Welcome to the my blog. My name is Lucy Farfort i'm a freelance illustrator & designer maker. This is where you can find out what i've been up to of late, read my attempts at a decent post & the rantings of a visual addict. Hope you like it. You can contact me to say 'hi' by email on lucy@lucyshappyplace.com
If you would like to take a look at my work (& i would very much like you to) please visit my site:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Folksy Friday - Hand(y)made Man

For around 5 years i've been fairly actively involved in the craft community in Newcastle. Hmm i think i'm going to call this the 'Newcastle Maker's Movement' (just 'cause it sounds impressive and momentous). Really this just means i've organised craft markets, been a member of crafty groups and met a lot of makers and artists. From the numerous crafty creative types i've met/know of, I can pretty much count the number of male makers on my hands. Actually to be fair i've probably graduated onto toes now too, but only just.
I've noticed that over the last year or so a few more men seem to have got into crafting, but i'd say its still pretty much an 75/35 swing in favour of the ladies. Take the project Made In Newcastle for example, there are about 6 men involved in a group totaling around 50 people.

In what is a very XX chromosome dominated industry I feel the need to dedicate this post to items made by and for men. This is what I found:

1. Crank Cases is a shop I've stumbled upon a number of times. They make the most amazing i-pod covers and they are definitely very male friendly. Actually i'm not entirely sure this counts because I don't whether the human behind these lovely items is male or female. However as I don't know either way i'm letting it in.Large image

2. Ewan John's emporium of delight is a superb little discovery i just made.
I'm featuring his 'birds badge pack of 4' which I think would go very nicely on the lapel of a tweed or pinstripe jacket. I love the bandy little legs on the birdies. Great style Ewan!
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3. These pirate bookends by Andy Wood Craft are a piece of wooden awesomeness. They'd be such a great feature in a boys room or even on a bookshelf in a study for someone who is young at heart - namely 'me', only i'm not a boy.
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4. Yippee a guy who knits and damn well by the look of this ace chunky cable-knit beanie available from Dave's knitting shop . Also it's a total bargain at £6 and is good for lads and lasses too. Excellent choice of colours!
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5. I have absolutely fallen for these flipping marvelous hand painted Russian Dolls by Allistair Burt and practically everything else on the Hole In My Pocket shop.
This would be a genius present for a musically inclined male man. Actually its just a fantastic present for anyone.
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6. Another fantastically quirky item is this paper model kit which has come from the creative mind of Hairy Tom (as he seemingly likes to be known). This is a great little gift for a designer toy fan. Move over Dunny and make room for Squat!
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7. The Stabo shop is a creative partnership between two designer-makers.
They’ve lots of lovely items on their corner of Folksy and i was having difficulty choosing just one to feaure, but i opted for this stylish belt:Large image

Hopefully all these cracking goodies made by men will inspire more blokes to get out there and make. Go forth little XY chromosomes and get crafty!

Cripes is that the time?! I better go get on with some work.
Bye, see you next week.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Mid week update

Wow its Wednesday already, how? Is it me or is time passing at the speed of light these days. Since going full time on my illustration work, weirdly i seem to almost have less time to do the work than i had when I was part-time.

My main focus so far this week was creating an editorial illustration for Novel Magazine, to accompany a pretty off beat piece of text written by another contributor, who judging but the piece has a penchant for philosophy.
I've now almost pretty much completed the image and will shortly be sending this off to Novel Mag, which i think will be in either the next issue or one after. Anyway as its not yet published I can't really reveal it here, well not just yet anyway. However i have uploaded this small snippet to whet your appetite.

I'm really looking forward to seeing it in print, i've been wanting to submit something for ages.

Yesterday I received that wonderful news that i've been selected along with another 17 illustrators to take part in an exhibition in August called 'Illustration NE Now' at Sanctuary Artspace in Gateshead. Yay!! There were 50 applicants and I was starting to lose hope that i would be included but the email came yesterday and i'm really excited. It will be so good to meet up with some fellow illustrators too. This is the 2nd year of the event, which is still being organised at the moment so i will post a link to the exhibition once event is up.

