Monday, 24 November 2014

First ever craft fair...

I know it seems like it's been a while, apologies! But remember you can now find me at where you can find my new blog!!
Thought I would pop on here and repost my latest...

Well, it's safe to say the last week and weekend have been very busy! Last week's free time was all about preparing for my first ever craft fair. As I've said a few few times (sorry!) I was really quite nervous! I have been to craft fairs as a buyer a fair few times, but never as a seller. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Especially as this craft fair was somewhere that's never held one before, so I had no idea how popular it would be.
Anyway... the preparations began in my basement studio. I made sure I had collected everything together, from the table covering to framed prints to display and a clear "house style" including fonts, colours etc. I think it's important that it looks like effort has gone into it rather than it all just being slung on a table. I know as a customer, unless a craft stall looks attractive and interesting, I'm not particularly interested.

So this was a little snapshot of my "set-up" in my studio. (If you've spotted my typo in the picture- don't worry, I fixed it!) As you can see my snapshot includes some of my house style. I always make sure to use the same font and keep it nice and simple. I also thought it was important that people knew where my work was being made, after all, the craft fair was only 10 minutes down the road, and people love to know things have been made locally - then they can often see where the inspiration comes from.
Anyway, after my preparations, and running around town the day before hand to buy the table covering I wanted and a few other last minute bits and bobs, I was ready to go the next morning (with a stress-free night the night before I may add!).

So the morning of the craft fair it sort of looked like I was moving out. (My bunny certainly thought I was, that or I was going on holiday!) I think you underestimate the amount of things you need to take - I know I did! I did have my list with me:
  • Table covering (hessian)
  • Display boxes
  • Cellophane wrapped prints
  • cellophane wrapped individual cards and gift tags
  • Printed tote bags
  • Framed prints for display
  • Easel to display prints
  • Tissue paper (to wrap any prints)
  • Small paper bags (with stamped name on for purchases)
  • Linocut (for demonstation/people to see process)
  • Driftwood signage
  • Driftwood Christmas tree for table decoration
  • Printed sticky labels for wrapping prints
  • Scissors (you never know when you'll need them)
  • pen
  • notebook
  • business cards
  • price labels
  • framed description of who/what I do
  • Change/float (Everything was to the pound so I took £50 worth of pound coins and £5 notes- nothing more annoying at a market than a seller running off for ages to get change!)
  • vaseline (no one wants to talk to anyone with dry lips!)
So that's pretty much the list I created before I went. I created the list over a few days before hand in case I forgot anything. It came in very useful though! I imagined the buying process as well just to make sure I wasn't going to forget anything!

This was the view from the craft fair. Thankfully the craft fair was held inside. But it was still in a fantastic spot. This photo was took early on when it was still grey and quite miserable, thankfully the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful sunny (but cold) day! I think that helped get people down as well to be honest!
 So, after my husband helped me take everything down and helped me set up, I ended up fairly happy with my table...I was after simple, attractive and interesting...

Apologies for being in both the photos, my husband insisted! As you can see, I got there nice and early to make sure I was happy with the set up. Even had time after it was set up and before people got there to sit downstairs and have a drink! So not bad preparations! 
As it turns out, I didn't forget anything! I had enough change as well, so didn't need to go and ask for a swap off anyone. And after 5 hours I'm happy to say I did really well. I sold a lot of cards, almost all of the gift tags, a few bags and a few prints as well! I made more money than I was expecting to and had some interesting conversations!
I did sort of use the whole experience as a marketing tool as well, I was able to see in person what people were looking at, what was drawing their interest, and of course what they were buying. I wanted to know if I was making things that people would buy as well as what I like - after all, I don't want to make things I don't like just to make money! I also wanted to know if things were priced correctly. And I think I may have struck the balance fairly well.
One thing I am particularly happy about is my work doesn't just appeal to one gender. I certainly don't consider myself a particularly feminine person. I'm not a very girly person, and I certainly wouldn't want my artwork to come across like that. But, as I have always made things I like, and stuck with the style I like, I think I've definitely achieved the right balance. People loved the fish and birds, and some people were buying prints for husbands as Christmas gifts as well as themselves. So job done!
I definitely feel inclined to do another one, but it was hard work. As a reward for my hard work and lovely profit, my evening consisted of a takeaway and watching the final F1 race of the season (Well done Lewis!!!) 
But I do feel even in that one market I learned a lot. As it was my first one I was really observant and was taking everything in. Certainly not an expert after just one, but I think on my next blog post I will write about what I've learned. If I can help you out as well, that would be great!

Remember to pop across to 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Autumn, the Market and getting things sorted...

Well...already November! This year has certainly flown by, in fact, even the last few weeks have. I'm also sad to say this is the last day of the half term holiday, but it has been more than useful! I've have spent most of the time in the studio getting as much ready as possible for my first upcoming Christmas Fair...

