Friday, 29 November 2013

Interview with Artist { Sara Bowersock}

Tell us a bit about yourself and what kind of art you do

I work as a graphic designer during the day for a company called Jeanmarie Creations-we design gift bags for all occassions, so I spend most of my days drawing disgustingly cute critters, santas, hearts, things of that nature. I chose graphic design as a profession, because I thought it was the only way I could make a living as an artist…which I don’t necessarily believe to be true anymore.
But the art I truly love to do, is what you see on my site – expressive, pop inspired pieces of things that I enjoy-music, monsters, guns, and so on

How long have you been creating art/have you always been a creative person?

I think I’ve always been a creative type…remembering back to kindergarten when I stole a classmates crayons to go write on the school doors. Haha, I guess that was my first attempt at graffiti. I think I started thinking of art as something more serious to pursue in high school, so that’s when I think I started creating more seriously.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
Of course! Always have to be working on something. Right now I’m terribly terribly behind on commission work…so definitely looking forward to finishing those up, so I can move on to some other projects!

Where do you create?

I work in the basement of my home – pretty much the whole space is for creating artwork – with the exception of a room for my inventory or prints and shipping supplies, and a room for my cats litter boxes haha. The biggest room is primarily where I work, and I usually work on the floor, I’ve never been good at working on an easel. I move around a lot, for some reason, so I’ll usually start off working on one side of the room, and by the end of the project I’m usually on the opposite side of the room.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?

I think one of my biggest challenges is getting past the feeling of pressure (that I put on myself to be better, sell more, etc etc. One of the things I mentions learning through creating art was that you should never compare yourself to others and let it get you down…but that’s definitely a challenge for me. But I do try to take it, and turn it into inspiration instead. There is so much brilliant artwork out there, and so many talented people, it’s just really not a good idea to try and compare yourself!
It’s also somewhat of a challenge to continue progressing sometimes…like, you have your thing down the way you do it and people like it, so it’s tempting to just not change things up…but that’s boring. I think pushing myself to try new things is important, but there’s always that sense of fear, like, if I try something new, will the people who like my art now, not like this new thing? But I’m learning that the most important thing is to do what I love, and not worry about the rest.

What are the most important lessons you have learned through creating art?

Never compare yourself/your work to anybody else. You aren’t them. You won’t ever be them. Be you. Do what you do. Let other people inspire you to do different things, to be a better artist , etc, but don’t try and compare yourself. Also, never think you’re better than another artist--art is subjective. What’s crap to you, is a masterpiece to someone else, and vice versa.

How do you deal with criticism?

I’d say, probably not very well. I don’t know many artists that DO deal with it well, really, haha. Someone told me once that they thought most artists are just insecure %^$#@ who just want you to say “I love it”, and they’re really just looking for praise when they ask you what you think of something.. haha..well, I can laugh at that because, there’s an element of it that rings true for ME. Of course I want to show my work, and just have people say “I love it!” But that’s not always the case. And It’s difficult NOT to take a criticism personally when you’ve spent so much time with a piece of art, and you have a relationship with it. criticism , however, comes with the territory, so what can you do? Learning to deal with it better, is definitely something I’m working on.

What kind of creative routines or rituals do you have, if any?

I guess I do…I like to clean my house and studio before I start a new project. For an artist, I’m a pretty organized person, so having everything in it’s place before I make a giant mess, helps me get started.
Once I start a project I’m never without music. Music is a key motivator while I’m working on a painting.

Is there any medium, other than your own, that you would love to try?
I’d love to try oil paints and watercolors - two things that I’ve never really had a chance to experiment with. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?/What inspires you?

I’m inspired mostly by music, and other art, and I’ve drawn plenty of influence and inspiration from Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Ralph teadman…I’d say those guys play a huge part in the style I’ve developed.

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and/or your art?

Nope, I think I pretty much covered it ! Thanks for this opportunity to share about myself and my art!


Thanks for sharing with us Sara. Your work is so expressive and colourful!! Also, you might need to give me some cleaning/organisation tips, I am a very messy artist it has to be said. It is definitely something I am going to be working on in the New Year.

