Category Archives: New Products

launching illuminating embroidery luxury retreats

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This year has been as you know an interesting one, to say the least! From nervous break downs to tv shows, it’s been a roller coaster and made me make all sorts of work life balance choices. My main things to readdress was the amount of pressure I was putting myself under with work when also trying to balance the needs of my physical and mental health and the complex needs of my children. You may know by now that I started back into the world of art because of a need to find a calming therapy and a sense of self worth, stitching and creating were central to this and I feel passionately about being able to help others in the same way.

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So this year was all about going back to the beginning. Remembering why I started out and what I and my family needed from this. Well obviously I needed to make a living, got to pay those bills somehow, but how could I do that without the need to make countless time sensitive commissions, exhausting fairs and so much travelling. If I’m in bed ill for weeks how can I still continue to pay those bills, well teaching was the answer. It brings me such joy seeing people beam with pride after they accomplish something they thought they couldn’t. But teaching involves a huge amount of travelling so I have now limited my meet and make workshops to only two or three exclusive venues. I have launched the online workshops which are going very well and people all over the world can now enjoy them and experience some me time. But the newest and most exciting project has been the launch of my brand new Luxury Illuminating Embroidery Retreats.

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These retreats give you a whole huge and wonderful escape and experience a package of complete creative relaxation. They are based in the village where I was born and my parents still live in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lealholm is a very special village, it is where I first knew that I would be an artist, it’s where all my works stems from, it’s my inspiration and the reason why I have a deep need to make things. I went to school there, I bought my penny sweets from the shop, I played in the river, my dad played dominoes in the pub and white we could play on the green, I went to brownies in the old village hall. It’s full of stunning views, a few tea shops, a little garden centre in someones garden, now even has a few craft shops, its a hive of activity whilst still being a small peaceful little community. Basically is’s a bloody dreamland. So what better place to host these creative art holidays.

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Accommodation is provided by the local pub, The Board Inn, over looking the village green and Esk River, surrounded by decking and fairy lights and in the winter a roaring open fire. The retreat itself is held in the church hall, now this isn’t any usual village hall, this is a bit special. Newly renovated with a large lottery grant it is now and incredible building full of light whilst still holding all the character of the old building set within the grounds go the local church yard. It has it’s own beautiful gardens which we can sit in whist the sun is shinning and enjoy the views over the valley. I have decorated the hall to bring my studio to you, full of overflowing baskets of fabric, thread, and all the materials you could need for creating your masterpieces. Lunch is served here too, a scrumptious selection of treats, as well as all the cake you can eat, to keep those brain cells working to pamper you a little more.

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This retreat is just that. A retreat away from the world and your everyday routine to take time out to rejuvenate your soul so you can go back to your lives with a new sense of hope and excitement, and even a new skill. Everything is taken care of for you, you just need to get there. Three days of nothing to worry about other than getting new creative souls that you can forge new friendships from, gain confidence from. A massage is also included (but of course if it’s not your thing you don’t have to have one, but it is pretty mega so I would recommend it!) Amanda from Be You Holistic Beauty, will be on hand to give you an Indian Head massage, hand massage or even a taster of Reiki, the choice is yours, and you can discuss it with Amanda at length while you’re there. She has such a talent!

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A few weeks ago now I invited some good friends to enjoy a weekend away with me to test out how these retreats would work and get their feed back to see if it was worth pursuing. These are the photos from that wonderful weekend…..

So what are we actually going to make on these retreats?

Well, the main theme is lampshade making. We will have enough time to make our very own 20cm drum embroidered lampshade, I can teach you all the stitches so you really don’t have to have any experience at all, all levels are so welcome! We can look at how I make shades and have lots of clever tips and a huge range of lining choices, as well as help with compositions and all the techniques you will need. But if that’s not something you want to concentrate on you are more than welcome to make a handgun picture, or embellish clothing you might have at home, this is YOUR weekend so although I have lots of projects you can do you might have something in mind that you want my help and input on. Thats okay, there are no rules and I want to remain as flexible as possible.

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Each retreat will have have a small limited amount of places, I want to groups to remain intimate and more personal. I find between 8-10 people a perfect size to chat comfortably and get all the help you need when you need it. I will also only run a few of these retreats a year so they remain special and exclusive, like all treats should be. If you want further details on these creative spa weekends then do click over to the courses website where there are more details.

But in the meantime, I hope you love the photos (taken by Sarah Mason Photography) and this beautiful little film and lose yourself in the calm, peace and birdsong. xxx

contemporary craft festival 2016

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For the last few years I’ve been exhibiting at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey In Devon. It’s a beautiful award winning fair exhibiting Britain’s best creative craft talents in all medias, but not only that it has workshops, demonstration stands, family entertainment, live music, gorgeous food, trade stands the list goes on.

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it’s a wonderful family weekend where everyone is catered for and I  always look forward to going. I not only get to see my fellow friends and makers but get to actually meet my customers and have a jolly good chat by jove. I always end up bringing back far tommy goodies that I’ve purchased from my favourite artists too, it’s hard not to!

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This year I will be demonstrating outside, which means I get to show off all my shades that I’ve spent the last year making, you get to see how I work and ask as many questions as you like and if you want you can even buy new work that I’ve been making recently.

I’m really excited about the new originals I’ve been making recently. I feel I’m heading back more and more to my painting roots but using the new medium I am so in love with, thats thread and fabric. Here’s a little taster of some of the work that will be at the show.

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Come join me I’d love to see you and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself I do love to meet the people that follow my blog etc after all I’m not much without you am I?!

