Category Archives: Press

Embroidered Lamp – Mollie Makes Embroidery Magazine

 

Embroider your own lampshade!

It is so good to at last be able to share with you a new embroidered lampshade project I made for the brand new amazing (and awesome) Mollie Makes Embroidery Bookazine which comes out today. It has been edited by the incredible Lara Watson aka @laramcspara and is full of wonderful hand embroidery projects. There are so many fun and creative ideas to try out from pillowcases, banners and clothing to trainers! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I am very proud to say I have TWO projects in the issue for you to make, an embroidery hoop AND an embroidered lampshade project. I got my copy in the post today and I have to say it’s brilliant!!

So many fab projects and really good info, really inspiring. Go buy now!

You can order a copy here –
MOLLIE MAKES EMBROIDERY

and here’s a little peek inside! (This is just a sampler)


If you need to brush up your embroidery skills why not sign up to my free online embroidery course today – hours of videos teaching you over 30 hand embroidery stitches.

PS A big thanks to Charlotte Eve for taking the beautiful photos for me. Xx

Www.marnalunt.co.uk/blog

a little thing……

So many exciting things have been happening recently and so I haven’t been my usual social butterfly self but at last I’m getting myself organised to start sharing things with you again. I am currently going through a rebrand for my business. I always find this sort of thing addictive and rejuvenating. It’s the perfect thing to do when you’ve lost your way a little to bring some focus and clarity back to you. More about that another day though.

stitched sketch for phases of the moon work

This year it is safe to say has been a bit all over the place for me. Starting in January with my head nearly exploding at the amount of work and possibilities that the coming year held, but and thats a dream come true to be honest. Being busy like that means you have done something right and that people do like you after all. But with that busyness comes a lot of other stuff, like being over subscribed to too many things and it burns you out.

By June this year it is safe to say I was completely and utterly burnt out. It was all a little bit too much and I quickly learnt that it was’t where I wanted to be or hat I wanted to be doing. So after months of soul searching and basically just trying to rest a little I have a new plan. Well actually it’s not new its the one I always had but this time I’m actually going to do it instead of get constantly side tracked. So I am glad to say that in the new year I will be back to my old smily self and getting extremely excited about it. Until then I’ll be poottleling around here on the blog and Instagram making things look pretty and easing myself into the new year.

little thing magazine

With that little brief history of the last six months said I really wanted to share with you a very fun thing that happened for me a few weeks ago. I was in a magazine called The Little Things based in China. I was in good company, the likes of Jessie Chorley, Hens Teeth, Rachelle Blondel and Elizabeth Loveday have also been featured so I certainly feel very proud to be approached too. It’s a fab magazine although I’m honestly not sure where in the UK that you can buy it, but I’m sure there will be somewhere.

me faffing in my studio

Here’s a few little sections. of photos and the interview I sent to them in English so you can also see what was written.

1.Could you introduce yourself and give us some background information?

Hi, My name is Marna Lunt and I am a contemporary hand embroider. I was trained and have an honours degree in Fine Art painting at the Manchester School of Art. Painting was my main love and I concentrated on life drawing with oils, and portraiture.

Then I had my first child, as a new mum my creative work had to change as it no longer worked with my lifestyle. I developed from using oil paint to using fabric to create needle paintings instead. I am completely self taught as a textile artist. I still see myself as a painter but using thread and fabric instead of paint, I approach the work in exactly the same way as I would paint.

2.When did you start embroidery and how? Did you have any formal training or are you self taught?

I have enjoyed embroidery, mainly cross stitch, since I was a young girl. I loved the kits you could get and making family and friends little things, cushions, pictures, coasters. It wasn’t something I was ever taught formally, I just picked it up now and again if time was on my side. I only started really looking at the stitches and their possibilites about two years ago. Before that anything I made concentrated on the colourful fabric and the use of only backstitch. I now explore the possibilities of stitches in my work more and are using less and less fabric to create my art work.

3.Are your works all hand embroidery? Have you ever tried to incorporate  machine embroidery?

Everything I make is purely made from hand embroidery. I never use machines. There are manly reasons for this. The machines are too noisy to use near my son which is why I never started using them. I also don’t like the noise, I love the peace and calm that hand stitching creates. I prefer the effect if hand stitching too, it gives a quality and personality to the work the a machine can’t do, more of my personality is taken into the scene. I also find machines annoying because they don’t do what I want, I have no patience and they need too much attention which drives me a little crazy.

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4.I noticed that you have some portrait themed works, what’s the inspiration of those portraits? Or are they orders from clients?

