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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Forget me not

I’m going to admit something surprising….until the other day I hadn’t touched a paintbrush for the entire month of February. As an illustrator whose whole world revolves around art, I’ve found myself in an odd space these past couple of months. I’ve kept my creative self active, as you know, by sewing and crafts, but since the beginning of the year my artistic side seems to have gone in to hibernation. The other day, fearing I’d somehow magically lost the ability to create art, I had a strong urge to return to my desk and pick up where I left off with my autobiographical piece, and as I got lost in that bubble I enter when I’m painting or drawing, the floodgates opened. I found my heart pouring in to my work, fuelled by music (which I hadn’t listened to this year until that point), and felt just like I used to when I was engrossed in a piece; the piece becomes sort of like a puzzle, like a ‘paint by numbers’ in my head, where my brain works out what colours to mix and where to put them, until bit by bit the picture forms. As I was painting, thinking about a truly adored family member who we lost at the beginning of the year, I realised what I was actually painting: Forget me not’s.

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As some of my followers may know veganism is another huge art of my life (links to recipes at the end!) and last month I was excited to attend the Viva Vegan fair in Cardiff. It seemed even more popular than last year! And it was great to see creativity, as well as compassion, was a big part of the fair. There were stalls with all sorts of creative offerings, with artists, crafters, and even a photographer selling their work. Here are my top 3, take a look at their websites, especially if you’re looking for something ethical as well as unique!

1

‘Wear your voice’ website: link

I’ve mentioned this website before as I love the unique designs that are like wearing a piece of art! What’s more the fabric ink used is environmentally friendly and not tested on animals.

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2

‘The Healing Pear’ Website: Link

When I came across the intricately carved gemstones I was stunned that they’d been hand carved! This talented maker gets her inspiration from: ‘the amazing places I’ve been fortunate enough to call home around the world’

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3

‘BeWilder Nature Photography’ Website: link

I was awe struck when I saw Geraint’s stunning work. From unbelievable macro shots of insects, to birds and landscape scenes, Geraint’s online gallery brings to life the beauty of nature.

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I’ve always been interested in using art and creativity as a springboard to benefit other causes, from using it therapeutically, or in this case to contribute to animal welfare, which is why I jumped at the chance to get involved with Viva’s (link) planned art auction next year. For those who’ve never heard of Viva, they’re an animal charity promoting an ethical lifestyle and have gone from strength to strength over the past 24 years. The website is bursting with useful and interesting content, from health guides and campaign materials, to an ethical shop and recipes. Their ever expanding list of projects also includes ‘Art for Animals’, a way for artists and makers to use their talents to benefit animals. Take a look at the artists here, or if you’re a creative type then why not get involved? I’m already planning the piece I’m going to contribute!

Vegan Recipes (click to open new window)

Chickpea bites

Alternative Easter oatcakes

Healthier sushi

 

Monthly tutorial: chickpea bites

Every now and then I like to stray from my usual creative tutorial and bring you some vegan inspiration instead. Today we’re making deliciously healthy chickpea bites, which are perfect for a picnic, and can be topped with anything you can image!

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ingredients

  • 120g tinned chickpeas
  • 70g oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp flax seeds
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Dried dill and rosemary

method

Sometimes in vegan cook books and recipes you’ll see something called a ‘flax egg’. This is in place of an egg in the recipe, and is made by mixing crushed flax seeds with water, which creates a quite gelatinous texture, just like an egg. This is the first thing you need to do in this recipe. Crush your flax seeds, add 1 1/2 tbso of warm water and set aside for 15 minutes.

‘Oat flour’ is simply ground oats. You can be a bit creative with your flours if the mood takes you, and can find almost any flour you can imagine in health food stores, and now even most supermarkets, but oat is often the cheapest. Simply take 70g of any oats (rolled, whole etc) and blitz in a food processor.

Next, open your can of chickpeas, drain using a colander or sieve, rinse, then dry on kitchen towel.

Put your chickpeas into your food processor and blitz (you may need to stop every now and then to push them down). You’ll be left with a slightly crumbly consistency that will ‘compact’ when pressed down.

Place your chickpeas, a generous amount of herbs (and a pinch of salt if you like) your oat flour, and flax egg into a bowl and stir through. You want an almost dough-like consistency, which should happen when you begin moulding the ingredients together.

Heat your oven to 160 degrees (fan) and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Form your dough into small cracker-sized rounds, pat down, and place on your baking tray.

