Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bookplates And Quirky Birds

Like everyone else I have been glued to the terrible events in Japan and have viewed with horror the unfolding disaster. I am sure everyones' hearts go out to those people who are left to try and get their lives back into some semblance of normality. What is happening to our world? Disaster after disaster.

I have sorted out lots of the items I had to move to get new carpets laid and hopefully everything is back in its place or perhaps an even better place. The dust bunnies have been laid to rest but no doubt they will be back with a vengeance. I never realised quite what a huge family of house spiders we have given accommodation to. I didn't have the heart to move them outside as they may not be able to tolerate our cold nights and to be quite honest I don't mind them too much. As long as they don't have teeth and they keep out of my bed that is. Live and let live is my motto these days.

I haven't done one of my "Woman Who Planted Trees" series for ages but here is number VII. I still have more in the pipeline. I love this combination of colours. I am not sure how many there will be eventually but I really like the concept so much that there are bound to be more to come.

This is a detail of my latest pen and ink artwork. The bird and flowers are coloured digitally. I did paint the original flowers green but they didn't look quite right.

Journey With A Golden Bird Here is the full version

I have been busy making some more of my greetings cards. I use the spray mount cans now instead of the messy pritt stick. So much cleaner and lovely to be able to reposition the image before it dries. You have to be careful not to inhale the fumes though. There is always a drawback isn't there?

The beautifully detailed etchings below are the work of Bulgarian printmaker Plamena Doycheva. You can find more of her work here at

Still Life With Pears


Below are some of the photos I managed to get a couple of weeks ago when we visited friends in Oxford. I dodged the showers to get these Abingdon shots. The town dates back to the 600's although there is evidence for iron age people in the area. Below is the ancient gatehouse attached to the church. I photographed some fascinating gargoyles here but the little devils decided not to allow me to focus properly on them...typical.

I loved this little side room on the tower of St. Nicholas's church. I wonder what its use was? This lovely building dates from 1170. I wish we had been able to go inside but there was some sort of music practice going on.

This is a view of an intriguing stairway into this old building.

I took a number of photos of these interesting ruins which I supposed to be the remains of the original abbey dating from Saxon times. Imagine my disappointment when I read on the Internet that they were created in 1920 and are considered to be Abingdon's Folly. Still, they are extremely well done and are believed to contain some of the original stones.

Some of you may remember quite a while back I featured an amazing embroidery artist called Nancy Nicholson. I discovered an article about her and her work on a now defunct Craft magazine. Nancy got in touch and said that she was going to create a website for her work and would let me know when it was up and running. She got back in touch recently and gave me the address of the website and also her new blog which is very interesting. Nancy's website is here and is absolutely gorgeous. Don't forget to go to the Gallery to see her lovely collaged birds and her textiles and screenprints. Make yourselves a coffee and go and have a browse. You will be delighted. Below are some of her interactive stationery artworks. Her sense of design and colour is gorgeous and contemporary. Her embroideries are stunning too. Anyway see for yourself. She is also the daughter of well-known embroideress Joan Nicholson who some of you may remember.

I have had this lovely book in my possession for some time but it reappeared when I was clearing out for new carpets. Amazing what you can find when you are not expecting it. It is A Treasury Of Bookplates selected by Fridolf Johnson. It covers the Renaissance to the present. I didn't realise that bookplates were around as early as that. I assumed they were a relatively recent introduction i.e. early 19th century. I suppose that people have wanted to lay claim to their books for as long as books have been around. I expect the old problem of borrowing a book from someone and forgetting who it belonged to is as old as the hills. Lots of famous artists and printmakers produced bookplates for their clients. The collecting of them is alive and thriving. In fact they are often commissioned from an artist and never actually used in books but swapped with other collectors. Below are seven of my favourites from the book (which is a Dover publication by the way). I particularly like the graphic woodcut or engraved design.

Reynolds Stone

Gerard Gaudaen

Pam G Rueter

Mark Severiin

Henry Ospovat

Rockwell Kent

Nico Bulder


A bird in the hand said...

I love old ruins and you could have fooled me! I'd never have guessed they were so recent. Still, it's really well done. Thank you for sharing it with us. And all the lovely art too.

Caroline said...

Cathy I just loved seeing all your cards displayed - especially the top trio - the colours are super! Thanks for the link to Nancy - what terrific work! Have a good week!

Cathy said...

You are very welcome Colette. I was amazed at those ruins too.

Cathy said...

Thanks Caroline. I love making cards and putting them in their cellophane bags. Yes, Nancy's work is great. She is very talented indeed.

Crafty Green Poet said...

nice to see all your lovely cards! Your Women Planting Trees series is a great idea and i really like the one you've shared here!

deb said...

Your 'Woman Who Planted Trees VII' is great. Love the idea of the leaves on the tree trunks. Nancy's work is amazing. Thank you for the link.

bunnits said...

I love how your blog posts are always a trip to the visual candy store--a treat that always cheers me up. Thanks.

Cathy said...

Thanks Juliet. I may even do them as a book on Blurb when I get enough drawn.

Cathy said...

Hi Deb. Yes she is extremely talented. I am glad she is being found by people and is getting a wider audience for her work.

Cathy said...

You are welcome Melissa. We all need treating now and again.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Love your greetings cards Cathy, the mix of colour, areas of solid black, and line, work so well. Also love the book plates. Lesley x

Chatters said...

Hi Cathy Your cards are beautiful. And I adore the etchings from your last post.

Really enjoyed your post. And I really liked the work of Bulgarian printmaker Plamena Doychev

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Lesley.

Cathy said...

Hi Amanda. Yes, she is a very talented printmaker isn't she. Her work is so detailed it must take hours and hours to produce.

BeadBag said...

Hi Cathy - I love your new pieces - the cards look super. You always have a lovely collection of posts.

I also loved Nancy Nicholson's work - I checked out her website and she has some lovely designs.
Hugs, Shirley.
PS: Spray Mount does pong a bit!!

acornmoon said...

your Etsy shop is looking great, it has a very original look which is hard to achieve.

I love those bookplates, especially Reynolds Stone, very inspiring!

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Shirley. I agree about Nancy. She has an amazing talent and just right for today. I always try to keep doors and windows open when spraying and don't do too much at a time.

Cathy said...

Thanks Valerie. I think I opened it at a bad time just after Christmas so I shall have to wait to see what happens.

rossichka said...

Dear Cathy, I was gathering the whole day to comment this post. I'm impressed as always by everything you've shown and told us! I like all your cards, as well as The Journey with the Golden Bird - it's a little bit strange and provoking one's imagination... Being in Oxford for a while was such a delight - I adore old buildings, balconies, strange windows, staircases, stone ornaments... Thank you!
It was such a nice surprise to learn by you about this interesting Bulgarian artist!:)
Nancy Nicholson's paper ornaments and angels are so stylish and colourful!:)
I'll comment your latest post tomorrow, because it's high time to go to bed now - tomorrow morning we must get up very, very early, because we are going on a tour with my husband and a fellow actress.:))

Cathy said...

Thank you so much Rossichka. You always have such nice things to say about everyones' blogs. I hope you enjoy your tour.

ArtPropelled said...

Love Woman Who Planted Trees! Your cards are so lovely. I've been looking through the ones you sent me. It was with difficulty that i parted with two to send to friends and they were much appreciated.

Cathy said...

Thanks so much Robyn. That is lovely to hear. I often wonder when I send my cards away, who will be their recipients, and whether they will like them.