Sorted!

Art, books, etsy, illustration
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1024278074/handmade-artist-book-of-quotation-and

It is here! It took me so me time to complete this latest addition to my Etsy range of my handmade books, and it has been a lovely project to do. I showed some of my thinking in my last post, but now I can share some of the finished design. What was most difficult was deciding what to leave out! Having spent a lot of my time with my nose buried in a book, this was a wonderful request.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1024278074/handmade-artist-book-of-quotation-and
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1024278074/handmade-artist-book-of-quotation-and
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1024278074/handmade-artist-book-of-quotation-and
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1024278074/handmade-artist-book-of-quotation-and

So there is a taster! I love to hear from you – are there any quotations you would like to see in a copy of this one? I can include your personal favourites if requested.

I also designed some cards as spin offs from this book and even created three designs for my products at Society6 so there are mugs and totes too!

https://society6.com/product/book-quote-cicero_bag

How to survive Abibliophobia

books, craft, etsy, illustration

I have another prompt from a lovely returning customer who wants a book created around the theme of a word – abibliophobia – and thus my work is cut out. The term of course, is somewhat contentious since there appears to be very little possibility of ever running out of reading material since the arrival of the brave new world of the internet. The proliferation of reading material rather creates a different anxiety in me but the world was ever thus – full of contradiction and paradox.

The content of the new book is not going to cause me a problem – I have decided to approach the subject from the point of view of stuff I want to read – a sort of prompt to readers to possibly have their curiosity piqued by an author previously unknown to them. Or just forgotten.

When I am without something new to read – and since I have avoided the public library for over a year now that is alot – I retire to my existing bookshelves . This is an occupation wherein I can lose hours – falling back into books once read and forgotten, or lured into the pages of books I remember finding captivating. Then there are the volumes that I find impossible to overlook despite having read them on numerous occasions. There is a deep satisfaction in poring over a book that continues to deliver surprises whilst remaining familiar – Sarah Bakewell’s book about Montaigne and his essays is one such treasure as are the novels of William Golding. I currently have five books on the go, all of which I have previously read, and all which continue to satisfy something in the reader.

So whilst the content is a joy – it will be choosing what to leave out rather than what to add, I have yet to decide how to present the content – how to add interest from the illustration. So thinking cap on , watch this space1 and I will update with my progress!

Here is my first page I think – I had wanted it as the cover but I think I have to make that include my customer’s prompt word – let me know any ideas you have!! I hope I have piqued your interest to go and find my handmade books in my corner at Etsy where I always welcome visitors – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly

A bit of Spoonflower

Art, craft, Life, print on demand sites

So now I am venturing into the space of creating design for fabric which you can make into whatever you want to! After spending the past few years creating surface pattern design for products at Society6, Redbubble and Curioos, I had a lightbulb moment! Why wasn’t I designing the fabric that ends up on lots of those products, so that an end user can make their own amazing creation – whether that be for dresses or upholstery or making jackets for dogs. So I am introducing my little corner at Spoonflower in the hope you want to get creative too with one of my fabrics!

If you click on the Shop icon above magic happens! I hope you have a foray into my latest venture, even if only to see what I am up to there! It’s exciting to be learning again – and creating new opportunities! Keep staying safe everyone – lots of handwashing and mask donning!

More from anipani – lockdown update

Art, craft, daily living, design, etsy, illustration, Life, print on demand sites, society6

I haven’t been resting on my laurels – now there’s an interesting phrase – this lockdown has put me in a creating frenzy and I have been adding new artworks to my handmade creations at Etsy and to my print on demand stores , Society6, Redbubble et al. And of course now we are all wearing face coverings it has to be derigeur to make them as creative as possible. The new fashion accessory of the decade was the result of a global pandemic – we live in interesting times. My partner and I are, like many, shielding from the possiblity of catching this deadly virus. The daily round looks a little different – click and collect shopping and socially distanced dog walking, but much of my routine is still the same. The worst aspect of the whole lockdown is not being able to mix with my sons and stepsons, and extended family – so as long as they remain safe I content myself with that thought. I cannot imagine how frightening it must be to have family affected.

But somewhere along the line, we will be accommodating living with this new peril – there really will be no alternative, so daily living will be changed forever to some degree. The more at risk will necessarily be more restricted until a vaccine comes along – let’s hope at least for a vaccine.

But to more cheery considerations, the reason I commit my time to creating art is really down to its therapeutic value. It helps me to distance myself from all the real world anxieties – global warming, social injustice, the growing disturbances in the world. And turning to making something real is truly liberating – the necessity to focus on practical considerations of making something as well as is possible results in losing a sense of self – I am lost in that feeling of ‘flow’.

So here are some pics from the last few lockdown weeks – some of the new work I am offering and some showing the processes of getting there!

https://society6.com/product/blooming-june_print

Blooming June is on lots of products – and there is a detail version in my handmade cards at Etsy too! https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/812269890

https://etsy.me/3hFJfan

I had a lovely bulk order from America of my card  ‘In the Library’ – an illustration based on detail taken from a wonderful painting by Barthélémy d’ Eyck 1442 – 1445 Still life with books. I popped a little slip around them to help protect each card , (I don’t use cello).

https://etsy.me/2YNp1mr

..and I added a lovely fold out to my book at Etsy which is a tribute to an ancient manuscript The Voynich.

https://etsy.me/2UWirZO

..and my illustrated Prufrock got some bespoke wrapping paper and a postcard sent with it!

..and this is where the magic happens! My easel is an aide- memoir – it carries messages and reminders of what I need to do next!

Song of Myself

craft, Life, literature, poetry, poets

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This has been such a joy to create – I have been meaning to create a handmade book based on some of the epic poem by the American poet Walt Whitman for some years, so this lockdown crisis created the perfect opportunity.  Whitman wrote to a friend that the poet Emerson had brought him to a boil – ‘I was simmering, simmering, simmering’..On completion of Song of Myself, he sent his hero  a copy of Leaves of Grass, to which Emerson wrote the reply, “It has the best merits,namely, of fortifying and encouraging.” That it does, and continues to do so. ‘Leaves of Grass’ is the ultimate expression of a large man – an expansive, modern man. There are lots of very good essays available on the biography of Whitman, and  a host of work on his work. The best thing of all is to get straight into the poems, and rest there.

I have chosen some of my favourite pieces – no doubt those choices will change over time, and illustrated them , then printed and sewn into a small book to add to a collection somewhere!

You can find it available in my store at Etsy.  Book at Etsy

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A reintroduction to Modestly

Art, blogging, craft, etsy, illustration, Life, play

 

22I thought I would share some thoughts I articulated when asked a couple of years ago to contribute to an art blog – just in case you haven’t yet met me or know what I do! It seems like yesterday that I sold my first hand made book on Etsy – and every sale is just as exciting to me as that first one. It is an opportunity to put a little bit of myself into the world, albeit in a very humble sense. I hope you feel curious enough to browse my links at the end and discover the work I produce!

The quest of living our lives well is the inevitable journey each individual must take. It is the perpetual drive to retain the mystery and magic in a world that is sometimes inhumane, hostile. Sometimes life becomes almost unbearable in the moment. I have struggled to maintain my equilibrium in different phases of mine – my early twenties working in a pressurised commercial environment, my early thirties becoming a parent, my early forties learning to live with the loss of a marriage and forging a new future.
Since I was a child I have had a curiosity about how to live well. To me this is the question that philosophy tries to answer. And philosophers are interesting, but so are poets and gurus, and business leaders. Curiosity is the spring board to doing something, whatever it may be, it is about the opportunity to dig deeper, to investigate. The process of making my books chose me really. I have loved mining the minds of past thinkers – and current ones too – I think in an attempt to understand more about how to be human. That seems strange, since being human should surely be the most natural of processes. I don’t find that, I find it discombobulating, I look at behaviour to learn from it. I know now I am not alone in that feeling of alienation from my own species, and writers and artists taught me that. I learnt from my early life that being a career girl disassociated me from what is most important to me. So I stopped.

One of my greatest pleasures in life is creating. To find yourself living that flow of easy ‘being’ when the mind and the body are occupied has to be the up there with the best things. I don’t care who you are, or what you have – this is the experience that tops status, recognition, fan appeal. It is really playing – and we in the Western hemisphere have somehow forgotten that play is how we began, and how children learn best. Learn to play, and you learn how to live well. Creating anything, from a cupcake to a spreadsheet, from a poem to an engine, is about that engagement of you with something else. And alchemy happens.

Since I started at Etsy, I have diversified into card design and that spurred me onto a new product range of published notebooks , which are beautifully manufactured and offer another way of enjoying my design work complemented with the wisdom of writers and artists that have inspired me .

The design work on cards suggested to me that I could diversify into other product ranges, and print on demand sites now offer my work on a multi platform , all of which can be found via my website, or here All my sites   

Hoping to share more with you!

aug29

The Handmade Maiden

Art, blogging, books, craft, illustration

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Just a quick post to remind my readers (!) that creative endeavour can be life enhancing – a dancing in the dark sort of preoccupation, the moments that transcend time.  Lost in flow, all appears in balance – the world is a more comprehensible place to inhabit. In focusing on the small things, the big things seem to appear in greater perspective.  I like losing myself in my handmade projects which I sell on Etsy. Each handmade book is designed and made by me – every one is unique as I like to make something different each time , so the covers you see on the photos may differ from the book you receive. But don’t worry – I pour oodles of care into each one – and I haven’t disappointed yet! All my reviews from sales are viewable on the Etsy site and I am extremely grateful to my customers for their generosity in sending me them. It is always moving getting feedback that tells you of delight and astonishment!

Some of the designs you will find on the Etsy site are books I have wanted to research and produce myself – many of them arise from lifelong interests in nature and in poetry. Others are created in collaboration with customers who ask me to research a them and produce a book around it. The book celebrating Moths was created on behalf of a customer wanting to surprise a lepidopterist family member! I have created books that illustrated a wedding proposal – a young man had written a poem to his fiance which he asked me to create a book around. She said yes! He even sent me photos of the ring he commissioned!

I think handmade creates connection – between the commissioner, the maker and the recipient. It is as though it has imbibed love – much like houses do, we have all felt the difference between houses that have been filled with love, and those that are just places to function in. It may be strange, and somehow difficult to quantify, but it is real.

I have lots of pictures on the site at Etsy, Storefront  

There are cards that I design too, and that I can personalise if required. They are printed on a wonderful textured watercolour paper, and look great mounted and framed too.

The Voynich Manuscript

Etsy link etsy.me/2sRAG1s

Tree Time

Link etsy.me/2sR7

cica

‘Only connect -live in fragments no longer

Art, craft, daily living, Life, wellbeing

‘Only connect! … Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.’  E.M.Forster

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One of my greatest pleasures in life is creating. To find yourself living that flow of easy ‘being’ when the mind and the body are occupied has to be the up there with the best things. I don’t care who you are, or what you have – this is the experience that tops status, recognition , fan appeal.

This weekend I dedicated my time and my attention to two orders I had received both of which were important to the customers and were wanted quickly – one for a wedding and one for a birthday. I normally give myself a little more time but I decided to shelve all my other commitments and concentrate my efforts. ( Saying that, there is a minimum of effort I have to put in domestically to keep the wheels on !)

As a result I have made myself a new product line for my handmade goods within the Etsy environs. And I am chuffed!! It is a robust book slip cover which fits my handmade books so they can be kept safe and lovely.  I shall be experimenting some more with different finishes and papers, and hopefully list them as an add-on item to the books.

This one I have paired with the journal I made which includes blank sketching/writing pages as well as quotation and illustration. You can see the journal here  http://etsy.me/29M0msh.

Every time I send something out into the world because a customer has ordered it, I get a frisson of excitement. Will they love it?  Often I am lucky enough to get amazing comments and always feel incredibly grateful that someone has bothered to do that. I create in a very humble and small way – but it means something somewhere to someone that their order has been completed with attention and love. And it has.

Recently I sent an order that was followed up with a response that astonished me. This is the message she sent to me

‘Anne, I have just opened your parcel. I saved it until I was quite alone. I looked at carols book first and it was so beautiful it made me cry. It was so exquisitely done, with the breathtaking poetry and lovely tiny drawings of animals. You truly have a wonderful gift. Thank you so much. Then I opened the Elizabeth 1st one, which is also very lovely. THEN I carefully opened the prb one and my goodness, I was absolutely entranced. I know he will be truly amazed. It is really breathtaking. How am I ever going to be able to part with any of them? Thank you so much.
Sue’

Isn’t it wonderful that we can connect through making?

 

 

 

Help – I need somebody!

craft, etsy, Life

blog

Righto – I am going to just come right out and say it as it is – I really need some help.  My small attempt to make an impact in the world of hand crafted loveliness is running up against a big, bad wall.  Etsy has changed. It has. It isn’t where I started, but it isn’t going to change so somehow I need to man up and get my head around all this promotion business.  I have done some homework – oh yes – I don’t expect the world to fall into my  lap, adn I am well acquainted with the hows and wheretofores of S.E.O. – Three most dreaded capitals when they are together that I know.  This is the hub of it.  I need back links, and not just ANY back links , back links that matter. Back links with attitude. To quote a master on the subject, backlinks ‘are considered external because the appear on pages not found on etsy.com. Providing the site owner has not added a “nofollow” tag to your links, they will pass equity, or the SEO goodness that tell Google to trust your site.’

 

So there we are. I need you give me a backlink on your blog. Wow! I said it. I am happy  to sing it, and will write anyone a guest blog about how and what I do. Let me know if anyone is interested.

Call to arms

Art, blogging, craft, daily living, etsy, illustration, Life, Thoughts
I am babe in arms when it comes to technology.  I have embraced as much as I am able in order to indulge my creative urge to make something somebody else wants to spend their hard earned cash on.  It has sent me down pathways that have totally discombobulated me,  I have disgorged hours of my precious time in order to try and understand the secrets inherent in getting noticed on the Internet. I am exhausted.  I come to you on my knees, pleading for some help. I need to excite your interest enough to bear with me.

heming2acebook

Savour the moment

Walt Whitman helped me there, from his epic poem ‘Leaves of Grass’.  Walt and others have helped me to find my soul. A decent thing to do in my humble opinion.  When I found my soul, it wanted me to put way some of the things I thought were important, and find the preoccupations that left me calm, stable, comfortable in my skin. It is an ongoing process, and in that endeavour I read alot, I think a great deal. And then I play with illustration and share the fruits of my  ‘doing’ with a multipicity of pursuits.  I started by making handmade books, which interested others than just me, so I opened an Etsy shop and sold some on there. I even sold one of my tributes to Shakespeare to a University in America for an exhibition celebrating the 400th year of his birth.  That was a yippee moment! Shakespeare tribute on Etsy

I have enjoyed a few of those moments on Etsy – working to commissions which have brought me closer to people at special points in their lives.  It is a privilege to share a wedding proposal by working on the intended groom’s poem and illustrating it,  a rare joy to be given the opportunity to bring someones love letters together and make them a memento for their beloved to treasure.  I work alone, I spend alot of my time alone and the collaboration with others reminds me how good it is to connect.

My Etsy store needed more listings to become ‘seen’ on there – it is a very packed place to be – so I designed artist cards because they are less time intensive, and made it to nearly 200 listings!  I work hard in my little Etsy corner – learnt how to handle Twitter ( without a smart phone!) , try to post on Facebook daily under  my business page at Facebook and tumble, pin and stumble with the best of them.

So where do I need that help from you?  I am not completely au fait with all the magic that happens amongst the backstage of the internet stage ( huge understatement there), but I am reliably informed by what you will know as an app, that I lack external links. ! Who knew?  And not just any external links – oh no – those mischievous critters can fox anyone. I need external links that do not include ‘no follow’. Apparently.

Now I will try anything to make my web presence just that bit more visible – sad but true, so if any of you reliable web fellows can think of anything remotely helpful, such as me writing a guest blog or an article on how to be seen waving not drowning, please lend a helping hand.  I can’t promise you Shakespeare, but I shall do my best.

Good day to all of you, and I look forward to your magnificence!