Tag Archives: artist

Artist In The Limelight: Joanna Payne

I am glad to have found Joanna, she is ever so bubbly and lovely to follow especially on Instagram! I really like all the colours and patterns she made in her handmade accessories. Her blog is pretty awesome too!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi my name’s Joanna and I’m the face behind Adventures and Tea Parties, a blog and online shop selling handmade accessories. I recently returned, after spending 8 years in London, to my university city of Leicester, looking for a calmer, less expensive and hectic life and to focus more time on my creative pursuits. I haven’t looked back since and have just gone part-time on the day job as a Librarian, so that I can dedicate more time to my shop.

How did you become an artist?

I’ve always been making, designing, creating and crafting but never truly focused or found my passion until my late twenties. As a kid I would make entire board games and work my way through embroidery kits obsessively. As a teenager I was forever up-cycling my school bag and redesigning my bedroom. I remember getting really annoyed with friends, who would see my latest bedroom make-over and promptly copy it. I would rush home and instantly re-design it. That makes me laugh now; I should have been pleased! In my twenties I kind of left my creative side behind as I became focused on my new life in London, going to gigs, exploring the big smoke and training to be a Librarian. After about 4 years in London my dormant creative side suddenly woke up when my London flat mate brought home a sewing machine one day. After she showed me how it worked, I couldn’t keep away from it or the local fabric shop. As much as a cliché at this might sound, it was then that I realised something had been missing from my life for too long – the need to design, create and make. Since then it is now a part of my daily life, it is who I am and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Profile

How would you describe your art?

I would describe my creations as colourful, alternative and fun. Tartan necklaces

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Artist In The Limelight: Louise Lavender

Louise is one of the most loveliest person I’ve met through blogging. Recently she – in her own kitchen – has started a yarn dyeing business called The Cryptozoologist. As I enjoy knitting, crocheting and beautiful colours, what Louise is doing inspires me massively that I want to buy all of her yarns! I also backed her Kickstarter campaign, which was successfully funded. Yay! I am so looking forward to see her business to grow.

Hey Louise! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a twenty-eight year old wannabe unicorn living in beautiful Yorkshire with my husband, our cats Jiji and Arthur and our rabbits Felix and Fliss. I’m a complete night-owl, I generally don’t really come alive until mid afternoon, and then I’m at my prime in the night. I guess if I had to sum myself up it would be as a fibre artist – I’m an obsessive knitter, and I am also an indie dyer. I also appreciate a good cat, weird knitwear and spam watch Orange is the New Black.


How did you become an artist?

I’ve been experimenting with a number of different crafts over the years – from painting to scrapbooking, felting to spinning – but I never really felt settled enough to call myself an artist, until I discovered knitting. I like to express myself with different patterns – both my own and other peoples, and I’m really into colour theory. So, I guess this naturally led to me beginning to dye my own yarn – I often found myself dreaming of strange colour combinations that no-one else really seemed to stock – so I decided to make the jump and produce them myself.

I have always been pretty into using British wool when knitting – so when I managed to source some lovely British wool, spun in my home county no less – it seemed like kismet.

How would you describe your art?

Squidgy colourful stuff! But on a more serious note I would say that I am taking heritage British wool breeds and modernising them with pop culture, geekery and unusual colours. I like to choose a theme and let myself get lost in colour. To me, there is nothing better than fibre art – I’m a very tactile person, so if you can bury your fingers in it – I’m happy!




Who or what inspires your work?

My inspiration can be anything, a mobile phone game, a 1980s toy or popular TV shows. At the moment I’m working on Final Fantasy-themed colourways, and in the future I am hoping to add The Last Unicorn and The Moomins to my range. I love pop culture – I’m the girl quoting Buffy episodes in the corner and sharing inside jokes about The Princess Bride or Game of Thrones.

What is your favourite piece you have ever produced?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite! I think I would have to say that Princess Skylark has the most meaning to me. It’s based on a My Little Pony toy that I had as a child – and I adored her so much I never put her down. The idea to dye a yarn inspired by her was what sparked the idea to open a shop.

I’m also really keen on Moon Sugar. The Jacob yarn is so beautifully soft and plump – and as a unicorn girl, I’m predisposed to like pink!

Who is your favourite artist if you have one?

In the most traditional meaning of art – I absolutely adore Sandra Dieckmann‘s work. She creates these beautiful, fantastical animal-themed artworks that consistently take my breath away. But, in a more modern sense I love the work of Baz Luhrmann and David Lynch. I always feel so inspired after watching their work – and I could just live in Lynch’s Twin Peaks – it’s so beautifully dreamy. In fact David Lynch has coined one of my favourite quotes ever, that ties in with my adoration of night time “I like the mood at night, time gets funny at night.”

What advice or tips would you share with a fellow artist?

I’m still so new to this, that the only advice I can really offer is to accept no limitations. If you believe you can do something – you can do it. It might seem crazy, or weird to other people, but if you are passionate about what you are doing – you are already successful.

