Tuesday, 14 June 2011

New Rainbow Adventures

SO I've cogitated and cagitated and whatever else it is that Lloyd Grossman used to do in the 80s version of Masterchef.  And.  I have come to the conclusion that red and black is not as good as a rainbow -

SO FYI - THIS is the new label.... soon be seen on a range of baby booties, dog coats, craft bags and the like.  Well maybe not exactly soooooon per se, but coming, hopefully, by christmas if we are lucky!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Finally some creativity

Well, its all been go in this far Western tip of the UK - and April and May passed super speedily - weddings (quite a big on in the UK I believe) plus a few of my own - and then super crazy work -ness as I found myself spending most of the month in London away from home working on a few projects ( and another wedding dress!)

And now I am back and caught up, and off to another wedding on Saturday.... the bride will be wearing an original by Annalise Harvey - Bespoke Bridal Design (my label) and as its the first dress of my company's 'season' it will be super exciting - not to mention that she is a dear friend and all that jazz - goes absolutely without saying.

Due to the opening up of a fab  craft cafe  in St Austell by the lovely and very talented Sarah Drew I will be running a few workshops over the coming months - and this has prompted me to take some action with this site.  I was always going to put my craft makey bits here - and now I have an opportunity to sell some too!

So a label has been designed - featuring Tilly of course - as she's become something of a mascot on this adventure out West - and with a slight Wild West feel given our location!

Over the coming months I write more about new things I am trying out - and the workshops I do - but here's a small example!  Tweed booties for the discerning babies out there - lined with Liberty Lawn and inter lined with soft fleecey soles for added snugginess and comfort.

Right - need to get on with the day - but keep a look out for more exciting madebyhand goodies.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Inspiring Creativity

Its all busy busy busy down in this neck of the woods - but yesterday I went off for a symposium at Plymouth University looking at the way messages are communicated through the combination of word and image.

Wow.  Really WOW.  Some really inspirational speakers - brilliant minds and awesome work travelling the spectrum from beautiful design of practical every day objects (books, stamps etc) to more conceptual graphic design exploring text and playing with it in a very physical sense.

Three favourite people of the day:

Graham Rawlewww.grahamrawle.com

Just AMAZING.  Works in Collage focussing on the 50s and 60s (women's magazines and bubble gum cards)  Many of you will have seen his Lost Consonants series in the Guardian (ran for 15 years!)  

For my husband and his friends - 
who love their twee (d) Tuesdays...
(c) Graham Rawle

His 'Woman's World ' is so much more than a book - though it does constitue the stipulated length for a novel ... A story worked from actual quotes from Woman's Mag's of the mid 20th Century  - carefully piece together to create a full and rationale narrative it is soon to become a film.  I can't begin to really describe the genius of this man - or his dedication to his work.  A great speaker too!

David Pearsonwww.davidpearsondesign.com
who's book cover designs for Penguin 100 great ideas many of you will have seen in the bookshops.  Slick, simple, elegant, clever and beautiful too - I want to own any and all of these books (no matter how relevant or irrelevant they may be to my life and work!)  His work is full of texture and depth and in an age where so much graphic design is computer generated, it was really refreshing to find an artist who works with rubber stamps, block printing and letter press. Since leaving Penguin he has started up his own company and now you can own a cloth bound edition of some of your favourite classics wrapped - truly desirable objects just to look at, and smell, and touch (I hope I am not the only person who loves these things about books....?!) all for under £20 if you want to find out more find them here...White's Books  I have an obsession with Jane Eyre - and that edition is SO going on my Christmas list (come to think of it our first anniversary is approaching - I believe it is traditionally celebrated by a paper gift? nudge nudge wink wink Mr Creative in Cornwall... :-p)


Lizzie Ridout  - www.lizzieridout.com
An amazing brain inspired by the things that also motivate me to work - the way objects out live us, what they say about us, what sorties can we tell from them.  

Over the past couple of years I have wondered if perhaps I haven't missed a vocation as a graphic designer (weddings, theatre and heritage clearly not being enough to keep me occupied!)

Anyway - that's all by the by - and part of much wider thinking about how we only have one life, and how as you get older all the avenues of infinite possibility which lay before me at the age of 15 become ever more finite with every decision taken - a slightly melancholy thought perhaps, brought about by an impending school reunion type affair - though it does not in any way mean I regret where I am or wish I was somewhere else!  Just an observation - and one I will ponder on my 'walkabout' this summer (more on that another day...)

Bestest to you all x

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The God Debate

Today whilst undertaking some rather boring admin tasks (and actually wanting to be  getting creative in my lovely studio) I am been watching Richard Dawkins 'God Delusion' on More4 - I don't disagree with the principal of challenging world faiths - I think it is healthy to challenge and discuss - and after all faith is exactly that - a faith, a belief in something bigger than ourselves, without scientific proof or evidence.  

