Friday, 29 April 2016

Art in circles

I find a certain harmony that emanates from art placed within a circular shape, and looking at this brief retrospective selection of my work it is something I am clearly drawn to...

Kalli, Bunny and Savage floral collages in gold circle frames [2013]

Floral March bunny collages in gold circle frames [2014]
Circles have no beginning or end.
They represent the eternal whole and in every culture are an archetypical form representing the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between.
Circles are used to suggest familiar objects such as wheels, balls, many kinds of fruit.
They suggested well-roundedness and completeness.

"Bees" collection glass and metal double sided pendant [2014]
"Bees" collection metal and glass double sided pendants [2014]
"Bees" collection Melissa gift boxes [2014]
Circles have free movement.
They can roll.
Shading and lines can enhance this sense of movement in circles.
Circles are graceful and their curves are seen as feminine.
They are warm, comforting and give a sense of sensuality and love.
Their movement suggests energy and power. Their completeness suggests the infinite, unity, and harmony.

Magical talisman [July 2012]

Kalli and March bunny collages in gilt fames [2012]
Troedyrhiw Christmas angel in her home tin [2015]
Scull motif decorated vintage specimen box photographed against matching background
Circles protect, they endure, they restrict.
They confine what’s within and keep things out.
They offer safety and connection.
Circles suggests community, integrity, and perfection.
Because they are less common in design they work well to attract attention, provide emphasis, and set things apart.

Floral scull hanging circle postcards

Madonna of the roses hanging postcard [2013]

Affirmation hanging postcard [2013]

Decorated tins [2015]

"Nature's Almanac" decorated tin lid [2015]

"Savage" brooch [2013]

"Scull" brooch [2013]

"Dolly" brooch [2013]

"Alice" collage as mobile upload [2014 no filter]
"Alice" collage as mobile upload [2014 vintage filter]
"Alice" collage as mobile upload [2014 ghost filter]

How I wish that the beautifully composed circle definitions in this post were written by me, but they were in fact taken from this website:

Celebration art work

[Mayfifth1935 Designs collage March 2015]

 "Jude's Fifty Roses"
[Mayfifth1935 Designs collage February 2014]
"Power of Three"
[framed collage for Jude 2013]

Heidi's Heart
[Mayfifth1935 Designs collage October 2011]
Hanna's 20th [framed collage May 2011]

New baby [framed collage April 2011]


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Let's make... decorative paper cones.

I LOVE paper.
Vintage paper mostly, but also new handmade paper, tatty old packing paper, transparent tracing paper, graph paper...the list is endless and it's so easy to work with. I love the feel of it, the smell of it and even the sound of it when it rustles.
Here's a nice little exercise to get used to working with this [in my opinion] most wondrous of materials and it's pretty simple so suitable for a child's activity.
Cones made using vintage pages with ribbon loops pushed up through the tip  
Most people know how to make a paper cone, but there are a few variations. I cut a piece of paper into a semi circle shape [some people make them out of squares], bend it around to form a cone and glue or staple to fix in place. The first cone I remember making was for the body of a Christmas angel [with beauteous doily wings] at infants school . The second was a few years later when I made Turkish Delight[so exotic!] as Christmas presents for the family - a magazine recipe showed a portion wrapped up in cling film and placed into a cone made from festive wrapping paper.

You can basically make a cone out of any paper and use it as a receptacle or as a decoration, as I have done here...
Double cone made with vintage page and stained tracing paper - just slot one inside the other!
Pages from an old book look lovely and tracing paper works well, especially if it's stained.
I do this by soaking for a few minutes in warm black coffee and letting it dry flat, you can see how this gives it a nice sepia vintage hue.

Tracing paper cone with twine loop and twig filling

Tracing paper cone with twine loop and butterfly motif glued inside

You can make new paper look vintage [see image below], just wet it, screw up into a ball and let it dry, then carefully flatten out for that fragile look...

Double cone with twine loop - flower head

Vintage paper double cone with twine loop and twig filling

Oh and by the way, cones just happen to make great Christmas tree decorations! See in the images below how tracing paper works perfectly because you can see the gold ribbon shimmering though it. In the second image the rim of the cones have been edged with a glitter glue.