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If you can’t join me then my new work will be onside in my madebyhandonline shop for you to purchase. Love ya! xx

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Candle Holders coming at yah!

amsterdam candle holder by marna lun

Hellooooo.

Just a quicky to show you a new product I’m making especially for The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracy, Devon this year. It’s very exciting to be chosen again to exhibit with some of the best in the industry. I’m over the moon about it actually and I’m trying to bring some new things and a slightly new approach to the festival this year. I’m planning my stand design, I love doing this bit, it’s like I have a good reason to shop and redecorate. I’ve been searching for some lovely shoe lasts and whilst in Amsterdam last week I got the most fabulous coloured flexes for my lampshades to hang from. I can’t wait to show you. But for now you will have to wait I’m afraid.

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt

Just wanted to show you a new product that will be appearing at the festival and then on the website soon after. It is a candle holder. Hand stitched as always, houses surrounding from my travels in Amsterdam (those canal houses are too perfect not to influence lots of future work), Liberty fabric inside, little cut out windows with red fabric lining them and they glow when the light is on, with little battery powered tea lights to power them. They are not to be used with actual candles with fire and hot stuff.

So what do you think? Likey likey? Hope so.

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt candleholder3.marnalunt

Let’s Face Facts

hand stitched fairy tales by marna lunt

What’s your earliest memory?  Mine is from nursery. I was tracing triangles when a classmate (who’s name I’m omitting) vomited her free milk on my feet. This then made another 4 classmates puke in what I suppose could be called ‘Human Vominoes’. (Trademark still pending)

 I’m still not a fan of triangles.

Apparently babies can recognise faces as faces before their eyes are fully developed. That explains the perplexed/bemused/is she windy/mildly terrified look we’ve all experienced during moronic delivery of coochies and coos.

Ask a young child to draw a picture and the majority of them will instinctively draw a face or a person with huge emphasis on facial features.

They say that world leaders obtain their power as they excel in ‘using their face’. It makes sense really as if the masses listened to them we’d have no leaders.

The most famous painting in the world is a face and almost all of the great artists have a collection of well known portraits.

embroidered portraits by marna lunt

We love looking at faces, our own, our loved ones and strangers. Its something we never grow out of – like finding the passing of wind funny or when people fall over.  We see faces in things all of the time – and we find it reassuringly comforting.

Commissioning a portrait is a very emotive thing. Remember Helen Daniel’s painting of Mrs Mangle? – she wasn’t happy!

Its all about the artists style and the customer’s faith.  It is the artist’s interpretation you are commissioning.

I went to see Soundgarden in 1997 and they essentially played their current album in order. It was very disappointing as I could have just listened to it at home and not had a bottle of urine thrown at me. (Assuming my nan hadn’t been on the whiskey).

 Marna has a distinctive style and has been reluctant to take portrait commissions until now. Why? She is now much more confident in her ability than she was 5 or 10 years ago and in the last 3 years she has honed her hand stitching skills which when complemented by her free hand drawing ability and eye for colour, texture and beauty means that she can create custom portraits which are truly unique.  And the great thing is that she enjoys them so much that she stitches with a smile on her face hopeful the recipient’s face will also light up on delivery 🙂

flowers in her hair stitchery by marna lunt

But as well as the portrait commissions she has also been working on a new way of bringing her portraits to a larger audience and that is through her new range of fairy tales. She has started with Rapunzel and will include many more, each takes about three and a half months to produce and are quite large & detailed. They will be produced into prints and ceramics so what this space. The first is now finished, we hope you love it. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

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fairy tales by marna lunt

hand stitched portraits by marna lunt

embroidery portraits by marna lunt

rapunzel by marna lunt

Stitched Portraits & Needle Paintings

You may have noticed something new I’ve been doing in the last few months. Well if you are a Facebook or Instagram follower you will have seen up to dat work as it has been made, especially on Instagram. I love this platform for sharing all my work in progress although I’ve been writing more than making recently sadly.

SONY DSCI’ve been feeling a need to go back more to my painting roots and use thread solely for colour without the appliqué. I though it was worth ago, it’s nothing new, the idea of painting what thread, it’s been done fore hundreds and thousands of years. Bayeux tapestry ring a bell? That’s an embroidered linen cloth depicting the story of the William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings.

Why hadn’t I done this before I wondered. I feel like I’ve been missing out on years of fun, was it confidence, goodness knows but I’m doing it know in any way I can.

I started with the idea of it on a pretty piece of vintage linen, I had loads of it hanging around from the hoop art I used to make and I didn’t want to waste it. So I got a piece out and got doodling. The piece I produced is now being exhibited at unit twelve until the end of this month.

New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits now available on my website
New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits now available on my website

I enjoyed mounting them in a different way too, with some of my stunning vintage floral fabric collection, complimenting the colours found through the thread. This way they could be hang on a wall with or without framing. Thankfully I gained quite a lot of orders for commissions of these and I am so happy making them. I hand draw everything from a photo given to me (or the mirror in my case) and transfer that drawing onto a piece of material, doesn’t have to be a vintage doily, and then I just get to work using the floss as my paint. Heaven.

Here are a few examples of what I’ve been making.

