Books I got in October (2017)

The last month or so I’ve really tried to get back into reading, and working in a little indie bookshop has definitely helped!

I also decided around a month ago that I want to look into doing a Masters next year, and found a course that sounds really good in Cardiff. It’s an MA in Art and Design, which then has seven different pathways. Although they have an Illustration pathway, I am leaning more towards the Philosophy or Ecologies pathways, to explore contemporary illustration from a different angle.

That led me to decide I wanted to learn more about philosophy, so I bought some books! I started off with an AS Philosophy textbook that I got used off Amazon for a penny (the only reason I use Amazon is for books that I can get for pennies and cope with a used copy of) while I waited for Teach Yourself’s Philosophy: A Complete Introduction to be delivered to the bookshop.

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Now, I haven’t got around to reading much of the textbook yet but the Complete Introduction to Philosophy is AMAZING. The information in it feels so digestible and each chapter briefly covers a philosopher and their ideas, ending with a bit of a multiple-choice quiz to test how much you’ve understood. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to understand someone like Aristotle but this book has led me to buy his Nichomachean Ethics, which I am quite excited to read!

I also picked up a copy of Plato’s Symposium because of that book, and luckily it’s one of Penguin’s beautiful Great Ideas series. Having only picked it up yesterday, I haven’t had chance to open it yet – but it’s going to be one for the weekend I think.

Speaking of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, I also picked up their versions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and Chuang Tzu’s The Tao of Nature and I am excited about growing this collection! I feel like the size of the books (they are pretty short) will mean they are easier to digest and can be read while commuting, or over breakfast, that kind of thing.

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I thought I’d also include library books in this post, as I recently became a member of my new local library and I think they’re great! I’m leaning towards borrowing fiction books from the library over buying them, generally, because I think fiction is a lot more personal, and I feel I’m more likely to dislike a fiction book than a non-fiction. Maybe?

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I’ve started reading Meet Me in the In-Between, and being about halfway through, I am enjoying it. I heard/read a lot of mixed reviews on this book before reading it but I think it’s a good book, and definitely worth a try.

The Lesser Bohemians is a book I noticed in the bookshop and I was intrigued by the blurb so thought I’d give it a try – looking forward to that one.

Stay With Me is another one I’m excited about! I’ve heard so many good reviews, can’t wait to give it a read! I found out about it from watching some Booktubers’ videos on the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, specifically SavidgeReads and Reads and Daydreams (with Jen Campbell).

On the topic of Jen Campbell…

IMG_5770I also got this beautiful book of hers, illustrated by Katie Harnett, called Franklin’s Flying Bookshop in October. It’s a beautiful story and I’d definitely recommend it for a kid (little or big) in your life. I mean, it has copper foiling. Oof.

And that wraps up my October book haul!
I’ll let you know my thoughts on these books when I’m a bit closer to reading them…

Thanks for reading!

Amy x

Filling the new house with art… (Part I)

As I may have mentioned a couple of times, Max (my boyfriend) and I moved house last week and we’ve been trying to make it as cosy and homely as possible. (You can read our moving story here). And, with both of us being illustrators, we needed to get some pictures on the walls asap, and I thought I’d show you what we’ve got so far.

All of these bar two pictures were ones we brought with us from the old flat, and it’s so nice here because we don’t actually have enough pictures to fill all the picture hooks anymore! That’s the thing with renting – you can’t always bang nails into walls whenever you want. But I think we’re quite lucky with this place because there are already loads of hooks and nails everywhere, and we are allowed to put in more “to a reasonable extent”. (What is a reasonable number of pieces of art to have in the home, hmm?)

So starting with the…

Living Room

 

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This illustration is by the fab Holly St Clair, it’s a new one I bought just before we moved and I LOVE IT. The foliage in the image works well with the house plants we have in the room (but more on that when I do my house tour). You can buy this print at Family Store and definitely check out Holly’s etsy shop here.

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The next picture is one I bought from Fine Little Day on our visit to Sweden last year (2016). I love dala horses and think this minimal but bold colour palette works well with the room (and our swanky new orangey-red sofa). You can still buy the poster online here.