I started the portraits because I was missing that part of my old creative process too much. I used to love sketching and painting portraits and found I was getting further away from making what I loved with my work and decided to start a project for myself. I started with my self portrait and found people really loved then work but I needed to make a portrait that would be interesting to a wider audience. So having two young children fairy tales jumped into my mind.

I am lucky in that I have had a lot of commissions for portraits which is probably my favourite work to do at the moment, so I do work to commission but that isn’t the reason I started them.

5.You’ve created many different kinds of works, like portraits, lamps and cushions, so far what kind of work is your favourite one? And are you planning to challenge any other forms of artworks in the future?

As I started my journey into my new career in a very public way on social media all my experiments are widely catalogued. Most artists don’t have their journey to find their style made quite so publicly so you will see all the things I’ve tried to get to where I am beginning to feel happy with as an artist. I still have much experimenting to go and I feel I am beginning to find my own way.

6.Why do you want to hand dyed the embroidery threads and textiles?

I did a wonderful workshop all about natural dyes and loved learning and making. Natural dying really interests me but it is not something that I am going to take up much myself as I don’t have the tie to make what i would like with it. It’s a huge subject which is something that maybe I could get more involved with as the children get bugger and time is more accessibly. I do however buy a lot of hand dyed threads and fabric to use, from experts in the field that produce stunning colours and combinations. I find the colours made from dying smaller lots are the ones that I am more interested infusing than many of the very mass produced colours. This is mainly due to my painting background. If you wanted a colour you would mix, I rarely used paint straight from the tube. But with needle painting you can’t mix your threads to create the palette you want so you have to go looking for the colour already as a thread, this normally happens next for me from the more expensive and unusual thread makers. I have to have the exact colour I need and nothing else will do so dying your own thread may be something I need to do more in the future.

marna lunt interview in little thing magazine

7.Are you planning to create a series of fairy tales themed works? Because I noticed that you have a piece of work named Rapunzel, and it seems that  there is also a piece of work that you’re making, looks like the Little Red Ridding hood.

I am indeed. It is a personal project that I am hoping also interests all of you too. It’s a very slow process as I make these works in the background of other large commissions that are going on too. Thus why I have only really made two so far. I have Pinnochio, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Hansel and Gretel all sketched out and waiting to come to life too. They are based on the faces of my children as they are the best models I could ask for. It’s a pure joy for me at the moment making these larger than life pieces.

8.Can you describe your creating process please? 

I like to draw. Drawing and painting have always been my first love and thats always where I start. I like to think of the finished piece in my head and how I want it to be and then I sketch and research the piece. I mainly only do this for the larger pieces that need a little planning. The smaller pieces I just draw straight onto the fabric and stitch fabric down on top of my drawing just like a big fabric collage. Then I stitch as though I was using a pencil to pick out the details and give definition. Sometimes the finished work will be then made into lampshades and sometimes they are mounted and framed. But everything stems from drawing.

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9.Do you have any physical store? And can you introduce your studio please?

I sell my work mainly through my website, www.marnalunt.co.uk. I also teach online courses concentrating on my process and how I make artwork showing you all the details and inspiring you to make your own work too, this is on a separate website called www.illuminatingembroudery.co.uk. I also sell at my craft and design fairs around the UK, as well as teach through the UK.

10.What’s your favourite little thing?

I love my snow globes. I collect them from around the world, when my friends go on their travels they bring them back for me too. There’s something very magical, innocent and happy about snow globes.

marna lunt interview for little thing magazine

Www.marnalunt.co.uk/blog

sew magazine december 2015

OOoooo exciting news, Sew magazine have done a lovely page spread on little me.

SEW MAGAZINE

They’ve written it up so beautifully too. I have to say, in no way being cocking at all, that I do get a lot of people asking for blog & press interviews, paid and unpaid, usually unpaid, and as much as I would like to say yes to everyone I think people would get sick of me pretty blooming quickly. I get sick of myself for goodness sake so I don’t want to do that to all of you!!

Sometimes you get a feel for an editor and magazine and think yes I like them I want to work with them. I did in this case and my hunch paid off. They have written beautifully about what we spoke about when they emailed me and not tried to turn it into a weepy ‘oh no she has a disabled child poor her’ type of thing. You see that upsets me. What I mean by this is that they make me and Arthur sound like some sort of pathetic sob story in need of pity. Granted we have things tough (doesn’t everyone have their own story of going through tough times though) but we are strong and positive, I would rather promote disability with what we can do rather than what we can’t do. And although yes my life has changed because of these events but it is not defined by that experience, I painted and had the same vision before I gave birth, art was the one thing that never changed when I become a mother. I don’t want to be turned into some sort of charity case, where you only like me because of that, hopefully you like what I make in the first place and the fact my son has brain damage is an aside, it adds to the story not is the end of the story. Obviously I don’t mind people mentioning it, that would be stupid I’m not ashamed, but lets make it an inspiring and uplifting rather than oh poor me. Does that make sense, I hope so.

