Strange Times!

I keep seeing the phrase ‘strange times’ on every platform: It is strange to have to stay at arm’s length from our loved ones and experience all the upheaval that the response to the virus has required. The repercussions will go on. At times, it is overwhelming and difficult to comprehend.
What has uplifted me and kept me going, is that in distancing ourselves physically, it seems to me that our sense of community appears to be bringing us together in new and multi-faceted ways.
Whilst many things have closed, other things appear to have opened up, especially in the art world.

Virtual Tours

So many of great museums and galleries have responded by bringing more of their collections to the internet. There is so much to see now online that I could sit all day and cruise the material available online:
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/virtual-museum.html
https://www.kew.org/about-us/virtual-kew-wakehurst

Engaging Activities

Lots of places have been actively engaging us with activities to help keep us stimulated
My own local favourite Wollaton Hall has an interesting project going called the Museum of Me.

Earlier this week, I watched Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel Four and it was fun to watch. He is encouraging people to submit artwork to the show and I might do that, if I can muster any courage! Each episode will have a drawing theme and yesterday’s episode was about portraits, so right after the programme, my partner and I drew each other with a 10 minute limit.

NHS Advice

I found this really helpful article from the NHS about mental well-being while staying at home.

Project

With things quieter on the business front, I have a little more extra time.
I decided to join in the 100 Days Project alongside other artists on Instagram! Decided to focus on the Animal Kingdom because it is an aspect of my painting I want to improve. I started at A and am working my way through the alphabet! My favourites so far are the Bat and Crab!

Vegetable Container Gardening

My partner and I have absolutely no experience with growing crops, so we decided to start off with buying starter vegetable seedlings from our local Homebase: Trying container gardening, rather than digging up a vegetable patch. Small steps.

We have leeks which are doing very well. The radish and tomatoes have grown bigger but look a little unhappy. Based on research, I realized that they may be happier being in a greenhouse, which we don’t have. The strawberries are doing well, however there are holes in the leaves. Gotta find out what’s munching them! Herb wise, we have rosemary, thyme and parsley. I have really enjoyed popping out and picking them for my cooking recently! Just like indoor gardening, it is a learning curve and a fun thing to do.

Indoor Gardening

It is the growing period for houseplants, so I have been doing re-potting sessions over the last three weekends. They seem to be very happy and growing new leaves! It also has been very warm recently so I have been paying attention to those that needed a misting or watering.

When we renovated our porch room in early February, we built shelves inside the window where we can display all the cacti and succulents! The porch room is south facing and gets really hot, which is a perfect environment for them. Just last week, I was very excited to see some of the cacti blooming flowers!

My partner’s parents got me some lithop and cactus seeds for Christmas which I sowed into 12 peat pots. All the pots eventually grew seedlings. Hurrah! They don’t look like a lithop or cactus but despite my puzzlement, I am overjoyed to see some green and I can’t wait to see them grow bigger!

Cooking

We have been doing a lot of new to us recipes during this time. Normally, when we are really busy, I cook our tried and tested favourites. However, having a little more time has allowed us to be a bit more experimental in the kitchen. We have been making a lot of new wholesome recipes using pulses and so far, we would recommend these recipes:

Creamy chicken, bean & leek traybake

Haddock with cannellini beans & artichokes

Middle Eastern lentils

We have the cookbook Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe and it is a godsend if you want to go through your tins. Love lots of her recipes and are looking to buy more of her cookbooks.

Keeping in Touch

I have been trying to keep up with posting on Instagram. Also touching base with my family every day – even if it’s just a quick text or foodie photo!

It’s easy to forget the basic things that help to keep us healthy and emotionally sorted: sleep, exercise, fresh food, water, time outdoors – so we are concentrating on these things.

In these strange times, take care friends and stay well!

Free UK Shipping Until Further Notice

It is a strange time for many of us. I hope you are keeping well, and staying safe for yourselves and others.

