Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day 2013: Card Ideas and Prints for Gifts

A Book Of Hearts by Sarah Morpeth seek and adore
It’s creeping up on us fast once more: the day you either love or hate. Wondering what to give as an expression of your feelings on Valentines Day? Here I present to you some great ideas for handmade cards and screen prints to send to your beloved one. Beautiful typography, supremely clever paper cutting and adorable lovebirds reign supreme.

Book of Hearts Sarah Morpeth
This gorgeous Book of Hearts by paper artist Sarah Morpeth is available from Seek and Adore: with hearts, birds and leaves bursting out of the covers it makes a unique gift.

Kethi Copeland card
Fancy something a bit different? How about these beautiful printed notebooks inspired by a Dolly Parton song, created by Kethi Copeland of Cockpit Arts and available on Culture Label.

bex bourne love print
This pretty typographic print is by Amelia’s Magazine contributor Bex Bourne and does exactly what it says on the tin

Dereks Shop You are Yummy valentine card
Rebecca Crompton has created a collection of card designs for Derek Shop which would make a sweet token of love and appreciation. I particularly like YOU ARE YUMMY.

Kissing birds by Louise Jenkins
Kissing birds are forever a Valentines favourite: how about this delightful pair by Louise Jenkins?

Helen Lang All you need is love print
More song lyrics inspired this latest offering from artist Helen Lang, also featuring a pretty pair of birds: All You Need is Love comes in glossy black and shimmering gold foil.

Jessica Draws valentine card
Maybe your lover is a Valentines Day cynic? Then check out marmite cards‘ by Jessica Draws

The Aviary Floral Heart Gift Card
This gorgeously delicate floral heart design is from The Aviary and is available to buy on Not on the High Street.

Crafty Lou Love Papercut
I love this delicate papercut by Louise McLaren which features the word Love and the infinity symbol (as well as the all important two birds). Read a description of how Crafty Lou came up with this design here: fascinating!

Stacie Swift Dancing Foxes
Illustrator and contributor Stacie Swift stocks a lovely selection of alternative Valentines day cards on her etsy shop.

Chloe Douglass Valentine Card heart kitty
And if you prefer something a bit more traditionally cute how about this sweet kitty from contributing illustrator Chloe Douglass?

Tom Woolley ecard Valentines
What about that last minute panic attack, when you haven’t bought a thing? Then check out Tom Woolley‘s range of bright statement Valentines‘ ecards right here.

Fancy being featured in one of my regular round ups? Make sure you follow me on twitter @ameliagregory: most of these artists responded to open callouts for Valentines ideas. Next up: ideas for unique and individual Valentines gifts.

Categories ,All You Need is Love, ,Bex Bourne, ,Book of Hearts, ,Chloe Douglass, ,Cockpit Arts, ,Crafty Lou, ,Culture Label, ,Derek Shop, ,Dolly Parton, ,Helen Lang, ,Jessica Draws, ,Kethi Copeland, ,Lasercut, ,Louise Jenkins, ,Louise McLaren, ,Lovebirds, ,Marmite card, ,Not On The High Street, ,Papercut, ,Rebecca Crompton, ,Sarah Morpeth, ,Seek and Adore, ,Stacie Swift, ,The Aviary, ,Tom Woolley

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Amelia’s Magazine | Catlin Guide 2013 Preview: An Interview with Steven Allan

Steven Allan Catlin Guide - We're All In This Together 2012
Steven Allan – We’re All In This Together.

The Catlin Guide returns once more with a selection of 40 recent graduates to watch: an intriguing selection that includes a bevy of painters. I caught up with New Sensations shortlisted RCA graduate Steven Allan, a Scottish painter who specialises in anthropomorphic depictions of everyday objects.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide -There's Always Time for Tea
Steven Allan – There’s Always Time for Tea.

Has being Scottish and your subsequent move to london informed your work? and if so in what way?
I wouldn’t say that being Scottish has had an overriding influence on my paintings, but my roots have certainly influenced the black humor that is evident in most of my work.

Why do you think you focus on a confusing and tragic landscape? Any particularly sad stories in your past that have made you this way?!
I don’t think my paintings are necessarily just tragic or confusing – but they can often be interpreted that way. I think there are many less obvious things at play as well. Like Hogarth, I am interested in the tragicomedy aspect of humanity. I want to depict real life situations but obscure and twist them around to both bend and underline their meanings.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide One-Off-The-Bunch
Steven Allan – One Off The Bunch.

