Mole has been out in the garden…

…and is reassured that warmer days will soon be here. He may even take his scarf off.   The crocuses and snowdrops are flowering and I can’t wait to get outside to tidy up and plant.   This week I’ll be sowing tomato seeds.  That’s always my first gardening job of the year and heralds the almost-arrival of Spring.  And I’m looking forward to photographing my woolly characters without getting wet knees.   🙂
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A Few Edinburgh Bears

 

CattravellingEarlier this month I managed to pack my bags and head off to Edinburgh, with my daughter, for a few days.  Naturally, I was on the look out for bears.

The signs were there. 37438782952_56f11d5916_o

 

 

The first bears we met were a bit on the stiff side to say the least..

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..and this was not at all what we’d expected from the famous Edinburgh pandas.  IMG_4657

 

 

Those are in the National Museum of Scotland which is lovely and well worth a visit. It also serves excellent cake.

 

We did catch up with a real live panda at Edinburgh Zoo, but I didn’t manage to get a photo. These chaps were more co-operative IMG_4691(and more terrifying).

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I think my last Edinburgh bear is my favourite.   It’s the memorial to Wotjek, the WWII ‘Soldier’ bear, in Princes Street Gardens.  You can read about him here.

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There was also whisky, getting wet, history and tales of body snatchers in the kirkyard after dark, but you should go and find out about those for yourself.

I’ll be back soon with needle felting, new drawings and other things I’m making.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to look at the new things in my shop.

 

 

 

Pasta Machine Printing

I love prints as an art form, but apart from some basic lino printing and screen printing I haven’t done any myself.  Print making seems a bit of a daunting thing to try, requiring expensive equipment and space. I’ve always particularly wanted to try dry point etching, so I got really excited when I saw an artist on Twitter talking about PRINTING AN ETCHING WITH A PASTA MACHINE!  Gosh.

Naturally I rushed out to buy one. Luckily my local cookshop had a modest one on sale and I got some sheets of flexible clear plastic from a nearby model shop.

This is what I did:

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The plastic sheets I bought were A4, so I cut them up so that they were small enough to feed through the pasta machine. They don’t need to be clear, but it’s handy if you want to trace over a drawing. I scratched my design with a pointed implement I found in an old box of tools. I’ve no idea what it’s really for. Any pointed tool you can comfortably hold should work.

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I used block printing ink as it was available. It worked fine. I’m going to try printing with acrylic paint with a drying retardant mixed in. I found the best way to ink the design was to rub the ink into the scratches with a cloth, then rubbing of the excess with a dry cloth.

2I printed onto cartridge paper, as I had some. Soak it in water for a few minutes first and pat dry.  You’ll need to experiment with how wet the paper needs to be.  Put the paper onto another piece of paper and some felt and place the inked plate face down on your paper. Fold the other side over. Be careful to hold the plate and paper together as you feed it into your pasta roller.

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Wind the handle! You’ll need to guide the bottom end so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the machine as it emerges.

 

 

This is what I made:71

There are several demonstrations of this by artists on YouTube. Worth a visit.

I’m looking forward to experimenting and printing lots more 🙂

 

 

 

New Things

There are a bunch of  new greetings cards in my shop this month, including these dinosaur and space cards, which come with any age badge you like (I sold a 95 years badge last week).  You can check out all my new cards designs at BearsGetCrafty: there’s one for lovers of GIN (with the choice of a super badge or magnet), something naughty,  something nice, and bears, of course.  😉

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Mr Fox Sewing Kit Prototype

As usual, I also have lots of ideas and work in progress. 🙂   Greetings cards with stickers and sewing kits will be arriving soon!   I’m also thinking about cards with moving parts and pop-ups.

Over at BearsGetDigital there is lots of new art to download, digital drawings and watercolour paintings to use in card making, on websites….whatever you fancy. 🙂

I have several new illustrations, for poems by Dom Conlon, on www.inkology.co.uk.  universe_boxEnjoy his darkly funny stories while you’re there too.

 

In between all of that, there have been a few fun things appearing on my work desk:

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To see more of what I draw and make you can check out my Instagram account BearsGetCrafty or follow me on Twitterbers

Bears Make Music…

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January has been a busy month for designing and making new products. These handsome animals can be found on a mug, along with several other new designs.

I’m also busily designing greetings cards which have a life beyond the mantelpiece. More about that soon. In the meantime, take a look at my first set of designs which are already available.