Sarah Hamilton (Credit Fiona Murray)LR RGB

Sarah Hamilton is a London-based artist and card designer whose work is inspired by colour, nature and midcentury design. She is the founder of the Just a Card campaign, which encourages people to buy from independent designers and retailers to help them stay in business, even if it’s ‘just a card’. In her new book House of Cards she shares her passion for the very British tradition of greetings cards. We caught up with Sarah for a chat about her favourite craft.

Cv Services What was the inspiration behind House of Cards?

The aim is to celebrate greeting cards, not only the many beautiful images and wealth of creative talent behind the designs, but also their wider cultural significance. Cards are so much part of our everyday lives, we mark so many occasions with them, yet their impact often goes unnoticed. They provide an income to so many, and also support numerous charities and galleries. The huge role they play in peoples livelihoods was the impetus to my starting the ‘Just A Card’ campaign, which emphases how vital every sale, even ‘Just A Card’, is to artists, designers and galleries. They’re great fun to make, as we hope lots of people will discover from the projects in the book, and they’re even more fun to share.

How did you go about selecting the contributors to House of Cards?

We were keen to showcase a wide range of mediums and varied styles so people could be inspired by new techniques and experiences, or sit back and relax and enjoy a wealth of stunning designs. Co-ordinating this was no mean feat however, though it helped that I already knew, or knew of, many of them for making wonderful artwork, from years of experience in this world. I’d met Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings as she’s very supportive of Just a Card, and as she’s as passionate about greeting cards as me. I was thrilled when she agreed to write the history of cards chapter. Jehane Boden-Spiers is such a great champion of the artists she works with that I felt she’d be the perfect person to write an honest and informative chapter about licensing designs – she didn’t dissappoint – her chapter is filled with fantastic information. We also wanted to feature some international artists, and this is where Instagram joined the party as I’d spotted Lynn and Kathryn’s beautiful artwork there.  

How did you get into card making? Write Descriptive Essay My House

When I left Central St Martins I was desperate to continue screen printing, but there was the small matter of bills to pay, so I struck on the idea of printing cards. Having constructed a basic, inexpensive silkscreen press I set about printing a range of designs on off-cut paper scavenged from a local business. Necessity is the mother of invention if you’re a recent arts graduate! Fortunately lots of retail buyers loved them, which resulted in orders from stores including Paperchase, The Conran Shop and Designers Guild. Even now, after all this time, card making is close to my heart. I still produce hundreds of cards a year in my studio, alongside prints, drawings and homewares. I see them as pebbles leading people to my work and I’m often told people collect and frame them. The handmade press featured in House of Cards is the very same one I started on all those years ago too.

What is your favourite cardmaking/printing technique?

I began my card making career by hand printing all my designs. I’m a screen printer at heart, and love making cards using delicately cut paper stencils. I enjoy cutting the stencils as much as printing with them, as my bird and oak leaf project in House of Cards illustrates. Nowadays I mix my techniques and enjoy manipulating digital imagery. I often make paper cutouts of shapes on black paper, then scan these into the computer. This gives me the freedom and flexibility to experiment with scale and layout. Whilst all my designs begin as drawings, I find the computer a fantastic tool to extend my visual language. Prints look so different when you alter scale, repeat and colourways and this voyage of discovery is what I enjoy most about my work.

HouseofCards_LR_RGB(credit James Balston)

Where do you find inspiration for new card designs?

Like most artists my inspiration is far ranging, from nature, folk art, music, travels, 1950’s design – the list is endless. I wrote a chapter in House of Cards about gathering inspiration and also about my collections of pebbles, leaves, seed heads and objects. Natural forms recur thoughout my designs, as do images collected on my travels. I hope the chapter will help readers develop an eye for observation and be encouraged to translate this into their own designs.

Can you describe your workspace for our readers?

We have an unusual Mid-Century house in Dulwich, South London. It’s set in woods, with views over the trees towards the city beyond. My studio is at the top of the house with large windows which maximises light and views. It has a woooden floor painted white and is clean and tidy…ish, with shelves of objects and colour swatches pinned up for inspiration.

Tell us about the Just A Card Campaign, what made you start it?

The Just A Card campaign aims to encourage people to support artists, designers and independent shops by stressing that every sale, even ‘Just A Card’ is vital to their livelihoods. The idea came from the quote ‘If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought Just A Card we’d still be open.’ This simple observation, by gallery owners who’d recently had to close their gallery, prompted me to act. We so need to encourage people to support wonderful independent businesses, so they survive and flourish, otherwise we’ll lose them. The campaign goes from strength to strength. There’s now a wonderfully committed  team of  seven artist/gallery owner volunteers working on it. At Christmas we had a 1.3 million reach on social media. It makes me so proud to see how many people value our amazing creative community. Read about the campaign and meet the team on Justacard.org

Do you also like to send and receive cards in addition to designing them?