I had 5 markets booked until July, but unfortunately three of them so far have been cancelled due to Coronavirus. It’s understandable however, and very important that we all practise social distancing and self isolation to slow down its spread.

My shop sales have slowed down and all of my stockists have closed temporarily. As a result of this and market cancellations, my income has taken a hit. While I am fortunate that my partner’s income will keep the roof over our heads, it is a very worrying time for my business.

We small businesses need your help, more than ever. Please consider supporting us, no matter how little.

I am now offering free UK shipping for everything on my shop until further notice, with no minimum order.

It may take slightly longer than usual to receive your order because I am reducing the frequency of my trips to the Post Office to minimise contact with other people. When placing an order, please expect your delivery in 1-4 working days.

If you are not shopping for cards, wall art, or stationery, please consider supporting me on Ko-Fi where you can send me a few pounds to support my business.

There are other ways you can support me without spending: sign up to my newsletter, recommend Katrina Sophia to your friends, follow me on social media, like and comment on my posts, and share pictures of your Katrina Sophia products tagging me and using the hashtag #ksinthewild

Thank you ever so much, from the bottom of my heart!
Stay safe and see you on the other side.

Spring

Spring

Spring is here! There are lots of signs: Colourful crocuses peeping out from the grass, swathes of dancing daffodils along embankments, beautiful cherry blossom hanging from the trees. There are so many beautiful flowers popping their heads up into these early cold months: Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, snowdrops, bluebells, and hyacinths, to name but a few. These brave pioneers of the flowering world pushing their heads up into the frosty world.

Beautiful crocuses in Woodthorpe Grange Park

Garden

We moved to our home at the end of 2018 and we have not had time to consider the garden very much. So many other priorities at first. But we have been discussing it from time to time. As the days get milder and the light stays for longer, I have found my thoughts are turning more and more to our garden space.

My mum gifted me this interesting old book at Christmas: Wildlife Gardening by Fran Hill. I certainly like the idea of having a wildlife friendly garden, even though we are in the city. Our pollinators, especially bees, could use all the help they can get. We are very lucky to have a garden and want to use it for growing food as well as lovely plants. So as winter rolls into spring we are having a think about what to plant in the garden. I will update you with our progress.

Some herbs and starter vegetable plants – tomato, strawberry, radish, leek and jalapeno chilli

Being Thankful

Spring – a season of fresh new hope and renewal. This year it is different for all of us across the world. To stay true to the spirit of this time, I am trying to think of all the things I am thankful for:

  1. Having access to the Internet means I have the world at hand. Sites like Instagram and You Tube means that I can keep in touch with communities and like-minded people.
    There are several art projects on Instagram encouraging people to keep in touch: Amy Rose Geden’s Stay at Home Art Club and Carson Ellis’ Quarantine Art Club, to name two.
  2. Museums and galleries are aiming to put more programming onto You Tube to share their collections.
    • I recently noticed a request from the V&A museum in London regarding what content we, the public, would like to see. V&A You Tube.
    • Then there’s the British Museum’s Curators Corner, which explores the curator’s favourite museum pieces. BM Curator’s Corner.
    • My local Nottingham Contemporary has some very interesting YouTube videos. Nottingham Contemporary You Tube.
  3. We are a long way from our family, but we can still have face to face time using Skype or video calling on WhatsApp.
  4. Our brilliant posties and parcel delivery companies are still working hard: I can send out orders, send letters and cards to my friends and family and receive the things I need without going out.
  5. Thanks to the people who are manning and stocking the supermarkets; the truckers who are transporting our goods; and the people who are still working to make and produce all the things we need. We managed to get some eggs yesterday. Yay! We were beginning to think we had an egg-less future.
  6. I am so grateful that we live in a country with universal health care: Free at point of use. It is times like these that we can really appreciate access to our health service. Not compromised by our ability to pay or by greedy insurance companies. I am so thankful for the NHS staff and the wonderful work they do.

The list could be longer – but this post has to finish.

Do take care, keep safe and well.