Tracing paper cone [unstained] with gold ribbon loop.
If you tie a bow in the ribbon it lodges in the cone like the stamen of a flower
Tracing paper cones with gold ribbon loops and glitter glued edges

An even simpler exercise is to go into the garden, pick a few of the tiniest, prettiest flowers and make some fairy bouquets! This is a lovely project for children to do and who wouldn't want to wake up in the morning to find one of these miniature treasures on their bedside side table?
Fairy bouquet wrapped in vintage page [6cm]

Fairy bouquet wrapped in aged pink paper [5cm]

These projects are relatively simple as I am not one for over complicated pieces and bright colours, bows and frills. However, if you are, take a look at these links for more ideas:

Two great little 'how to' videos here and  here that explain the cone process far better than I.

All photographs in this post copyright Mayfifth1935 Designs

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Because I care... [bespoke greetings and gifts]

Like all crafters, I love making things for people, so here are a few examples of cards and gifts I've created for friends and family over the years.

Framed collage to celebrate the birth of a daughter for my friend Sarah.

For her first birthday, I decorated this vintage specimen box.
It is really fragile and has a glass lid!

A tree decoration to celebrate her first Christmas
A framed collage and card for my beautiful niece Hanna's 20th birthday.
The three Cicely Mary Barker flower fairies represent me and my two sisters, while the birds represent Hanna and her sister, Lily
And a  keepsake for her 21st
House warming talisman

Bunny card, talisman keepsake and brooch for Louise!
A collective card for a colleague's 60th
I represented my fellow Library staff by the animals they love

Sunday, 10 April 2016


 This portfolio is very special to me as it consists of my childhood toys. I was one of those children who probably still played with dolls when most other girls had moved onto make-up and boys. Eventually, these beautiful objects were reluctantly packed away and managed to escape my mother's dreaded periods of obsessive de-cluttering. A few years ago the boxes were opened and I was entranced once again, taken back to those happy carefree days where anything seemed possible and no story was too fantastical.
The dolls above belonged to me and my elder sister, Judith, and I remember thinking at the time that they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

This gorgeous pink lady is called Giulietta, and is one of three boxed dolls [Siena and Mellie below are the other two] that for many years, sat atop the pelmet in our bedroom.



I call this rather creepy looking doll Dora and she is a bit of a mystery as she was in with the other dolls but I don't know where she came from and have no memory of ever playing with her!

This is Daffodil, she came new to us, her name was on the box and we didn't think to change it. She had the prettiest dress but it is long since gone so I photographed her draped in a chiffon scarf.

These little Christmas pixies came with gold thread loops to be hung on the tree. I think there were more of them at one point and they came over from America [we have family there]. They are so fragile now but still resonate with that magic of looking up inside a lit tree and imagining it as a fairy realm.

This world doll is in national costume but I never knew which country she represented so I have called her Elisabeta because she has a Transylvanian look.

Another world doll [never named] but she has a South American look.

These beauty queens represent France, Africa and Belgium and if I had any more, I don't remember them. When I was eventually given a room of my own, there was a little waist high book shelf against one wall where I created a kingdom of tiny toys that had a palace, a town square and a street of shops constructed from bath cubes, match boxes and assorted items of toy furniture. The inhabitants were made up of these lovelies, peg dolls, key-ring creatures, pencil top vegetables, various soap animals and match box babies. By the way, if Miss Belgium ever had a skirt, I don't remember it!

This handsome gent is Big Ted. At one time he had a plastic nose but it came off and I remember trying to re-attach it with nail varnish. He lived wedged in the top corner of my bed for many years and comforted me through all manner of nasty dreams and thunder storms. He wears a black cashmere jumper that belonged to my Aunty Margaret who was ridiculously small. Of all my toys, he is the one I always loved the most and I love him still. By the way, he also wears [though you can't see them here] a pair of moss green legwarmers my mum knitted for me and there is a tiny furry Womble toy stuffed into one of them. Don't ask.

Adventurous mouse. He came to us second hand and I think he belonged to my younger sister, Heidi.

There are the Little Teds and after Big Ted, I love them the most. Can't remember whether they came to me new or second hand but they are incredibly fragile now.
Hours and hours of fun, romance and intrigue!

Pencil top vegetables. Inhabitants of shelf kingdom.

Little snow bear and King of shelf kingdom. Mum once went to the Ideal Home exhibition and she bought him home for me.

Dark bunny. Inhabitant of shelf kingdom.
The Lady Red and the Lord Grey.
These two appear quite a bit over at the Squirrel Library
This ancient little bunny is one of those items for which I have no idea of provenance. I can tell you he was old and battered when he came to live in shelf kingdom. 

This ceramic snub nose bunny was given to my father when he was little [he was born in 1935] with an Easter egg on its back. Suffice to say, it is far too precious to play with. I put the vintage cashmere scarf on him because he needs looking after.

All photographs in this post are the copyright of Mayfifth1935 Designs