Don't forget to check back on Sunday, Dec 1, when the Twelve Makes of Christmas will be starting! Eek I'm so excited.

Take care


Thursday, 28 November 2013

**Announcement** The Twelve Makes of Christmas - Starting Dec 1

Hi everyone!

I have been keeping a big secret from you all and now I can finally let it out.... This December on the blog I am going to be making something Christmas related everyday from the 1st to the 12th!!!
This is the Twelve Makes of Christmas!! Everyday I will be showing you how to make something different such as decorations, gift wrapping, festive food recipes + gift ideas. I'm so excited to get started and luckily we only have a few days left to wait :)

So check back everyday from the 1 December and follow along with tutorials I will be featuring on the blog. This is going to be my most creative Christmas ever!

Take care

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

2013 Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts Ideas for Artists

This weekend is 1 December so it's my guess that many people will be starting there Christmas shopping (if they haven't started it already!). I thought it would be fun to put together a few gift guides to help you all with your shopping this year. The most obvious one to start with is Gift Ideas for Artists. Personally, I would be over the moon to receive any of these gifts!


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

New Items In My Shop!

I've had such a hectic few weeks in the studio preparing for the Christmas fairs/markets that I have been guilty of neglecting my poor little Etsy shop of late. However, now that I have gotten the two big ones out of the way, I can relax a little and give my shop the attention it truly deserves.

So, I've added some new items!

I adore these little Christmas gift tags (if I can say so myself). They are so simple yet colourful and jazzy all at the same time. I brought them along to the Christmas fairs and they have been selling like hot cakes!

I bet you thought I hadn't been creating canvases at all lately.... I haven't shown much work on here since the exhibition but if you did think that you would be very wrong. I have been creating art non-stop! But I had to keep it all stored up for the Christmas fairs. Until now of course, now there is a whole new range of pretty little bookcase canvases available in my shop. It really makes me smile when I see a full shop :) (But hopefully not full for long!)

1. "Every Ray Of Sunshine"//2."Flourish"//3."Quiet Days"//4."Faith"//5."Sage"//6."Violet"//7."Colourful Trio"//8."Warm And Snug"

Don't forget, if you are planning on purchasing for Christmas, do so soon to ensure your pretty things arrive in time for the big day :)

You can see more at my Etsy shop Ciara McGuire Designs

Take care

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thursday Treasury//Orange + Cranberry

Hi everyone!

Apologises for missing last week's Thursday Treasury, I was up to my eyeballs in preparing for the weekend's craft market and it completely slipped my mind. Oops! Anyway I'm here today and today's treasury is a tasty one as it is inspired by the gorgeous, yummy bagel I had for my breakfast. Orange and Cranberry. Along with all the other million things I love about this time of year, I also love how food companies bring out "festive" or "limited edition" flavours. Soooo good!

All information about this treasury, including items + sellers can be found here.

Doesn't that tea look like sooo juicy!! Can tea be described as juicy? I don't know but as a huge fan of herbal teas I would love to be sipping from that cute teacup right now! In front of a good movie....ah bliss.

I am really inspired by hand painted glass of late too. I has such a beautiful effect and I think that it serves as a fantastic, inexpensive but precious Christmas present idea. Pick up a few cheap glasses in the £1 shop and get your paints out? Bingo! Anyone would be thrilled to receive a set of hand painted wine glasses or a hand painted bowl.

Why not give it a go? I think I will! Here are a few examples/ideas to get the juices flowing and hopefully stir up some inspiration in you.

dipped stemless wine glasses

photo by My Backyard Eden


Eek!! I'm so excited to try some of these out for Christmas presents this year. 

I hope, as always, you are creatively inspired today by this post. If you try out any of these projects why not send me a few snaps? I would be more than happy to feature them on the blog :)

Have a great Thursday


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sheffield Christmas Lights Craft Fair

Hi friends! 
I've had a busy weekend at the Sheffield Christmas Craft Fair. The market ran for 3 days, Friday to Sunday and it was a great success. I was selling a range of my mixed media canvases, handmade greeting cards, gift tags, bookmarks, printed greeting cards and Christmas decorations.