Anyway Sew magazine in no way at all have put that slant on things and I love them for it, it means to me that they are just wanting to show their readers things they think they will love for the right reason. So yeah Sew magazine. Anyway did I mention that I was in this months latest edition?

Good lord I know how to waffle, so here is a little snippet of the article. Hope you enjoy it, do let me know what you think.

marna lunt interview in sew magazine 2015

Uk Handmade Spring 2015

Arghhhh! Look it’s my face on the cover of a magazine.

Front cover of Uk Handmade Spring 2015
Front cover of Uk Handmade Spring 2015

Yeah I can pretty much guarantee that I was never expecting to say that in my lifetime!!

I’m stuck in-between being royally freaked out (because my face is quite intensely looking at me, that doesn’t happen expect in the mirror too early in the morning so it’s a bit out of context) and loving it a lot. I can’t quite explain it feels to see your face in your social media news feed unexpectedly. I’m not a lover of my face but I am incredibly proud of this piece of work. Took a while, had a bit of a battle, we fought into the wee hours, wrestled, it could have gone either way, I won though ha, but that struggle is what makes it a greater victory. Who’d have thought embroidery could be so violent.

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The cover looks incredible though and I am so honoured & totally over the moon they would chose my work to do that. I mean wow wow wow.

A n y w a y, I’ve been a big Uk Handmade fan for some time, they celebrate all that is good in the industry and help us artists in so many ways. It’s a great read and would recommend it regardless to whether I was in it or not, but pop over to the website too because it’s mint.

I have quite a large interview in which I tell you all sorts of stuff and things and doings…. you’ll have to go over and read it sorry I can’t give it all away. Look go see.

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A new embroidery expert for Craftsy Blog

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Hello and good morning to you lovely people.

So many things have been happening in MarnaLand of late that I have really been struggling to keep you all up to date, it’s the first week of February and I have been in two magazines and got a runner up award already, buses coming all at once rings a bell. It’s certainly not a normal or regular thing of any of those things to happen so it has been a whirlwind of shock and excitement.

Hens Teeth making stunning brooch dolls. I'm luckily the proud owner of one.
Hens Teeth making stunning brooch dolls. I’m luckily the proud owner of one.

In all this joyful confusion I haven’t told you about a new job I have! I’m really excited about this (I know I’m always excited but this really is good). I was asked in November last year to become an embroidery expert for Craftsy. Now Craftsy is a big thing in my house. I love their site and tutorials, I learn to crochet using their workshops. I think they’re basically pretty great. Weeeelllll I had come to their attention and they wanted me to write for them. Goldfish mouth moment.

Supercutetilly's doll eyes that gave me the idea
Supercutetilly’s doll eyes that gave me the idea

I’ve never really considered myself a writer, I do like a waffle, but this was simple an offer I could not turn down even though at the time I was drowning in work with shows and christmas coming up. So they kindly let me start in the new year and my first post has just been published on their site. Whoo hoo.

It’s not something I’m known for ,’doll eyes’ but whats great about this gig is that it makes me stretch my wings and go exploring for amazing makers that I wouldn’t usually see or have time to explore. This one jumped out at me though because I immediately thought of Nic from Supercutetilly who’s dolls have blown me away for years and I knew I wanted to show the world this amazing lady, as well as other very clever sausages that you will read about.

Right you see now I’ve got waffling again, enough of me, now go have a little look see on this lovely blog post. You never know you may even give it a go:)

Supercutetilly
Supercutetilly
Doll making at it's best by Supercutetilly
Doll making at it’s best by Supercutetilly

 

The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon – Red Nose Day 2015

I have some very exciting news to share with you all, I’m thrilled and really very overwhelmed to have been asked to have one of my projects included in this years amazing Comic Relief fund raising efforts.

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Every year here in the UK amazing people, not just from the comedic industry but based around that, try and raise money form amazingly important charities both here and abroad for more information please look here. There is also a wonderful blog post by Emma who’s brain child this is which you can read here.

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Here’s a lowdown on the new Crafternoon, so us artists can get on board and help in our own special way.