Louise, thank you so much for taking part of this series and I love your answers so much!

Her yarns are pretty, aren’t they? Be sure to follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Etsy and blog.

Interested to be involved in this series? Get in touch! You can be photographer, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker, knitter etc too. Meet the rest of artists here.

Artist In The Limelight: Rich Banks

I am excited to have Rich Banks this month. Having connected him in Twitter few months ago, I have been following his art that I really love because they all are consistent, mostly symmetrical and detailed. What not to love!

Hey Rich! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in York. I have a studio at Bar Lane Studios, where I also produce limited edition screen prints of my work.

Rich Banks Artist In The Limelight-4

How did you become an artist?

By accident really, I’m a trained graphic designer and ran my own graphic design company straight out of University with a friend. Then that just wasn’t really working and my friend got offered a well paid job elsewhere, so I had to figure out what I wanted to do. After a couple of failed months trying painting I started drawing again, which led to me getting a studio at Bar Lane. From there I’ve focused more on my own drawings and printmaking, as well as taking illustration work on for clients.

How would you describe your art?

Obsessive compulsive drawing! I have quite a technical and bold style of drawing, which I think comes from being taught to draw by an architect and also through my graphic design background. I use a lot of geometric patterns and symmetry in my work, which I think works well with my bold style of drawing. Because I screen print my work I have to find ways to create depth in my drawings without using gradients. So I use a lot of hatching/cross hatching/stippling and chequerboard patterns which is probably where the obsessive compulsive part to my work comes in!

Rich Banks Artist In The Limelight 1

Rich Banks Artist In The Limelight 2

Rich Banks Artist In The Limelight-3

Who or what inspires your work?

Day to day life really, I wouldn’t say theres anything that is more of an inspiration to me than anything else. I have found that since getting a studio and not working from home that my works improved. I think that is down to the people at Bar Lane or the people that come in to print. I’ve got to meet some amazing people and see some amazing work. If you’re struggling with your work then you can bounce ideas off each other, and it’s also opened up a lot of opportunities for me, which wouldn’t of been there if I was working from home. So I guess you could say the other artists, designers and printmakers I’ve met inspire me to create better work.

What is your favourite piece you have ever produced?

I’m really happy with my smoking frog drawing. From the initial concept drawing through to finishing a run of 200 screen printed cards, nothing went wrong. Which is really unusual, normally you can expect there to be problems when producing work, especially screen prints.

Who is your favourite artist if you have one?

I couldn’t just choose one, I have a very varied taste. I love illustrators like Alfred Wainwright and then painters like Kandinksy. Having a studio in York I also get to see artists working like Nathan Walsh and Dean Hopkins. Their work and their dedication to that work is just incredible!

What advice or tips would you share with a fellow artist?

If you enjoy what you do, you will create better work.

Thank you Rich for your marvellous answers! His work are so good, aren’t they? Don’t forget to pay a visit to his website, shop, Facebook and Twitter!

Interested to be involved in this series? Get in touch! You can be photographer, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker, knitter etc too. Meet the rest of artists here.

Artist In The Limelight: Stephanie Cowburn

This month’s Artist In The Limelight is the lovely and talented felt artist, Stephanie Cowburn! Again, I found her on Twitter and immediately thought her pieces are just adorable. Read on!

Hey Stephanie! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I guess we all have two sides to our personality – on the dark side, I’m impatient and have high expectations, on the lighter side, I also am impatient and have high expectations…but of myself and not so much of others. I’m self motivated and always eager to try and make something new.

Being a part time teacher (mainly teaching primary art – how lucky am I?!) means that I’m used to breaking activities down into manageable steps in order to build success for the children. I apply this principle to my own work too: develop an idea, improve it, and make it into something pleasing.

Stephanie Cowburn Artist In The Limelight

How did you become an artist?

From an early age I enjoyed drawing and painting, my parents bought me a good quality water colour pallet when I was doing my A levels believing in me enough to make the investment and to encourage the need for any artist to use good quality materials.

At university we had looms for textiles…that didn’t work, but it made me hungry to discover more about textile work and after selling a Batique I’d made for £50 I was smitten, (although the new owner claimed he’d have paid more)! Humph!

I only branched into felt making once my own young family had started school. I bought a felting kit off the internet consisting of a laminated instruction card, some wool tops and a car mat! I played and practiced in my kitchen and became hooked.

How would you describe your work?

Quirky. Cute. Adorable. Irresistible and a little bit of nonsense!

It’s not going to change your life but it might make you smile when you least expect to.

Stephanie Cowburn Artist In The Limelight

Who or what inspires your work?

The inner child within everyone inspires me – if my inner child shouts ‘make me a cow or a horse or a sheep’ then I know that someone else’s inner child is saying ‘I want a cow or a horse or a sheep’, we never fully grow up.

I write quirky individual profiles for each of my animal characters which customers and clients spend a long time reading and enjoying. I want to please people. I want my work to inject humour and pleasure. I want to create something you can’t buy off a shelf in every shop you enter. Humour and fun comes from the people and animals you meet and interact with, therefore everyone inspires me!

