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Although it’s been a busy week here, it’s been a week full of working with the loveliest people and doing the nicest of things.

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I am grateful for the shape this artful life has taken and for the people who make it possible.

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Today I visited the Constance Wallace teashop (which I have mentioned before here)

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 but they have since gone on to open a beautiful shop.

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Alongside all the gorgeous vintage china for sale/hire and the beautifully curated things you just need to have, like the softest socks and eye-catching ceramics and pretty handmade buttons, they have been stocking some of my prints, cards and original art.

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 I went today to replenish the stock and had the prettiest and most delicious business meeting yet 😉

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I’d recommend a visit especially as they are now licensed to sell Prosecco too!

Hello! Today is the first day here that truly feels like Spring. It’s also the first day in a week that I feel well (stupid virus, nothing serious) and maybe it’s a combination of those two things that has prompted me to tidy out my iPhoto library today and come say hello with pictures.

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It’s not that I haven’t been busy creating (apart from last week) but quite the opposite and once there’s too much to say I find it becomes harder to say anything.

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In the last weeks the dresser got Spring cleaned – I found myself picking out yellow and pink china and it snowballed from there.

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I was thrilled to get the opportunity to begin teaching one of the MAC’s adult evening Textile classes (insert whooping and cheering). This has taken me on a journey back in time and a re-birth in skills once learnt and used. I studied all kinds of Textile art for my degree before specialising in Print and it has been really invigorating prepping samples to show the students – here’s some batiking I did inspired by these gorgeous anemones.

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I’m excited to see how teaching this class will develop my own work as these things always have a synergistic effect.

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You know the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” well this couldn’t be truer in the context of me teaching my daughter to crochet. First she knocked out her own gorgeous Granny Square blanket as her first project, then set about a huge Granny Square blanket as a friend’s birthday gift (here’s where I got jealous!) then for Mothers Day she made me this beautiful cushion cover for a pillow on our bed 😍

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And the making = love message has been strong in our house of late as we celebrated a BIG birthday this weekend. We can’t believe our kids are 18 and 20 – where did the time go?

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Lemon and Blueberry Buttermilk Cake with edible flowers for the girl who gave up chocolate for Lent.

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And following the tradition to have a special item to commemorate a landmark birthday like 18, this little pumpkin asked me to knit her a cardi! Ahh…

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It did nearly kill me as it’s the most complex thing I’ve done yet but that’s how you up your skills level isn’t it!

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Here’s a little snap of my Spring inspired work table to leave you with. Hope the sun’s shining where you are.

Do you like vintage china? pattern? painting? Want a lovely day out with a scrummy home-cooked lunch?

Then this could be just for you –  the lovely Bev and Nigel of Old Bank Studios have booked me to teach a Pattern on Pattern Teacups watercolour (gouache) class on Saturday 5th March. 

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All abilities are welcome. We will work from a still-life set up and approach the painting in stages.

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Or you can go at your own pace and follow your own creative leading. Either way Bev will still cook a lovely lunch for us to eat together 😛 Booking details are here.

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Then on Sunday 6th March I’m teaching All Things Bright and Beautiful (Mixed Media) again at Old Bank Studios so why not make a weekend of it? It is the Mothers Day weekend – treat yourself or come together and treat your mum!

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This is a fun way of working: layering up collaged papers and paint layers, starting out loose and experimentally and then adding increasing levels of detail. I’ll be bringing bird and butterfly reference material but you can make your canvas of any image you want.

If you want to make a weekend of it I’m sure Bev will happily suggest local accommodation – email her here or phone her on 01255 242930. You can book onto the course here.

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Harwich is a bit of a drive but don’t let that put you off! (all the more reason to come for the weekend…) Bev and Nigel are two of the loveliest, most genuine people I’ve met and Old Bank Studios is a lovely setting to learn and create in. Oh and did I mention the delicious lunches…

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I am just back from a little gallivant around London as I am want to do every so often.

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I had a hit-list as usual and one of my destinations was the Liberty in Fashion exhibition on at the Fashion and Textile museum. Liberty was set up 140 years go to retail goods from the Far East but it soon began contributing to British fashion by both its influence and it’s offerings.

