin, lined with black satin. Ladybag6

The back of the bag features a verse from the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson of the Lady of Shalott. The bag features a crystal topped frame and  a red silk cord. Ladybag10 Ladybag12

Here is the Medusa shopper. This bag was my fastest seller, purchased only minutes of it’s completion. It was sold to the wonderful artist Sue Kreitzman.

Medusa1 Medusa6 Medusa7 Medusa9

I call this one the Mercury clutch, featuring the God Mercury and words by the God Freddie Mercury. 🙂Mer1 Mer8 Mer9 Mer15

Another bespoke  bag , this time for a gentleman who chose this rather lovely quote to be featured inside his bag:

Mikes bag final 8

and this one on the back :Mikes bag final 10 Mikes bag final 12

This is the front of the bag, a composite image of all of his passions: capoeira , architecture, jazz and the sea.

Mikes bag final1

I think it came out rather well. I also unwittingly created ‘Debrixton’, the blue canvas fabric  , similar to Denim but not created in Nimes ( De Nimes) hence Debrixton.  Get it?

Some of my bags verge on the ridiculous, but splendidly so. Another bag for the fabulously adventurous Marnie Scarlet. This one is called Nell. E. Phant and features a detachable elephant trunk. The images are based on photographs by the splendidly creative Tigz Rice Studios.


Trunk on and trunk off. nellebag3

This bag is made in soft pink pvc with velvet straps , canvas portrait applique and artificial flowers.

nelliebag5This bag was another commission . I call this one Optimism. Optimism2 Optimism4 Optimism5

Another bespoke bag, this one features a stylised portrait of the client.

portrait bag1

This next bag was specially made as a gift for my partner. He’s crazy about a certain character…Shonuff2 Shonuff4 Shonuff7

On the back is a quote from Bruce Lee. ( elaborated by Royce Da 59)Shonuff8

Here are two clutch bags. The first with the dog is my own personal bag, the second a version for another client, featuring her cat, Bowie.

tea time 5

Close up of the original tea party bag, based on a wonderful piece of graffiti.


So that’s it for now. I’ve got so many ideas in store, I almost don’t know where to begin.

I’ll be back to show you more.

Oh, if you’d like to follow my progress with the bags, do head over to my facebook page www.facebook.com/c.Artbags

There will be a website soon. I’m still working on it.


Stepping through the looking glass

This gallery contains 9 photos.

    Things have been really exciting recently. My crochet work has taken a brand new direction. Complimenting the bright and beautiful crochet goods I  have been making over at CrochetBrightandBeautiful  I have stepped through the looking glass that I … Continue reading

Performance Art inspires Crochet

I’m a granny.

I crochet.

I’m also an artist and performer.

You can’t put this granny in a box when it comes to crochet. I make granny squares but I also make art.

An unfinished baby, sewn in velveteen

I’ve always loved performance art and have long been a fan of the late, great Leigh Bowery.

Pushing boundaries of body image and beauty.

His life celebrated in the West End musical Taboo, he in turn inspired another one of my heroes , painter Lucien Freud, who used Leigh as one of his biggest models.

Lucien Freuds masterful work.

I’ve recently discovered performance artist Marnie Scarlet through  a mutual friend, the wonderful painter John Lee Bird who had recently painted Marnie’s portrait as part of his Before Encore exhibition series. Please drop by this wonderful man’s site and support his art. If you have a few spare pennies, maybe you could help him reach his sponsor target. It’s tough for artists right now, all Arts Council funding has been scrapped this year because of the Olympics, so if you care about art, show  your love. Here’s a link to his blog for more information and examples of his fantastic art work.

Marnie is an extraordinary creative soul and I feel she has taken Leigh Bowery’s legacy of playing with taboos and body image and expressed it as a strong woman. Be warned though, most of Marnie’s work is not suitable for those under 18 or who are easily offended.

After totally falling in love with one of Marnie’s incarnations: A Mexican Day of the Dead character, I was inspired to make a crochet version of her.

So here she is, I’m rather stuck on her.

Isn’t she lovely?

Every detail faithfully reproduced, right down to the high heels!

Look at her posing

Such a sassy lass

But wait, that hair style looks familiar…

Where have I seen that look before?

Oh yes, that’d be my work ribbons . I’ll avoid the matching skull face for work I think…

I think she ties in rather nicely with my sugar skull brooches

Available for sale in my Folksy shop.

Marnie the dolly is not for sale right now. I think I may make a range of ‘Scaries’ to go with my fairies, so until I do that you can’t have her.

She’s MINE!!! Nyeh, nyeh , nyeh, nyeh! ( Sorry came over all silly there)

But the brooches are  for sale, only £6.50 each for handmade , every one unique .

Head on over to my Folksy shop


if you’d like to order one.

I believe in Fairies!

I’ve managed to leave making kittens alone for a millisecond and focus on making a fairy… here is my latest creation:

I just love fairies!

She doesn’t have a name yet. Suggestions would be welcome.

Five pence piece to show scale.

Here she is, sitting on a magic toadstool.

Showing the back of her.