    • It’s called The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon
    • It’s the brainchild of jewellery designer Emma Mitchell (@silverpebble on Twitter) who approached Jane Toft (@JaneToft on Twitter), former editor of Mollie Makes, to help her make it happen! They are joint editors and Jane also did the design and production of the mag. They both gave our time for free to raise as much money as possible for this brilliant charity. After all neither of them is ever going to run a marathon or climb a mountain Davina McCall style!
    • On sale in Sainsbury’s and iTunes or Google Play on Thursday 29th Jan OUT NOW!!!! I  bought my copy for my iPad. Print editions are not available over seas.
    • A special edition of Mollie Makes sponsored by Create & Craft.
    • £7.99 and 5 whole quid of this goes to Comic Relief to support their wonderful projects in the UK and Africa. I have bought five copies (as well as the digital copy)!! That’s £30 to a wonderful cause.
    • OODLES of exclusive new tutorials from crafters such as Deadly Knitshade, Tif Fussell, Attic24, Jodie Carleton, Lynda Lewis from the Great British Sewing Bee, Mr X Stitch, PLUS favourite Mollie Makes designs from the likes of Gretel Parker, Twinkie Chan, Manda McGrory and ME!

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  • As the theme this year is ‘Make Your Face Funny for Money’ there are stupendous patterns and tutorials including knitted beards, crochet red noses and a Liberty print moustache!
  • A guide to running your own craft fair so readers can make an entire troupe of felt guinea pigs/nursery full of Spring posy brooches/forest of moustaches and sell them to make more crafty cash for Comic Relief
  • And you can keep up to date by following them on social media fb: The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon and Twitter: @CRCrafts

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To be included in this is pretty monumental and I want us all to really get behind this amazing concept and organise our own crafternoons. It tells you how in the bookazine but also if you check out the Mollie Makes blog they will give you lots of information to. And if you raise lots of lovely cash which I really hope we can all do we can deposit it to the donations page here. Lets get to that £1000.00 target surely we can.

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I myself am planning to do something special for this fab cause. The details will be confirmed soon and I’ll let you all know here. The vague details so far is that I will be auctioning off five places to come to my home, in the north east of England, and have an afternoon workshop with me. Tea, cake and supplies will all be supplied and we will have the hoops project that I have given for the bookazine. You will have me to ask any questions of and teach you all the stitches and see my workshop and all the behind the scenes things that go on in MarnaLand. I’m really looking forward to it and hope you are all willing to spend tonnes of money to gain a place so we can give 100% of it to the donations page.

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The Mollie Makes Handmade Awards-Established Business Award Shortlist

mollie makes awards

So last month I was driving down to Bovey Tracey in Devon to exhibit at the CCF and I stopped for a sneaky Cinnamon bun and latte at Starbucks. I’m addicted to my mobile phone so after being parted with it for over four hours of driving I needed my fix and I checked my emails.

There waiting for me was this strange announcement that I had been chosen to be on the shortlist for The Established Business Award at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards.

Eh!?!

Me?!!

Really? ACES!!!!!

I had applied whilst out of action having to rest with Fibro. Being fed up in bed and feeling usless and thinking ah why not lets apply. I don’t stand a chance and I don’t even really know which catagory to apply for but I will not let this stupid syndrome beat me so even though I’m lying & useless, my brain is being positive and trying its hardest to keep on going.

I found it hard to know which categorary to go for because I have been on Facebook as Little A for three years but my work is totally different now and I’m really more Marna Lunt Artist than Little A now. But I thought if I went for new start buisness people would think that was a cheat because of the old style. Then I started worrying about what people would think and not what the facts are. In hindsight I would say that I am pretty experienced but because I have only done my new work and direction and taken myself and work seriously since last summer then I probably wasnt actually established compared to the proper good people they had chosen along with me. That just adds to my happiness and astonishment at being considered in their company in the first place. I feel like I had two years of work experience and a ‘temporary contract’ and this last year I was given my permanment contract and started focusing on myself with confidence and believeing it was time to take it to the next level.

You see how lying in bed can give you far too much time to think and I drive myself mad about the smallest details. What will people think, I dont want people ever get the wrong impression of me. I worry about letting people down, that they think I’m rubbish, that I’m not good enough. I’m not naturally a confident person, it has taken me a long time to believe in myself and feel worthy, I never think these amazing things will happen and I am constantly shocked when they do. I apply for things a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt of because I refuse to live with regrets and because ultimately all want is to make my children & husband proud of me and leave a legacy. As a carer I need my work badly to give me my own identity.

