Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Manchester 22.5.2017

Hi there.
Thanks for dropping in.
Retreated to the back of the cave today.
Stayed home. 
Cleaned all morning. Did laundry.

Can’t listen to the radio. 
Can’t read the papers. 
Can’t watch the TV.
So I’ve pottered away in silence all day.

I suppose it’s my way of digesting what happened in Manchester.
Not that it is digestible - ever.
It sticks in my throat and makes me feel sick as soon as I think of it. But I am certain I speak for most of us.

It is heartening to hear about the goodness all around, the humanity and the help which was almost instant and has been flowing since the explosion.

But I still feel sick and heart-broken for the innocent victims, 
children! KIDS!!! and their families, and their friends. 

It makes me wild actually. Really livid too.
So today has been a day for reflection, 
trying to reconcile my anger with the reality of it all.

Art helps calm the mind.
I know this to be true, so this afternoon I got right inside my head, and used colour and Grunge paste and stencils to crush my demons. 

There is no niceness about this piece.
It is not intended to impress or educate.
It was purely a vehicle to drag my dark thoughts out into the open, so I can deal with them. 

If you can see the symbolism in it that I sought to connect with,
great. If not, great.

There’s something liberating about throwing the perfectionist rule book away and just not worrying about the outcome. 

And then the mayhem ensues, and the colours run everywhere.

Birds fly to the light.

And the 22nd of May 2017 is forever fixed in our minds 
as a very, very dark day.

This piece joins the other tributes on my little window ledge.
With all my heart and soul, I wish it wasn’t so.
Tonight I shall light a candle, burn some sage,
and say a prayer.

Love & Peace,

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

We Stand With Manchester

If you don’t mind, I would rather not craft today.
My head is elsewhere.
In fact, 
if you don’t mind, I would rather not speak today.
It is way too shocking for words.

Love & Peace

Monday, 22 May 2017

Stencil play Day 1.

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Beautiful day here!
Sun streaming in, birds singing,
the Groovi Sale has gone berserk,
and orders are still coming in.
Finishes at midnight tonight, 
but we’re on top of it and the orders are already flying out!

Me? I was feeling a little second hand today to be honest. I just don’t ping back like I used to after a busy weekend
The old elastic is not what it was....

So it’s time to play a little and wind down after the weekend.

I thought I would steer away from parchment for a week, and get your creative juices going with some stencils.

But hang on! Not just any old stencils!
No, no, these are fantastic, original, designed-by-lovely-Melanie top spec and new Stencils!

Remember the Flower Heads set?

Well, Mel has designed another fabulous collection of Seedheads and flowers, and over the next few days here,
 I thought it would be cool to do some R& D with these and the old ones, and maybe even some others. I’ve got so many ideas milling round in my head, but I’m just not finding the time to play.

And then today, it occurred to me - MAKE THE TIME !!

I won’t load them onto the website until tomorrow though. Let’s wind the Groovi Sale down at midnight first!

This new Allium is wonderful. I can already see it as a Gel print,

but this evening I wanted to try an abstract inky thing...

Tape the outer part of the stencil to a piece of our 
(yep, this stencil is a 2-parter).

Brush some Artistry Midnight Blue around the perimeter,
using one of our brushes.

Using a second brush, add a pink centre.

Slot the Allium stencil into its frame,

and spritz with water.

Blot with a Kitchen paper towel, remove the stencil, 

When it dries, it dries lighter.

I really like the shattered effect here.

In fact, I shall let this dry properly,
and maybe take a second look at it tomorrow.

But now it’s time for a walk along the railway track with my honey.
err... the DISUSED track of course !!

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Bristol before

Bristol BLIMEY!!!!


Buyers buying

Boys busy.







Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bristol! Look out! We're here!

Hi there,
Can't stop. Must dash. Out for supper in Bristol with the team. 
And what a team again! We had just over 3 hours to unload and set up - and with the help of a few good women, we did it!

Bit of a scramble, but we got there.

Already lots of interest around our Groovi designs from the traditional parchers. Here’s hoping the Pergamano tutors sign up for the new club we have created for them! 

All set for a great day.
Looking forward to meeting loads of Groovi parchers !
So much has happened in a year, since we were last here.
Unbelievable really.

Got to go.
Supper's on us!

Love and hugs 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Smile! You’re on Camera!