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Arthur Liberty wanted to create a new fashion and did so by developing “Art Colours” and Liberty’s own fabrics.

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These qualities were distinctive and soon became adjectives in themselves e.g.; softly draping silk was known simply as Liberty silk.

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The idea of dressing with references to history or artistic movements soon became synonymous with The Liberty Look.

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Before WWI Liberty produced delicate floral prints. By 1920 the shopper preferred designs on darker grounds which then gave way to pastel shades on lighter grounds to reflect the romantic mood of the 1930’s. The latter is still considered the archetypal Liberty print.

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In the 1960’s Liberty’s embraced the fashion forward crowd, collaborating with new designers. But my interest peaks with 1920 – 40’s and picks up again in the 1970’s when Collier and Campbell began to design for Liberty’s.

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It’s not a big exhibition but there is design reference and inspiration a plenty.

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Back soon with more of What Claire Did.

One of the best things about exhibiting at the Patchings Festival this year, was plugging into a creative community and making new friends. One night I met another stall holder Lyndsay and had a nice chat with her. Fast forward a few weeks and I’m welcoming her to tea and cake and she’s bringing in these boxes.

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Shall we see what’s in it?

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Wow!

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Lyndsay and her husband used to collect vintage teacups and amongst other things used to put candles in them to sell.

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Their business has evolved now and they have a loft full of unwanted teacups – unwanted teacups! Is there ever such a thing?!

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After she’d seen my paintings, she knew she had found both an appreciative home for them and someone who could put them to use.

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I oohed and ahhed constantly as we unwrapped the box – Christmas and birthdays for a lifetime all come at once!

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I’ve got enough inspiration here for a winter full of painting once all the flowers inspiration has died down.

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This bright blue teacup set is a leading favourite.

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They do say “There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet”. Lyndsay – a thousand thanks x

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You can find Lyndsay’s lovely homeware here on her Pretty Beautiful website and on Facebook here.

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A friend came to dinner earlier in the year and delighted me by bringing the most gorgeous box of delicately coloured French macaroons as a thank you gift.

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Did we eat them? – heck no! I snaffled them up into my magpies nest (otherwise known as Mums studio) where I have been able to control the other nesting birds from eating them.

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So when I was looking around to set up a painting for my new (old) gorgeous teacup I knew the time had come to use them.

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Usually its hard not to eat the yummy things I’m painting but these are so out of date now that its not been difficult at all!

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Here’s a little mosaic of the painting in progress. I love seeing ‘behind the scenes’ of anything so I hope some of you enjoy seeing how it developed.

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© Rose Pink Macaroon Claire Leggett

And here’s the finished piece. Its turned out to be one of my favourite of recent weeks – love the colours and its just happy and cheerful! Which I hope you are too – have a great weekend.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all you will already be able to say how I reacted when I walked into this shop.

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My framers wife tipped me off about Constance Wallace after she saw my work coming in to be framed.

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And what a find this little place is – a shop dedicated to selling and hiring vintage china.

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 I could set up with my paints en situ and not leave for years!

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So apart from being crammed full of cups, plates, jugs and teapots, its also got some lovely crochet and vintage table-linens – everything needed for a vintage wedding or an english afternoon tea (or as a distraction for a cup mad artist!)

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I did buy something – amazingly only one set! – and was very impressed when the assistant was able to find the matching saucer from a huge stack of them.

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I’ll come back later in the week and show you my painting of this little beauty 🙂

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This past week I have been back to painting with a vengeance…

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…enjoying the cherry blossom before it got dashed to the ground in a hailstorm (what’s with the weather?)…

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…doing a little gadding (love that word – “ present participle of gad . Verb: Go around from one place to another, in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment”) although usually it means to have no purpose to your pursuit and I very much did! I gadded to the vintage and handmade fair in Chipping Sodbury…

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…and left with a few well-chosen items for future design reference – some vintage lace samples, some lustre threads in gorgeous colours and some lovely old keys to draw…

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…we made the most of the sunshine on Sunday to walk nearly all the way from home into Birmingham city centre along the canal side…mosaicf64627b54b86085bd7cad08f513d6011d8b23db3

…we’re enjoying our constant supply of five types of salad leaves from the veg patch this year…

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…and cutting loose and trying something new inspired by reading this book lately.
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Hope you have enjoyed your bank holiday weekend too 🙂

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Back in January I covered my inspiration board in bird imagery and set to work. Four months later and I feel as if I have still hardly scratched the surface of what I wanted to achieve but I also need a bird break.