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second attempt at a portrait

The idea behind these it that I absolutely want you to see the drawing behind the thread and use pencil on the fabric in areas to highlight that. I love that this is the closest I’ve come to working like I used to at college, when I could squeeze my oil paint out and enjoy the flesh tones and see the tiny elements of colour all creep through to make a final amazing pulsing being. Being able to explore all these tones again and draw is me at my most thrilled and excited about art. I love playing with thread as my new medium and working out how I can layer the elements to create what I used to in paint, and then put that next to pencil lines that I draw onto the linen first. I want you to be able to see both the colour and the sketch. To see the nuts and bolts of the work. I am a better drawer than painter, but this is hard to deal with as I am also a colourist. The tiny subtleties of colour is hugely important to me, every shade has to be exact and is used for a very definite reason next to another colour. The contrast and depth is specific, calculated and brings me huge joy. So now I get to show off my drawing skills but add colour in a way that I want to, that creates a strong painterly effect.

portrait commission

My next venture into the ways of using more portraiture in my work is through fairy tales. I really needed to think of a way to carry this on but bring it the masses and I print of a self portrait is not going to do that b u t creating new characters that everyone can love and want to show off was the way and so my fairy tale collection has begun. The drawing have been done or at least seven have. Now it’s a matter of putting them not stitch. I will give you a taster here but keep watching for more posts on the details of these news works.

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A few new shades for Bovey Tracey

I have been stitching frantically and joyfully over the last few weeks to get ready for the fabulous Contemporary Craft Festival that is on this weekend. I thought I’d share with you a few pieces that I’m bringing with me. I had to show someone I’m really pleased with them. Particularly the boats bobbing in the sea and the hydrangea.

I’m travelling down to Devon tomorrow and will have lots more tales to tell you soon about the fair and all it’s joys. Do come and say hello if you;re around I would so love to see you and have a nice chat. I’m on stand C12.

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I do hope you like these new shades, I’d love to know your thoughts. Take care and night night for now. xxx

Lampshade workshops

I thought I’d send a bit of time today telling you about something new I’m planning this year. Workshops…..

There are bits of info all over the place about my workshops at the moment so I thought the best thing to do is put all the information in one place so it’s easier to understand. Sorry if this seems like a bit of a sales pitch, it is really just meant as a public announcement.

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I used to do workshops from my home making rosettes and cushions as it was easier for me to be near my family and be on hand if anything was needed with my kids. As they have got a little bigger and I’m not quite as all consumingly controlling with their care I am now venturing out in the big wide Britain to spread some lampshade love.

I have one Lampshade course organised by myself which is almost like a crafting luxury retreat weekend (minus the accommodation) where you have two full days of me and stitching and drawing and tea and cake. I will go into this one further shortly.

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The other two workshops planned are taught by me but hosted in two venues where workshops happen regularly and so all the organisation and payment go through those separate sites. These workshops are one day workshops but still packed full of some hard core lampshade fun. On these courses you will be making floral candle clip shades. As pictured below.

SONY DSCI can’t tell you how excited I am about all of these days. I can’t wait to meet everyone. I spend so much time behind a computer screen or in my studio that I forgot what ‘real’ people are like. How do you have a conversation without being asked of juice or snacks please mummy? To meet a few of the amazing supporters I have will be an utter joy. But I mainly just can’t wait to tell all you gorgeous attendees about all the amazing things you can do, how you can create things with just a few bits and bobs, how with a bit of passion and confidence you can make things that make you feel so proud of yourself. I want you to have something to go home with that everyday you can look at and think how totally ace you are. I get so passionate about these things. I want to teach you everything. I want to tell you everything and I really want you to have the most fun ever doing it. Sorry got a bit carried away……

I will have lots of fresh flower inspiration and we will create some stunning appliqué, learn a few embroidery stitches and finish the day rolling the divine pieces into beautiful little wall light shades.

I will have more lampshade kits on hand for you to buy if you want to have a go at home. Lunch and tea and cake will be served and we can all relax and enjoy creating together. I will be onhand with advice and guidance, I’ll be there to set aside any fears. Check out each of the fab venues on Facebook: So Sew Pretty. Needle and Thread.

These two workshops are in Lincoln in England at the Needle and Thread workshop and Dumfries in Scotland just on the border at So Sew Pretty.

Please click here for booking on to the Needle and Thread workshop. The first day has sold out and did so within only a few days and so I am going back for a second day of which there are a few spaces left. There is also a waiting list to join just in case of cancellations. Dates: 6th/7th September 2014

Please click here for booking the So Sew Pretty workshop. Only a few places still available. This workshop has only just been added to my list. Dates: 26th July 2014

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Ok so back to the Two day workshop. This one is based on the one day course but with a bit more time to really study the stitches and work on a more complicated design. That does not mean it’s harder, it just means you have more time.

Firstly I will teach you a little about what works for the design and we can do a bit of drawing of the pretty flowers I will have with me but this will be a speed course in confidence, colour and style. I’ll tell you a bit about myself and my way of working along the way unless you tell me to shut up and then I will:) I will teach you some embroidery stitches I use a lot in my work, we will then use as many of these as we can in all our work and by the end of the second day you will be ready to make your lampshade. The lampshades we make in this course will be 20cm drum shades that work perfectly on a table lamp. Based on the design in the picture below. There will be an array of stunning fabrics and lots af gorgeous textures yarns and threads to create some wonderful pieces of art.

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You will be provided with a lovely lunch and tea and cake, and plenty of lovely chin wagging and laughing. I call this my luxury workshop because we have the luxury of time to really go for it with our learning, you will leave confidently with the knowledge to be able to make many other pieces in your own style. Because thats the real fun, having confidence to make whats in your head and not just city a design I or someone else has made. I want to really help get those creative juices flowing. I don’t do pattern following, I do big dreams.