Religion provides us as humans with the option to  make choices, follow our instincts (is there scientific proof for instincts and instinctive feelings? )  and for some people it helps provide a framework, and a code of living -  a set of guidelines for living well, loving well and looking after each other.  I don't think there is a religion in existence that commands, in a literal sense, that human beings go out and destroy each other - and it is my opinion that religious teaching is about encouraging us and empowering us to make our own choices - and should be analysed in the context of an evolving society and culture. I think most people would agree that fundamentalism and extremism is dangerous to the stability of world harmony no matter if it be Christian, Islamic, or  Buddhist (it all exists throughout the world though some examples more often reported than other)

Nor do I disagree with the statement that much of the worlds troubles are founded on religious differences. As a fairly open minded person - open to and actively involved in on going debate about the whys and wherefores of organised religion, and interested in its social and cultural relevance - I am surprised to find myself quite offended by Dawkins haughty and patronising tone. It strikes me that perhaps vehement atheists aren't atheists at all - isn't passionately believing in the NON existence of something the same as fervent faith in the existence something - i.e. God or Gods? 

Surely choosing not to believe in anything (as agnostics do, to abstain for a belief in anything) is the most humane way of staying out of the religious debate. ..A passive stance rather than an aggressive one? It seems that his outright decrying of religious faith and scripture is almost as aggressive an act as covering oneself in explosives and blowing up fellow human beings (albeit an emotional rather than physical one - and obviously no deaths involved....) 

As someone who works a great deal in a religious environment (when not being crafty and creative in Cornwall) - and a great supporter of the plethora of good things that the world religions encourage and foster (as well as criticiser of the bad) I am really  Interested in thoughts - all and any are welcome!

PS - I have absolutely no intention to cause offence here -  simply to begin an open minded and healthy discussion about the subject.  Please, if you are in anyway upset or angry about anything I have said do not hesitate to get in touch with me or post on the blog and accept my sincere apologies - I would be really interested in your reasons and rationale and hope only to get discussion going which promotes the individuals ability to make their own informed choices about what and why they believe - if they do! I have not included a precis of my own religious beliefs since I had no intention to make this stance a personal argument - more a look at the whys and wherefores of the many and varied beliefs of us all!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ma Nature's lyrical

Its been 4 months.  I am out of hibernation - the sun is out, the daffodils are blooming, and life is finally starting to feel as I imagined it would as a newly-wedded lady.... only a year later!

I have wanted to post so often over the last months but life, and work, and Christmas, and birthdays and moving house all got in the way.

The idyll of farm life soon faded with the arrival of one of the coldest winters on record, and the novelty of living in a house that was falling down around our ears soon wore off.  Night after night the Mr and I would sit, in our three plus jumpers, mittens, scarves, coats and wooly hats, watching each other breath the way we did as children.  The fire's heat went out through the single paned glass and the draughty door frames and very often we ended up in bed at 7 - not for newlywed antics - no, because the electric blanket made it the warmest place in the house.  We got through 5 series of Battlestar Galactica in about 3 weeks as we watched episodes back to back on the lap top whilst huddling with the dog, who was so unbelievably cold that all of our discipline went out of the window.  It's bad enough us electing to live like this, we reasoned, but she hasn't any choice in the matter!

The nights were long and dark and in the end we retreated 'upcountry' for what can only be described as one of the loveliest Christmases ever.  The In-Laws house was like a little gingerbread heaven as we approached on the 22nd, fairy lights twinkling, snow on the roof, and the log burner working over time.  We were spoilt for nearly two whole weeks and returning to the cold crumbling house in January was a depressing shock to the system.

So we set to with the house hunting!  And now we think we've died and gone to heaven.  Our new home is in the perfect little village of Cubert, 1 mile from the North coast (Holywell Bay) and about 3 miles West of Newquay.  It's high on a hill and visible from miles around - on Monday Mr and I went for a long old walk (mainly because we got a bit lost) but it enabled me to take this picture...

You can see the steeple of St Cubert's Church towards the right hand side ... its a 13 Century building - a little bit worse for wear as many of these places are - but its the heart of the village and I can see it from my front door :-)  Being new to the village I though p'raps I ought to pop along on a Sunday just to say hello, and before I knew it I had joined the choir and found myself singing for the Bishop at the St Piran's celebrations the following week!  I  was so warmly welcomed - and its lovely to be 'plugged in' so soon.