The gift tags were very popular which came as a bit of a surprise as they were kind of an after thought for me. I hadn't originally intended on creating and selling gift tags but when I seen the little teeny cards in the shop I thought they were just too cute to leave there and I knew I could do something with them. I never expected them to be so popular though! You can just never tell can you?

I wrapped some of my bookcase canvases up in cellophane wrap and tied it with jute twine. They looked really beautiful like this and it made them into a little "ready-made present" if you like...
Here I am all wrapped up. It was FREEZING! Who knew that standing around in the cold for 3 days could take it out of you so much?? I'll bring a hat the next time I think lol.

What do you think of the set up? I decided to go for an all white background to display my work because I thought it gave the colours a chance to really pop. Also, the bookcase was great at giving the table height and interest. And don't forget my little tree!! It lights up!!!! Lol, I am over the moon about that tree, I used it to hang the polymer clay Christmas decoration on. I haven't decided yet whether to leave them plain white or to paint some of them. I have to be honest and say that they weren't very popular. A lot of people stopped and looked at them but not as many purchases on them as I had expected. I am wondering if it might be because they aren't so colourful..... Do you think? Leave a comment and let me know. I'd appreciate it :)

I had so much fun last weekend and the lady who was selling beside me (gorgeous handmade jewellery and gemstones) was really sweet and friendly and we got on great for the whole weekend. We helped each other out, watched each others stalls if we needed to pop out etc. It makes a huge difference when the sellers beside you are friendly and nice.

I am doing it all again this weekend at Whirlow Farm Christmas Fayre. It is a two day event and apparently we are going to be in the Cow Barn! Lol! I doubt there will be any cows in there with us though. I'm a little disappointed about that actually lol!!

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think about my stall, my set up, my products or anything else. I love feedback.

You can find out all the events that I will be selling at this Christmas on my website here.

Have a great Tuesday and I urge you to do something creative if you can!

Take care

Friday, 8 November 2013

Interview with Paper Crafter {Laura Barker}

Tell us a bit about yourself and what kind of art you do

My name is Laura and I have a passion for paper craft in all its forms. I particularly like to create personalised cards either to my own original designs or incorporating upcycled vintage papers. I’m based in Sheffield where I’ve lived and worked all my life and love to sell at local markets and fairs as well as work with local shops too.


How long have you been creating art/have you always been a creative person?

I’ve always loved to be creative and liked nothing more when I was younger than a big box of crayons and a stack of paper! (and maybe some glitter glue…) I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing pretty things away either and was always collecting ‘rubbish’ to make things with. I love the idea of making something decorative and personal. I took the step of turning this hobby into a small business in May this year and I’m loving it!

Are you working on anything at the moment?

At the moment I’m working on creating my Christmas items. I’ve got a lot of cards designed and now I’m trying to get to grips with a sewing machine! I’ve made hand sewn decorations for myself and my family for a few years but thought I’d try selling them this year too, so a machine was in order. Unfortunately my mind seems to go blank when I’m around them so it might take a little practise!

Where do you create?  

I create, design, make, market, store and package everything at home. I don’t have a lot of space so usually find myself sat on the floor with everything spread around me. If I get myself organised (so I don’t have to keep running up to the attic to fetch things) I use the kitchen table.

What are the most important lessons you have learned through creating art?

I’ve learnt to keep trying and be flexible. Sometimes an idea I think is great just doesn’t work out in reality. Other times I’ve just stumbled across items to upcycle or an idea has sparked from a little comment someone makes and an item I’ve never thought of gets created.

How do you deal with criticism? 

I was a secondary school teacher for a number of years so I’m accustomed to not taking comments personally! I know not everyone will like my work (or my prices) and if it’s not their thing that’s fine, that’s a great thing about arts and crafts – there’s lot of choice out there. If someone close to me or someone who I think of as a customer doesn’t like something I feel a little defensive at first wanting to explain how much thought and efforts I’d put into a piece, and if you’re particularly close to me I tend to voice this too! However, I then think about it logically and try to work out what the criticism is based on, is it just a matter of taste or am I missing a customer’s needs? This then turns into a new starting point to start creating again.

