Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking Back Looking Forward

This last year has been awesome. I've never worked so hard in my life I must say but so much happened alongside. I wrote a book! A whole one! I never thought I'd be able to say that but now I can. It was the possibly the hardest thing I've ever done but as I read on Pinterest yesterday  'It always seems impossible until it's done'! (image from the love shop on Etsy)....and it is done. I've seen the front cover and everything!

The book took me places. To studios and workshops across the country listening to the inspiring stories of artists and makers. I took myself to a writing retreat in Llansteffan which was wonderful. I got to grips with stress and productivity. Honestly I learned so much this year about that.

And in between me writing and researching, life happened. My best friends did some seriously exciting married her 'one true love' (they really do call each other that and it is very funny), and another had her first baby and asked me to be there with them. Robert left his day job and bravely set out into self employment. The kids did another year of growing up into fine human beings.

Then there was the Do What You Love Retreat which was an amazing experience and I made friends there and met many inspiring people. Me and Robert made a super new website for Radiance. Matthew did his first year in the shop which has been fab and has allowed me all this travelling about...

And next year?

Well I'm excited already.  I'm excited about is getting back in the studio and doing some new work. This year I have filled up so much on inspiration without having time to play with new ideas and I'm ready to pop. I'd love to schedule in studio time in the same way as I did book time. TUESDAYS are going to be for just that. Every week. Not writing, or fulfilling orders, or wrapping Tuesdays are development days.  Play days, days to absorb myself in the flow of creativity....Studio Tuesdays! :)

And I'm excited about....

I've never done an ecourse before but I have my notebook and coloured pens at the ready because I think this one with Kelly Rae Roberts at Beth Nicholls will have me excitable! :) It starts in January. The perfect time for reflecting and beginning new things.

And we're moving house! We have been planning this for a while but it's only since this Christmas break that it's sinking in. We are finally leaving this cosy flat that we have well and truly outgrown and going to live above the shop. And 'above the shop' sits a large three storey townhouse. A proper family sized house with hallways and stairs (something we've been without for 9 years) and big bedrooms and large windows. It's nice. And we can't wait. We'll all be able to expand ourselves a bit. Euan said he already felt bigger just going to look round it. Know what he means.

Then later in the year there will be the BOOK LAUNCH. Hooray! I have lots of things up my sleeve and all will be revealed later in the year.

And we have two big birthdays on the horizon. Ffion will be 18 and I will be 40! I'm not counting the days though. I was only 39 yesterday! :) And perhaps there will be more travelling...., shall I go to Japan whilst Beth is there to find new outlets for my work, shall we go and visit Monique in Holland (we miss her so), shall I go back to Llansteffan for another retreat, shall I go to India for my 40th to do some yoga? I'm definitely going to the Summer Isles on Rachels bookbinding course in March. The rest at present is still being pondered upon.

Anyway thanks for listening to me reflect and ramble. I'm sure 2012 is going to be another great year. Whatever your hopes and dreams are may I wish you a very very Happy New Year! xxx

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Get any good books for Christmas?

I am very much enjoying my Christmas reading pile. This time of year is the best. The mellow week between Christmas day and New Year. Time to slow down, reflect, read, think, eat nice things and be with the family. This stack of books is a pile of pure inspiration. Just opening any of them, anywhere gets the creative juices flowing...actually just having the pile sitting there is enough! :)

I'll start from the bottom up. Botany for the Artist by Sarah Simblett has pages full of beautiful drawings and photographs and tips on drawing plants.
I might just be able to tell my compound umbels apart from my dicasiums by the end of the holidays!

The New Artisans by Oliver Dupon is soooo lovely. A chunky hardback book featuring 75 designer makers from all over the world, full of stunning work. I found out about it through Cecilia Levy's blog, a paper artist I discovered this year, who is one of the featured artists. I'm so glad to own it....and makes me proud be an 'artisan' too. It's such a lovely word.

Then there's Lotta Jansdotters Open Studios Book. This features 24 artists studios from New York, Stockholm and Tokyo, and Lotta and  photographer Jenny Hellengren have obviously had a whale of a time visiting these fascinating creative spaces and taking wonderful pictures. I visited loads of studios whilst doing the interviews for Illuminate this year and I loved every minute. Seeing the creative mess, the little things that inspire, the tools ready and waiting, pots of pencils, glass rods, piles of books....It's all in here. It's made me want to expand my studio though...but I guess I've been wanting to do that for ages anyway!

