Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pimp My Shed!

For a number of years now I've been working from the loft in our modest terraced abode. By and large this worked okay apart from the fact that the only access was up a ramsay ladder which is not for the faint hearted when carrying a box of glass in one hand and trying to hold on with the other. Something had to give and I really, really hoped it wasn't my legs...

After a bit of gentle persuasion (you know the kind) it was agreed that the bottom of the garden was just ripe for development and we spent the best part of summer 2015 building a new Elle & Pea studio. My dreams of a 3 second commute to a purpose built, all singing, all dancing, tidy, accessible place of work danced around my head. All those creative hours spent in the cosy warmth of my very own space (I'm a bit of a romantic).

As with all good builds big or small there were a few hiccups.

It rained. A lot. There were bits missing. It rained. A lot. We argued. We painted. And painted. And painted. Did I mention the rain?

Eventually though it was done! Ta da!

It went from this:

To this:

:To this

My first winter has not been without incident however. It's amazing how easy it is to judge how watertight your roof is when you live in Scotland. Have I ever mentioned the rain? You live and learn and I now know not to leave my important printed photographs right in the middle of my desk during a downpour. I also know a handy tip for adhering bubble wrap to your windows with water to stop them freezing on the inside...

Life in the She Shed is settling in to a nice routine and I'm very, very, very much looking forward to my first Spring/Summer of creativity in my very own space. No Boys Allowed!!

Even Santa knew how excited I am!!

Sunday, 8 November 2015



Oh my goodness gracious! Where have the past three years gone?

I guess I could say they've gone in a blur of creativity, learning, re-inventing and hard work. And to all intents and purposes they have!

Having spent the best part of five years guddling about in a burn in my wellies in all weathers to collect pottery, the sheen had kind of gone off that particular project and besides, my wellies kept splitting and the woman in the local charity shop was getting suspicious about my motives for buying more than average amounts of rubber footwear (it's a small town, people talk). Anyway, I decided it was time to diversify slightly and find a warmer pastime.

Through a process of elimination (I eliminated anything to do with cooking, baking, children or small rivers) I found myself drawn to glass and particularly the combination of photography and glass - which in a way, carries on from the idea of putting images onto pottery.

As with most things, my subconscious probably came into play with memories of my mother and her "family heirlooms" (everything my mum had in the house that was over 2 years old was deemed a family heirloom in a vain attempt to create an air of mystique around a Woolies vase). The only "heirlooms" I was interested in were the photographs and general ephemera which are integral to a family's history and these are what led me to preserve them in glass.

It's taken almost two years, lots of learning, cut fingers, trial and error, experiments, bubbles, cracks, disasters, frustration, money and the creation of a whole new studio (that's for another blog post...) but my customer base is growing along with my joy in taking other peoples' precious memories and making them a permanent thing which I hope some day will become a real "family heirloom".

More of my recent work can be found on my website

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Wow! It's November already!

Think I'm suffering from that age thing that apparently happens to the ageing...the years are flying in.

If I follow that statement by saying "I'm nearly 80 you know..."
please feel free to slap me. The fact that I might feel like I'm 80 some days is neither here nor there!

But I digress - in an attempt to lure you away from my real age.....

Here at Elle & Pea we have been run off our little size 4s! We've had Craft Fairs, we've booked Craft Fairs, we've had exhibitions, we've had invitations to exhibitions and we've wangled our way into new galleries!

And, if I thought October was busy....michty me....November will be just a blur!

So, in an attempt to get it all done I will leave you with a small sample of what's going on in Elle & Pea land and with a promise to put up nice photos of all the Christmassy stuff I've been involved with once it's all happened...........

My little Apprentice Gracie has turned into a postcard (the amazing changing dog trick....)

The beautiful Cove Harbour in East Lothian has turned into a piece of wall art.......

And some bits of boring old aluminium have been transformed into amazing cuffs to adorn the wrist of someone you love (or someone you think needs to wear advice on a daily basis....we all know one)

All this and more can be found in various locations around Scotland but it's probably easier to check out the website first - Elle & Pea

Cheers Chaps

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Trunk Call!

A chance remark to my brother today reminded me of an amazing artist I came across recently.

However, first things first. The conversation concerned the fact that my brother doesn't own a pair of trunks and I very kindly offered to knit him a pair.

Coming from an era where practically everything we owned was re-knitted from an old ripped down jumper or made up of leftover ends from balls of usually nylon and for some obscure reason neon orange wool to make up THE most hideous colour combinations ever known to man (a poncho c1968 springs to mind) along with a family of Dundonian Aunties who could knit Aran from memory whilst sitting in the pictures in the dark, I really didn't think the concept was all that strange....

