Miniature works of art – with character!

I have always been fascinated by things in miniature – you’ll recall my blog a few months ago about model villages. Well, this blog is about even smaller works of art!

My eye was caught by a Facebook post featuring these absolutely delightful creatures! On closer investigation I found that their creator, the very talented Emma Cocker, lives and works in north Devon. She describes her work as ‘Handcrafted textile artworks, with character…’

Emma at work…These beautiful little figures are very definitely works of art – and not toys. They are for ‘grown up’ children to marvel at. Her work is sold in galleries across the country and she hand-makes every detail, from the tiny knitted sweaters to hand stitched mini rucksacks and tiny boot and shoes. The detail is wonderful.

Emma says; “I create quintessentially English characters, fabric sculptures and illustrations inspired by the coast and country. My work is carefully crafted in knit and stitch, combining antique, vintage and reclaimed textiles, and British wool. From ethical textile taxidermy, in the form of stags’ horns and a dapper fox dressed in his best hunting suit, to a crew of salty seadogs and complimentary, oversized knitted buoys I like to create pieces that surprise and question.”

Emma also makes hand-knitted anchors and buoys, and has experimented in the art of ‘ethical taxidermy’ in the form of knit-covered horns and antlers. Interesting!

As one would hope, Emma lives in the sort of house you would imagine – a tiny cob cottage on the coast at Appledore. ‘I feel lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world. From walking in the woods and seeing the colours of the bluebells, to local fisherman bringing in their catch of the day — it all feeds in to what I do. I love walking the coastal path, swimming in my favourite coves and rummaging in a good charity shop!”

You can buy her figures on Etsy, but if their price ticket is beyond you… just have a look at the lovely photography on her website and Facebook page and you can enjoy the exquisite detail, humour and skill in her miniature anthropomorphic figures.

Photos: www.kevinnicholson.com

© Emma Cocker

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Famous quotes

This card is a slightly different look for us! Here you have a fabulous quote – from Sheena Douglas’ Only Words stamps, through the rain. But if you don’t have that stamp then you could use any quotes either printed or stamped. Why not put a few words like ‘Happy Birthday To You‘ or whatever – the choice is yours, that’s why making your cards is such fun!

The basic card is 6 inches square in cream with a layer of burgundy card on top.

The frame has been embossed using another Sheena product, her dry stone wall textures folder. That pretty edged square is created by using a Spellbinders Majestic Elements Labels One die that has been distressed a bit with a some Old Paper distress ink.

The embellishments were simple – the black sprays are from our Signature die called leafy flourish and then the Signature die Tudor Rose on top.

Times have changed so much since the arrival of embossing folders and dies. I still love making cards with gorgeous pictures on, but it is nice to have the choice of all these dies and goodies!

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House-Mouse and Freesias

This is one of my favourite House-Mouse designs – not that I don’t love them all! This has been cleverly themed with our freesia Signature die.

It’s one of my standard 8 x 8 inch cards – and the backing paper which also features freesias comes from the House Mouse Decoupage CD.

So apart from that lovely little bunch of die-cut freesias which have been coloured with Promarkers, the other really pretty embellishment is created using our Signature die called Harriet, the edges are just tipped with some ink from a Dusty Concord Distress pad.

For me House-Mouse never gets old!

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Curiouser and curiouser – ‘Alice’ appeal lives on 150 years after publication

John Tenniel’s original AliceThe Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit and a little girl called Alice – three of the many fantastical characters created by Lewis Carroll in his 1865 masterpiece ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, characters loved by generation after generation of children the world over. 2015 is the 150th anniversary of its publication and there are Alice in Wonderland events happening all over the place and a whole new generation is being introduced to the little girl who fell down a rabbit hole and tumbled into another world.

I adored reading Alice in Wonderland as a child. I spent quite a lot time looking for a rabbit hole large enough to fall down because I was convinced I’d have the same adventures if I did and I longed to meet the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. The book manages that magical mix of humour, fantasy and a little bit of fear – would the Queen of Hearts cut off your head? Would you be trapped forever always too big, or too small, to escape from the endless passage and through one of the enticing doors?

Little Alice Liddell was the real-life Alice who inspired Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll was his pen name), to write the novel when she asked him to tell her a story on a boating trip down the Thames in Oxford. Even when I have re-read it as an adult, I have found it entrancing and dream-like. There are so many character and phrases that crop up in modern culture and many plays and films and other books have been made about it or been inspired by it.

The real ‘Alice’, Alice Liddell.Charles Dodgson was an English writer, mathematician, Anglican deacon and photographer. After Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, he wrote Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark both wonderful examples of fantastic nonsense!

But is it really a children’s book? The story plays with logic making it as popular with adults as with children. It is one of the best examples of the literary ‘nonsense’ genre popular in the Victorian era, with one of the other most famous ‘nonsense’ writers being Edward Lear, he of ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ fame! Goodness, can you imagine being at a literary lunch with those two authors!

I often find myself thinking of particular ‘Alice’ phrases – I think one of two have even slipped into my own books! Here are a few of my favourites:

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

One of Arthur Rackham’s Art Nouveau illustrationsOne of the things I loved most about Alice in Wonderland was the illustrations. The version I had featured the beautiful Art Nouveau images created by Arthur Rackham, but the original book featured the work of John Tenniel. Both of their illustrations are stunning and so very ‘of the era’.

And what of the book when it was first published 150 years ago? The entire print run sold out quickly – Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages.

Couriouser and curiouser,” as Alice would have said!

Did you read it as a child, or an adult? Did you like it? Which was your favourite character? I think I’ve got to choose the White Rabbit!

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Butterflies and stitching

This beautiful theme for a card was something Suzanne Saltwell designed for us many years ago and I have adored it ever since and used these ingredients myself.

This is just perfect for any sewing friends that you have. There’s a little extra expense as you need a wooden embroidery hoop, special fabric that you can print onto and some sewing bits and pieces.

I have kept every one of these that either Suzanne or I have made as samples, I think they are so gorgeous – or should that be ‘sew gorgeous’ – no maybe not!

Print out something from a CD or a file that you have, find matching backing papers ­– on this card we have used some Signature Dies lace butterflies to stay with the butterfly theme!

A perfect match – crafting and butterflies with a bit of sewing on the side – that must be ideal for many crafters.

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