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You need no experience at all, just a will to learn. I will also be handing out glorious goody bags within which there with be a 20cm lampshade kit for you to take home and make yourself. I only have a few places left on this course. There is an early bird price on at the moment for £175 usually the course is £225, so book now to get your £50 discount. This offer closes on 6th April. Click here to book your place. Dates: 10th/11th May 2014. Venue: The Burrow @ Burrow Wood Farm, Ottery St. Mary, Devon.

So come and spend a weekend with me, get some free stuff, eat cake and have some fun. You totally deserve it! And I can’t wait to make some new friends.

View from just above the farm

 

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Liberty Best of British Call 2014

In January I had in mind a little project to treat myself to after working so hard last year, I thought I would make myself a lovely big lampshade with the beautiful Liberty of London building on it. I loved the idea of the black and white and thought how stunning it would be all hand stitched on a shade with some of there fabric highlighting it. I’m redecorating my lounge and I planned on it being a bit of a show piece in there.

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So I started sketching and making plans. Then one of my lovely Facebook followers popped a link on my page telling my about the Liberty Best of British call for makers and how registration was taking place. I had a look and saw it was about the days before the event and thought oooo maybe I should pop down and show them this lampshade I’m making. If for nothing else other than to say hi, loving your work and look what I made. I had planned on doing the event at some point as this year, I was going to be venturing into the world of trade in a big way, and what better way to start my trade journey than at Liberty.

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I’m a bit shy but this is me about to leave for my adventures.

So I registered and thought ok better get properly stitching then. I still wasn’t really sure what I wanted out of the event and if I could even get the piece finished. It wasn’t until three days before I had to go that I decided to bite the bullet and actually just go and book my tickets and see what happened instead of um-ing and r-ing. I was so unsure for so many reasons, the main reason being did I actually want to get into the trade world, could I really cope with it. The demands and compromises it would be to do it right. I did a lot of soul searching in that week. All for the better.

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A close up of the original, sparkly black thread and all.

When thinking about trade you need to mainly think, can you actually meet all the orders in peak times and what effect meeting those orders will have on you? Will you make a profit when working out your trade prices? Are you willing to change your work to fit certain requirements of some retail outlets? i.e. Get work printed, use machines, employ staff to do the work. So many questions. Is your work good enough?

Making this shade was hard going. I didn’t enjoy it much but I was very determined and had a definite image in my head of what I wanted it to be and I wasn’t going to let the monotony of  back stitching hours and hours worth of black lines onto the shade stop me. But I did know I wasn’t going to be making another one!! unless I felt like going blind or boring myself to death. I don’t usually feel this way when working but this piece really tested me. Now it’s finished I love it and am very proud and have it in my living room and wouldn’t dream of parting with it. It really inspires me to keep being obsessive and stubborn as it’s usually worth it.

The giclee print now available on the website.
The giclee print now available on the website.

So I finished it and thought to myself ok, now I know I don’t want to do this, if I got an order for five of these I don’t want to make them. I wouldn’t make them as well as I can because I would be repeating something that wasn’t much fun in the first place and I didn’t sacrifice so much to be able to do this business to churn out stuff I hate (unrealistic and an idealist you may say, and you may very well be right). So if this was the case now with this one piece of work what would I be like everywhere else. So at that point I decided that my life as a carer and artist was not and could not follow a big retail trade route. But I still wanted to show the people at Liberty and get a feel of their thoughts of my work and see if they even liked it. After all those hours in the middle of the night I at least wanted to know if they thought it was any good and if they’d I’ve it the thumbs up, plus it would be so interesting to see hoe things like this worked behind the scenes a bit.

Arriving at 7.45am
Arriving at 7.45am

So I went on my London Liberty adventure. I arrived by taxi with a big heavy hat box full of a big lampshade and set off to join the queue. I got there at about 7.45am and the doors were opening at 9am, people had been queueing since 6am! I was ready for the wait I had my little chair and a good book but I spent the time chatting to some lovely fellow designers and we had a lovely time. So much excitement in the air and thoughts and dreams of what could be. I felt laid back one minute and a bit sick the next. I didn’t really have a proper plan like most others, I didn’t want to come across as a bit flaky and unprofessional. I didn’t want to waste anyones time, but I was there now so I better just hope for the best. The doors opened and we slowly made our way up the beautiful wooden carved back stairs and into the fourth floor panelled room adorned with union jacks. I filled my name onto the list to see Ed Burstell and Julie Hassan who are the Managing director and Head home buyer. You’ll have seen them on the tele before christmas, they are ace.

Queueing
Queueing
The wait on the wooden stairs
The wait on the wooden stairs

 

Our waiting room
Our waiting room

Their queue was typically the longest as everyone wanted to see Ed, and I was there a few hours, but I filled in the time talking away to other makers, and met a few fab followers too! I chatted to the guys with the cameras and got interviewed for Liberty TV which is on their blog and they took pictures of the shade for there Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. The feed back was amazing and I was on a real high. It was just the loveliest experience and really gave me hope that my work was ok and that I was on the right track.

Looking down through the different floors.
Looking down through the different floors.
I got this from the Liberty instagram feed, I'm sat waiting in the back.
I got this from the Liberty instagram feed, I’m sat waiting in the back.
Appearing on Liberty's social media
Appearing on Liberty’s social media
A good response on Instagram, thank you for featuring me Liberty.
A good response on Instagram, thank you for featuring me Liberty.