Stephanie Cowburn Artist In The Limelight

What’s the favourite piece you’ve ever made?

It’s difficult to pin point one particular piece that’s my favourite since I’m so fickle and led by my visual heart – my latest piece is often my favourite… However I do have two groups of art that I would take commissions from but never sell the originals of and these are ‘Zack and Lily’ two little zebras. They feature in a series of children’s picture books that I have written which are currently with my agent, and the 18 mad cats that make my websites ‘dating agency for cats’ called ‘Moggy Match’. I had so much fun making them and writing their profiles that even now some of these neurotic and eccentric cats have the ability to amuse me.

Stephanie Cowburn Artist In The Limelight

Stephanie Cowburn Artist In The Limelight

Who is your favourite artist?

I love working with children, they are open to suggestion, willing to try and are constantly developing their skills. I aspire to be like this, not to become stagnant and ever believe I’ve reached my full potential. I like artists who reinvent themselves and evolve as their work remains fresh and on the verge of brilliance. Students, graduates and young artists with self belief and raw determination to get their work noticed really appeal to me. They take risks, create what matters and are not shy to share their vulnerability with the world. I like that.

What advice or tips would you share with fellow artists?

It’s been said before but it’s worth saying again- be true to yourself. Believe in what you are doing and create art that you like. Don’t let other people chisel off the rough edges for it’s those rough edges that make you different from all the rest. You only need one person to believe in you because that one person can open a door to the rest of the world.

Stephanie, thanks so much for your fantastic answers. It was fun to know a little more about you and your creations! Everybody, be sure to pop over her website and have a nose around or say hello on her Twitter and Facebook.

Interested to be involved in this series? Get in touch! You can be photographer, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker, knitter etc too. Meet the rest of artists here.

Artist In The Limelight: Meghan Durno

Today’s Artist In The Limelight is Meghan Durno! Hello! We went to the same boarding school – I remember her as an artistic young lady and also a regular visitor to the textiles department. She has recently started an exciting business called Fabrication, where she sells lovely framed pieces. I am really liking the animal shapes on all of her pieces, maybe I should commission her to make me cat one!

Hey Meghan! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hey! I’m just coming round the idea of calling myself an artist! I am 22 years young, currently in third year of studying veterinary nursing at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m like a granny Rapunzel in my tower at home with my cats, family and my materials, as most of my friends live far away and I enjoy that aspect to my personality. And when I go on nights out, I make up for lost time. It’s just as well as I can only manage a night a month! I love sleep, gyozas (any oriental food actually), clothes! And my three cats.


How did you become an artist?

I’ve grown up making things (namely handbags from old jeans at the age of 9- terrible!) so I’ve always had an interest in craft. I studied textiles for my GCSEs and Alevels but I found I got frustrated with having to follow a specific criteria. I actually wanted to study textile design at university but during the interviews I realised again that I would feel trapped. I didn’t enjoy the feeling of handing my portfolio over to the ‘judges’, then being told that my work wasn’t what they were looking for- it wasn’t a nice feeling. that was when I decided to keep it as a hobby.

I stopped making things for a couple of years and only recently have I found exactly what it is I like making- the reason I’m on here!

How would you describe your art?

An eclectic mish mash of different applications and materials; felt, tartan, polycotton, paper, wood and occasionally, knitting. Just anything I come across that triggers an idea. I’m constantly collecting things that I ‘may have a use for one day’ including sweetie wrappers and train tickets. Each piece is different but they all have an underlying similarity.




Who or what inspires your work?

Is it bad to say that I get most of my inspiration from myself? Ideas for pieces tend to come when I’m driving or when I’m in bed and my mind wanders (these usually result in sleep-deprived nights when I just want to make it right away) when I’m actually making something, one piece will give me ideas for another one, which I write down in my ideas book. sometimes I struggle with how to piece something together and someone will say something & I’m like “eureka!” Although Pinterest is a good place I tend to go to if I’m looking for images. I follow crafty people on Instagram and seeing some of their businesses grow gives me inspiration for mine!

What is your favourite piece you have ever produced?

There are pieces I absolutely love and pieces that I haven’t been too proud of. I have a sentimental attachment to the first one I ever made but I don’t think I have a real favourite because each one is different.

Who is your favourite artist if you have one?

I’m not one for properly following major artists although I did go see a Jack Vettriano exhibition recently (lots of eyebrow furrowing and chin rubbing was present) which I enjoyed. I really like the style of David Hockney’s photo collage work- how he’s pieced each individual picture together to make one entire image is fascinating.

What advice or tips would you share with a fellow artist?

If there’s passion, there’s time to follow your dreams. You’re never too busy.

I really enjoyed reading her answers, I hope you did too. Do check out her websiteInstagram and Facebook!

Interested to be involved in this series? Get in touch! You can be photographer, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker, knitter etc too. Meet the rest of artists here.