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This little neon riso number is from We Are Out of Office – I’ve bought quite a few prints from them in the past and they never disappoint! Also dying to get my hands on some of their pins soon!!

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One of my faves, this “Pugert Smith” drawing was actually made by my good friend Matt, who you can find on Facebook and Instagram. He perfectly combined my two loves – pugs and The Cure.

The Kitchen

Next up is the kitchen (in our old flat we had one nail in the kitchen – here we have about 7 and a Welsh dresser)…

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This is a print I picked up in the House of Illustration in London a couple of years ago (well worth a visit!). It’s by David Lemm and more info about the backstory can be found here – sounds like it was a very interesting public project around mapping (but I just saw it in the gift shop and fell a little bit in love).

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This cutie is from Ohh Deer, designed by Gemma Correll, and I think it does a good job of summing up being a millennial. Also – now we have room to actually dance around our kitchen so it’s totally apt. And goes perfectly with the duck-egg and cream kitchen cupboards.

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This is one of Max’s prints by Atelier Bingo. I think it really perks up the kitchen space and we have it above our dining table so it feels lively and uplifting (which is especially good at breakfast time when we’re both half asleep….). You can buy it here.

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And here is our Welsh dresser! It’s built in and so (obviously) came with the house and it’s so so nice having somewhere to put little pictures and ornaments and things we collect! At first I was thinking about the fact we don’t own any teacups or cake stands and so wouldn’t fill it – I was wrong! (Also – how weird is it that all of Max’s birthday cards were sea-themed!)

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I bought this card a couple of years ago for Max and it was the picture we had up on our single kitchen hook in the flat so I’m glad we can keep it on show here. It’s from the Printed Peanut and you can buy it here, and there is also an art print of a similar design here.

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This little guy is by Lydia Coventry and I think it was a one-off but you can find her other bits on her etsy shop. I love it so much. Those eyes.

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This is a print I got with a zine, both by Thomas Colligan, that I bought from Rope Press at Glug Brum in March. If you’re a creative person, definitely see if there is Glug event near you – they are invaluable! They have talks on by people in the industry and street food and art market stalls and it’s just a great evening out!

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This is another print I got from Glug Brum, this one in March 2016 I think? It’s by Print Wagon and I love it! He printed them to order out the back of his van, it was great fun! I plan to reframe it before hanging it, but for now it’s on the kitchen counter. You can buy this print here (but be sure to have a look at his other prints too – they are all so cool!)

 

That’s half the house done – keep an eye out for Part II where I’ll cover the bedroom, studio and entrance hall (oooh).

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

 

 

The Jacket of Glory – Part III: Ohh Deer & uStudio

Part three is here! (Check out parts one (Pin Club) and two (AdamJK & Veronica Dearly) here)

Every Thursday I share with you a little bit more of my pin collection and this week is time for all the pins and patches I got from illustrated gift stores Ohh Deer and uStudio.

Starting with Ohh Deer, all of these were designed by illustrator and pug lady Gemma Correll, I got the white pug back in early 2016 not long after I decided to start the jacket, and the black one around valentines day this year. Love them so much.

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I also got these, the first patches I got for my jacket, from Ohh Deer and I was so chuffed I managed to find the perfect coloured threads to sew them onto my jacket with! (It’s the little things…)

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Earlier this year, uStudio released a load of pins and patches (and the patches are shiny) so I had to get some! They are actually the first ones I got to start off the back of the jacket and they are looking swish.

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If you’re around Bristol, you should definitely pop into their shop because it’s full of amazing stationery and homeware, as well as pins and patches – it’s just great!

You can check out Ohh Deer and u Studio on Instagram if you want to fill your feed with cool illustrated stuff.

The next instalment will be coming next Thursday (by which time we will be in our new house – eeeeeeep!) – see you then!

Amy x

Punky Pins had a seconds sale and I couldn’t resist.