Rather than go for my first impulse to make glittery wings, instead I’ve chosen the simplicity of green leaf wings. I think the green is a perfect compliment to her exotic purple hair. ( I’ve used the same wonderful sequinned-scattered yarn that I used in these cushions to make her hair.)

Her hair is fully attached strand by strand on a crochet cap. Making the wig for the fairy is probably my favourite part of the process.

Off I fly

This little fairy measures 12″ (30cm)  and comes presented in her own little white box.

Available from my Facebook page

Crochet Bright and Beautiful on Facebook

or soon to be included in my Folksy shop.

CrochetBrightandBeautiful on Folksy

Like all my collectibles, she is a one off, original piece for careful ownership. She is NOT A TOY… but would make a great decoration /talking piece and costs £20 plus p+p.

She needs a name.

Any suggestions?

Sofa Art

Have you ever considered that your home could be your own personal gallery? Your sofa is an excellent place to showcase your taste and colour sense. I feel that you can tell a lot from the cushions on a person’s sofa.

With this in mind I’ve created what I believe to be little works of art for your sofa.

Inspired by some beautiful soft yarn that is the colour of heather and peacock tails and features tiny spangles of magenta sequins that catch the light in a magical way, I crocheted these cushions.


The snuggle of cushions.

I wanted to make a set that coordinated with each other but were individual compositions in their own right.  They are all 15″/39cm square , are backed and lined in cool black pure cotton and feature an envelope fastening plus button tops that keep the cushion pad nice and snug.

Showing the back of the cushions


The pad is fully removeable and the covers are washable but hand wash only as they are delicate. ( Like all crochet goods).

This cushion features a tassel

The cushions are for sale as  a set only. They come with pads and cost £65 for the 3. They are one of a kind , unique , original, handmade art for your home.

Available to purchase on my Facebook page Crochet bright and beautiful. If you don’t have Facebook , just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.




Living life in beautiful greys

I love bright colours. Anyone who knows me or who has stopped by this blog will know this. I’ve even written a blog post  in my party blog purely devoted to bright colours .

I’ve largely ignored the greys and the subtle as I’m so seduced by the vibrant , the hot and the punchy. I like stark contrasts and clash. It excites me.

Holding the towel, 3 studies

I’m aware that this penchant for contrast and bold relates directly to my character type. For years I lived life in black and white , in contrasts.

Looking at life in stark contrast

For many years, because of my upbringing, I believed that life was full of black and white choices, that there were good and bad. I was either a good girl

Good Diane


or a naughty girl,

Bad Diane

I was an angel or a devil. I never considered that there existed something in between called normal, and that the good and the bad aspect were just choices on the extremes of the normal spectrum. This blinkered belief system really limited my outlook on life and my behaviour causing me to become one of life’s ‘pleasers‘. I sought approval through being good, I had to be in the good zone otherwise I was bad. I thought of myself as ‘nice’, I found it hard to take criticism as I thought that all my actions were altruistic ( of course they weren’t) and that if I ever did anything for myself that would make me a selfish, bad person.

In the black and white world

Living in the black and white contrast world of the pleaser type personality is very frustrating. Trying to be good leads to frustration and resentment when others do not either recognise your intentions or take advantage of the pleasing behaviour and ask the pleaser to do everything and anything knowing that the pleaser is bound to say yes.

Self portrait at 23, called 23 and getting older. Hanging on to being good.

No isn’t a word a pleaser finds easy to say. Strike that, it is nigh on impossible.

So as a pleaser, you take everything on board, do everyone favours, say yes to all projects and the inevitable happens: breakdown. Anyone would become overwhelmed by this state, no one is capable of doing everything, especially not to the pleaser’s unusually high standards. When breakdown occurs, the pleaser snaps ( the black zone) The resentment that has built up over time breaks free and manifests as a massive fireball of anger which is hurled at the person who is being pleased, shocking them as they never saw it coming. The pleaser then feels guilty for this outburst and then instantly resorts back to pleasing behaviour again ( back in the white zone ) in order to pacify the recipient .

My eldest daughter Imogen expressing through photography

Not good huh?

This was me for years.

Until my back gave in.

My wonderful acupuncturist clearly recognised my character type and gave me a mantra to accompany my needle therapy. He told me to (shock horror!) start being selfish.

If I wanted to look after the world, I had to start looking after myself.

Then I discovered that the world wasn’t just black and white, but muted shades of grey. Most people lived in the grey zone and visited the white ( pleasing) zone and black ( anger) zone when it was appropriate to do so. I saw that saying NO became liberating, that people respected me more and started to press me less to do things. Life became easier. The resentment evaporated. I could do nice things for people without feeling that secret resentment underlying it, because I was doing nice things for the right reasons: because I wanted to!  There was no more veering from the white into black anymore, no more frustrated temper tantrum outbursts, but in its place was a new found self assurance and a sense of honesty that I had never felt before.

Grey is beautiful.

Muted grey beauty

Feeling whole

I still like a good contrast , but nowadays thankfully just in my aesthetic tastes.

So which zones do you live in? Grey or black and white?