Also i've been trying to list regularly, or at least have some more stuff listed on my Etsy shop.
Originally I intended just to stick to Folksy, but i'm of the opinion that i need to get my work in as many places as possible, so thought I would try and maintain both. Its pretty tricky timewise, especially seeing as they both require diff photo sizes. Maybe i'm spreading myself too thinly but hard to know what to do for the best - flip i need a manager damn it!!
Anyway if you get a chance please take a look at my Etsy shop which is now looking nice an full(ish): http://www.etsy.com/shop/lucyfarfort

Oh and another thing, you may have noticed I've produced a list of all the craft and art related markets/fairs in and around Newcastle, well most of them hopefully. I want this to be a useful resource to those new to the area, new makers, or just those looking for alternative places to sell from. I get a lot of queries about markets from people,probably because of my involvement in MiN and from the days when I was co-running the Make and Mend Market. There are loads now, so rather than sending individual emails, I thought it wise to make a list. I'm asking for the help of local makers and artists who have been to these events to help me update it, grow it and ensure its accurate. Check out my extensive list here or click on the new tab just underneath my blog banner.

One more? Why not. I've just got an A1 sized U.S. flag through the post, which I said I'd customise for Unbox Shop for their 'Charity Flag Raffle'.
Hmmm.....remember what i said about a holiday, well i need one more than ever.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Folksy Friday - Greetings

I don't need to tell you that Father's day is imminent. You know already, its been rammed down your throats by a zillion T.V ads and the AppleMac people are sending emails suggesting you purchase your dad an iPad for Father's day. Yeah right an iPad for Father's Day and a yacht for Christmas. Yep another commercially driven, corporate card company invented occasion is upon us. Yikes I sound like a right miserable git! 'Okay sorry rant over'. Overall I do think it is a lovely sentiment to take a day out and say thanks to your dear old dad and if you do it the handmade way then thats even better.
Aside from that it was also my boyfriend's birthday on Tuesday, so basically as scouting for cards was the order of the week i've decided to theme my Folksy Friday post today on greeting cards in general. I won't bother too much with the dad's day ones as you've probably already got yours by now.
If you haven't got time to make your own or are lacking inspiration here are some good places on Folksy to purchase a card.

1. My first choice is from the It Belongs to Turtle shop. Offering lots of cute cards and other bits, my favourite of the bunch is the Georgio Elephant one which would make a great card for a kid's birthday, but to be honest I would love this as a card, so its good for big kids too!

Now for a man's card, grrrr! Well actually this is a unisex card really. I found this on the Tea with Rachael and Stephen shop. Great idea for a birthday card and a lovely print - awesome. Think I will be getting this card for the next birthday on my list. Note to self: 'Probably best for someone who isn't easily offended'.

If you have friends or family members who are into cats then getting a card from here will certainly win you brownie points. This would be one for my sister Jennifer as she adores cats. I really love the decorative and quirky illustration style of this artist and use of colour. She also produces some fab art prints.

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4. Take a look at the cards created from Sue Woollatt's beautifully intricate wood engravings. The detail is astonishing that's one seriously talented lady and she has some amazing prints as well.

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5. If you are looking for something a bit special and are seeking a more elaborate card for a very special occasion there are these great pop up butterfly cards available at the Love Poppet shop.
For the work that's gone into them, I would say they're a steal at £2.25.

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6. I love this off beat Valentines day card by Konnie Kapow. I know it's a bit late, or early depending on how you look at it, to be thinking about Valentines day, but this is certainly a good one to keep in mind for next year. One thing I hate is slushy Valentines day cards so this for me is perfect:

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7. I can't have a card themed Folksy Friday post without mentioning the wonderful and legendary Storey Shop. Not only is this a great name for a shop, but there are tons of fabulous hand cut cards to choose from. Also if you want something more personal they do custom made cards. What more do you want?

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Although I must day i'm not sure that I love anyone more than cheese, especially a nice bit of brie... mmmmmm.