St Piran is not, contrary to popular belief, the patron saint of Cornwall. He is in fact the Patron Saint of Tin Miners - and it is his cross which adorns the Cornish flag (The white represents the streaks of tin in the Cornish rock)  Every year the locals of Perranporth (about 5 miles away and the site of St Piran's landing in Cornwall) re-enact the event, which involves St Piran, an Irish Monk, drifting across the sea from Ireland having been saved from drowning by the millstone intended to kill him which had miraculously 'floated' and brought him to Cornwall.

St Piran's Cross which dates from the 9th Century, is decorated with Daffodils as part of this event which includes a big parade of locals across the sand dunes.  We missed the event but on our epic walk we found the cross!  And very lovely it is too.

And well- that was the day I decided to come out of hibernation - things are looking up - Spring has properly sprung and in ten days time the clocks will change and we'll be well on the way to Summer.  I LIVE IN CORNWALL.  And it's actually rather lovely!   Winter Blues - what are they? Pah! I spit in the face of Winter Blues.  I hear Daffodil Yellow is the new blue :-)

As the song goes- 'Ma Nature's lyrical, with her yearly miracle... its spring, spring SPRING!'

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Making friends at the end of the world

They're not wrong when they say that moving house is up there with stressful incidents like bereavement, changing your job, and getting married, or getting divorced.  It's not so much the impact of the upheaval, the packing, the lists, the phone calls, the being put on hold to the insurance company for an hour, ignored my your ex-council when you advise them you have moved, or the financial impact of 2 self drive hires 300 miles plus a few car loads.

No, I have realised its what comes after that has more impact.  The getting used to it. 

I am someone who, having been a bit lacking in the self esteem resources, has always associated 'who I am' with 'what I do'.  I would described myself as an idle workaholic.  A what?  Well,  I love sleep, I can't get enough of it, my natural day runs from about 10am to about 1 am.  Which means that I am perennially late for work, and ALWAYS working late.  When I worked in theatre I was pretty much like everyone else (an 'early' meeting was 10:30) and I never really noticed it.  

In the office before I moved here I stood out a bit like a sore thumb with my regular half 9 starts and 7 pm finishes, and if it wasn't for such understanding management (and the invention of a flexi sheet) I would have been verbally warned pretty much every week.  3 strikes and you're out  would have rendered me jobless before a month was out.

Anyway - I digress. These days I work for myself.  Which means that my daily routine consists of precisely what is natural - wake up about half 9, breakfast at 10.  Check emails, wash up, bit of housework, walk the dog, lunch. Off to the studio, work. 6:30 (after the Truro rush hour - where DO all these people live down here - in hedges?)  drive home (via supermarket sometimes)  Pretty much ALL accomplished to the soundtrack of Radio 4.  Light the fire and work some more, maybe.

I used to loathe spending time on my own - the very thought of it rendered me a wobbly wreck - but these days after quite a lot of therapy apart from anything else, I know how to deal with it.  Which is just as well as I spend most of my time alone.  It gives you a great deal of time to think - something which, not just once, have I been accused of doing too much of.  And I have found, over the last two weeks, that having this space has been at once a scary and wonderful thing. 

It occurs to me that I have finally understood what holidays are for.... only this isn't holiday this is my life!  I am a bit stressed by the lack of stress.  I am surprised by how 'un-worried' I am about things.

Lonely, yes.  Worried - not really. Anyone that knows me will probably have laughed out loud at that last sentence.  I am not even worried about my loneliness - knowing that it's par for the course when you relocate.  

Anyway - as always I learn much from the wise Shaman-ess that is our daft dog - Tilly, who is the one living creature I do have daily chat with (apart from the Mr of course!)   Husband and I, it seems, are both feeling a bit vulnerable, churned up, lonely. So -This weekend we embraced the changes and went on a mini adventure.  What does one do on a Sunday when one lives in the Duchy?  Why, my dear,  one goes to the beach!  Being who we are of course it wasn't just any old beach - it was the furthest most Westerly beach and being Cornwall it was wild and rugged and utterly breathtaking.

We started to find each-other again me and him, after the tumult of the last ? months - year? (I realise as I write this the last 12 months has brought us 4 out of the 5 aforementioned stressful events)  And then - a little moment of magic as Tilly's genetic code resonated with that of another canine beach companion - equally looney and energetic as she.  It was amazing - a totally different relationship between them than that she has with any other non breed related dog on the daily walk.  They knew each other  and hilariously they didn't know why - so they just ran and ran and played and boxed and barked and ran some more.

Well what did this idle-workaholic-queen-of-procrastination-over-analytical-creative-in-Cornwall take from that?

Stop thinking, start walking, and sooner or later you'll run into a kindred spirit - it's happened before, it will happen again! After all it is said that apparently at least 50% of the population of Cornwall has emigrated here from 'upcountry' - just like us - so there's got to be some genetic code resonation to be had somewhere in this incredible place.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Cows may safely graze

It's been an eventful couple of days which began yesterday with a visit to Farmer Chris and his new calf, Barney.  Barney's Mum, Marge, is having a spot of bother following the birth of her second (elder brother Harold is a beast now at 6 months old) and Chris is feeding Barney by bottle twice daily, in the barn.