I got quite into the idea, thinking of ways I could line them, maybe with some kind of neoprene to keep the heat in and the wet out and minimise the drag factor of the water thereby ensuring modesty at all times, or even knit them from strips of plastic bag giving them a recycled element. Colour combinations, stitch mixing, cable, stripes, bobbles.....the possibilities were endless!

I'm a very experienced knitter and I thought, given the fact that I'm an extremely busy woman and this could be a time consuming project, he would jump at the chance - but no. I don't think even my alternative offer of crochet as a faster solution would have swayed him. All my hopes and dreams were dashed and I've had to resurrect my cushion cover project instead....

Anyway, back to the artist in hand, that being the amazing Shauna Richardson who has taken the concept of a wool based life to another level completely.

Having mastered the rare art of Crochetdermy, she hand crochets these amazing sculptures from wool and has created the largest crochet sculpture in the world - Lionheart Project - which I would give my last crochet hook to see!

I can't help wondering if she simply misunderstood her brother when he said he wanted trunks?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Pure Dead Brilliant!

Having been brought up in a fairly 'arty' family, it's more or less always been my experience that if you're artistic you're considered 'eccentric' or 'a bit weird', which, it has to be said my mother probably was. Not in a bad way obviously, but she did take cutlery into the cupboard during a thunder storm.....but that's another story.

I've always been accused of having a weird sense of humour or liking things that other people might consider odd - like graveyards (which are FASCINATING by the way...), or my little collection of death certificates which I really want to frame and hang on the wall but have faced family opposition to.

Really old graveyards are the best with amazing sculptures and creepy old cloches which really are works of art. A game I used to play with my children was to try and find a gravestone with the name of somebody they knew on it. I don't think they were damaged in any way by this.....ahem!

However, it is always refreshing to find other people with similar tastes and that was how I came across Elaine Allison

I absolutely totally LOVE her work and she has so many strings to her bow but one of my favourites incorporates two of the things I love best - cloches and things found on beaches - I just wish I'd thought of this first dammit!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

By Yon Bonnie Banks...

I may be a wee bit biased but really, Scotland has to be one of the most special places in the World. Amazing scenery, humungous talent in all areas, inventors galore, world class athletes and comfort food to die for. So, combining a first puppy holiday with a photography opportunity we headed off to midgie land for a few days.

The potential for disaster was huge - full of beans puppy + somebody else's house = potential mayhem.
Our fears were unfounded however thanks to Gracie's almost impeccable behaviour combined with a great welcome from Lesley and John at the Tom-na-creige B&B.

Not only were the breakfasts great, but the view was pretty spectacular! So, a big thank you to Lesley and John for making Gracie so welcome - the daily bribery sausage went a long way to modifying her behaviour!

Scotland isn't just famous for it's mountains though! Our cities are pretty gorgeous too with many iconic landmarks and buildings to ooh and aah over.

One talented man I have met along the way is Stephen O'Neil

So,if you thought Scotland was all about 'tartan tat', 'See You Jimmy' hats and extremely dodgy £20 kilts - think again!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

We're Not Flagging Any More!!

There's something nice about living in the same place your whole life. I can't imagine living anywhere other than where I am now. I tried it once briefly for a year but I came back because I was seasick - ie sick of not living by the sea!

So, it wasn't difficult to persuade me to become involved in the first of what we hope will be several community ventures - that of the Portobello Big Beach Bunting Project, the aim of which was to make 100m of bunting in less than three months, each separate flag being made by different members of the community. The rules were very strict. To be eligible to make a flag you had to have walked along Portobello Promenade at least once in your life......yep, that was it.....ONCE - in your life....We were guaranteed thousands.

We started off well. Enthusiasm in the Community was riding high and by July we had the grand sum of...em....10. Panic set in round about the 17th of August. We needed 100 by the 25th and we still had....em...10. But as the 21st dawned and we scurried around the drop off points, fired up the sewing machines, spent three and a half hours sewing and then counted.......we had a massive 140!!!!

In true Scottish Summertime style, the day for unveiling was wet and windy but, undeterred, the stalwarts of Creative Porty proudly climbed their stepladders to hang a grand total of 155 bunting flags from lampposts on the Promenade!

I am so amazed...sorry, I mean proud (!)...that our little crafting group, along with many members of our Community have pulled together and made this happen - group hug guys (okay...maybe not - group wine??).

Bet you can't WAIT for our next plan........are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.....