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Friday, 17 May 2013

My Mother, My Muse

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I write this blog, after a four year battle with cancer my mother passed away peacefully on the 11th May surrounded by her family at St Luke's Hospice. Throughout my mothers painful battle she never stopped encouraging me to follow my dreams, explore my creativity and believe that I could be all that I want to be. 
When I look back over the years I was amazed at how much art work I have created where my mother has been my muse, my inspiration, my motivation and driving force. She has collected bottle tops, cartons, saved her crosswords, modelled for me and collected inspirational images for years - often clogging up her tiny flat all for the sake of art! Never once questioning my motive, just trusting in my judgement.
 One of my earliest memories is of going to a second hand market and being given 50p to purchase some cloth to make something out off.
So it is with this blog that I want to say thank you mum, for being you, for always believing in me and hopefully instilling in me all that you hoped and dreamed of for me, God Bless and sleep tight, love you x

Here are just a few of the many pieces inspired by my mother.
1 up 1 down, M.A Installation

Live, Life, Here M.A Installation

Live Life Here, M.A Installation

What is a Mother, M.A Installation

 Mums Ops, Paper Myths 

My Brave Mum's Survival, Paper Myths

Kinafters and Kinshafters, Paper Myths

Love will see you through, Frottage drawing

Mother Miro, Newspaper, carrier bags and acrylic paint

Detail, My Cup Runneth Over. Newspaper and acrylic paint

My Cup Runneth Over. News paper and acrylic paint

Every Twist and Turn. News paper and acrylic paint

Aerial View, Mothers Mask. Radio Therapy mask, prescriptions, felt, embroidery thread

Side View, Mothers Mask. Radio Therapy mask, prescriptions, felt, embroidery thread

Mothers Mask. Radio Therapy mask, prescriptions, felt, embroidery thread

Side View, Mothers Mask. Radio Therapy mask, prescriptions, felt, embroidery thread

Autumn. Water Soluble Crayon on Paper

Miss you x

Monday, 18 February 2013

Work of Art Private View

The WOA Gallery on Hampton Court Road Westcliff is an upcoming art gallery owned by Rob Masters.  WOA stands for Work Of Art, but also can stand for the sound you make when you walk into the gallery space. 
Every space contains a treat for the viewer's eyes, with each wall being utilised in the gallery  to promote and showcase works by local artists. With an eclectic mix of works that boasts photography, oil painting, mixed media, jewellery, pottery, typography, printing and abstract art - a visit to the gallery is a must for any art enthusiast.

The Work of Art Gallery on Hampton Court Road Westcliff
 Here are some of the pieces of work that caught my eye...

"Wait" by Sharon Stone, I love the raw emotion in this stunning oil painting

Lisa Horner works in typography and illustration. These pieces are made by digitally scanning in hamma bead letters

Donna Phelps works in mixed media, exploring the combination of different materials to express her visual concepts

Sandra Clarke creates organic natural form prints using a range of techniques including lino printing.
Photo: Handemade necklace by Celeste Cook (ten-eleven pound!bargain!)
Amazing jewellery by Celeste Cook

Bird 3 by Matt Spink, I just loved the colour and texture in this painting, glorious
The WOA Gallery is open Monday to Saturday every week. To find out more about the gallery, the artists or to enquire about exhibiting at the gallery check out the WOA website or contact Rob Masters at or call -07817264420

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Love Series

Since January I have been enjoying working in my own studio. I cannot explain how peaceful and happy I feel in my space, creating planning and teaching.
Now that I am all settled in, over the past few days I have been working on a series of drawings ready for an up coming exhibition. I thought I would give you a sneak preview of a few of the drawings.
"I'm Yours" Water Soluble Crayon on paper

"Singing Heart" Water Soluble Crayon on paper
"Love Ice-Cream" Water Soluble Crayon on paper

Framed and mounted drawing

Original drawings will be available priced at £95:00 framed, prints available £45 or £60 framed. For more information contact Lisa at

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, New Studio

This January I have been working really hard with a lot of help from my husband and lovely family - to move into my new studio. The explosives Laboratory at Wat Tyler Country Park.

One of the parks few remaining buildings from its time as an Explosives Factory, The Laboratory has recently undergone an £80,000 refurbishment as part of the Heritage Interpretation Project which has seen a complete transformation of the park over the past five years.

Following the refurbishment, the building will now be used as my new arts studio offering a range of classes for all ages and abilities and children’s art parties for birthdays, celebrations and weddings.
I am looking forward to creating some larger scale drawings in the new space
I am looking forward to being able to exhibit not only my work but work by other artists as well as finally have the space to continue some projects I have had to shelve over the past few years.
This was the start of a project a few years ago, hopefully I will now beable to complete the project

Run by the British Explosives Syndicate and owned by Swedish Industrialist Alfred Nobel (he of the international Peace Prize), The Laboratory was severely damaged by an explosion in 1916. The result of this can still be seen in the colour contrast of brickwork on the building.

