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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

Month

February 2017

Art vs Craft

There’s nothing new with me dividing my time between art and sewing, but as I’ve been working towards a deadline (in this case a birthday) the balance has been significantly tipped, and I’ve been dedicating as much time to embroidering and sewing as possible.

The giftee owns a camper van and is always complaining of cold hands (yet refuses to wear gloves!) and so the little grey cells in my head set about providing a solution…

Introducing the cuddly camper cushion! A personalised cushion to keep in the back of your van, with a pouch to store reusable hand warmers.

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And as I’m so fond of recycling/upcycling, I made use of fabric left over from December’s inspiration board tutorial and utilised studs rescued from a handbag destined for the landfill.

artyWhen I’ve had the chance I’ve been sneaking a few hours here and there to work on an illustration using graphitint, putting the pencils through their paces ready for next month’s review. The piece was inspired by some old books I came across whilst sorting through my grandmother’s belongings. She, like myself, has always appreciated the beauty of nature. One book in particular caught my eye – The Hamlyn Animal Encyclopedia. It may have a dingy, stained exterior, but inside lies a treasure trove of detailed illustrations.

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For my piece I chose animals and fungi native to Britain that I thought would compliment the limited colour palette of the tinted graphite and not deduct anything from their natural interest/beauty; the shape was as important as the palette, with the curved backs of the Pine Marten adding to the symmetry – something I use quite often in my work, particularly my paper cuts.

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Pine Marten’s used to be a regular sight in Wales in the past, but during the 19th and 20th century became all but extinct. However, conservationists are trying to prevent this, and in 2015 the Pine Marten Recovery Project (part of The Vincent Wildlife Trust) attempted to recover numbers in Wales by transporting some from Scotland.

Finally, as my regular readers will know, I like to discover and share inspiring artwork and artists, so this week I leave you with a mini collection I’ve named ‘Wonderful Wildlife’. Click the icon to be directed to each artist gallery/profile. Click image to view full-size.

Mountain Bluebird‘ by Pamela Earleywine

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About: Caroline’s Deviantart gallery is full of beautiful nature/wildlife inspired art work, as well as exquisite portraits and sketches.

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White Lies‘ by Tess Garman.

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About: This gallery is packed full of impressive use of colour, with animals being a core subject. She captures expression so well and there’s a boldness to her work.

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Fungus Study’ by Ruvell Saylon Ates.

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About: Ruvell’s gallery is an interesting mixing pot of studies such as the one above, fantasy, and the occasional photo. I’m especially keen on his fungi studies, including ‘ Black Morel Study‘.

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Coming next month: Special crafty tutorial to mark St David’s Day.

 

Sea love

This Valentine’s day I’m showing some love for sea life and bringing you the very first instalment of the promised new vegan recipe feature. This recipe for vegan sushi uses basmati/quinoa instead of the traditional white sushi rice, as it’s higher in fibre and nutrients. This recipe is also lower in sugar than ‘traditional’ sushi, and packs in some extra veggies to contribute to your 5 a day.

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ingredients

 

 

 

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♥ Tilda wholegrain basmati & quinoa (dried) or similar

♥ Rice vinegar (own brand is perfectly fine – try Sainsbury’s)

♥ Sushi nori (dried seaweed sheets – brands can be pricey, but Tesco sometimes stock a cheaper version, with more sheets)

♥ A fresh lemon

♥ Seasoning (I used lemon pepper)

♥ Vegetables of your choice (I used aubergine, broccoli and mushrooms)

♥ Fresh root ginger

♥ Optional extras: sesame seeds, spirulina powder

method

 

 

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Cook your rice/grains as instructed on the packet and drain off any excess water using a sieve. Put in a large bowl.

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Now to add the flavour! Sprinkle in any seasoning you like – I opted for lemon, lemon pepper, and ginger (grate in as much or as little as you like). Add a generous tsp of rice vinegar (this will help add moisture to stick the rice together/to the seaweed later)

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This step is optional, but I’d recommend including it! Lightly toast sesame seeds under the grill (no need to use extra oil) and add this to your bowl of seasoned rice. Sesame seeds are usually used on the outside of sushi, but I find they add a nice texture and flavour when mixed in. I also added spirulina for an extra protein hit (but be warned, you only need tiby amounts as it has a very distinct earthy taste!) Spirulina can be expensive in health food shops, so keep an eye out at food markets where you can sometimes be lucky to pick up unusual ingredients for a fraction of the price.

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Now to prep the veg – grill sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced aubergine, and cook your broccoli (using frozen is fine, or steam fresh florets, but make sure it is thoroughly drained by dabbing with kitchen towel) You’ll need to turn your mushrooms/aubergine half way through to get both sides cooked evenly. NB: with such thinly sliced aubergine the ends can slightly burn – don’t panic! pull/cut these bits off. You can use any veg you like, including strips of courgette or even butternut squash.

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Chop the heads of your broccoli so they almost resemble small grains. To save time you can use a mini food processor, I used a mezzaluna, but a sharp small knife will do just fine. Add to the rice mix and stir well.

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You now need to apply a thin, even layer of your rice mixture on to a sheet of your dried seaweed. Press lightly with a spoon.

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Arrange your vegetables – in this case the slices of aubergine and the mushrooms.

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Take another sheet of dried seaweed and press it gently over the rice/vegetables. You’ll need to make sure it’s in contact with the rice mix otherwise it won’t soften. Once you’ve made sure it’s pressed down well, leave for 5 mins. This should be enough time to allow it to soften.

