Saturday, 30 June 2012

Seconds Sale Time

Only one more week until my SECONDS SALE. As usual there will be lots of bargains. We have a whole drawer of lamps that didn't quite make it to perfect and they are waiting to be snapped up by you! :)

We will also be digging around the stockroom and putting some Radiance products out too.

The studio will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 6th, 7th and 8th of July along with LOADS of other artists studios around Hebden Bridge.

Hope to see you. x

Friday, 29 June 2012

Handmade Parade

It's the Handmade Parade in Hebden Bridge tomorrow and everyone is going to be out to enjoy the colour, creativity and joy of it. It was postponed from last week because of the flood and after a week of cleaning up mud it's just what our town needs. It starts at 11am tomorrow morning. This years theme is the Enchanted Wood. It's going to be amazing! Hope you can come along.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Stencil Dying in Kyoto

One hot Tuesday morning Beth, Natalie and I cycled to the edge of Kyoto to do a stencil dying workshop in a factory and school that makes handmade kimono. On arrival we had a fascinating tour and got to see the traditional and highly skilled process from start to finish.

I will attempt to describe the process to you but it may not be very technically correct! Beth did a fine job of translating but there was an awful lot to take in so forgive me if it's slightly vague!

First we saw examples of the hand cut stencils. 

Look how intricate they are.

The stencil is then pinned out onto the fabric and a thick blue masking ink is applied with a squeegee. 

When the fabric is painted the dye will not reach the blue masked off areas. 

Patterns are built up this way.

Huge lengths of fabric are stretched out held taught by strips of bamboo.

When it is ready to be painted the fabric is attached to these large rollers so it can be stretched right out across the room and the painter can simply pull on the loop to work across different bits of the design. It's very clever. You can see it here on this video (enjoy the funny music).

The dye is applied with short stubby brushes which are pushed into the fabric. It's a wonder that such intricate work can be done. 

These long strips form the panels of the kimono. You can buy a kimono here from about £8000. Phew!    Look at some of the finished ones made for 'Coming of Age' ceremonies. Makes the suit I bought Euan yesterday for his end of school prom seem much less expensive! 

We had a go ourselves.

With rich coloured dyes and stubby brushes.

We brought home our small samples to remember the day.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Win Two Tickets to Tatton Park Flower Show

Does anyone want to win two tickets to Tatton Park Flower Show on Saturday 21st July? I'm going to be exhibiting there from the 18th-22nd July in the Country Living marquee stand 25. It's the first time I have done this show, to be honest I've never even visited it before but I have thought for years that it would be a good place to meet a flower loving audience!

Now I need a bit of help from you. I am currently making lots and lots of stock but it's always hard to know which of my many, many designs will sell the best. If you'd like to enter my competition just go and have a look the small table lamps on my website and tell me, by leaving a comment below, which one you think will be my best seller. I will heed all of your advice and then pick one person at random to win the tickets. If you haven't got a blogger profile do leave me a way of contacting you if you win!

Please spread the word on Facebook and Twitter and in real life. Competition closes on the 14th July.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I interrupt happy travel tales of Japan with a natural disaster.
 On Friday it rained and rained and rained. There has been a lot of it lately so it didn't seem unusual. Kate at Dynamite opposite put her sandbags out just in case. That wasn't that unusual either. At seven thirty the haunting flood sirens went off filling the evening with melancholy and unrest. And then the waters came. First it filled the gutters and before long it covered the road. 

Then it began to cover the pavements and lap uncomfortably at doorsteps. It didn't stop the crazy car drivers and every passing vehicle caused a tidal wave into the shop doorways. ARGHHHH. It continued to rain and for four hours the waters rose and rose. Sandbags washed away. Logs and debris floated past and the flood reached the level of these shop windows. 

By about 11.30 it had crept up my five steps and was lapping at my front door. It makes me really emotional to think about this time. It was eerie. The electric was out and I was standing in the bay window in the dark, helpless, looking out at this brown river that had caused my street so much destruction. We watched Sarah and Helen from Spirals shop wade passed up to their waists looking totally stunned. They couldn't hold the waters back from their beautiful shop. 

We elevated all our stock and once the rain had stopped and we could see that the level was going down and not up we went to bed. 