Then there's Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts, a very pretty book about nurturing your creativity and daring to honour your creative whisperings. I am going to be taking her ecourse next month HELLO SOUL HELLO BUSINESS which is a brand new collaboration with Beth from Do What You Love and I'm really excited about it. It's a business course about looking after the soul of your business. I have been in business for quite some time now and things are really flying but I think it's really important to look after the very thing that inspired you to do it in the first place and keep things fresh! Kelly Rae and Beth sent all the participants these beautiful notebooks for Christmas which is sitting on the top of my pile ready to catch any creative musings while things are peaceful!

My friend Rachel lent me this When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman and I can't tell you anything about it yet because I haven't started it. All I know is that she saved it for me because she thought I'd like the cover. She was absolutely right. That blue moon is metallic and very pretty.

I've been wanting to bring birds into my work for a long time so this Bedside Book of Birds by Graeme Gibson is good inspiration.

Full of illustrations and strange tales and folklore. I just read a tale about a girl whose mother bakes her in a pie because she broke her milk jug but she comes back to see her family as a bird and kills her mother with a stone down the chimney. Nice!

Just think. This time next year somebody might have my very own book on their Christmas reading pile. How exciting is that!!! Right, time for another cup of tea and some reading. Did you get any good books for Christmas?

Friday, 23 December 2011

I'm winding down now for the holidays. Goodness me, it's been a busy year and I am really ready for a rest!  The Hannah website is closed now until the 3rd of then I'll be raring to go again. Radiance  is open until 4pm Christmas Eve and then will also be hibernating until Wednesday 4th January. Thank you all for making it a great year and I wish you a very very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sixteen years ago today...

*I would like to interrupt this crazy, busy Christmas frenzy to take a moment to remember a very special time*
Sixteen whole years ago today my lovely boy was born. Lets set the scene. We're in The Pelican in Laugharne, West Wales, a large green Georgian house on the high street where we rented the top floor flat (fact: the very house where the poet Dylan Thomas was laid to rest on the large kitchen table). See the top right hand window. That's where it's all going on!
It's nearly Christmas, Jo (our landlady) is baking bread in the downstairs kitchen, Keith is on the middle floor landing bottling his home brew, Karen was knocking on the door knocker to see if we were coming to toddler group, Wally the rosy cheeked, curly moustached, jolly old man was about somewhere and I was upstairs having a baby!

Euan came fast, must faster than his sister and so fast that there was no time to drive the 13 miles to Carmarthen hospital. His Dad had taken Ffion to our friend Annes so we could get going but by the time he came back I was in the bedroom ready to push him out! We were on our own. We were waiting for Nia the midwife to arrive. John got Jo up from the kitchen for support and they were total loons. I was in control, totally focused but they were so funny bless 'em. They were anxiously looking out of the window for Nias car. 'What colour is it?' 'Blue' I say. 'Is it a lorry?' says Jo!

Anyway, Nia arrived with 20 minutes to spare and helped me push him out into the big wide world. Jo was sitting in the washing basket watching and she was the first person to see Euans little face ('glaring at him' as she puts it). We wrapped him in a pale blue towel and I was soooo happy. Happy to have my little boy in my arms and so relieved that it didn't take another three days! So fast....but then Euan always is in a hurry. He just couldn't wait to join us! ;)

Now 16 years on his a grand fellow! A top man (as Wendy likes to call him) an all round lovely lad. I am astounded at his talent. Have a listen to this tune String of Angels that he wrote yesterday. I'm such a proud Mummy. Sniff!

Oooh glad I don't have to give birth today though! I will go to work and carry on making lamps and wrapping parcels and enjoy the distant memory!

Friday, 9 December 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of my give away is Janet! She said that her favourite was the Harebell as it's the flower that her Mum picked to decorate her wedding cake and next year will be their 40th wedding anniversary and she'd love to give the lamp to them. I hope you read this Janet because your comment was anonymous and I can't get in touch. Do drop me a line.

Thanks SO much for all your lovely comments. It's a pleasure to know that my work is appreciated. Makes it all worthwhile.x

Friday, 2 December 2011

Giveaway time!

Just celebrating my two hundredth blog follower. It makes me very happy that you are all here you lovely people. Would you like a lamp? Just in time for Christmas?

Just visit my website and then leave a comment below telling me which small cylindrical table lamp you would like the best. Everyone who comments will be entered into a draw to win. I'll announce the winner next Friday 9th December.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Anyone for an illuminated cup of tea?

