I visited Norway for the first time recently for a city break in Oslo, with mum my travel companion. I went with the idea of taking photographs and not visiting museums or galleries for this trip wanting to document the city as I strolled about collecting images of the ordinary scenes I saw on route. We were staying in the Toyen area of the city so after getting checked in we went out for a walk, it was very close to the Botanical Gardens and Munch Museum.
Doing a little research before I went, it was apparent I needed to do a bit of the tourist trail. Mum was quite happy to go where I wanted too. I was keen to see the Barcode Buildings in particular, a new development of architecture in the city near the Opera House and central station. They are beautifully designed and each one individually unique. I was photographing them from every angle, every time I passed them and even from the top of the Opera House. I loved the clean lines, tones and reflections they projected. Here is just a few shots I took, cranes and graffiti and all!
I also wanted to go and see the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Frogner Park, all sculptures build by artist Gustav Vigeland and Norway's top tourist attraction. It has the largest human sculpture built by a single artist from one piece of stone and took 14 years to complete, quite spectacular and around 200 others all over the park.
We walked across the city stopping by a few shops and browsing in windows as we passed by, capturing street scenes with trams and potters wares. I was on the hunt for a 50s/60s cafe I'd read about but never came across it, so was content in just going with the flow and seeing what we stumbled upon.
I also wanted to visit the trendy streets of Grunerlokka and Gronlands and it was purely by chance they were very close to Toyen where we were staying. There was lots of cool urban scenes to photograph along the way with yellow and greys, always a top colour combination for inspiration and plenty to see and do once there. Graffiti and street art all about. There was a local festival on so we soaked up some Scandi sun, ate in cafes, looked in shops and sat in parks listening to music.
On the final day we only had a few hours before leaving so revisited the Opera House which we'd seen on the first morning. Going back again when it was quieter meant I could shoot more photographs. It was a gorgeous walk in and we spent a lovely few hours exploring more and grabbing one last bite to eat before making our way to the airport.
I started doing little wood engravings a couple of years ago when I was invited along with a couple of colleagues to visit Linda Farquharson's printmaking studio in rural Perthshire. Linda wanted us to have a look at her space and have a go, she encouraged me to linocut previously, generously giving me lino pieces to cut with and I now wanted to try wood engraving. And who better to teach me!
I cut a small test block, opting to go for a tree, trying out some mark making and depth of lines and getting a feel for the new medium, then printed it onto Japanese paper by hand-burnishing with the back of a spoon. A printmaking method that is so easy to do without the use of a press. Going for a repeat pattern also made it stretch further giving the illusion of a bigger image.
It was a fabulous day, so inspiring and I came home buzzing from it having learnt lots from Linda and her environment. It was amazing seeing inside her studio, her sketches and insights into her work.
I bought a few blocks and found a small wooden spoon not long after but it wasn't until recently I finally got round to purchasing a tool and some ink to continue where I left off. It was great to start carving and printing again but I still need to practice a bit more. A reminder of an inspirational day.
I made a small still-life botanical themed block of simple lines and shapes influenced by works one of my favourite artists, William Scott. I love the shapes of these wee test blocks and try to work out a design to fit in with them.
I added watercolour detail and made it into a card. I hope to make more in the coming months, watch this space. Maybe one day I will progress to something bigger but for now these are just fine!
2018 so far for me has been slow but in a good way. I began the year as do many makers with great positivity and enthusiasm to get going on new work. I wanted to start making fresh new cards, and in January I did with some Valentine Love Trees. I designed a new tree shape for these which I have decided to continue using for other occassions by substituting the red for more Spring-like colours.
Some of the new paper colourways I have introduced for Spring and Mother's Day Love Trees.
I have been trying out some square format blanks in light grey. I was wanting to do a range using cut-out letters so had a go with these. I'm not sure if they are going to do well so only do a few to begin and see how they go. I like the colour, size and shape.
After making these I have made a decision to concentrate on not making to many new cards this year. Despite my early eagerness, it has been lovely to slow down a bit. I will not stop altogether just be good to do fewer, I'm hoping this will cut down on waste and build up a best selling collection of favourite cards. I will swap about different papers suiting each season and see how this develops.
I have managed to keep up my new photography which I worked on at the end of last year, so eventually the website is getting updated with all my popular designs www.juliettemcintosh.com.
I've had a bit of time lately to create new photography as I felt it was all getting a bit repetitive and rushed before cards were sent away for sale. I've had fun being creative setting up stills to photograph for my website www.juliettemcintosh.com and capturing a distinctive style which adds a bit of personality to the images. It is always important for me to be creative through the lens!
Using just a few props to keep it simple and minimal, I placed them around the cards to enhance - a bowl of star anise, a handmade candle, craspedia flowers and a handmade paper bauble.