So yeah, I was recently browsing Punky Pins’ website and they had a huuuuuuuuge seconds sale on so who am I to deny myself some beautiful additions to my collection? (Also – supporting independent businesses is a good thing to do, yo).

Firstly, I’ll explain what a seconds sale is – it’s when a seller has surplus slightly flawed products, in this case pins and patches. So, for example the colours might be slightly off, the enamel might be slightly scratched or it might just be slightly flawed in some other way. I will be honest, whenever I’ve bought seconds pins I have almost never noticed they’re flawed. It’s up to the seller to decide what qualifies as a “seconds” pin and usually I think they’re pretty generous.

The first thing to fall into my basket was this banana patch which I thought was very apt since I legit ate 2.5 bananas yesterday morning without even meaning to.

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Then these sewing machine and rad pins jumped into my basket and I will be honest, it was very difficult choosing between the purple rad pin and the one I got. But I’m so happy with them!

I did notice with the sewing machine pin that the purple looked slightly off compared to the pink and I think that’s probably why it was seconds, but honestly I love it so much.

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Then I got this gold anchor pin (was also available in silver) and it looks so detailed and delicate (in design, not construction) that I might put it on something else where it’ll hold its own a bit more.

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I also got my first enamel necklace! I’ve seen these floating about, along with keyrings, but this is the first I’ve owned one, and it’s so cool!

 

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So that was my haul, hope you enjoyed it! Last time I checked, the seconds sale was still on over at Punky Pins and what I got is only a fraction of the amazing things on there so do go and check them out!

Amy x

Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache vs. Turner Acryl Japanesque Colour Gouache

I started my gouache journey three years ago when it appeared on a list of recommended supplies when I started art school – I went for Daler Rowney’s Simply Gouache because it was the cheapest I could find.

Throughout the course of art school I, like everyone else, struggled with finding a medium that excited and inspired me.

I dabbled in gouache a few times throughout those three years but really started falling in love with it a couple of months into third year. I just thought it was great because you could use it like watercolour or use less water and have it be pigmented without the plastickiness (yes, that’s a word now) of acrylic. It’s also so much better for doing fine details than acrylic. It’s just great.

Once I knew I wanted to try out more colours and things I came across a set of Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache on Cass Art for £11.95 for a set of 10 (RRP £47.99) and asked Santa for them very nicely. (They are currently at £19.95 and I haven’t seen them cheaper than that since – I think I was very lucky!)

I haven’t looked back since.

So much more pigmented, smoother and just vibrant and beautiful.

However, as a poor student, I couldn’t afford more in different colours or anything and the Turner Acryl Japanesque Colours were recommended to me as a cheap alternative (I got a set of 12 for £8).

Something I didn’t realise at the time but may be worth bearing in mind is that they are acrylic gouache, which dry to a matt finish and aren’t re-wettable, unlike traditional gouache which is re-wettable once it dries in your palette (life saver) and dries to more of a velvet matt finish on paper.

I tried them a couple of times and found them really gritty and strange so they ended up going in a drawer for about six months until recently when I was packing all our things ready to move house and decided to try them out again – and I don’t think I gave them enough credit before.

So I thought I’d do a bit of a comparison/review type post, starting with how they look with varying amounts of water added:

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I noticed that the Japanesque paint kind of reached a perfect level of dilution and then became very even in coverage, which you can see in the fourth square along on the bottom row. As the W&N paint requires less diluting to get even coverage, I can see a tube of the Turner Japanesque lasting sightly longer.

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I don’t know if you can really see it in this image but the Turner Japanesque Colours (top row) look slightly gritty, and I’m not sure if that’s the case with all acrylic gouaches or just these ones. Also, the colours are less vibrant than the W&N ones, but that may just be the set of colours I bought.

The W&N paints are also a lot thicker straight out the tube, but I find that they really don’t require much water added to make them the perfect consistency to paint with so they don’t lose much, if any, pigmentation.

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I definitely prefer the W&N Designers Gouache personally, just because they’re re-wettable which means less waste and less clean-up and the colours are so vibrant and smooth.