Anyway back to the subject, it was a week notice before I knew the awards were taking part so I presummed I hadnt been picked, I didn’t realise they were late with the final choices because of the huge amount that had applied, I was also unaware that there were only FIVE shortlisted people for each catapgory. Good god! Now that blew me away, I was one of five people chosen as best established business and I had actaully only been dojng the work I was now know for and had been senn by them doing since nivember last year. I have to say I was blown away by that compliment. I had a little weep, I told a few trusted friends who I knew would really get what a big deal this was to me, then I accepted Mollie Makes kind invitation, and then I continuee my drive down to Devon to prepare alone for the most implratnt fair I had been to to date. Bearing in mind the week before I had been in London meeting the head buyer of Liberty taking about supplying them with display items and writing a blog how to for their blog. This is not meant as a show off statement, this is meant to give you an idea as where I was emmotionally and mentally. I was confused, numb, tearful, exhausted, ecstatic. All these major things were happening, dreams were coming true and it was overwhelming but I still had to keep going because work had to be done and I am a one man band in every way. And in the background I was and still am battling to get Arthur statemented to go to  a  special school because he is falling apart and going through so much pain and trauma that life was just too much for him to deal with.

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So this was a hardcore time for me, I was giving so much, working hard, had just been diagmoised with a life changing illness myself and then out of all this chaos a major magazine chose me, rewarded me, said well done to me and invited me to celebrate with them for a day. I was touched and overjoyed. It was lovely.

I know this may not be what you were expecting from this post but it is as important to put this news in context to my life. I was coming out of a five month intensive work period with some serious personal stuff that was life changing for my son and for us. My daughter hasn’t started school yet either so her needs could not be ignored.

So I did CCF at Bovey, got to spend one morning at home with my son who had to be off school because he was too upset by me coming and going before I had to get the train to London for the awards. It was hard to get excited because I was so tired and just wanted to be with my kids after being away from them for six days whilst exhibting. But after seeing a beautiful friend (thank god for Heidi) who was looking after me for the night in the big smoke and getting my head back in the zone I started to really get excited again. I wasn’t as prepared as I’d like as it just wasn’t possible but I was happy and really just wanted to enjoy the day and meet the lovely girls at Mollie Makes who Id been speaking to so much.

outside the proud archivist

We all met at the most incredible venue called The Proud Archivist on a hot, sunny and happy day by a canal edged by bobbing floral laiden canal boats. It was idylic. I saw Jane Foster who I had briefly met and we got lost in chatting in minutes. I also spent a lot of time with the girls from Purl Alpaca who were fabulous. I so enjoyed talking to them and talking to them made me realise I did know what I was talking about after all, it filled me with confidence that I was savvy and busines minded, that I was on the right track. I still had a way to go before I was in the same league as them and Jane but I wasnt the novice I thought I was. It was a great boost to the confidence and has really helped me. I still feel as doubtful and fearful on my darker days but don’t we all. The knowledge that I can hold me own in such a situation has been the most valuable lesson. I was tired, still in carer mode rather than business woman mode, I was in pain (the fibro was getting its revenge in my for doing far too much) but I was at the blooming mollie makes hand made awards and people knew me and cared about my opinion and liked what I made. Life was ace.

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Time flew by talking to these wonderful create ladies both finalists and journalists and the winners were announced, the fab Jane Foster won our category and rightfully so she it a bit wonderful it say the least.

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I don’t know why I’ve gone on such a huge natter about this but I suppose I wanted people to know the the feeling and emotions of someone involved in such a large competition. A real version of what one women bands have to do to make a living and a name for themselves. I think part of me think I let myself down on the day, I gave into the exhaustion, but I know fine well it would have made no difference he outcome. I think I’m frustrated at myself and that’s why I’ve babbled.

It’s hard work and I love it but determination will only get you so far. You need to listen to your body, sometimes it takes a long time to recover from over doing it. But you know what after a few weeks off I’m going to do it all again when september starts, I can’t help myself I’m addicted to this life and I can’t control the need I have to create and celebrate others creations and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks Mollie Makes for shortlisting me and taking me on an amazing journey of discovery and I look forward to working with you again.

The Liberty Craft Blog Feature

The week before the Contemporary Craft Festival I was approached by Mollie Makes to see if I wanted to do a project for a collaboration with Liberty of London to celebrate the launch of the Mollie Makes Wedding book. Obviously I said yes please that sounds jolly good fun by jove.

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So I had a think of what would be nice to do as a little wedding project. I decided on a hen night rosette as I no longer make them so would like to share the love a bit.

If you want to see it go have a look, here’s a little taster to wet your whistle. I can not tell you how proud I am of this, it’s a massive highlight and compliment to me and me work. thanks Mollie Makes for getting in touch.

marna lunt and her bride to be rosettes on the liberty blog

 

Mollie Makes Issue 40 Cover Project

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Dreams have been coming true in Lunt Towers this last two months, so much so I haven’t actually had to to tell you all about them. So, like buses, I’m going to tell everything and you may be inundated by exciting posts with many pretty pictures all week.