Objects such as bananas and snails are a feature of your art – what draws you to these most curious and disparate of subjects?
I don’t tend to dwell on why I paint this, or why I paint that but If pushed for an answer I guess I Identify in some way with these kind of ridiculous objects. I look at a banana in the fruit bowl, browning, overripe. It’s such a sad image to me – the last banana that no one has gotten round to eating – destined for the bin. It can say a lot about where your heads at to be painting a version of yourself into such an object. The snail I don’t paint so much anymore. Most images are a passing phase. They completely captivate me at the time but at some point I’ll move onto the next image that captures my imagination. With the snail paintings I was just interested by this slimy little creature that carried its house on its back. How I choose an object is pretty much that simple –its really just about my desire to visualize that subject in my paintings.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide- Stains Of A Decade
Steven Allan – Stains Of A Decade.

Subversion is a key element of your artworks – any future subversive ideas that you would like to work on?
Currently I am working on a hybrid painting, which involves two very disparate images that visually seem to fit together. I came across this really odd photograph of a gimp in a pvc balloon suit and then thought about coupling it with something else I’ve been looking at a lot lately – Bertie Basset of the famous liquorish allsorts. As a child I always though there was something quite scary about Bertie Basset. He’s supposed to be approachable and sweet but he’s his strange anthropomorphic figure with a liquorish black hole for a face. Taking Bertie’s head and putting it on an inflatable gimp suit just seemed to be more in spirit with what he was all about in the first place so I decided to make a painting about it.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide - The Faithful Companion
Steven Allan – The Faithful Companion.

What is your work process? (using materials and in the studio)
Well for me it’s a really intuitive, complex process and it can take a long time. I use alot of unconventional tools I find in diy shops and of course an array of paint brushes and palette knives. I’m always on the look out for different objects that I can manipulate paint with. I also use allot of paint mediums, depending on what effect I’m after. Some give the paint a matt finish, some a gloss, some thicken paint and other speed up drying time. It all really depends on each individual painting.

How has being part of the Catlin Guide aided your career and what do you hope for in the future?
Being part of the Catlin Guide so far has been a great experience. I was surprised to see an image of my painting in the Guardian and also get a quick review. I am also going to be putting work in the London Art Fair which will be featured in the Catlin Guide’s stand so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it’s been a great experience so far and I am extremely thankful to Justin Hammond who had the belief in my work to give me this great opportunity to get my work out to a wider audience.

He that’s born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Geoff Litherland catlin guide
Geoff Litherland – I Knew it Would Come to This (The Old Horizon).

Also check out the work of Geoff Litherland, who creates abstract landscape collages that tap into our current obsession with other worlds. To find out more about the selection process read my interview with Art Catlin founder and curator Justin Hammond.

The Catlin Guide 2013 NEW Press Shot
The Catlin Guide 2013: New Artists in the UK is launched at the London Art Fair 2013, 16 – 20 January, listing here. It will also be available from Amazon, Culture Label and selected book sellers (£12.99).

Categories ,2013, ,Amazon, ,anthropomorphic, ,Art Catlin, ,Banana, ,Bertie Basset, ,Catlin Guide, ,Culture Label, ,Geoff Litherland, ,hogarth, ,I Knew it Would Come to This (The Old Horizon), ,Justin Hammond, ,London Art Fair, ,New Sensations, ,Oils, ,One Off The Bunch, ,painter, ,painting, ,rca, ,saatchi, ,Scottish, ,Snail, ,Stains Of A Decade, ,Steven Allan, ,Teapot, ,The Faithful Companion, ,There’s Always Time for Tea, ,Three Legged Haggis, ,We’re All In This Together

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2012: Cushions!

ooh deer pictor_cushion
Pictor cushion in super soft faux suede by William Branton for Ohh Deer.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging all my best suggestions for a range of gifts, from homeware to jewellery to fine art prints to kids’ clothes… and to start off my round up I bring you my pick of cushions…