However, if you’re on a budget or you want a matter finish, I would definitely recommend the Turner Acryl Japanesque Colour gouaches. Considering they’re the same price, they also make a much better starter set than the Daler Rowney Simply gouaches, in my opinion.

I think with any art materials it’s going to be a case of trying out different things and seeing what suits your work and your budget. If you just start off with one colour from a couple of different ranges and see what works well for you, you can decide what you prefer as they all have their own pro’s and cons. But I’d definitely say give Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache a go!

 

A quick disclaimer: I didn’t realise until after I bought them but the Ivory Black and Primary Blue in the W&N set I bought aren’t vegan. Winsor and Newton have published a list of their products that contain animal-derived ingredients here.

 

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any favourites or suggestions for me to try,

Amy x

The Jacket of Glory – Part II: AdamJK & Veronica Dearly

Following on from last week’s Jacket of Glory post, I thought this week I’d share my collection of AdamJK and Veronica Dearly pins and patches.

First up, AdamJK. I ordered some bits off his website when his book Pick Me Up came out for preorder and I think it might have been the first time I’d ever ordered anything from the US – I was so hoping they would turn up and not be broken and not cost me loads of money to receive etc etc.

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I love his work so much, totally relatable and I think it does a great job of bringing out my inner emo.

I got this awesome pin of the book, I think it was a limited edition preorder thing?

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I also got a cool pencil (which I can’t find) and I’ve packed up the book ready for moving house so I can’t show you that either (lol, I’m doing well at this blogging lark, aren’t I!)

Here’s a picture of the book from his website:

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While I was on there looking for that picture I found a load more pins and patches I think I need. Well that wasn’t a very good idea was it, I have no money. Don’t let me click back onto it…..

If you haven’t seen the book, it’s an interactive one – its full of prompts and really nicely illustrated pages that encourage you to write things down and draw things and then come back and reflect. Essentially, an amazing self-care tool! It is available on Amazon in the UK but I’m sure your local bookshop would appreciate you asking them to order it in for you to buy from them. 🙂

I also managed to pick up one of his ‘feelings’ pins in U Studio, Bristol, which was amazing! (They recently stocked his new spinner pin and then sold out like instantly – cry).

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Next up is pun-queen Veronica Dearly! I got the Sleep Appreciation Society patch from her website (after drooling over it for quite a while) and then signed up for Pin Commandments, which is a monthly pin subscription like Pin Club but with just their artwork. It’s £6 a month and every month I get so excited to open that envelope!

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Now, I think Pin Commandments is a great option if you love VD’s work, because you know you’re going to enjoy the pin, whereas Pin Club is good if you want to be introduced to more of a variety of illustrators but it’s not guaranteed you’ll love the pins (although if you look at their back catalogue you can see they are all pretty cool)!

I love all of my AdamJK and Veronica Dearly pins and patches and I hope you do too! Please go and have a nosey at their websites and social media because their work is amazing and you’ll love it.

Tune in next Thursday for another instalment of  THE JACKET. OF. GLORRRYYYYYYY

Laterz

Amy

 

 

Visiting the Art Chapel, Abergavenny

The other day I visited the Art Chapel in Abergavenny for the first time, after hearing so many good things. I’ve been to the associated Art Shop in the town many, many times but the owners recently opened up the Art Chapel as more of an events space with a cafe, keen on showcasing local, fresh  food produce as well as local artists and makers. (It also has the most beautiful stream running in front of it!)

We stopped for a bite to eat and I had the tastiest lentil and chard soup with sourdough (and apple juice – my favourite drink to have out). We sat in the garden area and it was so nice being surrounded by ALL the greenery.

They also had some plants for sale, I think Max and I will be returning once we’ve moved because, don’t know if I’ve told you yet, we’ll have a garden! 😉

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Inside, there were lots of books and art supplies for sale, as well as handmade ceramics, jewellery and artwork.

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I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area! And then go and visit the Art Shop on Cross St, it’s so old and narrow, with really wonky stairs going up to the gallery space – just such a lovely building!

As always, thanks for reading and let me know of any inspiring places you’ve been to recently!

Amy x