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First up is the marvellous Mollie Makes magazine. I was featured in the magazine a few months ago when I contributed with a project on how to create a embroidered hoop with inspirational quotes. They were so pleased with how that project went they asked me back but this time do a cover project. I nearly wept. For a magazine to take notice of you and ask you to do something for them that they believe will help sell their magazine is an honour and really boosted my confidence. It’s easy to forget about the outside world when you’re creating on your own and this made me realise that people do like my work and appreciate the care and individuality I strive for. They saw that I was a capable artist of many things and trusted I could make something wonderful for them even though they’d never seen any specific examples.

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Anyway, good things, hard work, happiness all round. Time to up my game further and blow their socks off. Nothing like a challenge to really make me shine.

So here is what I created. I’m really proud of it and love the textures and layers and the sparkle the sequins give. A floral sash made from fabric and pearls with a bit of hand stitching. The full project can be seen in their issue 40 which is available as a back issue.

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Mollie Makes Issue 38

Whhhoooooo hoooooo I can’t contain my excitement and pride at being in the latest issue of Mollie Makes. Like so many of us in this field we have seen Mollie Makes magazine explode on to the news stand and changed the way most of the public looked at craft and making. It was certainly a dream of mine to be in their pages and it is such a pleasure to tell you I AM.

A few months ago I was contacted and asked if I’de like to make some of my embroidered hoops for them as a how to project and as I don’t have time to make them anymore I thought this would be great. I make them now and again for friends and then get them printed into cards so they are available in my website shop so buy and send or frame, but now you get to see how to make them yourself.

So pop out and buy a copy now. Here are some of the photos I have of the finished acticules. Enjoy. xxxemboirdered hoops hoops liberty hoop close up of mollie makes hoops

Vintage embroidered hoop for Gathered magazine

Last month I was thrilled to be featured in the Gathered weekly digital magazine by Mollie Makes. I was absolutely over the moon as I do so love to get my weekly craft fix and subscribe to lovely lovely edition. I was very sad that it was to be the last digital edition they are to publish. It will still survive as a newsletter that you can get for free weekly on a smaller scale so it’s not all bad.

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It’s always been a bit of a dream for me to see my work in print. Whether that be in magazines, papers, books, I think it must be for more artists, it’s a thrill. I enjoy thinking of new projects and plaint with all sorts of materials to make things that simply make you smile. Art and craft and making in general is such a hugely important tool in all round wellbeing and I have relied on being creative to act as a therapy to get me through tough times so to be able to give others ideas of things to make is just the most ace-est thing.  So when the Mollie Makes team got in touch and offered to pay me for it and open up a whole new avenue for me I said yes please.

SONY DSC The whole thing has been so great that I would like to do it again and again and am looking at contributing as much as people would like. After the Gathered article went so well they have asked me back to feature in the magazine in the next edition so watch out for that and you may se mer popping up again I a few months, so keep those yes peeled.

Obviously if you want to see the whole tutorial then  you need to buy the weekly but here are some photos of it to see what you’re missing;)

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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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Editors Choice at the Country Living Fair, Harrogate 2013

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I have done fairs for years but on a small scale and with little confidence in myself. But I decided last year if I was going to do this ‘thing’ properly I needed to have more than an online presence, although that will always be my main stay, I wanted to see first hand what people thought of my stuff and to be honest you really can’t see the detail or scale of my work unless you see it in the flesh no amount of photos will ever reflect the real  thing.

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

london landscape lampshadeI always knew the design I wanted for my stand, I knew it before I even applied. I had chats with LJ about it and she had similar ideas and helped draw out a plan. It evolved as the time went on, but I had a firm idea of what I wanted, I think that is key to stand design. I made a very definite decision to show off rather than sell at this fair. Now I know this may sound stupid but my goal for CL was to be seen and to showcase what I could do. I had never had that opportunity before and I wanted this to be the launch. If it had all been about selling I would have designed a very different stand. Clearly I wanted to make money, I am a business, but I only cared about covering costs at this stage. It was about marketing and promotion and experimenting.

my stand my stand

So the plan was the first stage and once I had the stand size and layout I knew what I had to make to stock the stand and furnish it. Making began. Sourcing paint, suppliers, printers etc took so much longer than I thought and the logistics were a surprise. The actual set up went very well and we got things done pretty quickly and without too much stress, hubby was my wing man and lugged and drove and cleaned, it’s not a stand I would attempt to make on my own I really needed that help. Having friends to run to DIY shops and bring coffee are also an essential.