8. I found a great selection of ace cards and other goodies available in Alexandra Snowdon's shop. Really love the simple but effective folk art style. I very much admire people who can create simple prints and make them look so good,. I guess because my work is always so laboured and no matter how hard I try I can never work in a loose way, I just end up obsessing over the smallest details. So the last Folksy based offering on my listy is this gorgeous item:

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Well actually there is just one more sneaky addition. A non folksy one to squeeze in and this one's for your old man (ideally to be sent if you are of the boy variety). I found this cute father's day card, brilliantly titled ' Astro Dad and Astro Lad' on Etsy in the Brittsy shop:

Astro Dad and Astro Lad - Father's Day Card

Happy card shopping everyone and happy Father's day on Sunday dad, hope its a good one!
P.S. Sorry its only chocolates and not an iPad ;)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Shiny and New

For a while now i've been working on a new illustration and threatening to get it out into the public domain. Its another self-initiated one which is intended for sale as an art print. I will be adding it to my Folksy and Etsy shops soon.
I had this idea in mind for a while (as i quite often do) which revolved around having an image with a mountain range in. That and a desire to have a wolf somewhere in the scene. I'm not really sure why, but I just had an overwhelming urge to do so. With these two factors being the basis for the image, I decided to create a narrative based scene where the viewer can mentally conjure up a story behind the illustration.
Anyway after many hours of ridiculous, perfectionist obsessing, my newest creation 'The Journey' is complete and here it is. I hope you enjoy it:

Strangely I feel quite empty now its done, so i'll have to get onto another project pretty quick. Actually I will be doing some work for Novel Magazine which is exciting, so i'll let you know about that soon.

Another brand spanking new thing you may have already noticed is that the illustration page on my website has been given an overhaul. It now looks super swish which is thanks to the help of two friends. The talented Paper Jam Comics Collective artists Paul and Britt, who i know from Made In Newcastle. I'm currently working with them to make some other bits of my site look and work better too, so you should see some other changes in the next few weeks or so.

I would love to hear what you think about my new illustration page and if you have any suggestions as to how I can improve my site.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Folksy Friday - Handmade Holiday

You may have noticed that i'm now making a big effort to try & update my blog regularly, given that in the recent past there have been some cavernous gaps between installments. As part of an attempt to do this have decided to start my very own Folksy Friday posts. For those of you who don't already know, these highlight the beautiful work of independent artists/makers offering their work on Folksy.
There is only one problem with this, i've seen so much lovely stuff around on the tinterweb that i'm finding it incredibly difficult to limit myself just to Folksy goodies. Therefore on a more occasional basis i'm going do a 'Feast Your Eyes' post and gather up some other gorgeous artifacts i've come across elsewhere on the www. for you to see.
Also to help me narrow down my options there will be a theme for each FF & FYE post.

So for my first ever FF post today the theme is 'holidays'. Why? Cause I need a damn holiday and fast, so this will be like a precursor to the real thing. Not that i've got a holiday booked yet, but I intend to soon - even if its 2 days next to the duck pond in my local park with a book & a Mojito cocktail hidden in a brown paper bag. Here's what i found:

1. Firstly if your going away you require a wash bag. That is unless of course you're my boyfriend - then you can dump your toothbrush, paste and shower gel into crumpled supermarket carrier bag complete with holes which is bound to spill out it's wet contents and make a mess of your luggage. However if you wanna do it super cute style then get your mitts on this 'Fleur the Cat Drawstring Washbag':

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2. I don't think I've ever been on a beach holiday as I like my breaks to be packed full of cool stuff to do, normally not much of a break really. At the moment what I really want is a beach based trip 'cause i'm knackered. I want some sun and a warm blue sea for a nice relaxing dip. To do this without donning my ride-up-my-rear-end 8 yr old costume, a new cozy is in order. I stumbled across this fab retro style red & white strip bikini swimming costume:

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3. Following on from my dreams of sun and sea it reminded me of the lovely Surf and Silver jewellery shop. This lady makes the most charming silver jewellery with stunning sea glass features found on the beaches of the North East coastline. I love the eye catching teal green colour in this black and green sea glass pendant. Its my favourite in their Folksy shop at the moment:

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4. Now i need something to put my holiday gear in. Yes you guessed it a suitcase of course. I found this love-able little gem of an up-cycled suitcase by Love by You
Its so cute that i'd be using it all the time not just for holidays, but to carry my sandwiches into work and everything:

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5. The likelihood is I'm going to have to wait at least a month or two before I get my coveted break, so in the meantime i'll have to make do with dreaming about getting away. This lovely sun mosaic mirror helped me do just that. It really reminds me of the kind of d├ęcor you'd find in gorgeous Spanish villas drenched in the sun:

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6. Another item to transport me to far away exotic lands, at least mentally, is this African print bunting by Karen Arthur of Reddskinbags. Its so vibrant and will certainly get you in the summer mood and perk up any room or garden with its vivid colours. It would look great in my garden - well back yard:

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7. For my final featured item i'm back on a sea tip. I've picked this wonderful 'Maiden of the Sea' illustration print on sale at the Crumpetty Tree shop
I adore the colours in this image and i'm really into images that use lined pattern at the moment so this is right up my street. I particularly like the cute origami whale on the waves. Don't you think it would look awesome on a bathroom wall?

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So that is it for my inaugural Folksy Friday post. I hope you enjoyed it and its got you in the holiday spirit. Bring on the sun!!

Monday, 6 June 2011

10 Creative things to get onto

Since getting on the Twitter wagon I've found about loads of great creative projects, competitions and ways to showcase your work as an artist.
Initially when Twitter started to get big I was adamant that I wouldn't get embroiled in yet another social networking site/facility, especially given that i'm already having trouble just keeping up with posting regularly on the blog. However i like many others got sucked in and now as a Twitter convert I must admit that of all the social networking thingy-mi-jigs that I've got into, this has by far been the most useful in terms of finding out about cool projects and stuff.

Because i've discovered lots of great projects/opportunities for emerging artists (like me good self) lately I feel I should share these with you. So i'm writing this post and maybe some of you there arty folks who maybe reading this can get involved with too (if you so wish).
For all you list nuts theres no particular order so its not like a top 10 or anything. Here we go:

1. Wall Collective: http://www.wallcollective.com. This is great new way to showcase your work as an artist/designer/ photographer/illustrator/print maker etc. Its incredibly simple and effective. You just get on down there, upload your images and you've basically created your own online portfolio.
I really like this concept because its quick, isn't overwhelming and doesn't try to hook you into investing time on other things such as creating a circles of friends or joining other groups.

2. Art Waffle: http://www.artwaffle.com Another new site I've found is the art waffle
blog, which posts interviews with artists and the lovely AW peoples are currently looking for new artists to interview. Its a brilliant opportunity for new artists to get some exposure for their work. Of course you can also use it to learn about artists who you may not have discovered and get an insight into how they work and what they think about the arty world around them.

3. Craftsville: http://craftsville.co.uk/ I found out about this site sometime ago when the friendly inhabitants of said Ville interviewed lil ol me on their regular feature 'Hello My Name Is...'. This is a lovely looking blog and is a fantastic resource for artists and makers.
They also run a Craftsville Craft Club, so if you live in Leeds and love a good old making session then this is probably for you.

4. Cut Out and Keep: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/ Another awesome site I stumbled upon a while ago. If you're a craft God or Goddess then you'll love this one.
Not only does it have a million, billion, trillion (well perhaps not a trillion) free to use craft tutorials that have been uploaded by the Cut and Keep community, it also has forums, competitions and the wonderful Snippets magazine which I produced the 'Clangers' illustration for a while back. Definitely one of my favourite sites, with a wealth of crafty resources.

5. Illustration Friday: http://www.illustrationfriday.com An ongoing 'just for fun' challenge, where every Friday illustrator's are asked to submit an illustration in response to a specific topic. They then get until the following Friday to submit their image and have it shown on the blog, along with all the other weird and wonderful submissions. I've wanted to submit an illustration for ages, but (like so many things in life) I never seem to have the time. Still I love looking at all the lovely pics being the visual junkie that I am.
The site also runs artist interviews and some other ace stuff so go check it out.