I love sending and receiving cards! Christmas cards especially are such a lovely way to keep in touch over the years. I wish more people would write personal messages inside – I love hearing what my friends and family are up to. There’s a very interesting chapter in the book about the history of cards, written by Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings, which talks about our nationwide passion for sending and receiving cards. Jakki is as passionate as all of us at the Just A Card team are about the joys of a handwritten card.

9781910904572House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is out now!

Photographs by Fiona Murray and James Balston

Hands up everyone who want to try out raku firing from seeing it on ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ the other week! Here at Pavilion Craft HQ it certainly made us itching for attempting our own raku-fired sake sets. It’s not a technique for the faint-hearted – the risk of pieces exploding or cracking is high, and the results of glazing are unpredictable. But when it works, it produces beautiful results. Raku pieces are traditionally shaped by hand rather than being thrown, and are usually decorative. The word ‘raku’ derives from a Japanese expression meaning enjoyment or happiness. Read on to find out more about this fascinating firing process.

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What Is A Memoir Essay A crackled or crazed finish is characteristic of raku ware. Here a thin-necked vase is carefully lifted out of the fire using tongs.

Chaotic, elemental, volatile: raku is one of the most spectacular, dangerous and technically demanding of all ceramics techniques. Glazed pieces are fired for a short time at a high temperature in a raku kiln, which is smaller than a regular kiln and pyramid shaped. They are removed from the kiln when they are red hot and then either left to cool in the air, covered in combustible material in a ‘reduction chamber’ or plunged into water. There is nothing gentle about the process whatsoever – steam hisses, smoke billows and sparks literally fly. The risk of pieces exploding or cracking is high, and the results of glazing are unpredictable. It is truly a high-wire act for experienced potters and novices alike.

‘Steam hisses, smoke billows and sparks literally fly’

The raku style, originating in the sixteenth century, was a significant development in Japanese pottery. From that period onwards, modest hand-shaped chawan tea bowls, often crackle-glazed in subdued colours, became an important component of the tea ceremony.

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Raku-fired pots, such as this simple tea bowl, are a key element of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

The British studio potter Bernard Leach (1887–1979) brought his own version of the tradition to the West, installing a wood-fired Japanese kiln at his St Ives pottery in 1922. Since then, many potters around the world have experimented with the technique, notably the celebrated American ceramics artist Paul Soldner (1921–2011), who said: ‘In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown.’ The use of a reduction chamber after firing was Soldner’s innovation.

Clays used for raku must be able to withstand immense thermal shock. To increase resilience to violent temperature changes, ‘grog’, or some other form of temper, is added to the basic clay. (Grog is clay that has already been fired, then ground down to a powder.) After throwing or shaping, forms are left to dry and then bisque fired, the timings determined by their size and mass.

Raku lends itself to experimenting with masking out. Patterns, lines and shapes can be created during the glazing process by covering sections with wax or tape that will burn off in the firing, leaving the clay body exposed. Wax is useful for creating curves, while tape gives a more linear effect. Glazes need to be applied relatively thickly for the best results.

cheap dissertation writing service cheap essay writing service ‘A perilous process requiring nerves of steel, steady hands, long tongs and protective clothing to negotiate safely’

The final stage is where the unpredictability and drama comes in. After an hour or two of final glaze firing at a high temperature – around 1000°C (1830°F) – the forms are removed from the kiln while they are still red hot, in itself a perilous process requiring nerves of steel, steady hands, long tongs and protective clothing to negotiate safely.

What happens next depends on how the pieces are subsequently treated. In traditional Japanese raku firing, the final stage is to cool the forms slowly in the open air. Cooling them quickly, by plunging them into water, produces different chemical reactions in the glazes, instantly fixing them and giving much more vibrant colour effects, but at the greater risk of ruinous cracking and shattering.

Alternatively, fired pieces can be removed from the kiln and dropped into the potential inferno of a ‘reduction chamber’, typically a metal dustbin filled with some form of combustible material, such as sawdust – although one enterprising ‘Throw Down’ contestant used a mixture of dried gorse, bladderwrack and manure. The bin is then covered with a lid, which can be sealed with clay around its rim to make it more airtight. The heat from the fired pieces sets the combustible material alight and, as it continues to burn, oxygen in the chamber is reduced until it is pulled directly from the glazes and clay. After the charred debris has been cleaned away and the scrubbing process has been completed, any unglazed areas will emerge black, while glazes will have an iridescent sheen. Crackled or crazed finishes can be achieved by leaving the piece in the open air before the reduction process.