Do you like my new kettle? It arrived in the post today, all the way from Gilles Eichenbaum in Paris and it is my present to myself for working hard on my book...something to mark the occasion! It is wonderful that it should arrive today as yesterday as I had the loveliest email from my editor. She has read my manuscript and is really pleased with my submission and thinks it will make a beautiful book! I had a little cry with relief I can tell you. I put my heart and soul into that book and it is wonderful to hear that it has been enjoyed.

It's not over yet though. I have been over zealous and written way too much. I have to cut it down by 6000 words. Yes that's SIX THOUSAND....and by Monday afternoon. Haven't quite got my head around that yet....

Anyway this wonderful art piece is something that I fell in love with along the way. It has been lovingly crafted by Gilles Eichenbaum who has a business called GARBAGE as he makes new artefacts out of peoples disused items. Kettles, coffee pots, saucepans, colanders with beautiful lace work patterns cut out using simple tools in his workshop. It LOVE it . It has made my day to unwrap the box and see it in real life. I love that it is so smooth and well finished. I love that it is painted white inside to reflect the light around. I love that the lid comes off (why wouldn't it?) so that you can change the bulb. I feel that if I tipped it up, bright illuminated light would pour from the spout. I like the sound of that cup of tea!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Lighting up the Russian Tea Room

I have been working on some designs for the Russian Tea Room in Skipton which is due to open in December. They asked me to make lampshades for the tables in the cafe so I have been working on some designs based on traditional Russian folk art.

It's a nice subject to draw inspiration from with beautiful scrolling designs of flowers, leaves, birds and berries. This is the first design but there will be another four to come.

The Russian Tearoom already has one outlet in Bacup, Lancashire but they are opening their second cafe in the Yorkshire market town of Skipton and as well as the tearoom it will also have a shop and the lamps will be on sale there. Looks like it's going to be lovely.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Virtual studio tour

Today we launched the new Radiance virtual tour and this time you can make your way right to the back of the shop and see me hard at work in my studio! (look, there I am...can you tell I tidies up for the occasion). But before you go and have a look, here's an idea. My talented boy Euan wrote a new tune over the weekend which is rather lovely. Why don't you go to his Bandcamp page, press play and while it's playing go and have a spin around the shop. They will go very well together! :)

The fantastic virtual tour was cleverly crafted by Joby Catto of Anti Limited. He does some amazing panoramic photos. I recommend you check him out.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New Stockists

I thought I'd share some of my new stockists with you as I am pleased to have some lamps in some great new locations. First up Nova Scotia, Canada! This is Dots & Loops Handmade and holds the record for being my most distant stockist.What an inspiring shopfront! I love it. They sell handmade goods from all over the world and I would very much like to visit! This photo montage came from

Next up, Pippin in Edinburgh, a brand new gift and homewares shop opened by jeweller Erica Stahl. I will look forward to popping in when I go up and visit next time.

I'm pleased to be in Harrison Lord in Brighouse too after they ordered some work at GNCCF. My dear friend Kate Lycett talks highly of them as she sells many of her beautiful paintings there. (have a quick peep on her website, you might see the new paper lanterns that she's cooking up...they are soooo sweet and I'm going to have them at Radiance when they're ready).

And here we have my FIRST STOCKIST IN IRELAND! Hooray! Ireland always looked so bare on my stockist map and I thought it would be great to seek out some stockists, but as I hadn't got round to it I was very happy to take an order from this lovely gallery O'Reilly & Turpin in County Mayo. I'll be posting their order off next week.

Met someone at the show who distributes crafts to Japan too who I'm now in conversation with. Watch this space!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Timber House on Skye

I am a very lucky lady. When I went to the Do What You Love Retreat this year I made friends with book artist Rachel Hazell who was teaching the book binding workshop. Rachel loves making and reading and collecting books and travels all around the world (a lot) teaching inspiring workshops. Rachel has been a great support during my months of book writing, and in the summer when I was moaning about not having had a holiday (that was before Brighton and Wales turned out to be productive AND relaxing) she invited me to share her annual trip up to The Isle of Skye to stay in the Timber House.

Timber House has been beautifully designed with huge windows so you can make the most of the far reaching views.
It is SO comfy and cosy in there with underfloor heating and a wood burning stove, so if the wind is howling and the rain is horizontal (like it was a lot of the time) you don't mind having to stay indoors at all!