6. Illlustration Rally: http://illustrationrally.blogspot.com Another fantastic site for illustrators and illustration lovers is the IR blog.
IR announce calls for submissions on Facebook and Twitter, with a specific theme. Illustrators can apply to take part in a rally and if selected you get your art showcased on their beautiful looking blog with a link to your site - yay!! I haven't had the chance yet as i've only discovered this one, but next rally - i'm there.

7. Mencap's Make with Me initiative: http://www.makewithme.org.uk The charity Mencap who support people with learning disabilities have recently launched their brand new craft based initiative Make With Me (there is also one for avid baking fans of a similar ilk called Bake With Me) This is something for all ages and abilities to get involved with to help raise money for a good cause.
They're asking crafty folks to organise their own fundraising 'Make Parties' and invite friends, family and members of the community to take part. I love this as its such an innovative fund raising idea and one which it'll also give artists/makers who are interested in running workshops & community engagement activities the chance to try out the field and hone their teaching skills.

8. https://www.greatbritons.ba.com/ Recently I've learnt about some ace competitions, which I would love to take part in but probably don't have the time. My sister Jennifer informed of a mega competition which is being run by British Airways as part of their Olympic 2012 advertising campaign. They're basically running a serious of contests - one for aspiring artists, one for aspiring writers and one for aspiring chefs.
The art comp invites applications from emerging talent to submit ideas & initial sketches for Olympic and Paralympic themed imagery which will adorn the sides of BA jumbo jets - wow imagine how flipping ace that would be. The winner gets coaching from the world renowned artist Tracy Emin.

9. http://www.dontpaniconline.com/designbrief/protest-placard-poster-competition Here is another competition based opportunity. The super slick Don't Panic e-magazine is running 'Design The Poster' competition in association with fashion label Diesel who have been running various design based competitions on and off for some years now.
The idea behind this one is to design a political slogan it's a great idea for a contest and one which you can have a lot of fun with. If you think you're a slogan whizz and have a spare moment you should give this one a go.
The deadline is soon so don't miss out!

10. http://www.whiteboxcontest.com Ok last one, but as the old adage goes 'by no means the least'. This is another one with an imminent deadline. Run by the Belgium chocolatiers Guylian this a contest for aspiring designers to get their teeth into....hahaha get it, get it (a crap pun sorry) .
Named ‘The White Box Contest' applicants are asked to submit designs for a new look box for their famous chocolate praline shells. A great competition with a $5000 prize for the winner.

Well if all this isn't enough to keep you busy for a while, i'm flipped if i know what will.


Friday, 3 June 2011

End of an era (well a short era)

Tuesday saw the closure of the Made In Newcastle shop. Some of you may already know that this is an empty shop project which i have been heavily involved in over the last 10 months.
It began in July last year when a lady called Rachael Streather set up the first incarnation. After its premature closure in October 2010 due to a paid tenancy offer, I went about sorting us out another premises and on 14th December (or abouts) the shop at 79 Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne opened. We managed to hold this shop for the full intended 6 months and on the 31st May our time there was complete.

I won't bore you with all the ins and outs of the set up and how it came to be, as it is a long story. However if you want to know more about the project you can read the Made In Newcastle (MiN) blog and you may want to read the post 'A tale of two MiNs' which I wrote when the 1st shop closed in July and attempts to sum up events in a more interesting way.

The shop was hard work, but i feel a bit lost now its gone. It was a great place to network meet like-minded makers and artists and also a fantastic opportunity to showcase & sell my work. Still its not all over, the MiN project is still going to continue but i think we'll be doing it in a different form net time - possibly a more community engagement type project, where we have a studio space which we can offer workshops from.

Now that the shop is no more i am looking for new places to stock my prints and cards in, so if you have any suggestions please let me know as i would love to find some new lovely stockists. I've just finished an illustration which i am going to put on the wall of a very cute little coffee shop called Piccolo Coffee in the Grainger Market soon and hope to add it to my Folksy shop too. Here its is hope you like it: