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Happy weekend everybody! I wanted to share something with you today in the hope that it might appeal to you crafty makers out there too.

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I came to hear about Project Linus (Project Linus USAProject Linus UK) through my dear friend who works as a doctor of critically and terminally ill children.

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You remember Linus from the cartoon Snoopy? He’s the inspiration for the name as he was almost always seen with his blue security blanket.

Their vision is to:

 “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and Afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”

In short to provide a blanket anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug.

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Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies etc – read Duncan’s story here but have a tissue ready.

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I have a stupid amount of fabric and yarn stashed away that I will never use up even if I crafted everyday for the rest of my life! And I already have enough blankets and quilts but still love to make them regardless of that. So this was the perfect project for me as I still got to indulge my love of crocheting and quilting, benefitted by slimming my stashes down and got to make something that’s much-needed by someone else.

I used Ikea fleece blankets to make my fabric quilts – it’s a simpler and cheaper way to back them and they are so snuggly.

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And there is nothing I like better than seeing an unappealing tangle of yarn like this…

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magically transformed into a beautiful and useful blanket (and it justified all my tv and film watching!)

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In the UK Project Linus gave away 26,980 items in 2014, their best year yet – I’d love our crafting community to spread the word and maybe make a blanket and help 2015 be even better. And if making something seems too large an endeavour, they also need donations of fabric, money and time.

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If you have been inspired to become a ‘blanketeer’ and you live in the UK you can find out where to donate your handmade blanket here or for the USA here.

 

 The best bit about Spring for me are the Spring flowers, with tulips and anemones being my most favourite.

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 I found this little purpley blue guy growing in hiding down by my shed.

 I also discovered quite by accident whilst researching for a project brief, that Matisse liked anemones too.

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I absolutely adore the colours in this painting; it says everything about Spring to me – pastel Spring-like colours, a change in light and of course anemones.

I hope it puts a spring in your step too and helps you through the last (I hope) of this winter weather.

 ***ALL 4 SOLD NOW*** Spring cleaning sale…

spring cleaning sale notice

Never done one of these before but I’m in the mood for a clear out so I thought I’d offer these four little teacup paintings up for a quick sale at a rock bottom price.

Little Pip

We have Little Pip named after one of my first Pip Studio teacups,

Pink Stripe

Pink Stripe which is still my favourite cup with all that loverly pink and gold,

Oriental Teacup

Oriental Teacup which in reality cost me 25 pence because its chipped and cracked but in this painting has regained it’s youth,

Turquoise Teacup

and Turquoise Teacup whose a little, diddy baby cup.

***

£25/$39 each or all four for £80/$123.

Please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk saying what you’d like to buy and I will send payment details.

P&P in the UK will be an additional £1.50 on each mailing

P&P Abroad will be an additional $5.80 on each mailing

Still a bargain though!

Autoritratto in rosa  (1921)

Autoritratto in rosa (1921)

I discovered Elisabeth Chaplin when we were in Florence last summer and saw her work hanging in the Palazzo Pitti’s Modern Art Gallery.

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I loved it instantly because of the use of colour and stylisation and how they capture a moment in time so I thought I’d share her with you today.

Young Girls in Yellow (1921)

Young Girls in Yellow (1921)

She seems to be one of France/Italy’s little-remembered artists – I had wanted to buy a book (but not in Italien) but none are available and the one Amazon is selling is £160 😯 Still, I have found a little information about her…

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She was born in 1890 to artist parents – her father taught painting to women (Mary Cassatt was one) but he sadly died when she was a baby. In the 1900’s her family moved to Italy where Elisabeth taught herself to paint by copying works in the Uffizi Museum. She went on to socialise with numerous painters, live in Rome and then France, ending her life in Italy and win various awards over the course of time.

Self-portrait Wearing a Red Shawl c 1912

It seems she is most well-known for her portraits and Tuscan landscapes and that she didn’t need to earn a living through selling her work and so was able to paint what she enjoyed which accounted for the vast range of family portraits.

Jeune fille en rouge

Jeune fille en rouge

Depending on who you read and believe, Elisabeth was a follower of the Macchiaoli (not really heard of outside of Italy) or the Nabis. The former believe that paintings should have bright and dark splashes of colour to enliven it. The latter that paintings could have a non-representative look; sharing much of artistic ambitions of the impressionists.

Ponte alla badia  1953

Ponte alla badia 1953

Either way I think both influences can be seen in her work.

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It’s a shame that there isn’t more information and good pictures available to see (all but 2 of my photo’s came out blurred because of the dim lighting 😕) but I hope you enjoyed discovering her as much as I did.

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crown ducal striping

This is the vintage teacup that I began as my demo on patterned watercolours last Saturday with The Spotted Dog art group.

crown ducal in progress

As usual it’s a brightly coloured painting – a typical Claire Leggett painting! but maybe a little more so because it wasn’t an especially well lit room and I may have over compensated with my choice of orange hue!