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Extracted from The Great Pottery Throw Down by Liz Wilhide and Susie Hodge. Out now!

Raku tea bowl picture by Joanne Moyes/Ceramics John Moyes.

pottercomp

The world of pottery was brought to life on our screens by the BBC series ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’. Now it’s back with a second series, airing on BBC2 on Thursday 2nd February at 8pm.

Pavilion is very excited to be publishing the companion book to the series. The Great Pottery Throw Down is a vibrant illustrated book, offering a complete introduction to ceramic history, culture, art, craft and manufacture, and celebrating its rich global heritage on every page.

To celebrate the launch of the new series, we are giving away 3 copies of the book. Simply enter your details below for your chance to win.

    Tick the box to receive our monthly newsletter straight to your inbox.
    Please read through our terms & conditions on: http://www.lovecrafts.co.uk/terms-conditions/. Competition is open until 19th February 2017 to UK residents only.
  • Please enter the words printed here.

Kerry Lord

Kerry Lord is the founder and creative director behind TOFT – a UK leader in the manufacturing of homegrown woollen yarn and the design of DIY fashion knitting and on-trend crochet kits. Kerry is the author of three bestselling books, including Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium, published by Pavilion this autumn. Here, Kerry’s shares her crochet story and the inspiration behind her books.

Cheap Collage Pappers How and when did you first discover crochet?
I first picked up a hook when entering my final few weeks of pregnancy. I had been a knitter for a number of years, but had truly always viewed crochet as something very difficult and if I’m honest not particularly desirable. I think there was a real lack of inspiring crochet patterns even as recently as three years ago. Thankfully that’s all changed and there’s no better time to learn to crochet.

How has your love of crochet developed since then?
In a word, obsessively. I still can’t believe what a whirlwind the last three years have been. I do still turn to two pointy sticks when I’m looking to make something to wear, but the rest of the time I can’t imagine not having a hook in my handbag.

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What was the first crochet item you designed? What inspired it?
I spent one determined night on You Tube learning the ‘single crochet’ (or as I now know, the British double crochet) stitch. The next day I sat down on the sofa and crocheted what would become Bridget the elephant from my first book Edward’s Menagerie. She did of course have some limbs inside out, (and her eyes were perhaps a tad wonky), but as soon as I shared my creation with my colleagues back at TOFT I knew I was into something.

http://www.visiteday.com/?define-bibliographies Define Bibliographies Tell us about your new book Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium?
Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is a very unusual pattern book. Rather than giving you a fixed number of projects, patterns and their accompanying instructions, it provides the building blocks, technical tuition and inspiration to enable you to make an almost infinite number of unique projects.

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Writing Help Describe, if you can, your creative process when coming up with a ‘monster’ for Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium.
My creative process when designing a new monster will be very similar to the process I am asking others to do when using the book. You flip through the shapes to select a head, arms and legs that the your fancy, and then you move onto selecting colours, patterns and any added extras like tails or wings. Sometimes I will sketch out my idea first, but at other times I just start with the yarn I’ve got closest to hand and see where it takes me. Ever taken time to think about what the creatures at the bottom of your garden might look like, or visualised the dishevelled hairstyle of the sock monster who lives in your washing machine?

You have been involved with all aspects of TOFT, from alpaca shearing, business management and designing to workshop instructing – what’s your favourite part of your job?
The variety of every week is the favourite part of my job. In the last ten years I really don’t think two days have ever been the same and that keeps me and my team very motivated, flexible and very adaptable to respond rapidly to trends.

Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is available now. Don’t forget to share a pic of your monster creation online #edsflipbook

9781910904589

 

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Kerry Lord’s new book Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is a unique flip-book with mix-and-match crochet patterns for making your own monsters. The book gives the building blocks that allow you to draw from your own or your children’s imagination, to design a unique crochet monster. To get your creativity going, Kerry has put together a monster gallery, filled with creatures from far and wide. Meet space monster Dylan, mountain-dweller Caleb and Bella with the magic hair.

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Dylan

Fell to Earth from space some time in the 1980s and has never looked back up. Having developed a taste for old mobile phone batteries he very rarely finds himself short of a meal, and over the last twenty years has dug a very impressive network of tunnels under his local town popping up into every technology shop going. Obviously Dylan is this monster’s Earth name, as his other one is impossible to pronounce and contains three alphabets’ worth of letters. Presumably the rest of his kind are out there somewhere, flying through space and time and maybe one day they’ll come back for him, but until then he’s very happy living amongst us.

