Sunday, 31 December 2017

The last Day of the Year

Thanks for popping in.
Thanks also for reading every day, if you do,
thereby giving me a reason to blog every day.
1,552 consecutive daily posts.
In real time, that means I have written a blog every day since 
13th October 2013.
Blimey! How times flies!!!

That’s substantial! And so much has happened in that time,
at a personal AND global level!
From Obama to Trump,
From Europe to Brexit,
From Create & Craft to Hochanda
(hahaha. Nothing like a list for getting things in perspective!)

You just have to dip into past blogs to be reminded..

I guess that this blog is a bit like a public diary mixed with a journal, isn’t it? Bit of art, bit of heart.

The last year has been a good one for our business.
We have grafted and grown, bought Pergamano and expanded, and the New Year is looking very bright too. Back on the stamp trail for me mind; looking forward to that. 

Dare I admit that on a few occasions I got quite overwhelmed and lost my way. The worm of doubt crept in and messed with my mind, as it does from time to time. There’s just so much to think about, to consider, to defend. So thank goodness for good people, who can take the reins and guide the ship until the fog clears.

Clarity may only be a little UK-based boutique craft company, 
but it’s also a cracking little family business, and a lot of other families have come to rely on it for a living. 

I would like to think that we spread good creative energy all year round, too. Thousands of loyal customers - your good selves included - will surely nod in agreement.
We aren’t perfect either; there’s always room for improvement, but we do try very, very hard to do the next right thing, to stay in our lane and to dare to be different. 
Some new creative people also joined the team this year; they have been instrumental in opening new doors and hatching new plans. The family is growing!

In a nutshell, we are just a bunch of friendly people who really enjoy working together to design and produce things which you in turn can use to bring out the artist in you.


And as long as I think that this blog is important to YOU, and that you get something out of it, I shall keep going. 

On behalf of the Clarity Family, I would like to thank you for your loyal custom, friendship and support throughout 2017,
and wish you and yours a healthy, happy 2018, 
filled with peace and creativity.

Love & Hugs,

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Grandparents are Precious

Hi there!
Thanks again for joining me.
Took the kids over to Oma and Grandad’s this morning, had some of Oma’s good ol’ German potato soup, and left them there.
They wanted to spend the weekend with their grandparents, 
which I think is pretty special, don’t you?

Just like the good old days, when I used to drop them off with Mum and Dad, so that I could go do a show, an exhibition or a workshop.

So here I sit, back in my little artroom, and I’m looking at the last piece I did here...
 (clearly didn’t clear up after myself!)

Winter Aperture Stencil

Mmm. Two kids. One canvas. That’s no good.
We need one each.
So since they are spending time with their grandparents, 
let me make a picture memory for one of them.  

Right, yellow HAYSTACK ink pad and a brayer.
Roll in the lower hill. Brushes intensify the edges.

Move the torn paper up the aperture, and work with your brayer, with brushes, with the yellow ink and with your dry black brush.

See how you can control the light and shade?

Add a sun behind the trees.
A sponge will sharpen the edges too.

Twirl the dry black brush around the circumference of the aperture.
This will tone down the whiteness.

Add Oma and Grandad, (wee folk stamp)
and then add a little ground underneath them.

Mmmm. Let’s soften the blackness, too...
Easy. Spread a layer of acrylic Buff Titanium paint over your Gelpress plate.

Place the lace swatch on a sheet of copy paper and squish the Gelpress down onto it. It’s what’s left on the Gelli that we want to transfer to the card. 

This instantly mutes and tones down the dark surround. 
The lace gives the piece a wonderful texture too.

Since this is card we are wrapping round the canvas board this time, I used double-sided adhesive tape instead of liquid adhesive.
Sticks like you know what!

Wrapped and mounted on the next size up.
And voila! 

Now I have 2 kids and 2 pieces of artwork for them. 
The same but different.
Like them.

They can fight over who gets which one, or pull straws. 
That’s how it worked when they were nippers!

Oooh the power !!! 

Love & Hugs,

Friday, 29 December 2017

More Fun and Games !

Hi there!
Thanks again for popping in.

Very late!
Our guests have only just left.

Paul and Jim from Clarity came over this afternoon with their respective partners, and after a buffet of turkey, ham and good old German potato salad, we settled down to a games session....

Here we see Paul and Earle, partners in crime,

and Jim and Claire, trying to crack the mystery.

Our Jayne from Clarity kindly gifted us the game for Christmas, and we actually took it quite seriously!!

Dave was playing taxi to Grace, so wasn’t playing with us.
He seemed more than happy to run the girl into Tunbridge Wells to see her friend. One could almost have imagined that he didn’t want to dress up like a dick and name that murderer!