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Still here at the office. 
But it has been a really constructive day.
I can’t say it often enough: I love the Clarity Team.
Huge Groovi sale kicks in. 
Nobody flaps. They all smile and just knuckle down to the job.

What a smashing bunch of people I get to work with every day.

Cor blimey.
I just had a memory recall of a job I did during one summer when I was a student. Shall I share?
Oh ok....

 It was in a very seedy sweat shop along Luton Arches in Chatham. 
Very very seedy indeedy, I can tell you!
It was an optic making factory. Nothing to do with eyes. No no no!
The optics you get behind the bar, which dispense booze!
So there were 8 of us. 
7 Indian ladies who didn’t speak a word of English, and me.
We sat in 2 rows facing each other, and had to assemble the optics.
So in front of you, there were loads of little pots of springs and bits.
You have NO IDEA how many washers and parts one of those blimming optics comprises! And if you didn’t get all the rubber washers and rings in exactly the right order, when it came to testing them with water to make sure they didn’t leak, 
it p’d straight through.
I tried to keep up with the Indian ladies, who worked like the clappers, but mine just leaked like sieves,
(which was bad enough with water,
but imagine if it were whiskey or brandy or vodka!)
So I had to keep undoing them and starting again.
At the end of Day one, I remember it well:
they were on about 35 each.
And I was on precisely 3.
And since it was piece work, where you get paid for the units,
 I hadn’t even made enough for my bus fare home. 

Anyway, where was I ?
Ah yes, grateful to be here at Clarity with my teamies,
and NOT at Luton Arches, unscrewing bottle optics!

Did I mention the Big 25% Groovi Sale over on the website this weekend?! If you’re into Groovi, then hop over and take your wishlist with you.
We’re also extending the sale to visitors at the Bristol Show, so bring your wishlist there too !

We had a really good meeting this afternoon.
Not about the usual stuff.
Today we talked about something much more interesting !
Making a Groovi DVD or five !
Should we ? Shouldn’t we ? Where ? When ? What ?
Lots of planning required, but the filming date is sorted,
the location is sorted, and even the duplication guys are in the know. So that means it’s a YES !

Thing is, I’ve made a few now, so I’m no DVD virgin!
This will be No. 7.
It’s a lot of work, but I KNOW a lot of people enjoy them and get a lot out of them.

A Groovi parchment DVD is definitely called for, don’t you think?
If we start on it at the end of July, it will be in the shops by October.

The last one was a few years ago now. 
We filmed it at the house and had great fun. 
I always intended to make Part 2, but then Groovi hit us, 
and the rest is history!
In the spirit of the weekend Sale, and because I can, 
let’s knock 50% off the latest one!

I even did it in German too!

My oh my.
Where does the time go?

Must get home and get packed for Bristol tomorrow!
What to wear...

Love & Hugs,

PS Have I told you about the Sale ?
It’s pretty much a Groovi 25% off Blanket Sale...
We won’t run out - we’ll just keep making.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A Perfect Fit, and Bristol on the Horizon.

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Time to push some beautiful images into the limelight....

These wonderful dancers were illustrated by our clever Mel, 
and have already enjoyed centre stage as stamps.
So for all those who prefer stamping, they’re already there for you.


If ever there were line designs born to be Groovi, 
then these are they.
And if you saw Maria’s show yesterday, and the superb samples from the ├╝ber-talented Groovi Design team, 
you will concur with me. 

Here’s just a brief sampler....

Karen Jackson

Jane Telford
Grace and Charm
Gail Sydenham

Dee Paramour
I won’t show you every single piece of artwork, although each and every one is certainly worthy - I think you can see at a glance how fabulous these images are. 
I urge you to go back and watch Wednesday 1pm Show on

It presents a perfect example of when Groovi meets traditional.

I also hope you will be joining us at the Bristol Parchment Show on Sunday. We have a pretty impressive line up :
Linda Williams 
Tina Cox 
Rosie Cottrell 
Paul Church
Josie Davidson
Chris Walker
I shall be running FREE Groovi make & takes too,
so come early and sign up!

We will have all things Groovi and Pergamano with us,
including these lovely plates.

I wish I had more time, because I really, really want to settle down with Beauty or even Elegance, and picot cut the skirts and words.
But to be honest, I am playing catch up from taking nearly a week off when the kids were back from the States, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to play right now.