Seeing all the elements come together was so exciting and it was the best therapy I could have wished for. The whole experience has really given me confidence in my abilities and made me so much better at my job, in a way I could never have done if  hadn’t left the comfort of my own home. I needed to push myself well beyond my comfort levels and test myself in the ‘real world’. I really recommend doing it to any maker, although must do anyway but as a painfully shy person I avoided it as much as possible, I don’t mean the smaller shows here I mean these really big ones, these big markets, retail shows and meet the maker events. It’s scary and I’m sure people don’t all have the same sort of experience, but this is mine and it was great. It was great because I was organised, I researched, I aimed very high, I worked stupidly hard, I was unrelenting with my vision, I had amazing friends and family working in the background. It didn’t happen over night and I was naive in many ways. But it has given me a taste for it now and you’ll see me at some big shows this coming year all over the country.

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And the learning didn’t stop with the set up, I met some great people, makers, organisers, editors and learnt so much from them. Networking is an invaluable part of our business. Talking to other stand holders, to the organisers and to press. I very wonderfully won the Editors Choice award for the whole show which made every late night totally worth it, and as I have done the show to show off it was the ultimate reward. Editors Choice is basically the award made by the Country Living Magazines Features Editor of her favourite stand. How ace is that.

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Cathy from Dear Emma Designs, a huge success at the show and one of my firm favourites.
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Rachel Lucie Jewellery had a stand near me and really had fun with her, she is a total joy and her products are pretty gorgeous too.

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Petra Boise was near me too, a gorgeous stand, and I could very happily walked off with all her stand.
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Emily Notman is a stunning textiles artist and has always been so generous with her advice. Her delicate pieces are glorious.
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Mandy from Treefall Designs is fab, lots of fun, up beat and a real master of her craft, her stand always makes me happy.
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Martha and Arthur were right next to me selling beautiful hand stitched children’s clothes and the name is pretty perfect but I may be biased.
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Caroline Watts another pro textiles artist with her mum kept me smiling too and he’s a fellow Betty’s tea addict.

I have a few thank you’s to make for the support I got running up to the fair. It took a huge amount of work to get me to the show and some very lovely people really pulled out the stops to help me get here. The framer I found last minute was utterly awesome. Wensleydale Galleries in Leyburn I have to say I really really recommend. They went so above anything I could have hoped for. They really wanted the best for me and the quality of the frames they made was just stunning. without that framing my stand would have looked a very very sorry state. We are so lucky to have companies like this giving this sort of service, it’s so rare nowadays but I found a real gem there. Love them and must say a massive thank you to them for their kindness. The lovely Andy from [vinegarandbrownpaper] managed to fit me into his stupidly busy work load and did me the most amazing mirror with my etched logo, it was a perfect finishing touch. Angie Spurgeon from Artwork by Angie designed labels, stickers, press folders, was constantly on hand to calm me down and lift me up. But you know what she always has been ever since I started this business, I do so adore her. That goes for Lynsdey James too who helped with advice and plotting when I found out I was accepted for the show. I didn’t have much faith that I could do anything but she went through things calmly and clearly and made me realise I could do it and so I did, she’s another lady who has been there from the beginning watching me grow and prodding me gently in the right direction. It’s so enlightening doing something like this because true friends really do come to the surface. Kirsty from Darling and Green floral stylists came an helped me on my stand for two days, how kind is that!! She kept my spirits up and giggled with me in the b&b. The most incredible gift anyone can give you is time, time away from their families, time away from their lives and work, we don’t have much time in our lives, but to give it up for a friend to no benefit to themselves at all other than to be there for you has made me feel very warm and snuggly. Thanks Kirsty, Cath and Clare for that, I do so adore you.

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My interview with the Making Spot

This week the artist interview will be me, in a manner of speaking. It won’t be the same interview as everyone else although I will do that one at some point, but this one is a little last minute as I’ve had to do a small rejig to get some of my favourite artists in in the next few months. So this is an interview I did for another blog a while ago. Next week will be back to the usual artist interviews.
Bear with, bear with.

In March I was asked by the fab Mollie Makes Making Spot blog to do an interview which was rather lovely. Here’s the interview,

Marna Lunt is the talented designer behindwww.marnalunt.co.uk, a treasure trove of handstitched delights. We love Marna’s colourful style and clever personalised designs, so we asked her a little about how she works, what inspires her, and what she’s up to at the moment!

 

Marna, your online shop is a crafty treasure trove! What inspired you to set up Little a Designs?

Many of us find that life changes greatly after we have children and we have different goals and ideals. Luckily when you’re an artist it often gives you a purpose and talent to use that works well around children and working from home.