Jim called it too soon and got it wrong;
these two gave it their best shot and were getting there -

but it was Inspector Gray who cracked the crime.
Oh yes she did. I do like a good murder mystery, don’t you?

When I retire, I am going to write a murder mystery.
I have a loose story in my head already. 
I reckon it would make a cracking good read...
I have even made notes, so that I don’t forget. 

PS. It’s set in Germany, Bavaria. 
But the book is like a maze. You, the reader, decide the outcome by making choices at certain points...

More will be revealed!
Love & Hugs,

Thursday, 28 December 2017

This Love won’t let you fail.

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Felt the need to express myself in a little canvas today.
Been spending essential time with the kids. Good talks.

Theirs are not my stories to tell, but boy! Have I listened.
And I remember how hard it is growing up, finding your feet in business, making a living.
Do you? Do you recall? 
Hats off to my two for making it so far so good - 
Especially in New York and San Francisco!  
That really is a long long way from home. 

So this canvas and the song I have pinned at the bottom are for both Grace and Mark. 

Using the blotted piece from our best selling stencil,

Added a crescent moon - some light 

and a few hills - or hurdles - with a brush and torn paper.

And with this little stamp we hung the moon.

Then we trimmed the paper, and added registration marks

to centre the circle on the front.
We covered the canvas board with adhesive,

and wrapped the paper around the board.

Added a piece of double-sided adhesive to the back,

...and mounted the piece on the next size canvas board, to frame.

Canvas sizes 6"x 6" on 8" x 8" 

I have always seen a young mother and her daughter in this stamp.
But today I saw the boy, the brother, on the step ladder. 

So there we are.
The world is their oyster.

If you have time to listen to this song by Chris Wood, it really IS wonderful. From the parent to the child....

Love & Hugs,
Barb (aka Mum)

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Chat chat chat...

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Do come in, let me take your coat.
Would you like tea or coffee?
Sit down, pull up a chair by the Aga and warm your hands.
It’s great to see you again. Been far too long!
Chat chat chat...
We were only saying yesterday how lovely it is to all get together and catch up. Yes, it’s lovely having the kids home.
We had a great time with Mum, Dad and the Grays.
Chat chat chat..
Let me pop some sausage rolls and pigs in blankets in the oven. 
I’m sure you must be peckish.
Chat chat chat...
There are some mince pies and Christmas cake to start with. 
Chat chat chat...
Oh! And we’ve got enough cheese to open a shop! 
Let me take some out of the fridge for later.
Chat chat chat...
I’m just popping into town to pick up a friend and her son. They are going to join us, if that’s ok?
Ah yes, and here’s Mark’s old rugby friend, Sean. 
Nice to see you Sean! Come in. Won’t be long...
Chat chat chat..
Hi! I’m back now! Please allow me to introduce you to my dear friend and her son.
Chat chat chat...

And so it goes on downstairs in the kitchen.
Pots of tea and coffee, Stollen, chocolate - it’s ALL coming out of the cupboard.
I have withdrawn to my little room above the garage, to chat to you, to tell you the link to the bell ringing video from yesterday has been repaired, and is well worth a gander. Check it out!

But I LOVE this Christmas.
I LOVE having the family here, the friends showing up, the 
chat chat chat...
some silly, some serious.
Some happy, some sad.
It’s a rare thing indeed to have so many people here.
When the kids are home, their friends all turn up too.
Just like the good old days.
Yes. I love it.

So if you don’t mind, I shall get back to them, and savour every minute of it. There’ll be plenty of time to sit here alone and do artwork when they have all departed again.
Chat chat chat...

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

It was the Bells, you see...

Happy Boxing Day !
Thanks for popping in.
Has it been raining where you are? 
Or have you enjoyed a white Christmas?

It has been pouring all day here - except for the point at which Grace, Mark and I decided to go for a walk through the woods to the pub. 
Just at that place where it’s too late to turn back and you may as well keep going, the heavens opened. 
But whatever. It’s only rain. So we kept going, and had a rare and memorably deep conversation in the Boar’s Head. 

Now Mark has gone off to see his best mate Fred, and Grace is sitting in our kitchen with her best mate, Lizzie. Funny, isn’t it? They live across the other side of the world, and yet their truest friends are the ones they made in the school yard. 
I like that.

Yesterday, it was games day at our house.
Let me see if I can share the bell ringing with you...

Not sure the link has worked.
Either way, it was pretty funny. 
Keep your eye on my Dad.

Anyway, thank you to those lovely ladies who joined in and had a go at getting the steps of yesterday’s Gelpress project in the right order. You were all very close - especially the first half! But only one of you got it absolutely bang on: 


















Well done Jomada Dawn!
You nailed it 100%

If you email me your address, I will send you a little post Christmas pressie when I get back to work.

Love & Hugs,