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Time to roll! Start at the edge closest to you and aim for quite ‘tight’, pressing as you go along.

cuttingcollageYou’ll need a sharp knife to cut your sushi roll otherwise it’ll fall apart! I used a sharp breadknife (you’ll also notice I’ve ‘tucked in’ the ends – this is to stop any escaping rice!) Start by cutting your roll in half, then divide up into smaller sections.

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All that’s left to do is make your sushi look extra appetising by arranging it nicely on your plate. You can add any extras, such as soy sauce and wasabi.

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Talent on the doorstep

Last month, in the post titled ‘A cofession‘ I mentioned ‘One For Sorrow’ (my mixed media oil/graphite piece) was included in the winter exhibition at Y Galeri Caerffili. At the end of last month all entrants and their guests were invited to a presentation event with the mayor of the town, and, being the first time I’d seen the complete exhibition I was blown away by the talent I found myself faced with. I’m pleased to say my piece was highly commended, but what a tough decision the judges must have had choosing from so many unique and powerful pieces.

As he exhibition draws to a close, I want to introduce you to some of the gifted participants, and hope you’ll find their work as inspiring as I do. (Social media icons are clickable)

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‘Carousel Pony Painting’, oils, Elin Sian Blake.

 

Elin Sian Blake – Elin’s agricultural history is communicated strongly through her artwork, with work including beautiful Welsh landscapes and her favourite subject – Welsh Cobs and mountain ponies. She studied graphic design at the University of Glamorgan. Above is one of my favourite pieces from Elin’s online gallery.

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Neil Chard – Like Elin, Neil studied at the University of Glamorgan, studying Art Practice. As soon as I entered Y Galeri Caerfilli I noticed Neil’s atmospheric portrait. Neil’s work is detailed and you can see the real skill behind each piece. Above is his piece ‘Face in Recession’ in oils.

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‘Tide in at Polperro’ – mixed media, Shirley Fursland

 

Shirley Fursland – Shirley describes herself as an ‘amateur artist’ who ‘enjoys using acrylic and mixed media’. Shirley’s exhibited piece stood out to me as I thought the way you could see some of the newspaper print on the roof of one of the houses gave it a real quirky feel. Her pieces are wonderful examples of how texture can be used to create interest. You’ll find contact details for Shirley on her website.

aheadOn the 14th I’ll be bringing you my ‘monthly tutorial’, but with a twist! As it’s valentine’s day we’ll be showing some love for sea life (as well as ourselves – your heart will thank you for this healthier version) by whipping up some vegan sushi. Over the coming year, as promised, I’ll be replacing some arty/crafty tutorial slots with animal-friendly cookery. But don’t worry, I’ll still be including some creative ones, starting with a mini sewing project in honour of St David’s Day on the 1st March.

I’m also working on a couple of reviews that’ll appeal to art lovers, and will be scoping out a promising-looking exhibition.

Monthly review- Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been putting Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils to the test with interesting results. As promised, here’s everything you need to know…

Product name: Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils (24 set tin)

Price: £18.99-£40.75

Rating: 4/5

About: A tin of 24 watercolour pencils which can be used with or without water.

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Having relied on the same brand of watercolour pencils for the past 9 years I was excited to try these and, I admit it, slightly sceptical that they would live up to their implied vibrancy…but I was pleasantly surprised!

Although it took me a little while to get used to the softness of the tips (more on this later) when I got stuck in I was delighted to see a vibrant drawing begin to emerge. The quality of these pencils are evident, and provide an intensity I personally find hard to achieve with other, ‘normal’ watercolour pencils.

What I like about these pencils is the control you get. They’re very versatile in the way that they offer the best of both worlds; if you want a softer, subtler effect this can be achieved by using light pressure, whilst if you want the promised ‘inktense’ effect this is achievable by layering and applying the right amount of pressure. The fact that the drawing may be left as it is, or diluted/smoothed over by applying water with a brush afterwards also demonstrates this versatility. I found I was happy with the effect I had achieved without feeling the need to add water.

However, as you can tell from the comments above, it would take someone who has at least some experience with watercolour pencils to understand about the amount of pressure you need to add, which is why these wouldn’t spring to mind when thinking of children or beginners. I feel these pencils are suited more to practicing artists, particularly as they’re quite expensive.

As I mentioned earlier, the tips of these pencils are very soft. Whilst watercolour pencils are often very soft in comparison to ‘normal’ coloured pencils, these seemed softer than the average. So, if like me you like to work with a very sharp tip you’ll need to sharpen these often and with a scalpel/thin craft knife. Due to the soft nature of the tips they’ll become ‘blunt’ quicker, particularly if you’re using them with the aim to produce that promised vibrancy.  This makes them less cost-effective so there’s a bit of a trade off: vibrancy or pencil life?

To conclude I’d say that these are a genuine pleasure to use, which will be picked up by artists who appreciate their materials. They’re something I would use for a special piece, or if material costs were included in a commission, otherwise, these are good to put on Christmas and birthday lists!

wherebuyThe most competitive prices seem to be on amazon, but these pencils are available in stores too. The Range stocks Derwent Inktense 24 tin (as well as 12) at £29.99, whilst Hobbycraft stocks them for £30 and are currently offering those who join the Hobbycraft club 15% off their first online order.

 

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Undiluted watercolour pencil drawing, Hanna-Mae Williams

 

 

 

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watercolour pencil drawing with ink background. Hana-Mae Williams

 

 

 

 

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