Restored because of its heritage integrity
, the refurbishment project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and whilst the outward appearance is unchanged, the building has been fully restored internally with double glazing and under-floor heating, making it an ideal venue for the new studio.
Putting up the work
My working end of the studio, doesn't that look nice
Finally plenty of storgae space for all my bits and bobs
Some of my work on display
Teaching end of the studio, starting to take shape

 The Laboratory Arts Studio will open to the public on the 12th January 2013. For more information visit or email

Friday, 7 December 2012

Paper Christmas Tree

Wobbly Paper Christmas Trees

The final instalment of our five days of Christmas brings you these adorable paper Christmas Trees.
Brief Description: Using a simple paper rolling technique you will learn how to make this adorable Christmas tree decoration
Keywords: wrap, roll, coil, cone, spiral, motion, Christmas, tree, sparkle, Glitter, Winter, festival, celebration
Materials Needed: Paper, Pritt Stick, a ruler, embellishments, scissors

  • Select the paper you are going to use to make your tree. This can be coloured paper, paper that has been prepared by the children i.e. drawn, marbled etc, wrapping paper, news paper etc
  • Place a ruler at the corner of the pieces of paper, carefully flip the ruler over so that you are rolling the paper tightly around the ruler.
Make sure you have an equilateral triangle at the corner of the paper before you start rolling
  • Make sure you pull the ruler our slightly if using a 30cm ruler or you will wrap the ruler in the paper making the task difficult.
  • When you have rolled all the paper add a dab of glue on the top corner, fold down to secure. Remove the ruler from the paper.

Make sure you add plenty of glue in the corner to ensure the  paper does not unfold
  • This will produce a thin rolled piece of paper that you will use to make your tree and base unit.
Once you have rolled you paper run the ruler over the top to flatten the paper
  • Make 10 green rolls of paper and 10 red rolls of paper
  • When you have got all ten pieces you need to coil them together to make a large spiral shape. Start off with one strip and roll into a spiral as tightly as you can, secure the end with a piece of glue.
Once again add lots of glue each time you add a new strip of paper, this will give you a stringer structure
  • Continue to add the remaining nine strips of paper until you have a coil. It is important to keep this coil as tight as possible.
Your coil needs to be nice and tight but not too tight that you cannot move the sections
  • Lay a piece of green paper on the desk in a landscape position. Very carefully roll this as tightly as you can to form a straw like shape. Secure the edge with some glue. This will make the pole for the tree to rest on.
Roll a piece of A4 paper to make your stand for your wobbly tree
  • Repeat the process of making a coil as shown above using the green strips, but this time add the central pole (the strawlike tube from point 9) and wrap the red strips around the central pole. Add each strip as above to create a coil. This will form the base and stand for your tree shape.
Wrap red paper around the straw nice and tight as above

Wobbly Christmas tree stand
  • Carefully, using your thumbs, push out the centre of your green coil, you should start to form a cone shape. Keep pushing until you create the desired shape.
The coil pushed out to make your wobbly tree
  • Once the cone is at the correct size, gently place this onto of the central beam to create your wobbly tree.
The finished trees
  • Embellish with glitter, sequins, beads etc
Key stage 1: Instead of using a ruler, Key Stage 1 pupils could roll the paper with their hands to make the strips for the tree. These can then be stapled together with adults help to create a cone shape, coiling and stapling as described above. Children can then decorate or paint the pieces.

Key Stage 2: Explore what happens if you use 20 strips or more, How big can you make your tree?
Gifted and Talented: Explore what else you can make using this technique, What happens if you put two cone shapes together or inside each other? What happens if you use a slightly thicker ruler? What happened if you shorten the support beam?  

if you have enjoyed these crafts and would like to find out more about children or adult art classes please contact Lisa Smith at

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas Paper Wreaths

Candy cane inspired paper wreath
Day four brings you two crafting activities for the price of one, an attractive and easy paper wreath and the good old fashioned paper chains.
Brief Description:  This is a simple but effective decoration that looks great hanging from the ceiling, the wall or as part of a wall display. This is also a good activity to look at shape, pattern and symmetry.

Keywords: Pattern, strip, Christmas, festival, winter, decoration, flexibility, shape, design
Materials Needed: Paper, felt tip pens, scissors, crimping scissors, ribbon, glue, embellishments

  • Cut ten strips of paper from a coloured/ patterned piece of paper. This could be a piece of wrapping paper, a page from a magazine or some brightly painted paper prepared by the children.
You can match all your paper or mix up the designs to create a stunning festive wreath
  • Glue each strip into a circle shape
make circles from all the strips of paper
  • Repeat this to all strips leaving you with 10 circles
When you have all your circles made, you are ready to make your wreath

  • Glue two circles together using a pritt stick, Add another two circles either side of the first two circles to make a flower shape
Start making your wreath by gluing two circles together
  • Keep adding the remaining circles in between two circles to complete the circle form
Gradually add the circle together to form a circle

All ten circles added together
  • Finally add a central embellishment such a holly, father Christmas, and angel, a snowman etc to complete your decoration
I've added holly and ivy in the middle of mine but you can add any image
  • Place on display
Key stage 1: Instead of cutting out the strips to make the decoration, children can use pre-cut strips from paper chain packs or strips prepared in class.

Key stage 2: Consider using crimping scissors to add an interesting edge to your decoration. You could also try using various hole punches to cut out shapes in each strip.
Gifted and Talented: Think of different shapes that you can use. What will the decoration look like using triangles attached together? What patterns can you create? How would you add squares to each? What about mixing shapes and placing shapes inside each other. Experiment, explore and create.
Alternate idea

Make paper chains
This idea can easily be adapted to make your own paper chains using strips of brightly coloured and patterned paper. You can use any paper to make your chains, magazines, comics, wrapping paper or even paper that has been painted and prepared by the children

  •   Make a circle out of a strip of paper as shown in the diagram by gluing both ends together.

Thread the paper through the circle 
  • Thread another strip through the centre on the circle made in step 1.
Glue the end of the paper together to start making your chain
  • Make this strip into a circle as shown in step 1 by gluing both ends together.

When you have finished your chain use it to decorate your room, tree, window etc.

  • Continue repeating this process until your paper chain is at the desired length.