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Narrative Essay Helping Others Caleb

Is a mountain-dweller with a comfy cave full of ten pairs of tiny-clawed feet in all the colours of the rainbow. It’s hard work getting everyone up, fed and washed in the morning ready to head off for a day out on the peaks learning the family trade. Without the secret assistance of Caleb and his kind, our mountains’ dry-stone-walls wouldn’t hold up half as well through winter. With twelve tiny little rucksacks full of nuts strapped to their backs, they head off every morning repairing and replacing these ancient field barriers, tutting if they catch a soggy sheep leaning too heavily on their precious stone structures when sheltering from the

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Bella

Spent a large portion of her teenage years waking up every morning and frantically looking over her shoulder to see if her wings had grown. It was only half way through her years attending one of the best fairy boarding-schools in the kingdom when her hairbrush caught on her newly budding horns that she finally accepted she was not quite the same as everyone else. Her long flowing locks are key to the strength of her magic, and although she doesn’t collect their teeth or possess the dust to make them fly, she uses all her powers to watch over sleeping children and puts nightly smiles on their faces with dreams of unicorns, castles and kittens.

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Design your own monster or find the patterns for Dylan, Caleb and Bella in Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium by Kerry Lord, out now.

Branding Craft Books

Books on crafts like crochet and knitting are all the rage among the right groups of people. In order to really market to those demographics though, you need to build a brand around the site. If you want to know how to brand you and your business on facebook, you need to understand the basics of facebook. Facebook and marketing work hand in hand.

Once you understand all of the areas in which you can brand you and your business marketing on facebook, you can begin to see your income supplemented. Facebook is one of the older social networks which have continued to rise in its popularity. The additions to facebook have kept the social networking alive as technology continues to mix with the ability to brand you and your business.

Branding Casinos

Get the right marketing with social media

More than that, branding and Facebook can be used for other companies including casinos. If you want to know how to brand your casino on facebook you need to know what new items facebook has to offer. Before recently, marketing on facebook was not really an option. Facebook was used just to communicate with people who were in college or university. After this the popularity grew when you were able to see what other people were doing when you clicked on their established profile. You can view their likes, their dislikes, their favourites such as books, movies, television shows, as well as their pictures.

This great experience grew to include not just favourite books on crafting and movies, but also favourite sports teams, newspapers, religious leaders, etc… Just about anything of which you could think was listed on their profile. People could create groups and join groups depending on their likes and their dislikes. This meant that people were able to communicate better with one another and learn which people had which talents. This established one of the ways people have learned how to brand you and your business on facebook. People can use facebook and their personal profiles to advertise that they are looking for work or that they have certain skills if people want to hire them. The way communication works on a social network means that the person advertising on facebook that they need work tending to gardens or tutoring students might have friends who know of other friends or family members looking for those services. In this respect, they have started to understand how to earn money on facebook.

Another way people have learned how to earn money on facebook is through the new ability to advertise. With the creation of additions such as the marketplace where people can advertise their skills, rooms for sale, furniture, books, clothes, etc… people have found that they can utilize affiliate marketing. The company has learned how to brand you and your business on facebook by selling advertisement space. While pop up ads are not used, facebook does utilize banner ads and ads placed along the sides of the many websites which are catered to the materials and keywords for which you are searching.

 

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We’re pleased to announce the Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium Blog Tour. Kicking off this week, the tour is a celebration of the release of Kerry Lord’s new and amazing mix-and-match crochet book Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium. Follow the tour for monster-makes, reviews and giveaways. The schedule is:

Thursday 8th September
Kerry Lord is kicking off the tour over at the TOFT Blog

Friday 9th September
Crafts from the Cwtch

Saturday 10th September
Monty Knits

Sunday 11th September
Crochetime

Monday 12th September
The Twisted Yarn

Tuesday 13th September
The Little Room of Rachell

9781910904589With Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium you can design your own crazy critters with this amazing book of mix-and-match crochet patterns. Choose the body parts that take your fancy from our extensive selection and use your favourite colours. Add stripes, spots or scales, and then turn to the sew-on extras section to select hair, eyes, horns, wings or tails…

The flippable pages make it easy for you to follow the patterns in any combination. With 30 heads, one basic body, and 30 different pairs of arms and legs, projects are crocheted in one go from the top down.

With step-by-step instructions for all the basic crochet techniques that are needed, this is perfect for beginners. In addition to the flip pattern pages, there are 30 pages of colour photography showing a selection of finished creatures to inspire you.

Click to buy this book.

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