Then I got my three minutes with Ed and Julie, and what utterly fab people they are. They looked pretty ace on the tv but you know they were even more glorious in ‘real life’ so upbeat and excited. So kind and generous with there time and knowledge. Very supportive and energetic even after hours of them seeing one after another hopefuls without breaks.

The upshot was they loved my work! Yeay! Thats what I dreamed of hearing. They loved the quirky nature of the drawing and the details and style. The London print was a big hit with Ed particularly and they both loved the lampshade. Julie said that cards were the way to go with my work for stocking them and that the business lay on a trade basis which was very interesting. All in all it was incredible positive and I got tonnes of useful information. I came away buzzing with ideas and just couldn’t quite believe I had had such lovely things said about my style and handiwork. I always find it amazing that people like what I do, doesn’t feel real somehow.

Ed and Julie with my shade.
Ed and Julie with my shade.

I have to say it was such an incredible experience, I learned a lot about my work and my actual hopes and dreams and the way I want to work in the future. I loved every second of it. I am now very focused on my business path and ultimately have discovered that due to being a carer and mum first and foremost I can not commit to large trade orders (smaller ones for galleries and exhibitions yes please though). Arthur and his needs change weekly and they are getting more rather than less as he grows. Also I am really enjoying making these lampshades. I mean I’m really really loving doing what I’m doing. I love taking commissions for beautiful and meaningful occasions and scenes and then on top of that having the time to make big and exciting pictures for prints. It’s where I want to be and so it’s where I’m going to stay. I’m not in this for the big bucks (luckily) I just want to make nice stuff, hug my children and write for magazines. I can find myself getting caught up wanting more more more, to be bigger, to be everywhere, but really half the trick of being successful is knowing exactly where you want to be and then being the best you can be just in that little space. And hopefully you will see me in my newly found little space being happy and making great things, this year.

Print close up
Print close up

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My Liberty lampshade has now been printed and is available to buy in my shop now. As well as the London print mentioned. Subscribe to the blog via email or busing blogloving, if you want to keep in touch with where I’m going to be this year and what I’m up to. There’s a few workshops, magazine articles and some exciting fairs I’ll be attending so don’t miss out.

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London on a lampshade

I made this lampshade at the end of last year but because of all the madness going on I’ve only got round to showing you how I made it and how you can get one too.

How it began on my work table
How it began on my work table
on my lap mid hand stitching, showing the hand drawn lines that I'm following.
on my lap mid hand stitching, showing the hand drawn lines that I’m following

london landscape lampshade

It was a plan of mine for months to make a huge showpiece to show off what I could do to the people that came to see me at Country Living Harrogate. Most people have only seen me online and seen photos of my work and seeing them in the flesh is very different so I wanted to make sure what you saw was the best I had in my head. My plans as they often do got a little out of hand and I ended up making quite a few show stopping pieces, and really loved going into hug hand stitched detail. I become quite obsessive when I’m making things and often get completely lost in what I make, taking far longer than I should making a piece and fiddling.

London Lampshade hand stitched by Marna Lunt Texiles
London Lampshade hand stitched by Marna Lunt Texiles

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCI had made a cushion of a few London landmarks the year early for a wedding commission and it went down so well I realised I needed to recreate it but in a new and fun way and so the lampshade were born.

london cushion. marnalunt copy
photo credit Lyndsey James

I love the idea of having works of art on a shade as well as on a wall. We are running out of wall space at home rapidly but and I still crave more pretty pictures and so why not lampshades. I have a few stands hanging around so why not have a play, and this is what I came up with. It sold before I had finished making it which was a shock and a massive thrill and thankfully the new owner sad they were happy to let me take it to the fair and to make prints. So now I have fine art grade giclee prints available in my website shop. They have fab detail of the original shade but I am also happy to take commissions for your own lampshades.

SONY DSCThe full price list is on the website too for all commissions and you can email me on marnaluntatgmaildotcom if you want to discss any commissions. I am currently making some very exciting commissions which I will keep you up to date with and new prints will be showing their faces all the time on the website.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed having a good look at all the little details of the work. It’s such joy to make.

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Vintage linen love

Recently I’ve become a little side tracked to my usual work and fallen a bit in love with vintage linen. Embroidered table clothes mainly with beautiful hand dyed crocheted doilies. I’ve been playing around in the studio with colours and textures (which is very much my thing) and finding some of my favourite quotes and lyrics to hand stitch on them.

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I’ve been wanting to make canvases and pictures for a while as I am a fine artist by trade and I really miss using that medium and being able to display them on a wall instead of what I have previously made with cushions and hanging hearts. I was trying to think of ways of framing them that wouldn’t cost a fortune, I’m not a framer, I wouldn’t want to wreck all that hard work by fluffing it up at the last minute and also I like being a bit unusual with my displaying, and having more control with the appearance. So wooden embroidery hoops seemed to be the way to go. This way I can stick things, paint things and generally include the frame into the artwork instead of the frame just holding it sadly like an slightly dull aunt.

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So hoops it was and I made quite a few, but then I just felt (well annoyingly my mum mentioned it and so it taking the credit!) that they were missing that little something extra so out came the paint! I had a small field day in B&Q with the tester pots, such fun!

