Tuesday, 17 January 2017


I have made very simple New Year's Resolutions this year.

  1. Go outside every day. (I know, it's the bare minimum, but I have been known to stay inside for days at a time.)
  2. No screens at bed time. (The digital radio I got for Christmas is helping with this, and I've noticed a lot of benefits: sleeping better, and reading BOOKS, which I love and have missed.)
  3. Draw more. (I'm not very good and I want to get better and I've got to a level of proficiency with needlework now where it's often no longer relaxing to stitch.)
I am by no means a prolific artist; having chosen embroidery as my primary medium rather rules that out. But the first drawing below, begun at an "artist's salon" with dear friends Kat and Cheri, was positively speedily turned out, at least for me.

It's also the drawing I'm proudest of since at least my A Level days. Maybe being around infinitely more talented artists rubbed off on me; maybe the steady supply of cocktails loosened me up. Either way, I'm happy with the results.

This busy drawing isn't quite so successful; maybe I bit off a bit more than I can chew. But it does feature my intention for this year; "2017 is the year of skin care and communication", which I saw as a text post on Tumblr and liked so much I turned it into a fortune cookie. I somewhat wish I'd changed communication to "kindness" but I could do with challenging myself to communicate more effectively.

The drawing is loosely self-care focused, something I've been getting awfully good at lately. For me, that means surrounding myself with greenery and flowers (or sometimes bathing in them, as these rose buds from my bath bomb indicate), drinking lots of jasmine tea, a recent obsession which helps me feel nourished and grounded, and a little superstition via rose quartz. When I was going through a rough patch years ago a friend pressed a chunk of rose quartz into my hand, telling me it was good for balance and healing. Though I felt sceptical about this at the the time, it has had a symbolic significance for me ever since, and reminds me of her, and so I keep the crystal with my house plants on my dresser.

(I always thought myself on the lower end of the "Ex-Dartington-Student-Hippy Scale", but reading this post back, it seems I haven't escaped Totnes unscathed... perhaps it's spending so much time with other Darties of late?)

Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Busy Old Year and a Happy New One

It would be easy to focus on the negative in 2016, so I'm going to focus on the positive instead.

Highlights of the year for me have included (in no particular order):

Being An Associate Artist of Daily Life Ltd

Leading workshops/performing/diagnosing diagnosis at The Walthamstow Garden Party, The William Morris Gallery, and The Wellcome Collection.

Teaching Women To Make Mini Protest Banners

Teaching Myself DIY Screen Printing

Learning To Use A Sewing Machine (And Almost Finishing My First Handmade Dress!)

Finally Getting You Didn't Cry Trophy Pins Made (And Selling A Few!)

Many Art Dates With My Lovelies, Making Some Wonderful New Friends, And Doing The First Drawing I'm Actually Proud Of

Being Welcomed Aboard The Good Ship Object Book And Securing Studio Space Starting January

Dressing My Muse In Hand Embroidered Blouses And Getting Back Into Photography (More To Follow)

Getting To Make Things With Young People All Day For Money

I could go on but I'd best leave it there; there are canapes to roll, cocktails to shake, and my face to paint (just putting this together and looking back at everything I've done this year has made me feel tired; and I left a lot out!)

Suffice to say I hope anyone who finds their way to this post has had a wonderful year; I wish you an even better new one, and if you've been a part of my 2016, thank you for making it so special. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Away With the Fairies Embroidered Blouse

I present to you the Away With the Fairies embroidered autumnal blouse, featuring split stitch text, padded satin, long and short stitch and bullion knot fly agaric on the back of the collar, and long and short stitch mushrooms on the front, with straight stitch grass. The model is the beautiful Katrina Bautista. Here are the Nikon 35mm shots, as well as a handful of test shots we took on Kat's iPhone. The Fuji Instax and (extremely expired) Polaroid prints are still to come. I am embroidering a blouse for each season; next up is obviously Winter. This blouse will soon be up for sale on my Tictail.

For hand embroidery commissions, contact me at katerolison@googlemail.com


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Highlands Away II

 Here is the roll of 35mm film I took in the Highlands with my Nikon SLR. Still getting to grips with using film again but this was a fun little project.