 Is there any medium, other than your own, that you would love to try? 

I’ve always wanted to be able to paint or draw and really admire people who can do this. My work is more stylised designs and paper pieced together so it doesn’t get the subtleties of hand drawn or painted. Whenever I try to be ‘artistic’ it always ends up like a child’s drawing, but I’d love to learn some proper technique.

 Where do you get your inspiration from?/What inspires you?

Inspirations come from lots of places. For my upcycled work it’s wanting to preserve a memory, an occasion or a piece of history. For my other work I like to make things I like (that’s how I started out, making things for myself) and see if others like them too. Usually I think of a special occasion that someone would want to commemorate and start from there hopefully creating a memento of the special day.

 Do you work in a sketchbook/art journal? 

I have a couple of notebooks or journals that I have especially for sketching down new ideas. Whenever I see something that sparks a thought I jot down my interpretation in there as a starting point. Sometimes this works wonderfully; other times I go back and I’m not sure what I was thinking! It’s always fun to look back through the books and see where designs started or discover little seeds of an idea that I’d forgotten. 

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and/or your art? 

I love to create unique pieces. Going into a small shop or around a market full of interesting, unique pieces which represent the different ideas of artists always fills me with enthusiasm, so hopefully this is what I can do in my work too. I love the idea of being able to create something really personal and working with people to make something just for them. Upcycling lets me create lots of one of a kind pieces as I use original papers that can’t be reproduced.

More information can be found here:


How about that? A fellow Sheffield-dweller! I hope to see you and your gorgeous creations at some local markets this Christmas season :)

I hope you enjoyed this week's interview. If you are interested in being interviewed on the blog email me on I am interested in all types of artists, big and small, old and young, all are welcome.

Take care

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thursday Treasury

So, it's November... and with the days becoming a little darker and the weather a little colder things can seem a bit muted and dull. Well, fear not I am here to show you the beauty in the dull!

This weeks treasury is a collection of the most beautiful dull colours - muted tones! 

Truth be told (and as you probably already know from looking at my artwork) I am a brights girl. I prefer bright reds, turquoise, greens and yellows. I would never use any of these tones in my artwork usually but you know what? Looking through this moodboard today I may be changing my mind, I might give it a go!
Look at how gorgeous the dull browns, mustards and powder blues go together. 
It just amazes me each and every times to discover the fantastic colour combinations that can be put together, even from what one would normally consider to be unattractive or dare I say it....ugly?

BUT PLEASE be aware I am by no means describing the above creations as ugly, god no! If anything I am holding these up as examples of the beauty that can be found when you look through different eyes. I mean, don't forget, hot chocolate comes in a muted tone. And that is BE-A-U-TI-FUL ;)

In the information about this treasury, including the seller and prices can be found here.

Have a great Thursday!

Take care

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Saturday, 2 November 2013

13 DIY Gift Ideas

Thinking of giving a gift with a difference this Christmas? I've compiled a list of some great DIY gift ideas that will be sure to put a smile on anyone's face. You can thank me later ;)

1.Textured Plant Pots

Try This- make a textured planted with a terra cotta pot and paper clay!

2. Crochet Bobble Blanket

3. Book Clocks


4. Driftwood Key Rack


5. Hand Painted iPhone Case

6. Lace Tile Coasters

Tiles + Lace + Spray Paint = Coasters

7. Vintage Card Notebooks

Vintage playing card notebooks by Sania Pell

8. Painted Wooden Utensils

DIY -- painted wooden spoons

9. Faux Watercolour Cushion Covers
Write on white fabric with sharpies and then spray with rubbing alcohol, then craft into pillows. For extra bedroom...

10. Bejewelled Hair Combs

DIY Hair Accessories, Hair Combs

11. Stone Herb Markers

Stone Herb Markers

12. Revamped Necklace

13. Sugar Scrub Cubes

DIY citrus sugar cube exfoliating scrub - cute gift idea

Happy crafting my friends

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