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The idea to mount up buttons, pearls and crochet came from my tweed cushions and the fun I was having using simple shapes and placing textures and things I found beautiful to create a fun but grown up cushion. I really wanted to make them look different from the many hooped framed pictures out there and so I left crinkly edges, overlapped crochet over the frame, left excess linen billowing out of the sides because the linen was so beautiful in itself it seemed a shame to leave the pattern cut so finally. I love the random shapes they create, and the hoop becomes a frame within a frame, the bases building bricks for the fluff to do some flirting around the edges. But even though they are uneven from the front the backs are lined with linen, velvet ribbon and a stunning ceramic hand made button with my name in it. So every detail has been considered to make a beautiful gift. I tried a few different ways if finishing the backs but I wasn’t happy until now as I really wanted them to be as stunning from the back as from the front.

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I’m not sure if these will be a long running thing that I make because they weren’t part of the ‘plan’ and although fun I still want to get back to my painting, so now and again I’ll make a little batch for pleasure and pop them on my etsy shop. Which reminds me with it being a bank holiday at the moment I have out a little treat of 10% off anything in my etsy shop with the code MAYDAY13 which will last till tuesday. I’ve been busy making today so have five or six new frames to pop in over the weekend too so keep an eye out. Even if I don’t do them for much longer they’ve been fun to make for now, it’s always good to do something a little different, I often find it helps the next stage of creativity whatever that may be.

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I will leave you on this beautiful sunny weekend with a selection of photos of my frames and do stop by and say hello on etsy or my website over the weekend. I shall be sitting with my feet up in ‘the shed’ listening to my gorgeous children laugh and play (clearly this really means scream at each other) with a large glass of wine (in my dreams I’ve stupidly started a very serious and important diet) ok so a large glass of water:(
Happy bank holiday!!!

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P.S Shhhhh I’m going to be doing a lovely giveaway for just my lovely blog subscribers in the next month, so if you haven’t already pop your email address into the subscribe page which can be found by clicking the button on the right. Toodles.

Tweedy Brooch Love

Although it’s beginning to look a bit like spring and the cream and white embroidered linens have been getting an airing in my studio and on my work table I’ve also been enjoying the snuggly warmth of a good length of tweed of late.

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My thoughts are wandering to the future and my plans later to year and so I thought I would try and make some new little goodies that would work at the fairs I’m exhibiting at and also would be a bit of a change for me and give me a chance to make use my other crafting skills. I love to dabble in a bit of crochet and so after finding the most stunning hand dipped fine yarn I knew tweed would be the perfect match.

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So I had a play and had so much fun. Matching and rummaging for the perfect button to compliment the colours, finding old silk thread and mixing it with linen thread & woollen darning thread and creating big higledy pigledy stitches was a joy. I even discovered some stunning velvet buttons which I’m reluctant to part with, they compliment the soft and delicate tana lawn buttons from Liberty. All in all it’s been a beautiful tonic to create some small things which huge huge love.

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These new brooches were just the start, I enjoyed it so much I thought my rosette design could do with a little revamp and making it a bit easier to wear. Before they have always been very much aimed at the bridal and ‘pretty pretty’ market, children and grown up birthdays. As important and great as these special occasions are I had forgotten about the everyday and about how wonderful it is to finish off your outfit with something fabulous. Why did I not think of this before. An everyday rosette, you’d certainly get more use out of it. More for your money as it were. So this is what I came up with….

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But then I realised that not everyone wants or has a budget for a tonne of ribbons, as colourful as they may be, so I made some smaller dangly ribbon free rosettes that I added an alligator clip to the back of so you get to use them in your hair too. So lots of fun all round.

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I have a selection of these new brooches, rosettes and hair goodies on my website now. More will be added on over the next hours, days, weeks. Every single one is a one off so once it’s gone it’s gone. They will be joined by cushions, hoops and canvases too in the forth coming weeks. The big re stock is about to begin…….
Really hope you’ve enjoyed looking at a few of my new things and would love as always to hear what you think about them.

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The Little P Shed Shoot.

I must apologise for not posting last week, I got side tracked with launching my new product, Little P Frames. It coincided with my daughter Phoebes birthday so it’s been a busy week. I will be back on Wednesday with a little tutorial on making a rosette for valentines.


But I thought I’d just show you the things I’ve been doing this last few weeks.
I’m a bit of a design and photo addict. I love getting things made to use with my work. That means stationery, cards and stickers. I love packaging and all things pretty, I get over excited about clean sheets of paper, washi tape and marker pens. And go shopping for pretty things that bring me inspiration under the guise that it is a prop for a photo shoot.
Well last week that paid off. I did a last minute little shoot in my shed with Charlotte from Eve Photography and Kirsty from Darling & Green popped over and brought some beautiful blooms with her.


I’d only thought about sticking a few of these new frames I’ve been working on up near my fun moose head with some of my old tins and cushions etc. but some how it turned into something else. Kirsty worked her magic on the gorgeous spring flowers and the colours just brought everything to life. I got over excited with my hammer banging pins in left right and center and making a few new frames as we went a long, and fiddled with furniture and Charlotte had a field day clicking away.
Tea was constantly brewed and when we weren’t giggling like children we got lots done. Kirsty even had time for a little shoot of her own for business head shots.

Hello Kirsty

So this is my new range, I’m selling in shops for the first time and widening the range all the time.
I use Liberty Art Fabrics and 100% linen beautifully backed and finished off with my handmade ceramic button made by Green Walnut Ceramics.


I’m thrilled by the response and am so excited to make something new and fun. I especially love the personalised ones where I can add your photo to the design and print it onto fabric so it really becomes part of the design. Like with all my Little a work, I use vintage buttons so every piece is different and has its own feel.
I have different sizes and shapes and work closely with you to creat just the effect you want. I also make them as ready maxed frames with is a great way to see exactly what you get as they are all in stock and sold on both my website and easy shop. You can then swap photos around all the time to keep them fresh.
I can happily use your own fabric too. So if you have fabric from your baby clothes, wedding dress or just spare fabric from your current interior scheme then I’ll happily make them to fit in. I can also hand stitch words and dates on the frame to celebrate a special day.


