Monday, 3 June 2013

Being Brave...

Last July I had a beautiful little baby, he is getting bigger now so soon I will have more time to get back into the swing of creative things!


I’m going to start a project.

On the surface I seem to be just an ordinary Mum with a little baby. Look a bit further... that ‘little’ baby is actually 10 months old and was born in July, when he should have been safely tucked up in my tummy for another 6 weeks. He has just gone into size 3-6 month clothes. Our version of ‘he’s fine’ omits the blood tests he still has to have and doctors who still want to keep an eye on him, but he is at home with us and he knows no different.

I missed out on a lot of those ‘ordinary’ things, and there is a big hole to fill.

I have been thinking for a while about making my experiences 'visual', time is obviously limited with a baby around. I feel hesitant to just parade his baby pictures all over the internet, they are precious to me, and I don’t want my son to be defined by his start. But it is important, and I think I have some interesting things to say.

So I’m going to start with what has been left. It will be quite literal 'objects' to start with, the things lying around my house that wouldn’t have been if everything had gone to plan, and we will see where it goes. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to help someone else.

‘Remnants of a Premature Birth’

I have a couple of these bags of bottles for expressed breast milk, They make quite a distinct noise all stuffed into a carrier bag together! A few of them are still lurking in the freezer storing milk. We have now put these up into the loft, for some reason I just can't throw them away, they seem too useful! 
Expressing felt like one of the most constructive things I could do for my tiny little baby, it gave me something to work on.
I quickly learned however, that he would only come home when he was good and ready to, logical right? 
Rather than because I wasn't trying hard enough or spending enough time at the hospital (all day!)
I was doing the best and only things I could already, I didn't need to be any 'better'.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

An Update and A Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus - Kathryn Ward

Wow! It feels like it's been ages since I last posted anything here! We seem to have been so busy the last few weeks it feels like we've hardly stopped, the house has been turned upside down and back again too many times in between getting a new sofa (yay!!), a beautiful little five-octave piano, going to a couple of local music events, a family wedding and a few other events and parties thrown in for good measure.

Lots of positive things have been happening lately, and I'm feeling very contented with life.
It's been very exciting to be able to sit on a sofa *in my own living room* without sinking into it! My other half has had a sparkly new job for a little while now, it's good to see him enjoying his work so much, and I have recently become involved in a new little youth group. I've been having so much fun with the group and my creative brain is proving to be quite an asset!

Wish Tree, Matlock Bath - Kathryn Ward
We finished off the summer with a bit more travelling (it feels a bit strange to be writing about summer in the middle of November!) First with a weekend in Matlock Bath and then, after about 5 years of talking about going, a trip to Vanfest.

My first ever visit to Matlock Bath obviously had to include fish and chips, sweets and ice cream and a cable car ride up to The Heights of Abraham. After the Cavern tour we stumbled across this lovely little tree which was adorned with people's special wishes.

We (very) bravely went for a dip in the hotel's outdoor pool, for ooh, I don't know... about ten minutes! and then went to warm up in the sauna.

Matlock Bath - Kathryn Ward

We managed to return from Vanfest successfully without a campervan, but with Rob's desire to own one at an all-time high.

I thought the location was absolutely beautiful, all these well-loved campervans were just nestled underneath the stunning natural backdrop of the Malvern Hills.

We have a bit more travelling planned for before Christmas, hopefully a couple of days in Brighton. I always feel so inspired by being in new places.

Vanfest 2011 - Kathryn Ward

Vanfest 2011 - Kathryn Ward

Crochet Baby Jesus - Kathryn Ward

A Baby Jesus has joined the household with over a month to go until Christmas thanks to google leading me to a crochet pattern on this blog - Crochet Nativity Figures. I've never come across this blog before but the crochet patterns are beautiful. My plan is to take one figure at a time and I can always add to my nativity over the years. I'm hoping that Jesus can have a sturdier manger soon because my quick-fix has quickly become the flat-pack version!