As a surface to display design in the home cushions are hard to beat, which is why you will find so many illustrators and textile designers currently churning them out. And they’re a great way to cheaply dress up your living room – so why not splash out on one, or two, for your loved ones. And then you’ll get to enjoy them too. Perfect!

ben the illustrator greenland multicoloured cushion
Ben the Illustrator believes that ‘good places make people feel good‘, whether you’re on the coast watching birds, or on the couch watching TV. His artwork is inspired by nature and his new homeware range is printed and hand-made in the UK, aided by his wife Fiona and manufactured ‘using unlimited volumes of colour and love‘. I love this Greenland design, inspired by Arctic dwellings.

kate marsden park hill cushion
The iconic Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield inspired this large square cushion by Kate Marsden, which is digitally printed on the front with black felt on the reverse.

Imogen Heath combines traditional artistry with digital technology to create print designs such as this bright Dahlia design.

shake the dust cheetah cushion
Shake the Dust is a new ethical design brand which sources, commissions and sells hand-made, luxury homeware and accessories: traditional skills are reinterpreted through modern eyes. This gorgeous Cheetah design was made in the Kingdom of Swaziland by Baobab Batik.

constructive studio faces_cushion
Craig Yamey of Constructive Studio created this beautiful calligraphic face print from his studio in Cockpit Arts, Holborn. Read more about the Constructive Studio collection here.

Donna Wilson oak tree cushion
No blog on cushions would be complete without mention of the all conquering Donna Wilson – I particularly like this shaped woollen oak tree. Something a bit different for the sofa!

Darkroom cushion Camille Walala
A little bit 80s, a little bit tribal,what’s not to love about Camille Walala‘s brilliant double sided cushion which was inspired by the wall paintings of South Africa’s Ndebele tribe? Part of the T-R-I-B-A-L-A-L-A collaboration with Darkroom.

howkapow white bear paul farrell cushion
I adore this White Bear/Black Bear two-sided cushion by Bristol-based illustrator, Paul Farrell, available from the great Howkapow design website run by husband and wife design team Cat and Rog.

ooh deer big_chill_jack teagle cushion
On Culture Label I found this characterful cushion designed by the inimitable Jack Teagle for Ohh Deer, who work with a host of illustrators to create lovely things.

Soma Ben Javens drum major mini cushion
Is it a cushion? Is it a plush toy? I’m going with the former for the purposes of this fab creation by Ben Javens on Soma Gallery. Each Drum Major cushion is carefully screen-printed in the UK using eco-friendly water-based inks, then stuffed and sewn by hand by Beast in Show in Oxford.

poppy and red ditsy flower cushion
A search of Society6 brought me to this lovely ditsy design by Irish design duo Poppy & Red.

Lu Flux Alphabet A cushion
For patchwork lovers: check out these fab alphabet cushions by ethical designer Lu Flux. They are all made from vintage fabrics sourced in Britain and no two are the same.

For those of you who prefer to create your own: I’ve already bought one of these as a present – an amazing floral skull cushion by Urban Cross Stitch. Meet them in person at the Bust Craftacular.

lorna syson Bullfinch cushion
Finally, for a festive feel that will work all year around, how about these plump and handsome bullfinch adorned cushions by Lorna Syson, discovered last weekend at the Cockpit Arts open studios.

Look out for my next gift blog, coming soon.

Categories ,Baobab Batik, ,Beast in Show, ,Ben Javens, ,Ben the Illustrator, ,Black Bear, ,Bust Craftacular, ,Camille Walala, ,Cockpit Arts, ,Constructive Studio, ,Craig Yamey, ,Culture Label, ,Cushion, ,cushions, ,Dahlia, ,Darkroom, ,Donna Wilson, ,Drum Major, ,eco, ,ethical, ,Greenland, ,Holborn, ,Homewares, ,Howkapow, ,illustrator, ,Imogen Heath, ,Interior Design, ,Interiors, ,Jack Teagle, ,Kate Marsden, ,Lorna Syson, ,Lu Flux, ,Ndebele, ,Ohh Deer, ,Ooh Deer, ,Park Hill, ,pattern, ,Paul Farrell, ,Shake the Dust, ,Skull, ,Society6, ,Soma Gallery, ,T-R-I-B-A-L-A-L-A, ,Urban Cross Stitch, ,White Bear, ,William Branton

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