They’re fab wedding gifts and anniversary gifts especially.
Again like my Little a creations everything is made by hand and embroidered without using any machines, just me having far too much fun using hand dyed thread. I still have to pinch myself that I get to do this everyday, I really do have the best job in the world. And after using such joyful spring colours I feel rejuvenated and excited to be starting to get back to work after a bit of a bleak and exhausting winter. So roll on sunshine here I come!

New designs are being added to the website all this week so pop on by to have a look and I have a new Facebook page just for the frames, Little P Frames.

Anyway here are a few photos fro the shoot, enjoy and do let me know what you think.

Do not use these photos unless you have permission from myself, thank you. All designs and images are copyright of Marna Lunt. 2013.

 

A little studio time

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I’ve done a tiny bit of dabbling here and there during the holidays. I’m spending a bit of time today thinking about my work and what I want to do, spending a bit of time dreaming and looking around me. I’ve made a few little lavender hearts for some of my favourite people, just simple but fun and relaxing and I’m so pleased with them.

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I collect vintage embroidered linens and use them in my work more and more now, and so I did a bit of cutting and matched the lovely cheerful flowers with a rich houndstooth tweed, then scratched around my draws and found some gorgeous orange French linen thread. I cross stitched a little heart in each fabric piece. Added some velvet, lace and deck chair striped ribbon. Filled them with lavender, and stitched up the opening ruggedly with the orange thread to add some more texture and detail.
I’d be so interested in what you think as I may make more of them for the website. Such a lovely little gift and a pleasure to make, in fact everyone should just give it a try.

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I got a bit of drawing done too. I’m going to really try and do this more this year. I have lots of ideas planned for projects and some tutorials. I’m a bit in love with birds and so I thought I’d kick off with really trying to study them, I even got Phoebe involved but I’ll do a separate little blog on that. Sometimes I find it a real battle to draw, I never feel good enough. I have very high expectations and I berate myself if it’s not exactly how I hoped immediately. Most of this is because I don’t make time to draw as much as I want, so it takes me longer and longer to warm up. I have a need to be better than I am, I wish I was as good as others all the time and I aspire constantly to be something I’m not sure if I’m capable of being. I have a drive that can almost be destructive, but that’s just me. Thankfully lovely Simon gives me a verbal slap and I get back on track.
These drawings are a few of my recent sketches that caused the above feelings and reactions.

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I will get there, I know what I want to accomplish it just may take me more than the ten minutes that in Marnaland I think it should take.
So I’ve been looking around the studio a bit looking for a sign of a path to follow today with my work, and everywhere I look I see orange, purples and pinks?! So I think these warm and snuggly colours may be the running theme for a little while.

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So out come my paints and lets get busy having some fun creating Little a style.
What have you all been making this season? Learnt any new skills?

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I’ll be open again after the 7th January and will be opening my books too, but keep your eyes open because I have a studio clear out to come which means fabrics, books, ribbons amongst the goodies up for grabs.

A spangley new website

HELLO & WELCOME *waves frantically*

The blanket draped over Phoebes little chair is my first ever crochet blanket. And takes pride of place as a frame on my home page

It’s been a long time coming but it’s great to tell you all and share with you my new sparkling website made by Tia from Who Ate My Crayons. I am so thrilled with the work Tia has done and I love my website, it is very personal to me, from the crocheted blanket on the homepage that acts as a frame around Angie’s information poster. The ribbons that are used as headers are my favourite designs and I sell them on the website and the fabrics I use in my work. Even the frames used in the gallery are my own personal photo frames that hang on my wall at home full of my children’s pictures. Tia is also the designer of this blog which will be center of my new creative world.

A new collection made especially for the new opening.

We started the process in August after numerous issues with my old website, from being heavily copied to technical faults and eventually just falling out of love with the whole thing. I found that I needed a fresh start. I wanted to do more challenging designs and get back to painting again as I just missed that side of my nature. It’s a natural progression for most artists to change with experience and new influence. I needed a bit more control of the creative process.

In the new site you’ll see new materials used, with my vintage linens and tweeds all high lighted by luscious tana lawn fabric and vintage buttons. I will be painting more and producing canvases in mixed media, with more one off pieces available to buy.

 

My card holder, Angie’s Christmas cards and Lyndsey’s photo. A group effort.

I have been lucky to meet so many wonderful women in this industry since starting in social media with Little a and they have all been an inspiration to me, not just their work but their attitudes, their personalities & their friendship. Two of these women are Angie from Artwork by Angie and Lyndsey from Lyndsey James Photography. Angie is the creator extraordinaire of my logo and illustrated graphics and Lyndsey is the talent behind the beautiful images I use of my products. Both these ladies have guided me through many hot spots. I can not recommend them highly enough as woman to work with and trust.

A new design for the website

 

 

So together they have kicked and shoved me to a place that I am happy with and I hope so much that you’ll all join me in my new journey and adventures.

This blog will now be my main form of communication with you. I’ll be posting regularly about all manner of things I plan to do, work, family, new products, inspiration, places I visit. I’ll let you know about suppliers I’ve found, shops I love and give you ideas of things to make yourself and free templates for designs. There will be tutorials and guidance. You may even be asked to contribute your self and get involved, if you fancy it pop me a line.