Another plug for it! (sorry!) If you're in the area pop along! It would be great to meet you, and you can let me know what you think! 
Anyway, due to today being the last day of the half term I decided to make the most of it, so after a bit of a lie in (That's making the most of it to me!) my husband and I went to Tynemouth Station weekly market for the usual breakfast (this morning it was a waffle!) and to pick up a few things from my friend (and fantastic framer)...

This is one of the Shoal of Herring framed. What do you think? It's amazing how important a good frame is! I'm really happy with this one, I think I might get a few more framed with this one.
I also picked up some mounts he'd cut for me for the Never Stop Exploring prints...

They're now up for sale on the website. I'm really happy with them...still thinking I might do a range in a similar design. I shall have to get my thinking hat on and sketch book out for those.
I've also managed to get the hand printed bags I have already claimed as my own as I love them...double sided as well, so pick which ever side suits you!

So after that, it was time to make the most of the sunshine and head out for a wander! After all, when I'm back at work tomorrow it will be dark on the way to work and dark when I leave- so have to make the most of these things. Also, as much as I love the warm sunshine of summer, I do love the colours of Autumn! So we headed up the coast a little bit (only about 15 minute drive) to one of my favourite places, Holywell Dene...

So...back to reality for a few what's that? Seven school weeks until Christmas! (sorry!) But if it's any consolation I am totally unprepared as well!!

(Remember, the blog has also moved to so please follow me on there!)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Never Stop Exploring...

This post can also be read at

As promised I have been busy in the studio over the past few days! Thought I would post a few updates...I got a little carried away with new lino the other day and ended up carving something I didn't initially intend to...really happy with the result though!...

That was the lino when it was ready to print the other night. Really enjoyed carving it actually. I really wanted to incorporate something from where I live on the seafront in Tynemouth, so this one has the Priory! Thinking of creating a range of this style of print.
This was the moment of truth...

All of my printing is by hand, I don't use a press. so rattling off print after print is a bit of a challenge for me, which is why a lot of my prints are limited in's hard to tell in this photo but this one is done with blue ink...I will post a photo later on of the finished print!
I've also been working on the cotton bags. I decided to do a design on the front and the back, so yesterday I worked on printing the back of the bags...

Continuing things with my usual 'house-style' font, the back of the bags is now complete and they're all hanging out to dry...just need to work on the front of the bags today! 
Remember, if you're in the area on the 23rd of November you can find me and my creations at The Net (the old low light building) on the North Shields Fish Quay for the winter fair!

Monday, 20 October 2014

New website, blog and Christmas creations...

Morning Folks!
 I am happy to say the Curious Seagull Studio website is now officially up and running!
 So take a peek and check it out...complete with new blog and a way to purchase any artwork that may take your fancy.

As a thank you to everyone for your continued support for the next two weeks (until Friday 31st October) I am also doing 20% off all original Lino Prints purchased through the website! So if you're after a Christmas present with a discount then head over to

Let me know what you think the website! It's still a bit of a learning curve for please bare with me as I've never done anything like this before!
 I think I may well move the blog over to that website alone as well...but for the next few weeks at least I will double up on blogs and continue to post on here.

For the next two weeks I shall be working hard in the studio to get a few Christmas related creations up for sale. I'm also pondering a few new ideas for a different style of lino print...

Remember you can find me at for other things- photos, videos etc. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Winter fair, bags and Christmas cards...

Last week was a killer! Exhausted barely comes close, however thankfully, it is now the half term holiday, so I have two weeks to get my energy back and get myself sorted for my first ever Christmas market.

In my last post I said I would put up a photo of my latest (and first) furniture creation:

What do you think? I'm really happy with it! a 100% free piece of furniture, fully recycled (apart from a dozen screws) but I love it! It looks awesome in the middle of my living room, and has come in very useful already.

I've also been a little busy designing Christmas cards- I remember a while ago saying I didn't want to make cards, at the time I didn't. But now that I'm doing a Christmas Market I figured it might be a nice touch.
 I am trying to keep them a little different from what I would normally do however, which has been quite nice actually- it makes a change! But here are two designs ready to be printed...

I plan on making five different kinds of cards, so hopefully they'll come out fairly cute!

Another thing I decided to print onto were tote bags...

Not a very inspirational photo I know, but I'm really impressed with the quality of these bags! So I've started carving the lino for these, plan on doing a front and back design so looking forward to seeing what they look like finished!

So hopefully, by the end of November I'll be all prepared for this...

Really looking forward to it, but feeling pretty nervous already actually, having never sold at a market before!! So if you're in the area on the 23rd of November pop along. The building has recently been renovated as well so it should be a good day never know, the weather might be nice and wintery by then!