The house looks out over Loch Dunvegan so we could keep an eye on the wildlife. We got a quick glimpse of an otter splashing about and one morning we watched a sea eagle circle majestically around the house. I saw him again out of the bathroom window while I was having a shower! We were visited each day by a weasel (or was he a stoat?) running over the decking, one day he was carrying a mouse home for his dinner. When the rain stopped I ventured down to sit on a rock by the foreshore to watch the lovely seals poking their inquisitive heads out of the water.

Rachel said that I would love the Coral Beach and she was absolutely right!

These golden 'sands' are made up of the richest mosaic of tiny pieces of coral and shell.

The sun made an appearance lighting up the beach!

Look at the textures...

and the colours....
Timber House was the BEST house for yoga and we did a good hour every morning looking at the big sky. We spent a lot of time talking, thinking, planning and eating. The Three Chimneys Restaurant was a treat on my last night!

Rachel showed me how to make an origami box so I could take home my handful of beach!

It was a long old trip home but the coach from Syke to Glasgow was the most awesome bus journey I have ever been on. Six hours of absolutely stunning scenery. We passed mountain, lochs and forests, we passed Ben Nevis, Glencoe and Loch Lomand. Amazing and it only cost ten pounds too, for all that beauty!

And now home and not planning to go anywhere really until Rachels book making workshop on the Summer Isles next March (wanna come? check it out!). It's time to embrace the crazy Christmas weeks ahead! I'm ready!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Gathering of the Illuminated!

My mate Dave is an LED expert with a business called LED Fantastic. For the last couple of years his name (LED Dave as I call him) has come up SO often in conversation when I chat to makers about various designs that they would like to illuminate, and I have referred many people over to him for his expertise with great results. Above and below you can see Helen Musselwhites stunning 'Magic Cupboard' and below that, you can see Priscilla Jones's quirky 'Illuminated Teapot'.

LED's are great because they offer a low energy and low risk way of lighting things up!

Now the great thing is that Dave also runs the Hebden Bridge Hostel
which is an ideal place to stay and host a workshop.

We thought it would be great to get everyone together, artists and lighting designers for a weekend at the hostel to learn more about these wonderful 'Light Emitting Diodes' and how we can use them in our work. It's also a great chance to hook up and share ideas and enjoy a lovely relaxing weekend in Hebden Bridge at the same time. 20th- 22nd January 2012.

Here is a link to the flyer with all the information about the weekend and it would be really wonderful if you could make it!

Monday, 24 October 2011


I'm having a quiet sofa day today (with cats and tea) after a fast paced few days of doing the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester. It's been a great show. Always enjoyable to meet many appreciative customers and mix with other makers. My seed pods went down a treat which was very pleasing. It was nice to have something on my stand that wasn't a lamp. I think it was a first!

There was a really fantastic selection of work this year. Best yet I reckon. I didn't get much time off my stand to take it all in, or take any pictures as it was so busy, so I have just been perusing websites from the show exhibitor list to get a closer look and share a few things which I liked . GNCCF have a lovely photo album on facebook from the preview with some great pictures.

I loved Jennifer Colliers paper typewriter. She had also made a camera and a telephone and some lovely lampshades.
Rachel Eardley (sister of Ken, have his lamp bases at Radiance) makes jewellery by cutting the pictures from old coins. Such a clever idea. I love her gorgeous illustrative website.

I've been an admirer of Ruth Moilliets botanical metalwork for some time. It was nice to see it, and her (and her Mum) in real life.
Cathy Miles was there with her wirework. This is the robin I bought for my Mum a few years back. So sweet.
Sally Pawsons stand (and Sally herself) was bright and cheery and I bought a lovely pair of her earrings.
I think Suet Yi's ceramics was my favourite. I was too slow though. She had sold most of it by the time I got there!

This really barely scratches the surface. There was so much beauty and innovation.

Thanks to Matt who helped me Thursday night and Eleanor from Leeds Uni 3D Design course who helped me out for the day on Friday. Without her I wouldn't have been able to have a meeting with my editor so she could show me some possible layout options for the book! VERY EXCITING indeed. It is looking gorgeous so far and made it very real....

By next show (selection permitted) I will have my book on my stand with me!

H is for Home and Indie Quarter have done great posts about the show with some beautiful pictures.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Tree of Life lamp

It's all go in the workshop getting ready for GNCCF and doing some design work for The Russian Tearooms (more about that another day). I made a little Tree of Life lamp to take to the show. I like them altogether in a little forest. I have just added it to my website and if you're an Etsy lover you can find it here.
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