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On Friday night I packed up my materials and my travel bag and set off for a mini adventure to Harwich in Essex in order to be ready to teach on Saturday at the Old Bank Studios.

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I was running a one-day mixed media course called All things Bright and Beautiful based on my mixed media bird paintings.

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We spent the day letting loose with some paint and papers building layers of paint, print and collage onto which we could paint a bird.

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With everyone’s creativity flowing, imaginations let loose and we saw an underwater landscape, a couple of coastal scenes, a castle hidden in the trees, a blossom tree as well as floral still lifes and bird scenes come to life.

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They were a lovely group of ladies from near and far and we had fun working alongside each other.

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In fact, if I lived closer I wouldn’t hesitate to join the Quilting group or a textile course as the studios are a lovely environment to work in, the people are so friendly and I haven’t even mentioned the home cooked lunch yet!

Look at this beautiful room bathed in sunlight.

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I’ve not been on a course that can accommodate a delicious sit down lunch like this with beautiful home cooked food like these amazingly clever apple roses made by Bev. It was a lovely way to take a break and to chat to people more.

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After lunch a hush fell on the room for about an hour while everyone got serious about finishing off their pieces and then sadly the day was over.

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I’ve been really lucky so far this year to have run some really fun workshops and met some super lovely people; Old Bank Studios is run by Bev and Nigel who are genuinely two of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

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And to finish, here we all are with our art.

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Just before we went away to Dorset we had been in a garden centre shopping for boring hard-landscaping things we needed, but we also left with some Spring plants that were calling me to take them home.

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I didn’t really have clear idea of what I wanted to do with them but some plants just can’t be left behind.

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I am a sucker for candelabra anything but particularly these with lollipop flower heads.

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And I adore painting Bellis daisies – they are just so cheering.

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When we came home from our break, the good weather here had brought everything on in the garden and there were daffodils and forget-me-nots to cut and bring in.

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So what with listening to the Archers taking the cows out onto grass for the first time this year (I’m an old biddy now, aren’t I?!) and with the wonderful rolling hills of Dorset fresh in my mind, I pieced together this landscape with a hedgerow of Springs finest.

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Bit of a new direction for me and I’ve really enjoyed it.

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Doesn’t this burst of sunny Spring weather put one in a great frame of mind? I’m enjoying it even more so for getting away to Dorset last week for a few days change of scenery.

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And it was so pretty down there with Daff’s, Blossom, Magnolias and Primroses at every turn.

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The little village where we stayed was a picture postcard with the prettiest church yard I ever did see (it’s a family joke that I love a good graveyard – long story…)

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Bridport has been on my list of places-to-go since I’ve read about it’s amazing vintage markets.

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I think we may have been too late for the best of that (who gets up early on holiday!) but I still had a good mooch, loved the veg markets, and discovered a lovely wool shop too.

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West Bay has become famous as the Broadchurch beach and it is spectacular (Apparently the US knows it as Gracepoint – I wonder if it’s got the same beach in it?).

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This photo sums up the dog’s experience!

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She was in seventh heaven coming out and about with us as we usually get on with things and leave her at home (she’s not a lead-walking dog, doesn’t walk in a straight line and doesn’t much like busy places) but she had some fun times too.

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And it’s put a spring in my step and I’ll pop back tomorrow to show you the art is has inspired because I think I’m going to get it finished today.

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I have decced out our dresser for the Easter weekend.

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I love Easter decorating more than Christmas as it’s just so pretty.

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God bless and have a Happy Easter holiday.

Claire x

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Outside today has been sunshine and showers but inside it has been hot, hot, hot!

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I got started on this piece by un-leashing my inner Paul Klee, not intentionally, I was just blocking in some geometric shapes to work over but I love the painted patchwork.

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Then I collaged in some geometric shapes on top by using patterns and colours from my stashes, which resonated with the scene.

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A brief ray of sunshine brought real warmth to the scene.

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This kind of instinctive, not overly considered sketchbook work is important in unearthing the happy accidents.

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I think this rough little sketchbook piece has a lot to recommend another ‘proper’ go at it if I can relive it again.

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Marrakesh is a place for using rooftop spaces to cool down and catch a breeze but it is not a picturesque panorama to look at.

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That said I have been wanting to paint an urban landscape for some time but it is hard as there is so much geometry and life packed into the scene – throw in some perspective and layering issues to resolve and it’s a challenge!

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Most Marrakesh houses boast a satellite dish on top of their home and this makes for an interesting collage of square, rectangular and circular shapes all overlapping and jumbled together.

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These are some sketchbook pieces I’ve been doing. Sketchbooks by their nature take the pressure off the idea that this is a ‘proper piece’ and thus it allows for freedom and play.

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I’ve enjoyed printing, collaging and layering up paint to make these.

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I’m loving all these spicy, hot colours too. Off to do some more now…

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It’s almost two years ago now that we went to Marrakesh and unbelievably almost two years since I’ve done anything with the wealth of visual inspiration that is crammed into every corner of this vibrant place – time to do some Marrakesh inspired artwork.

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I do have a tendency to percolate or nest on ideas for quite a while but then sometimes more inspiration comes my way and it’s hard to keep up – last years Italy holiday is a point in case – will it be another two years before I do anything with those beautiful images?!

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So a couple of weeks back, I was really craving a spot of sunshine and wishing on a trip away somewhere to shake off the winter blues and it occurred to me that I could just re-live Marrakesh and do some new work simultaneously – which is what I’ve been up to.

Koutoubia Minaret mosaic

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I have hundreds of photos of Marrakesh and most have some sort of merit to me as an artist – so I was overwhelmed to start (there has been a lot of faffing about/work avoidance going on too.)

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So I decided to just begin with the first photo in the photo stream that spoke to me.

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And I have jumped between quick little sketchbook pieces, colour studies on the computer and longer pieces of larger art.

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Just playing about and making art without trying to plan an end result.

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Just popping in today to show you what I knocked up at the weekend with a piece of Echino fabric that has been waiting for a special project for years and years – I decided to just cut it up and use it. Carpe diem!!

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Have a good week 😍

 On Saturday 18th April 2015 I am excited to be teaching a workshop at Old Bank Studios in the lovely old town of Harwich, Essex.

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The workshop day is titled All Things Bright and Beautiful.

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We will be having a lot of fun creating a layer of abstract collage onto which we can paint shapes more suggestive of foliage or grass and then some birds or other wildlife to create a richly patterned, beautiful little canvas to take home.

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It will be a very chilled day as this is a really fun way to work allowing for happy occurrences with the collage base and don’t worry we will have plenty of reference material of flowers and birds so everyone, whatever ability, can enjoy themselves and create a piece that they’re proud of.

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Blue Tits © Claire Leggett

There are seven places left to date, so if you’re interested please follow this link for more infoI’d love to meet you.

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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.

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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