I'm also working on a knitted scarf, I needed a pattern with new techniques for me to learn because I get bored so easily. I'm nearly finished so you may just get a sneak peek at it.

I've found myself making things for a particular purpose, like the cards that I give to people and things that I can use. But making artwork for the purpose of working has been a bit more difficult, I'd love to spend more time on it but I find myself questioning the reasons for doing so.
What are your motivations for making?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Summer Creations

Our May Holiday Destination: Very Beautiful Montbron - France
Just a quick afternoon post from me today, I haven't quite found the motivation to post my crafty wedding bits yet (I am a perfectionist and want to be able to do it justice!) but I wanted to share a few things I've been meddling with of late.

First up... Very simple fabric brooches with vintage buttons!

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Fabric & Button Brooches
I've also been kept very busy with making cards, August and September are always so crazy for me with birthdays that while I have thoroughly enjoyed making them I am still quite glad to be able to put it to bed for a little while! I was beginning to feel like I couldn't keep up with them all!
My very good friend  Amanda is a sales rep for a craft company and I've been making the most of getting to play with the new goodies I ordered through her. You can find some lovely images of all her creations to inspire you here.

The other good thing is that most people have now received their cards so now I can share some of them here!


Birthday card for a lovely little lady called Imogen.

Baby Shower card for my 'soon-to-be-mummy' friend Hayley.

Birdy Birthday card for my friend Rhiann.
First Anniversary Card for Amanda and hubby.
My Grandma's birthday card.
French inspired Engagement card for my sister and her other half.

Still very much enjoying crochet - I've even ventured onto following patterns! (Ok maybe not such a recent development but it still feels very new to me!) I'm very much a learn-by-doing person so a lot of the time a whole load of written instructions just didn't make any sense to me, but with a bit of time and perseverance (and the power of Internet tutorials!) I feel like I'm really getting somewhere. I have a few projects in mind that I'd like to have a go at in future but for now I'll leave you with this little owl that was requested by an old friend called Billy.

I got the pattern from this wonderful blog Roman Sock - 'Instant Crochetification'  just in case you wanted to have a go yourself!

Billy's little Owl - Kathryn Ward

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

It would have been cheaper to buy her a cat! - Wedding Wedding Wedding!

Beech Photography
Yes, it would have been cheaper to buy me a cat - those were the wise words given to Rob by his colleagues after we got married as they shook his hand and congratulated him on his first day back at work!
Cats aside - I'm here to share some of my lovely photos again. I have way too many 'favourites' so I'm trying my best not to overload.

Beech Photography

We chose to get married in our local parish church, which just so happens to be such a magnificent building. I love the history of it all and am particularly fond of the local red stone it is built from - so beautiful! We were made to feel very welcome - Rob has even been recruited to play drums for the church band!
The service was incredible, I thought I would feel so self conscious being on show all day but as soon as we got up there to say our vows I felt so relaxed and confident - on top of the world.

Beech Photography

Rob doing his best to look nervous!

At the suggestion of the curate we wrote our own prayer. It was such a lovely thing to do not only because it made it very personal, but the experience of sitting down together and thinking about our values and outlook on life, together with our hopes for the future really refocused us as a couple in the midst of the slight craziness that happens in the run up to a wedding. Although I think we already knew everything that we talked about in the prayer before; reminding ourselves of them and pulling them together within a set of words felt like such a positive and binding excercise - and I know we will use those words to help us along the way in our life together.
Beech Photography


We personalised the service as much as we could, we thought long and hard about which hymns to sing and what music to have, Rob's Grandma read the reading we chose and two of Rob's family friends played guitar and sang a few songs while we signed the register.

After this it was all about taking some photos and getting some decent food down ourselves! The reception was held at the beautiful art deco Aviator Hotel. Much of the feel and style of the day was inspired by the venue, I wouldn't have said art deco was our 'theme' but it certainly leaned towards the vintage looks and elegance of the era - it couldn't have suited us more I think!