Crown Ducal

I’ll let you be the judge of that – I have spent a couple of hours finishing it off in my studio and am happy enough to say “ta daaah….”

Work by Janet, Julie, Dave and Lynda.

Work by Janet, Julie, Dave and Lynda.

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure to work with the Spotted Dog art group in Beeston, Nottingham.

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They had me at the name (having a spotted dog myself) but what a lovely group of people I met.

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The workshop was called ” Pattern Play – a still life set up by Claire, a colour loving designer and painter” and so I set up several still lives of teacups against patterned backgrounds.

Linda, Brendan and Greg absorbed in their work.

They’d asked for a number 7 on the challenge scale and I think in the five hours painting time that they had, that they all did fantastically well. I might have scored it an 8 myself given the time constraint – I didn’t finish mine!

Judy, Fiona, Sarah and Sandra lost in concentration.

In that time they had to tackle drawing the ellipses on the teacup, represent not one but two (and in some cases three) types of patterned fabric, paint the teacup, biscuit and spoon and do all the last minute jobs of darkening shadows and adding hilights and white points. No mean feat.

Josh and Greg - I loved how these two had outfits matching their painting colours.

Josh and Greg – I loved how these two had outfits co-ordinating with their painting colours.

The use of masking fluid caused some concernation as one brand in particular didn’t remove itself without damaging the paper.

Brendon and Julie dry their masking fluid.

Brendon and Julie dry their masking fluid.

Pebeo art masking fluid is the best in my humble opinion but no one was daunted by the potential difficulties of using masking fluid and most had a go anyway and enjoyed the benefits of painting stripes and dots without worrying about other areas of the painting becoming dirtied.

Lynda, Linda, Suzanne, Pam,Dave and Madeline.

Lynda, Linda, Suzanne, Pam, Dave and Madeline.

They are all very able painters and needed only the briefest demonstration of some ways that they could approach what we were doing.

Greg, Josh and Janet

Greg, Josh and Janet

It always amazes me how we can paint the same subject matter and produce such individual pieces of work which reflect so much of our own personalities in them.

Madeline, Pam, Julie and Suzanne

Madeline, Pam, Julie and Suzanne

I talked a little about having an authentic paint-writing style (like a hand-writing style) and progressing the piece without loosing each persons unique approach and style and I think they were all successful in that respect.

Sandra, Judy, Fiona and Sarah

Sandra, Judy, Fiona and Sarah

All in all it was a very enjoyable day and everyone left with a piece of work that they were proud of and/or had learnt from and that’s a good days painting in my book.

Brendon got a solo spot because he wasn't around when we took the photo's!

Brendon got a solo spot because he wasn’t around when we took the photo’s!

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It feels like soooo long since I’ve immersed myself in a big old painting – I have been painting but more for design as opposed to this kind of ‘get lost for a few days’ type affair.

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And as always after a break in the flow, it’s hard to get back in the groove – I feel like I peck at it, or circle around and around getting a little closer each time. But I knew that was coming so I didn’t fret much about what the end result was going to be and I just got on with airing out the skills again.

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The thing I find hardest is re-building the concentration required for a painting piece – I can think of a hundred little jobs that need doing just before I start, or during, and I have to actively ignore myself so I stay put. It helps to have an audio book on so I just finished Mad About The Boy which was a fun distraction.

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I picked up an old canvas that I had collaged a hundred years ago and then left gathering dust. I didn’t really have a plan (and that shows in places) but I started layering up shapes and colours, popped some little birds in and sort of went to and fro with paper and paint until it felt finished and focussed. Not sure about it over-all but I love some little bits of it and I can feel my flabby painting muscles getting back in shape.

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Little Birds     © Claire Leggett

PS I took so many process photos that I thought I’d make a Flipagram  – come on over to @claire_leggett on Instagram and see :)

Oh hello sad neglected blog – where have I been for the last two weeks I ask myself ? Only two weeks, it feels longer. I’ve had to check the calendar myself to account for the time!

Well working backwards…my most recent distraction has been as chief interview-taxi-driver which paid off as our son got a fabulous job (he’s a chef, now in a great kitchen where he will learn lots and help them get a Michelin star*) That led into preparing, buying, shopping, planning and doing his move out into live-in accommodation (someone pass me the tissue box.)

In reality he’s not actually far from home and we will see him on his days off when he comes back for a rest, some home-cooking and home-comforts (hope he’s reading this!) but that didn’t stop my emotions welling over because it is a punctuation, a mile-stone, a change in family dynamic so it was bitter-sweet to see him off to his next greatest opportunity and miss him in between.