In the morning all the water had gone but had left thick mud and destruction in it's wake. Radiance had been saved by being up high, and for that I am extremely thankful but all the other shops around it had been hit badly. What a day we had. Terribly sad seeing all my fellow businesses and friends suffering but extremely heart warming to see a whole town pulling together and really caring about each other. So many people came out to help. Beate from Makepiece (also missed by the waters) brought her industrial pressure washer and power washed like a loon from dawn til dusk. The whole town cleared and cleaned and saved whatever we could. 

The spirit and humour in adversity was astounding. At the end of the day Yorkshire Soap put the Queen back in their window with a mop and bucket and rubber gloves to say thankyou for all their help and the next day had a sale which raised £850 for flood victims.

(photo by Rebecca Land-Cave)
and the Bookcase who were badly hit found the time and mustered up the creativity to make an inspired window display of soggy books! Genius.

(photo by Rebecca Land-Cave)
I bloody love this town. Some businesses have turned things around already and are back open again. For others there is a lot more work to do but I'm sure that with a community like this one we will be back on our feet in no time at all.  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Handmade Kyoto

It's a hot, hot Sunday morning and me, Natalie and Beth are heading along the river bank in our convoy of bicycles (mine's the Pink Blobby, Nats is the Red Wobbler...and I never asked if Beths purple bike had a nick name). We see turtles in the river, storks and herons fishing, we pass a big group of children with butterfly nets catching bugs near the botanical gardens and we over take lots and lots of joggers in black lycra (really? In this heat?). We are on our way to the north of the city to meet Beths lovely friend Hiroko and visit a craft fair.

It was set in the gardens of a Shrine with a stream running through it. Nice for the kids to splash around in on such a hot day.

I was instantly in my element. Beautiful handmade things everywhere and friendly faces selling their creative wares. We soon lost each other in the crowds of people but occasionally found each other again enthusing over something lovely.  I would have liked to have bought rather a lot of these wooden card holders for the shop by Babbo Craft

His chopping boards were lovely too.

I had a really fun time on Tao Erasers stall. She made gorgeous rubber stamps and printed products.

Sweet stamps all packaged up in crinkly white paper and hanging by pegs.

I bought a tea towel for my Mum.

These ceramics were hard to put down. Extremely light and so smooth to the touch. I brought a mug home with me and I enjoy it every day! Sadly I didn't get his name, otherwise I might be buying more!

I was glad to find a little ceramic house a bit like the one I was fell for of in Kurari cafe.

She made tealight holders too. If they hadn't been so heavy I may have brought some home for Radiance.

How lovely this lady looked with her parasol and stall of knitted products.

I loved these hand painted house earring by Yukina Design.

There were lots of succulents about..

You could buy a mixed box.

Or a cute little bag.

...and talking of cute how about this for a dolls house!

There was so much inspiration everywhere. It was like your favourite Etsy treasury but in real life, right there in front of your eyes! I chatted to who I could to try and find out how Japanese crafters went about their business. I was given a leaflet for Iichi which is a handmade market place for selling Japanese Craft to the rest of the world. It's worth a look. 

 I would love to sell my lamps in Japan, whether it's directly to Japanese customers, or whether it's through a shop or gallery, it would please me greatly. 

I had my eyes wide open to opportunities and gave a few shops my business card while I was there but I fear that the emphasis in many shops was on promoting Japanese wares....and I can quite understand that as there is so much beautiful work. Is there room for little me and my lamps????

If anyone has any ideas or contacts do let me know. 

I have totally fallen in love with the place.

I feel like my visit wasn't just a visit but that it is the beginning of something.....It is all yet to unfold!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Kyoto Botanical Gardens

We spent a sunny afternoon at the botanical gardens in Kyoto. It was kind of between seasons and not that much was in flower really except these tremendous poppies.

There was entertainment at the lotus ponds. 

What were all the photographers with their HUGE lenses waiting for? Was it the storks or the koi or the little turtles?  A lady tapped me on the shoulder and said 'kingfisher'!

Everyone went nuts when it flew across the pond, dived, caught a fish in front of us and then went and sat in a tree. Can you see him? I wish I'd have had a bigger lens that day too!

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