Beech Photography

Beautful Bridesmaids and Groomsmen!
The 'details' (as a visual person I loved this part!) will follow in a separate post.

Photography by Steph at Beech Photography

Monday, 16 May 2011

My Latest Project...

I haven't had much time for art in the last couple of weeks, not because I'm lazy but because I have been busy getting married!

I will be back soon, and posting lots of new photos of all my artistic wedding details as well as studio stuff. I'm really excited about all the content I have swimming round my head at the moment.

But for now I will leave you with a photo that I stole from my friend Rhiannon - hope she doesn't mind!

©2011 Rhiannon Stanton

Friday, 29 April 2011

On the theme of Holidays.... and Lace!

The Local Bruges Tipple

I am excited, last week we booked our much needed holiday! I can't wait to go and be sitting in a lovely little french cottage for two whole weeks... So all I can think about is holidays.

I was lucky enough to have a girls holiday in Corfu last July, but apart from that and a couple of sleepless nights in a tent in windy Cornwall, the last time me and the other half got away was just over a year ago to Bruges.

Although we hadn't realised when we decided that Belgium would be our destination, it turned out to be perfect for Rob as they are big on Beer making. Not European lager, but beer. Add to that architecture, boats and chocolate... we had a lovely time!

So, sit back and let me share some of my photos.

Made from chocolate!
I thought the chocolate sculptures were the best part of the chocolate museum, they even had cats!

Cute little restaurant - with chickens!
 Bruges is also famous for it's lacemaking history, and on a walk to see the windmills we discovered these beautiful fences. I loved the way you had to get up close to see the detail, and how it blended the city's history with something so functional, contrasting the delicacy of lace with the robust wire fence. I wish all fences were like this!

Lace seems to be following me around lately: The Lace Market gallery in Nottingham (also famous for it's lacemaking history), my trip to Bruges, even the bag of gorgeous lace (probably vintage) that I acquired from my Auntie...
I'm beginning to think that lace isn't a million miles away from crochet in structure, and the forms that I make from it. I think it's calling me to research it more, I have always admired it, but never felt I had the patience to learn to make it.
I recently stumbled across needle lace, up until now I had assumed it was always made with bobbins, so if anyone has any further info for me please send it on!

Besides, what a fitting day to be talking about lace when Kate Middleton is wearing such a stunning example on her wedding dress today! I knew I was looking forward to the Royal Wedding but as soon as I turned the telly on this morning I was absolutely glued! I kind of started to wish I had packed myself off to London to get a glimpse of the couple in the flesh!

So, to finish, a shot of us enjoying the sunshine in front of said fence!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Lace Market Exhibition - Nottingham

©2011 Kathryn Ward
29.5 x 59 x 29.5 inches
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

In January I had the wonderful opportunity to exhibit a version of my degree show in Nottingham at the Lace Market Gallery. The gallery is a fantastic resource for students at the NCN college, I didn't get access to anything like this until I went to Uni! Lucky students! Even better is the fact that artists are offered a free exhibition space in return for giving an artists talk or workshop, win - win.

I hoped to have more of a chance to write about my experiences of my very first art exhibition (after University), so perhaps I will return to the topic in future, but most of all I wanted to share my photos!

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

My Favourite part of the gallery were these amazing windows, when you looked outside you could see down into a narrow nook type thing which was used for storage of wood etc. A last minute decision on installation day to use the curved brick sills to house my objects turned into the perfect illustration of my mission as an artist - to see the world differently.
I loved the way the objects drew people to the windows and in turn prompted them to look outside, taking them beyond the gallery.

©2011 Kathryn Ward
29.5 x 59 x 29.5 inches
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Crochet, Wool, String

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

©2011 Kathryn Ward
Crochet - Wool

©2010 Kathryn Ward
29.5 x 59 x 29.5 inches
Mixed media (Table, Crochet, String, Thread, Card, Wire)

Stay Tuned for more stories and reflections - and perhaps a few more photos of myself at work!