Brush these with a little olive oil, and bake for 5 min, flip, then bake for a further 10 min.

The consistency should be slightly bready.

ideas

Supermarket’s have come on leaps and bounds with their vegan-friendly foods. Most now stock their own versions of vegan cheeses in many exciting new flavours!

 

 

Monthly tutorial: Alternative Easter oatcakes

This recipe is so easy and versatile and suitable for vegans/vegetarians.

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  • 100g oats (to make these more nutritional I like to use a mixture of oats, oatbran and multigrain)
  • 20ml oil (I’ve used olive this time, but avocado has worked well, as well as rapeseed)
  • Any ‘extras’ such as seeds, chopped nuts, herbs, spices etc (I’m making ‘cheese & chive with sesame seeds – violife offer a range of vegan cheese flavours. Nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavour and extra vitamins)
  • A generous glug of warm water
  • Cookie cutters in any shape you want

method

 

 

step1

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Set your oven to 160 Celsius (fan oven) and measure out 100g of your oats/grains.

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Add 20ml of oil, and stir well until all the oats are coated.

step3oatcake13.jpgAdd your extras (see ‘flavour ideas’ below for inspiration) and mix in well.

step4oatCollage2.jpgAdd a glug of warm water, stir through, and ‘work’ your oats until they begin to combine. Keep adding water slowly until your oats bind together easily.

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Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

step6oatCollage3.jpgGet a cookie cutter and teaspoon ready, and take a small amount of your mixture. Depending on how thick you want your oatcakes, add more/less, and press it firmly into your cookie cutter on your baking tray.

step7oatCollage4.jpgUse the back of your teaspoon to press the mixture firmly in, and the handle end to get into all the smaller spaces. Tip: the simpler the cookie cutter, the easier it is to get out after.

step8oatcake3.jpgUse the handle end of the spoon to gently push your shape out, and gently press with your finger tips to flatten slightly on the baking tray.

step9When you’ve made all of your shapes (depending on thickness you can usually expect to get around 6 out of this recipe) it’s time to bake! Put your baking tray in the oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes until lightly golden. The time will vary depending on thickness, but for an extra crunch leave them in longer. If you like a really soft oatcake, go for 20 minutes.

step10Once your oatcakes have fully cooled it’s time to think about presentation. There are so many places on the high street and online where you can get beautiful boxes. (Cup)cake boxes are perfect for your oatcakes, and if you’re on a strict budget these can be picked up in discount stores, such as HomeBargains, B&M bargains, or if you’re looking for something extra special and want to support small businesses, it’s well worth taking a look at what the sellers at esty have to offer (you can view them here – link). I made my own label and stuck it to a cute pre-made box.

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flavour

 

artyAfter much agonising over the pastel piece I’ve been working on in my art group, I’ve finally finished working on the still life piece. I’d been wanting to re-acquaint myself with pastels for a while, as I don’t feel it’s a medium I’ve really mastered. As someone who mainly works in small formats and has a strong inclination to include a lot of detail, I found the ‘bulk’ of pastels to be quite challenging. Enter the pastel pencil! This year so far has been an experimental one in terms of mediums. I’m shying away from my usual instinct to get out my oil paints, and exploring what’s out there, particularly as I now feel I have a ‘grip’ on oils.

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Keep your eyes peeled for a review of Derwent’s Pastel Collection next month!

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After investing so much mental energy into developing experience with this medium, I decided my next project would be one for pure enjoyment, so I’ve resumed my love affair with fine liner (something which had been somewhat squashed during three years studying illustration at university). I’m afraid I’ll forever be a fan of the clean line and definition it can produce.

colouringpagecright.jpgIt felt exhilarating to feel a sort of ‘freedom’ with this piece – to let my instinct and understanding of pattern/line (and natural inclination towards detail) to lead the way without too much thought. However, I took the decision to use watercolour pencils on this and feel it took away from the stylised feel of the piece. So what began life as a relaxed piece has now morphed into another art challenge! Bring it on! I’ll be updating you on my progress through twitter and facebook (facebook.com/hanna-mae-illustration) and twitter (@HMWIllustration).

As for my eco clothing, I’m in the process of working with an etsy seller to get some sew-in labels made as a finishing touch. The process is a lengthy one, but I want my labels to reflect what my clothing is all about. I’ll be showing you the finished product in the weeks to come, along with pictures of the postcards I’m having made.

nextweekMonthly Review: Derwent graphitint pencils review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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