I like as much natural light as possible and so set up a small table by a window and used black card as a background and a reflector to illuminate and diffuse shadows. I love the dark moody look especially at this time of year when it is so dark outside and cosy inside. You feel compelled to go for looks that suit the seasons.
A few favourites and a simple shot of the star anise just because I couldn't resist the light and the wee bowl sitting lonely on the table!
I hope you like them and fingers crossed I can keep it up. View them all on my website. www.juliettemcintosh.com
Autumn, a favourite season for many of us including myself. The beautiful light and exceptional colours of the trees and landscape, Autumn has it all. An inspiration for creatives, and a time to get cosy with the nights drawing in. I do love curling up watching the TV more in the evenings. BBC4 has had some great arts series on and there is the addiction to the bake off too of course!
It was a natural progression for me to make my tree cards using Autumnal reds, greens and yellows. I just adore this colour palette and so was happy to see them turn out. This selection is now available for sale at the Castle Gallery, Inverness.
As you may know I like to go out walking in my free time picking up ideas and photographing them. Autumn is definitely a photographers dream with the light so golden and warm.
Clematis is wonderful at this time of the year, those shapes and textures are amazing to look at. They put on a big show for us so we may as well appreciate them! I captured these down in the dunes earlier today.
Oh and with all the Swans I pass by on the river one was sure to be made into a card one day! I have been thinking of doing some limited edition cards for a while so this might be the one to start with.
I have also started on the mega task that is Christmas. It took me a bit longer than previous years to get into it but once I did eventually get going they came together and I have made 8 new cards for 2017. View them all on the website now.
I have completed one order so far and they have been sent off to Cambridge Contemporary Art for their Christmas Exhibition which starts next month. Few more to do over the coming months!
Thank you x
I thought I'd run through a bit more about the process and making of my cards. Hopefully this will give a more detailed insight into how they are made from start to finish. There is something about seeing a visual process to get something to stick in your mind, rather than just a finished product. Even though you are told something is handmade, a video or photograph highlighting this can really capture the process in your head better than words!
Firstly, I decide what to design. I do a lot of birds, I like their shapes, textures and colours. They work well for me and my style and the selection of papers I choose to buy. So this new Robin design is my most recent card made and the one I wanted to show you.
I make a quick drawing from my trusted reference book and trace around the drawn shape, making sure it will fit onto my card blanks, in scale with how I want it to look. I use the A6 standard size blanks in ivory. Using scraps of card I make templates to draw around, putting names on them as it could get very confusing with all the different birds I do!
It is then about looking through what papers I have to find suitable ones to use (and if there is nothing suitable that's always a lovely excuse to go shopping!). Although when shopping for paper I usually mentally run through in my mind ideas and buy ones I know will work well.
For the Robin I decided on the papers I liked, bearing in mind the seasons ahead! Look close and you'll see snowflakes.
It is then all cut out by hand, assembled and made into the finished card.
A Snow Bunting card also made with the same process. All can be viewed on my website.
Thanks for taking the time to read,
I sent off a selection of cards to Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity Street, recently. Some are new ones they haven't stocked before, so if you're in that area please take a look in.
Cocktails, Tree of Hearts and Butterfly Trees in the making and in the finishing stage. When working on batch orders, I set aside a couple of free days to make. My cards are made by hand, hand-drawn and hand-cut so it's a time-consuming process!
The cut-out Hares - then I like to use up the off-cuts to make the tails in contrasting colours, I never like waste and use up every scrap of paper!
Finished, boxed up and sent away.
A couple of days ago I saw a Heron in the River Nairn, the first one I've seen down there. I must go to the river more often instead of the beach! It is a gorgeous bird to watch, so calm and beautifully still in the water.
Unusually, for me anyway, I hadn't taken my Olympus Pen out with me as thought I wouldn't need it this time (I take it every time I go out on a walk!). So when I went passed a gap in houses and saw the Heron in the river I went down for a closer look. I was quite taken with it.
I soon realised I needed to go back home to grab the Pen! Luckily I was only 2 minutes away. Eager to take a few photographs, I snapped away. The light was perfect.
I got talking to a dog walker who asked if I had got some good shots, which I said I think I had but wished I'd had a bigger lens to get a bit closer and get more detail. Oh well, it is also good to have a lot of the natural surroundings in the image too!
I knew this would be inspiration to make a card. So the next day I made a sketch (I usually use a book for reference).
I set about picking out papers I thought would work. I still get an element of surprise and joy when a card comes together and can't wait to cut it out and finish it! This is how it turned out.
I've been asked to supply a new craft and cafe venue, Forse of Nature in Caithness with some cards. As they are nature inspired I thought my bird designs would suit this stockist so I've been making up Kingfishers, Puffins, Oystercatchers along with some Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tits for them.
Website address now written on back of the cards.
Should have them ready soon...
Hi, I'm Juliette welcome to my blog where I will share all my news with you.