I had been made redundant during my pregnancy with my first child Arthur. When he was born he suffered severe brain damage and so I was very limited to what job I’d be able to do around his very specialised and intense care needed. Then I found not only did I need to make money but I needed to have an outlet that would help body and soul and I knew that now was the time to grab the opportunity and do what I really loved at last and paint and create. And Little a was born.

Every morning I’m excited about the day to come and the opportunity to make and create. I am constantly inspired by my greatest loves; the landscapes and colours of my North Yorkshire Moors and my deep love of Itaian Renaissance art. That may sound like an odd combination but they each excite me everyday.

Many of your designs incorporate wonderful personal elements – we especially love the church/venue cushions. Have you ever had any unusual or ambitious requests for stitched scenes or buildings?

I really enjoy making these scenes and always see every request as a bit of an adventure. I’ve not really had anything too weird but many wonderful suggestions. Quite often they are wedding venues or a really special place close to someone’s heart so it’s very important to get the atmosphere right. It’s not really the actual image that’s my main focus, but the story behind it – What’s so special about it, what memories does it evoke? – and with that I try to make sure the textures and fabrics reflect that sentiment.

My work is very textural and colourful, I love uses in layers and adding details that only the client will know or care about; a scrap of wedding dress, a hint at a favourite flower. Some fun commissions have been the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough which the locals love and feel very strongly about. Roseberry Topping is another local landmark to me which is much thought of and used by artists and the community. The some great venues from a French chateaux, a Yorkshire Castle and a tiny church found in the deepest depths of the North Yorkshire Moors. The entire London cityscape was interesting to try and get on a cushion too!

What’s next for Little a Designs? Tell us about your latest work!

At the moment I’m working on a new product of fabric personalised photo frames which I’m supply to lots of shops and is great fun developing. I’ve just finished a range of tweed cushion with Liberty fabrics too which I’ll be showcasing at the Country Living Fair in Harrogate at the end of the year. I’m extremely excited about that, because I get to hunt for tonnes of vintage goodies to use and the tweed and Liberty tana lawn fabrics are a perfect texture combination that just makes my heart sing when I use them. Add a stack of vintage buttons and lace and velvet and I’m in heaven!

What advice can you give to crafters who are taking their first steps in stitching?

Find your own way, your own style. That means experimenting with materials and ideas. People love and want originality and fun and the only real way you can get that is being yourself – don’t compare yourself to others and try and be something you’re not.

Create our own techniques and ways of doing them that suit your life and skills. It takes a long time to find your own style and what you love, but once you have found it and have faith in your ability then nothing can stop you.

Love what you do. If you don’t like it or want it why would anyone else? Be proud and show everyone the best part of you, the quality, time, love and talent you have. I make things that many others do, cushions, pictures, rosettes, but I always do it in a way that makes them very ‘me’. People can usually recognise my work because of the way I hand stitch, my colour and material choices and they way is which I draw with the thread and the finish.

Then get yourselves talking to people online, social media has changed the whole crafting community and it’s a wonderful world out there. Xx

Thank you so much, Marna, we’re so inspired by your beautiful stitched work. For more from Marna, click over to www.marnalunt.co.uk. You can browse the shop, check out the gallery and find out what Marna’s up to on her blog!

Gold Award? Yes please thank you very much.

Just a quickie post this morning to let you all know I’m the very lucky winner of mumpreneur gold award for my website.

Mumpreneur is a fab website and company that helps and gives advice to us working mums out there that are striving to carve out a sucessful business for ourselves. It’s a great place to network to get advice.

They have a huge amount of entries for their website awards and a panel of professionals look in detail at alsorts of elements that make up the content of the site. From there they decide whether they can award you anything. And I only went and got a GOLD one, the best you can get. I’m thrilled and so so proud.

I had a very solid vision of what I wanted for my showcase and I was lucky to find a lady called Tia from Who Ate My Crayons who designed it for me, she also designed this blog. You’ll find more info about her in my artists interviews. Angie from Artwork by Angie also helped hugely in the final project by designing my logo, and considerable of the artwork used thoughout the pages, she too can be found in my artist invideas section. And finally Lyndsay James who took nearly all my product photography and was my first interviewee on the Saturday morning posts.  I really rather love these girls for helping me and get this fab little addition to my pat on the back page.

My lovely gold award.

I will be posting my craft bag of delights info tomorrow so watch out for all my favourite things I need and use in my work. I will also be telling you what you need to be able to start making things with my on my How To’s which are separating next week. Also watch out for Saturdays artist interview who is Cassandra from Gracie’s Garden Bazarre.