Shop News and International Women’s Day

I have had very busy days since the launch of the new Wildflowers Collection with lots of new orders coming in. However, getting to the post office has been a bit of a challenge in the stormy and windy UK weather! We haven’t been too badly affected here but many parts of the UK have been terribly battered by the storms and rain.

 

Shop News

Good news! I am very excited that a selection of my products have been chosen for a pop-up run by Curated Makers. The pop-up will be at John Lewis & Partners at Trafford Centre (Manchester) from 24th February to 22nd March.

 

International Women’s Day

The other day, I was looking through some old work. I came across the line drawings of inspiring women that I did for Inktober 2016. My subjects are inspiring for what they have done, and continue to do, to help develop our world to a better, kinder, fairer place. I could add so many new portraits to that project. I am happy that our voices are getting louder. Perhaps I will revisit it again sometime.

While browsing the pictures, I remembered that next month International Women’s Day comes around again, on the 8th March. This year the theme is: An equal world is an enabled world.

It is the 21st Century and yet we still need to rally and continue the fight for equity and equality. International Women’s Day focuses on this and there are so many ways to get involved. Pop on over to their website to see how you can get involved and help get our voices heard.

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/2020Theme

We must continue to campaign to remove the prejudices, barriers and injustices that blight so many lives:  We can all have an impact on how this world changes.

 

Mother’s Day

My Inktober project focused on famous women that I find inspiring. However, I  do not forget that I stand on the shoulders of many unsung women, my mother, my grandmothers and their mothers, who were not famous or well-known, but nevertheless important, for they conquered the everyday.

I am looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day, with my mum on 22nd March, and International Women’s Day, on 8th March, with our worldwide family.

I hope you will join me in saying a big thank you to our mothers and all those women who went before us – I am sure we would not have the opportunities available to us now, if it wasn’t for all they have done.

Introducing Wildflowers Collection

I launched my newest collection on Friday – Wildflowers!

In the run up to Top Drawer in January I was advised to design a new range to launch at the event, so in the autumn last year I started to think about what my next collection would be. Wildflowers have been one of the collections on my to-do list for a while and I felt most excited and inspired about them.

During the Christmas rush I spent some time thinking about the collection, what type of products would the range includes, and learning more about wildflowers and choosing the ones I was going to paint. I used my Observer’s book of Wildflowers and RHS website for research.

I finally managed to find time to start painting and designing the range in December. I painted about 20 wildflowers and whittled it down to my best 12 for my first design of the range – British Wildflowers print.

I also designed four patterns from my wildflower illustrations. When I decided that I wanted to make patterns, I was stumped about where to start with so many wildflower illustrations in front of me! I had a brainwave and used my research to base my patterns on wildflowers that are mostly found in summer, spring, shady woodlands, and meadows. I found these groups of wildflowers actually work really well!

The product in this Wildflowers collection I am most proud of is Wildflowers Set of 6 Postcards.

It was SO hard to narrow down my wildflower paintings to 6 favourites but I eventually got there with my kind partner’s help. I wanted my postcard set to have a Victorian botanical vibe so I went for a very dark grey background with contrasting white text for plant name, which I feel works really well with my colourful wildflowers. I also decided to go for a different-than-usual paper stock for the set – ‘acquerello’ laid paper that is gorgeously cream and textured with fine-lined markings. It was a risky move and I was so happy when I saw it in print for the first time – it was exactly what I imagined it to be! Yay!

The new collection was received really well in Top Drawer and most of the new products received a lot of orders!

I am glad I pushed myself to do the patterns, which I always find myself in the deep end designing, and also trying a new paper stock for the postcard and notebook sets. I want to be more adventurous in the manufacturing area of my business (where I outsource primarily) rather than sticking with the usual cards and prints – which sold really well, but I feel like my vision is bigger than this: I want to see my illustrations on everything, from functional wares to textiles! I am a tactile person so that reflects my ambition.

Thank you for reading, I think it’s clear that I am fond of my new collection and I hope you love it too!