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But I wanted to share this book with you before I forget to as it is very inspiring and I think you’ll enjoy these images and might find ideas in them for yourselves – we all seem to enjoy designing and painting birds.

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One thing that attracts me about birds is the endless opportunity for colour and pattern in observing different plumage.

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Which is why a book on birds that aren’t native to the UK offers up such a treasure trove. This book was bought for a couple of pounds in a second-hand shop but if you’d like your own, new copy, then it’s only £308 from Amazon! Or a mere £10- £30 for a second-hand copy.

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I had wanted to capture the movement and interaction that birds bring and include that in pattern design too, which is where I’ll pick up after a break to do something a little different for a while. But it is defiantly a project that I’d like to return to later in the year.

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I promised I would show you close-up’s of some of my prized bird books, so here is the first Basil Ede’s Birds.

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You know how it goes sometimes – I walked into a National Trust Property one summer and went into an unassuming second-hand book ‘shed’ and it was one of those occasions where it was a treasure trove of beautiful unwanted books at cheap second-hand prices.

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Basil Ede                  Nuthatch

My family will remind me that I bought two books – one very heavy – which we then had to carry on a walk around the lake which turned out to take 2-3 hours! Oops. Did you notice I said we carried… anyway I digress.

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Basil Ede                   Blue Tit

It turns out that this book, which I bought for £1.20 because I liked the bird pictures, was illustrated by the Basil Ede , one of the worlds best bird artists. And it is utterly beautiful as you can see.

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Basil Ede             Chaffinch

Basil Ede became a professional artist bit by bit, working at first at sea and then in London, he gradually grew his painting career by working part-time and being supported by his family (always a story I like to hear).

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Basil Ede      Blackbird

In his sixties he suffered a stroke which left him paralysed down one side –  the side he painted with. Amazingly he re-taught himself over a few years to paint with his left hand just as well as he had with his right.

Beautifully inspiring painting and an inspiring life story too.

Copyright notice 2015

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, 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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Yesterday I taught Teacup Totes Embroidery @winterbournehg 🧵 ➿Here’s my sampler for class (finished in front of Strictly last night) #embroidery #embroideryflowers #embroideryart #broderie #stitchersofinstagram #stitch #slowstitching #frenchknots #daisystitch #stemstitch #teacups #stitchlovers #sewingfun #mindfulstitching #drawingwiththread
Ending my part of the #MARKit project @mothershipprojects today with a grateful heart 💖 Grateful for the chance to have shared my creativity and knowledge to welcome, build friendships and empower these awesome women 🙌🏻 #welcomerefugees #empowerwomen #refugeeswelcome #walkamileinmyshoes #motherswhomake #whorunstheworldgirls #craftforchange #womeninbusiness #artchangeseverything #makeadifference #fromstrengthtostrength #socialenterprise #sharelife
Made myself a comfy cushion recently by transferring a leaf pattern I’d designed onto a screen using #drawingfluid and #screenfiller @mac_birmingham - my Tues afternoon class: Print Pattern Make (swipe to see the process) 🍂🍁🍃 #screenprinting #screenprintinglife #screenprint #print #printmaking #designitprintit #textiledesign #textile #birminghamprintmaker #birminghamprint #birminghamworkshops #thingstodobirmingham #localprintmaker ##learnanewskill
Made@Mac 🧵 ✂️ All About Textiles exhibition opens tonight in the Studio Gallery displaying student and tutor work to show off all the wonderful Textile courses on offer @mac_birmingham ⚡️6-8pm -you’re invited 😃🥂 #textiledesign #textileart #textileartist #textile #embroidery #embroideryart #printer #screenprinting #stitch #mixedmedia #mixedmediatextiles #lampshademaker #exhibition #localexhibition #macbirmingham #birminghamuk #thingstodoinbirmingham

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