In other news- I mentioned a fortnight ago now that I was working on an official Curious Seagull Studio website- as things have been fairly busy it's been hard to get things done, but it will be up and running by the end of this weekend...I shall post details here soon!!

Hoping to be able to update a lot more over the next few weeks as well. Have a lovely weekend folks!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Christmas market planning, driftwood and furniture building...

Good afternoon...only 5 more school days before I am off work for two weeks and can seriously start preparing for my first ever market!
 At the end of November I will be taking part in a Christmas/Winter market at The Net on the North Shields Fish Quay. Really looking forward to it but pretty nervous!
 This morning was spent online, making sure I order everything I need/think I'll need in preparation.
 I am currently thinking, my prints alongside notebooks, tea towels, tote bags, cards and gift tags. Happy for any further suggestions though!

So, I decided I needed to start working on how I want my market stall to look. After all, first impressions are everything right? So I spent an hour or so working on this today...

I made sure to use my usual font, so everything hopefully ties together nicely. I painted Curious Seagull Studio on to a piece of driftwood (I have quite a collection).

I was really happy with the finished result! It's just over a metre long, so should hopefully be quite eye catching on a stall.

I then got a little carried away with the driftwood...after moving all my living room furniture around last week (it's a strange shaped room...but somehow we actually managed to create a fair bit of room!) So I decided to use some of the wood to create a coffee, you know, fill the gap in the middle of the room I guess!

I like to give things a go and try things for myself. I have never made a piece of furniture before, and granted it will be pretty rough around the edges and not super neat and amazingly put together, but I don't care!! I had to stop for today though, as it started to get dark (At 6pm!!) So I shall post a photo of my completed creation in a day or so!! is almost complete as well!! I decided to finally take the plunge and have a go at hosting my own may well move my blog over to their when it's up and running...not too sure yet though. I will keep you posted!!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

A promotion, professional photography and a winter market...

This week has been a pretty good one! I hope other people have had a good one as well.

The first good thing came about on Monday, when I was offered a promotion at my day job! So of course, I said yes before I really thought about the amount of extra work I'd have to do. But hey, it's all part of the fun. So that was lovely...always nice to be appreciated at work.

The second good thing came about on Tuesday night...a good friend (and local friend who just lives a few doors up) is a fantastic professional photographer called Drifter Visual, and he offered to take photos of my work.
 As I've said before, I also sell my work through the Country Living Magazine online store...but how amazing would it be if they put my artwork actually in their magazine? I however don't have the equipment (or knowledge) to be able to take the sorts of photos they need for the magazine, so thankfully, my friend Tom to the rescue!

As you can see, my living room is pretty tiny (although funnily enough we have just had a furniture reshuffle to today and there is not a lot more room!...shame we didn't do it last weekend!) but he managed to get everything set up and was able to take some awesome photos. 

Daft little Pheobe (my bunny!) was desperate to be the centre of attention though, so almost every other photo had one of her ears of butt in! 

What do you think?

How fantastic are they?! I was more than happy with them, but Tom being the professional decided he wanted to take even more but with something else going on to jazz them up a little. So looking forward to that!! These ones however are what Country Living Magazine were after so let's see how that goes (Although they did tell me they were currently designing February's magazine, so if they do go in, it could still be a good while away yet!)

Another good thing happened later on in the week when I was seriously thinking about getting a market/craft stall. I've never done anything like that before. I'm simply not very good at selling myself in person, I much prefer the safer environment of online! However, I guess we have to be brave every now and then if we want people to recognise and buy the artwork. So while I was seriously considering it, and coming up with ideas for a Christmas craft stall, I was contacted by a fantastic new art development down on my local fish quay called Creative Up North. They are holding a Christmas market at the end of November, as well as a four day pop-up shop in December, so I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to be down there for a lovely winter craft market surrounded by other local artists and crafts people. I'm hoping to be sent a marketing graphic/poster in the coming weeks so I shall post one on here when I do.

So it's been a pretty productive and exciting week! I planned on sitting down this weekend and actually coming up with ideas of things I can stock at my winter market stall. But so far I have simply watched the F1 qualifying and moved my living room furniture around. So Maybe after I've done this!!

Another thing I will be doing in the very near future is setting myself up with my own proper website. Very excited for that as well! I will however be moving my blog and things over on to that platform when it's sorted, so I do hope you join me for what I'm hoping will be a really exciting 2015!!

If you're in the North East of England and are looking for a professional photographer then do feel free to contact Drifter Visual. He does amazing work, everything from fantastic portraits (not just your bog standard mind) to amazing product shots. He's interested in helping start-up businesses so feel free to spread his name around, he'll always be happy to help!

Check out Creative Up North as well! I think they're at the forefront of a new artistic community down on the North Shields Fish keep an eye out!!