All good though.
Teamwork makes the dream work.

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sunshine and Clarity Open Days 2017

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
R A I N Y  D A Y !!!

Much needed though.
Farmer Dave has been commiserating with the fields of maize 
and the shortage of grass. Apparently, unless these things grow, there’ll be a shortage of fodder for the livestock later on.

There we sun worshippers are, enjoying the lovely dry weather,
getting the flip flops out and basking in it,  when it potentially spells disaster for farmers and growers.

On the other hand, how often do the heavens open on village fetes and street celebrations? And our hearts go out to the poor organisers and vendors. This weekend past, there was a wonderful Food Festival in the Pantiles, and how super to see the crowds out in force, and the stallholders doing a cracking business. 

Especially food! Sell it or bin it, I suppose. 

At least stamps and Groovi don’t go off.
One of my favourite expressions, when a show doesn’t do what it should, or what we hoped, is:
“Aren’t we glad we aren’t selling Victoria sponges?!”
Ever the optimist....

We thought this was an ingenious take on a cocktail bar:

Beetle Juice. How cool is that?!

So yes, the Food Festival in the Pantiles was a resounding success, firstly because the sun was shining, and secondly because the sun was shining.
and sunshine brings the crowds out....

Which just goes to show, there are always two sides to a coin.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Yin and Yang.
It goes on....

It’s true though, isn’t it?
When it snows, we adults usually go straight to disaster zone, 
black ice, perilous roads.
Whilst children and the young at heart squeal with delight and get the dustbin lids out for a sledding session!

We have a big event planned in June.
The biggest event of the year for us at Clarity.

It’s only about 15 minutes down the A26 from Tunbridge Wells Pantiles actually! And about 45 minutes north of Brighton.
So if you fancy exploring a very lovely part of England, and combining it with our annual bonanza, why not carpe diem, and come on down.

Tickets are £6 per day.
We have moved to the larger, more spacious hall in our local Community Centre too.


I do hope you will support us.
Whilst we aren’t selling Victoria sponges, 
we would love to celebrate with you.

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Look what I found!

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Back to the grindstone today.
Lots to do, lots to plan for.
But before I could even begin to get arty, 
it was time to clear the worktop in my art room!
Piled high?!?!?
I have piling one thing after another on this island here for weeks, and my workspace has been shrinking daily.

So this evening, it was time to get sorted.
And look what I found !

I remember being ultra impressed by a calligrapher 
at the Frankfurt Trade Show back in February, 
who was demonstrating this gold mica paste from Japan.

He wrote my name for me. Look:

Anyway, I was that impressed with the quality of the flow and vibrance of the gold, I bought a load of it.

Japanese Mica paste

Then it arrived. 
Then I brought some home to try out.
Then it got buried.
That’s how things go when you are busy.

Same with food in the fridge.
I see something super in the farm shop 
and decide we are going to have a feast.
Then I buy it.
Then I work late all week.
Then I throw it away before it crawls out of the fridge by itself. 

The good news is that this Gold paste has no shelf life!
And if it does say so on the packet, let me know!!!


So does it work on parchment?
Oh yes indeedy.
Oh boy. It is exquisite.
If you add a tiny, tiny amount of water, it flows like liquid gold, 
and the parchment doesn’t buckle at all.

You can get in the smallest areas with this little brush too.

I thought I would try a mapping pen.
I struggled a little loading the nib, 
until I figured out to use the brush to swipe the liquid gold across the back of the nib.
Bingo. Works a treat.

Then it was easy to use the pen too, and in the tiniest areas without going over the white line art.

So I just played a little, worked out that you don’t have to press half as hard as you think you have to.
In fact, the pen works best when you DON’t press too hard. 
But I think I need a pen/nib just for gold.
It washes out well, but when I was watching the guy in Frankfurt, he definitely always used his one pen.
I’m guessing it becomes yours over time, 
when it is seasoned to fit your hand.

If you were looking for a deluxe gold, for parchment, papercraft or mixed media art, look no further - 
I think the Japanese have nailed it. 

Love & Hugs.


PS If you are coming to the Bristol parchment Show on Sunday,
I will make sure we take plenty with us.

PPS Maria is on HOCHANDA tomorrow. 1pm and 5pm.
Tune in to see some great demos using brand new and beautiful things.