The Second Magpie

Posts Tagged ‘victorian’

In Grey Skies

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2012 at 08:48

Some recent paintings from the landscape in my dreams. I always dream in colour.

The above have evolved from paintings I’ve been doing over the last year, some are small, splashy wonders but adding all the elements together and coming up with these allowed me to indulge in all my fantasies and have momentary escape from the outside world as I did so.

Christmas Mail Art

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 at 07:42

The internet moves much faster than I do and I realise Christmas is in the far and distant past but I thought I should blog these before 2012 comes running in on top of me.

I sent less mail art than I would have liked due to exhibitions and real life taking up far too much time. Above is the mail art I promised @TheChecks whose music I have loved for years now. I got a really nice message about my work from them and sent some watercolours flying off to NZ for them to enjoy.

My friend Maye’s birthday and Christmas come along at nearly the same time so I sent her some mail art this week because I haven’t been able to see her often enough for the past year and more. The ‘magpie’ story began somewhere along roadtrips we used to take where we would judge how great the day would be on the number of magpies we saw so I sent her one of the RSPB magpie brooch pins. My superstition will eventually make me send her a second one.

These were sent to my favourite cousin who I didn’t get to see because exhibition timings ruined my plans for a trip, so I sent some lovely prints of work that only she would not find offensive and other  bits and pieces including mini envelopes. I’ve now made so many envelopes from old books that I could start a new world.

I sent a package off to @annajanesearle whose work I’ve admired for a while now, she does amazingly intricate illustrations and her blog is always full of great thrift finds and projects, it makes my day a better place. You can read her post about what I sent her here:

I sent some Christmas postcards and alot of snowflakes off to my friend Steph and @Dig_A_Pony in return for cards. @Dig_A_Pony sent me the most amazing Victorian card ever, proof that we were Victorian twins once upon a time.

I forgot to photograph them but I sent three envelopes full of snowflakes to my three little cousins which probably made an awful mess on the floor when they opened them but now they’ll know how I live – above was the aftermath.

A few of the postcards I sent everywhere. Thes were made from alot of snowflakes, some Christmas tree shapes and an old t shirt. Dry brushing for the ‘icy’ look might have been the most fun I had all Christmas but I also woke up with a very sore arm the next day – which makes me seem oh-so-lazy.

Here’s to mail art of 2012.

The Oval Portrait

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 04:04

Illness upset my plans for this project to become anything near amazing though I do look upon it with a kind of stray-dog fondness. It was born out of a love of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, in particular ‘The Oval Portrait’, and old medical diagrams from Gray’s Anatomy.

Everything had it’s beginnings in print, collagraph, monoprint etc. I used fragile materials to create the prints – Poe had an intense fascination with fragile women and I tried to capture some of that fragility between the press and the paper. The ‘death masks’ show a kind of decay while remaining beautiful, something only the Victorians seemed able to achieve… perhaps something only they wished to.

If you ever have a chance I suggest you read some Victorian ghost stories, for there is nothing quite so satisfying as being terrified and fascinated at exactly the same time.

Misery, Memory, History

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 02:42


I can no longer remember why.

JazzCakes100: T Shirts Exhibition

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2010 at 03:21


My work is to feature in the Jazzcakes 100 exhibition in Cardiff, “JazzCakes100:T-shirts project is the first in a series of projects envisioned by JazzCakes to illuminate each facet of the arts arena.” The show will run on the 10th and 11th of April and will also feature work from artists resident at Studio B, Cardiff. I have included photos of my piece and the initial sketches which led to it above.

My t shirt design evolved from a recent interest in the Victorian era and tea. I was given the number 90 by Jazzcakes and noticed if I separated the syllables I had the words ‘nine’ and ‘tea’. Being a lover of tea I calculated that I drink, on average, nine cups per day. I began by removing the front piece of the shirt and replacing it with a piece of white fabric which was stained by tea. During a session of playing with scissors and paper, the stencils of Victorian style patterns which I used for the shirt were created. The font I chose for ‘tea’ was inspired by the many letterpress designs I have seen and I finished up by collecting used tea bags which I emptied and sewed around the top, collar area of the shirt.

You can find out more at:

The Magic Pinions and The Wizard Wheels

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2010 at 15:01


“Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these cessations are merely suspensions, properly so called. They are only temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism. A certain period elapses, and some unseen mysterious principle again sets in motion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for ever loosed, nor the golden bowl irreparably broken. But where, meantime, was the soul?”

Edgar Allan Poe – The Premature Burial