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 I quickly got busy though as I had already planned a Macmillan Cancer Care coffee morning to raise some funds for the work that they do so I had a day to bake the cakes (and dry my moist eyes!) Do you remember the box of teacups I got given last summer? Well I felt that such an unexpected and undeserved gift deserved to be put to some greater good – and I so it was and we raised £100.

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Some where before all that Mr Lurgy stopped by for a short but tiring visit – has to happen in January doesn’t it – British law or something…

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I spent three solid weeks designing some greetings cards and special birthday cards for my agent to take to Spring Fair which was last week – fingers crossed they were successful.

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I cast on for a cardigan for me. It’s been a while since I did anything that was large, or not socks or for me. Last cardigan was a disaster (finished, never worn, stretched just on the hanger and now too large) so I’m a little nervous about this but I’ve researched and measured and am hopeful. That said if any of you out there have knitted this and want to tell me any hints now, then please do, I’m all ears (it’s Sibella by Carrie Bostick Hoge).

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Been pinning quite a lot whilst laid up and found this genius idea – I’m fed up with loosing my iPhone cable down the back of the desk so I ‘made’ one – she is my first employee and I gave her a chair to sit on because it’s a long job, 24/7 and I’m a fair employer you know.

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Ok, I think I’m all about caught up into real-time. Studio has been tidied, admin is done, it’s time to be creative again.

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Last Friday I had the most amazing day out at Gotham Primary school in Nottinghamshire celebrating the end of their Art Week with them.

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They had spent their week focussing all their creative energies into making their own art based on images of my art. During the week a few classes at a time had been into Loughborough on a bus trip to see my exhibition at the Sock Gallery/Town Hall and they had sketched and looked at my paintings and come up with their own creative ideas.

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Then their week of work culminated on Friday with a visit from a real-life artist (me!) and an exhibition of their beautiful and clever work for their families and community to enjoy in the school hall.

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What a super bunch of kids and what a lovely staff team  – Gotham was a delightful school to visit and I was made to feel very welcome all day.

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The children are a real credit to their families and teachers and the staff are hard-working and enthusiastic – SO  full of creative ideas I could never have guessed at the range of art activities that they had generated from seeing my work.

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There was a wealth of 2D and 3D button inspired work including clay buttons, button letters, button teacup and button trees (one of which I got to bring home which I was really pleased to have.)

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Flowers and nature had sparked many ideas for paintings, pastels, drawing, sewing and 3D bugs and butterflies.

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teacups 1

My teacups, cakes and biscuit paintings inspired the children and teachers to draw, paint, make teacups and plates and paint them with patterns and even have a tea party.

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They had looked at my pattern design work on the website too and explored making their own patterns.

collage and pattern

Every class participated in Art Week beginning in Playgroup and going right through to year six who were painting flowers from samples of my work ready to cut and collage onto music sheets.

Foundation years

It was so exciting to see teachers investing time and enthusiasm into practising and exploring art (brilliantly led by their Art Co-ordinator) and the results are fantastic as the ability of the children is plain to see – a school of future creatives me thinks!

Floral painting 1

During the day I visited each class in turn to see what they were working on and answer any questions they might have – and they had some super questions ready to ask and some really hard to answer ones like ‘ Why do you like to paint?’ Kids have the knack of cutting to the heart of things too (‘Are you rich?’ ‘Are you famous?’ ‘Why don’t you paint people?’) but all asked with utter politeness and charm – I loved talking to them all.

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After lunch was the exhibition  – I was lost for words when I saw all their work collected up and displayed beautifully on patterned tablecloths and hung from a tree branch – it has to be the most creative use of gym equipment (other than a PE lesson) that I have ever see (well done Laura!)

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The whole room was charming and beautifully done and the exhibition was really well supported by lots of visitors (I’m afraid all my photos at this point were blurred but there are some here to give you an idea.)

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We even had our photo taken for the local paper.

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All in all it was a very special day for me – it’s so easy to sit at home alone and create things to show the world and quite a different experience to see the world actually looking at them and finding inspiration in them.

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Thank you everyone at Gotham Primary for having me for the day and ‘doing Art Week on the artist Claire Leggett’ – very humbling and a special day that I will remember for ever.

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This is the last of my Christmas knits to show you (not sure why it’s taken 21 days of January to get round to this ?)

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I have the cutest, most super-chilled new nephew ever – he came down on Christmas day in his Santa outfit and melted everyone’s hearts and totally (deservedly) stole the show! This was seconded by the day he wore his Pumpkin outfit for Halloween. So this little guy already has previous in the fashion stakes and I have dared to knit him a jumper!!

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Luckily for me he’s a few months old and this jumper is still way TOO big for him – so hopefully everyone will have forgotten how cute he looks in fancy dress and go gaga for this new ensemble instead :)

Copyright notice 2013

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, that's very welcome just please ask first before doing so and then give appropriate credit for content.

Any other inquiries please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk

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