It’s only me, hello!!

 

 

I also plan to interview my favourite people in this industry, people I love and who are important to me and who I think you will love too. Not just for their work but there entertainment and joy of life, beauty is shown in many ways and I don’t think you can have enough of it in your life.  So I promise I’ll be updating you on activities at least once a week. Please do sign up to my newsletter or my RSS feed and tune in and join in, I want you to feel free to post comments have discussions and interact with me, I’m nice, honest.

 

The Westminster Abbey Cushion

I was lucky enough last year to be asked to do a wedding cushion for a couple from Durham who wanted a memory of where they were living as well as the details of their wedding, so after a bit of chatting and thinking I came up with the idea of  doing a fabric collage of the Cathedral, the most iconic image of Durham I could think of. I included blues and yellow which were the colours requested and some vintage duck buttons because the bride loved ducks.

Durham Cathedral Cushion

And so when I got an email asking me to make a cushion for a wedding that was happening in Westminster Abbey, the first thing I thought of was doing another collage of a beautiful and iconic building with all the wedding details included as a fab memory of a very special day. I was also asked to include the initials of the couple as they had them on their invitations. And so I got to work.

Firstly I needed to get the picture I wanted to use and chose my fabric.  I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and use and so It was a really enjoyable process.

Fabric selected, ironed and ready to use
Sketching it out

So I have my frame work of what I want and then it’s just a matter of cutting the fabric and placing it in the right places. This may all look very simple but I have spent my whole life drawing and painting and studying so I have lots of experience. This is the kind of thing that makes me very excited. It’s also been making me think about my work a lot recently. But more of that later……

Cutting and placing the fabric

I have my fabric sorted now and so I just need to give it a good iron to fix everything in place. It takes lots of time, as does each process but in each instance it is important to make the time and effort to do it right, it always pays of in the end.

So now everything is fixed I draw on the details and start my stitching.

Everything stuck, marked and ready for stitching

Now the stitching is where everything really starts to come together and this is where the time is mainly spent. It took me 20 hours to hand sew this cushion. Every edge needs to be sewn, then the details of the building, then the writing.

I stitch in my own style, I found the neater I stitched the more people would say ‘why bother you may as well machine stitch as it looks the same’, they had a point. Why would they want to pay more for something hand stitched that looked just like it could have been machine stitched. So my skill at perfect stitching seemed a bit pointless sadly. So now I try to be a bit more quirky with my work. I am freer with my stitches and sew very much like I draw and paint, with feeling, to make you want to touch and be involved with the work, to give it personality and and make it a piece of art, not just a run of the mill appliqué cushion like many available from the high street.

I am deeply passionate about art, painting in particular, my life before children revolved around visiting art galleries, studying the old masters, life drawing, seeking out inspiration and knowledge that would help me get better and better. After children I found I didn’t have time to draw and I became rusty and frustrated. Once I started sewing I got my creative outlet back but it was never quite the same as the freedom of a canvas and oil paint. But as I have progressed over the last year or so with Little a I have found my way back to drawing and painting, not as I had done before, but in a new and exciting direction. I won’t stop doing what I’ve always done but I will be forming a new side to my business over the next few months and this cushion symbolises the start. So watch this space.

Button time

Detail of stitching and buttons.

The cushion is well pressed and vintage buttons are added at the end. Everything is stitched up with my company button added to the back. And it is finished. In total the cushion took 23 hours of work.

23 hours of work at minimum wage (£6.19) = £142.37. The materials cost = £27.50

Remembering I am a business and need to make a profit, there are bills to pay, petrol, electricity of sewing machines, light, paypal charges, general running of a business type stuff. You do the sums, I think you will see why my prices are as they are, and seeing the detail of work that I do, hopefully you will see why my customers pay what they do, because they appreciate the quality and time artisans spend on this sort of thing.

The price I charged for this cushion was under £100. The lovely customer deserved this bargain as she took a chance on me with an important gift. The prices I charge at the start of a piece of work can often reflect if it’s a new idea or product, it can be a shot in the dark not knowing how long it will take and what I will need, so prices can change from the formation of an idea to the time it gets to my website. (Never in the middle of a project you pay what I quote you regardless.)

 

Project ideas and trial and error are how great things happen and how it leads to new directions and beginnings, I love this process and don’t mind if I under value myself at first because I am also testing myself and getting great delight from doing so. When you ask me to make something for you, you’re not just paying for the time I take or the fabrics and materials I use, they are important and necessary, but what you are paying for is my experience, my thoughts and imagination, my years of training and years of education, my talent.

I encourage people to have a go at sewing their own designs themselves, as it is a wonderful feeling to create something of your very own. I’m making cushion kits for people for that very reason, it’s a wonderful feeling to have accomplished something and have it with you to show off and be proud of in your house. I am here to make something for you if you can’t do that yourself because of time or knowledge, that is my trade, like a plumber or an electrician or builder.

My cushion kits will be a bit special as they will be tailored for you and you only, they will have colours and fabric you chose, buttons and thread that will match perfectly and full instructions. They will be cushions from my mind but with your sewing, so you get that achievement without the worry or need for stockists of each material, the knowledge to put all the elements together.

Anyway back to the Westminster Abbey cushion. It is now compete and I am so utterly thrilled. Cushions like this will be available to order very soon on my website, and later in the year the new designs and ideas will be available. I really hope the bride and groom love this cushion as much as I enjoyed making it.

 

The completed cushion.

All photos and designs are (c) Marna Lunt 2012.