Spotting a sucker for anything small (ish) and furry, he very kindly invited me to help with the feed when I popped up to meet Barney and Marge.

'Put your wellies on' he said. 'You do have wellies don't you?'

Funnily enough my brown wellies with retro sprig flower print are the most sensible thing to actually have made it out of the garage (where all the sensible things are still stored in boxes) and into the house (where all the ridiculous things are spilling out of the boxes struggling to find a home and generally causing a health and safety hazard.

Wellies donned I head for the Barn at the appointed time. Chris doesn't use gates, he climbs over them - which I duly do to, thinking 'when in Rome' and proceed to sink up to my ankles in the mud.  His caravan sits in the middle of this mud and I can see why he prioritises the large screen tv and not the house work!  I wouldn't bother either if I lived in a tin boax floating in the middle of a swamp!

Barney and Marge are asleep.

I hold the milk while Chris climbs in and gently lifts the calf and moves him away from Mum.  It seems that, especially with a stranger in the pen, Marge might get a bit protective of the bottle feeding.

At 4 days old Barney is still a wee bit wobbly on his feet and stumbles on his long gangly legs to get to the bottle and get his breakfast.  It went down very quickly and when he'd finished it he started head butting my tummy.

' He's looking for the teat' says Farmer Chris.

I remember a trick I used with my god-son Ted when he was also tiny and frustrated at the end of the bottle and I held out my fingers.

It struck me the power of nature - how exciting it is to be living so close to it - this 4 day old creature just following his instincts, and how much we could learn from following ours too.

There's so much frustration in our lives - too much food, too little exercise, not enough sleep.

Cows just eat when they are hungry, sleep when they want to, and spend their days minding their own business.  They just get on with it.  I'm glad I am human, that I have the capacity to think, and reflect and take something new from each day.  And today, among other things, I have realised quite how far I have come from a darkish place I was in a few years ago.

Today I have made two batches of apple sauce, cleaned out the fireplace, taken Tilly for a long walk, and now the Mr is lighting a fire and radio 4 is chuntering the background whilst she tucks into a bone (on the newly hoovered carpet....) and the rabbit is hopping about hopefully hunting for a cable he hasn't yet had a go at chewing.

Yes, I think, I am going to like this new life.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Life begins.... tomorrow!

Its funny how distance distorts time - a major life shift changes your perception of the world and suddenly the familiar disappears into the ether and you find yourself in a surreal dream 300 miles down the road.

The characters are the same - it's definitely you, your clothes, your toothbrush, your favourite mug.  Yup,  its definitely Tilly-dog - and absolutely the correct husband (do I really have one? Was that really 5 months ago?)

I remember Saturday morning - a van load, a house clean, a day at work. Getting used to being a white van man (loving the bouncy seat!) a long drive home to the mater, a bit of a catastrophe with an up-turned paint can in the van, 6 rolls of kitchen towel and 4 hours of cleaning, fireworks, halloween, a job application, collection of atable, delivery of a bed and a 300 mile drive...

Arrival.  A cup of tea.  Yes.  Much needed.

A trip to the new studio to deliver the van load (in the dark).  The empty Victorian Bakery, the long corridors - signs of life in the day and yet just me and the Mr, secretly unloading through a side door.  Its raining.  I feel like a burglar - trespassing.  A long walk down the corridor - and we get to the studio door.

And there it is - my name, my logo, a freshly glossed crisp white door.

Original floorboards re-invigorated - a bespoke desk long enough to keep my machines up ALL THE TIME (this is tremendously exciting).  I go in.  I turn around - the most beautiful shade of duck egg blue on the wall (matched to my logo I later discover).  Hours and hours of work - and I get a flood of mixed emotion.  He's worked so hard - he's done this for me and this is it!  The place where its all going to happen - Annalise Harvey Bespoke Bridal Design  is born.  I catch a glimpse of clients to come - my mind is filled with where to put shelves - how to un pack - and tingling excitement at just having my own space - in which to be, and make, and create.

And then a tinge of pressure - of fear, of what if? and how can I? and will I be able to?  The terror of knowing I have to.  Failure is not an option....

Well I must say that was enough for one weekend.  I have spent most of my first day asleep - well I must have needed it!

Life can begin properly tomorrow. 

Friday, 29 October 2010

Tilly moves house

48 hours to go until we begin the new Cornish chapter in our lives. Tilly's decided to adopt the drawer in the absence of her spotty bed and is proving very helpful in loading the van. Bye bye Rochester hello Blackwater... More anon!
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