Tuesday, 29 April 2014

back to crafting

Gosh, it's been a while since I have posted a note. Yet I have not stop crafting.
During the past 4 months, a few things happened: I quit my job, looked for and got a new one, moved in with my sweetheart in a lovely flat and explored the streets of Edinburgh.

Moving in a new place was very inspiring to get me crafting and to make the place feel like home.
I made the following pieces to decorate the flat:

I also made a few greeting cards, photo holders and book notes...
I will detail the how-to in future posts.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Arts Market

Last weekend I attended my first market. I had a stall where I exposed a selection of my paper creations: paper frames, handmade cards and paper accessories.
It was a first experience for me and I really enjoyed it.
The venue (Out of the Blue on Dalmeny St) is great, a good located venue offering a lot of space and a lot of natural light thanks to the huge rooflight.  The Arts Market was organised by Out of the Blue, a company promoting creativity and art. They organise each week special events and they also rent studios.
I didn't sell a lot, just enough to pay the stall and buy me 2 coffees. I'm not complaining as it was also the first market of the year and there were 2 other big events on the same day (Edible Edinburgh Feed the 5000 and the Rosspapercrafts show at Meadowbank) attracting a lot of locals.
I also enjoyed meeting other crafters and was able to discover some original pieces. I will renew the experience and hope to sell more goodies for Christmas.

My stall:

Sunday, 29 September 2013

website live!

I have not posted anything for 3 weeks as I was pretty busy preparing a craft fair and building my website...

I've been thinking for a while now to have a website where I could share my creations and why not sell a few ;-).  It got me busy the past 2 weeks to work on the layout of the website, create a new logo, decide which range to publish, select and organise the pictures...  I finally came up with a first version and it is live since yesterday. I will in the coming weeks work on a new version with an online shop, more items in the digital section and a range of printables.  Feel free to browse on [AKHATAN] paper creations.
I wanted to have the website ready for October 5th when I'll be participating to my first craft fair in Scotland. I am so excited. It will be such a rich experience sharing my passion and be surrounded by talented crafters. And I also feel privileged to be in place dedicated to promote and encourage art and creativity: Out the Blue
As I want to develop my craft and my range more and more, I also worked during the past weeks on a serie of handmade frames and handmade accessories.
The frames are made of paper and stand "alone" thanks to an "accordion" folding. I decorated the background with stamps, I added a piece of cellophane also decorated with ink and stamp.
For the accessories range, I created a few earring, rings and brooches. All made of recycled cardboard. I cut the shapes (butterflies and flowers) with a punch and decorated them with ink and stamps. I used a varnish glue as protective coating.

I hope you like it. 
Feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Colony of Artists exhibition.

These weekend  (September 7th-8th)Edinburgh was hosting the Colony of Artists exhibition.
During an entire weekend, artists from the Abbeyhill colonies (block of houses in the London Rd and Easter Rd area) open their homes/studios to present their work.

I was impressed by the community spirit.  The community gathers artists from various disciplines: paintings, mixed media, photography, felt, silver jewelry, chocolate, animated short film, glass, ceramics, handwoven textiles. It was a new experience for me to visit crafters in their home. I must admit I felt a bit odd, like an intruder... But the artists were very welcoming, offering cakes and drinks. They were all so enthusiast sharing their craft.  I did not take any pictures of the exhibited artpieces. I strongly invite you to check on the community's website for more info on the artists and their work.  But to I took a picture that really illustrates the sense of community: a little girl from the neighbourhood selling homemade treats.
If you're interested and want to know more, check their website and their facebook page.
I actually got to know the event thanks to one of the numerous meetup groups I joined since I moved to Edinburgh: The Edinburgh High Brow/Low Brow Culture Group. It's a really nice group with friendly people interested in art and everything cultural.

Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Customisation / Upcycling

I already introduced this subject in the two previous posts. When speaking of giving a new life to objects with paper, I usually refer to customisation or upcycling (with paper).

For me paper customisation / upcycling  involves 2 activities:

- upcycle an (old) piece of cardboard (postpackage, shoe box...)  and shape the material to create an object, such as a frame, a box, a bookcover,  a home decoration piece and even furniture and then decorate it.

- use an existing object made of paper or any other material, such as wood, a tinned box, a basket... and use paper to revamp it.

I do both as I love creating as much as I enjoy decorating and give a personal touch to a piece.
As far as the decorating process is concerned, I upcycle using stamps, collage, scrapbook...depending on the object, its purpose, who it is for and my inspiration of the moment.
Scrapbooking technique, which roughly consists of cutting patterned paper, fix them on an object and add other bits and bobs (buttons, flowers, rub-ons...) to finish up. I usually use this technique on objects with a regular, straight shape.
I also use the decoupage technique to cover objects with patterned.
The Decoupage technique consist of decorating an object with patterned tissue paper or with napkins. In order to cover the surface avoiding creases (especially for rounded or uneven shapes) it is advised to tear up tiny pieces and to arrange them one by one. If you use napkins,it is very important to separate the layers and only use the first one (the one with the patterns). If you don't do so, the layers will inevitably got loose by applying the glue.
I'll share more exmples in coming posts.

Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

belgium and crafts

I was supposed to write about customisation and up cycling but as I took a wee holiday break, I'd like to bring up how I spent my time in Belgium.
I went back to Belgium to spend some time with my family and friends. I took advanyage this opportunity to bring some stuff back: 15 kilos of books, paper, stamps, eyelets and other crafty bits. When I was not seeing a friend or my family, I plunged into my crafty world.  Even on holiday I have to keep my hands busy crafting. I made a few cards, some sketches for future realisations and I jotted down some ideas for my notebook collection (soon to come). I also put down on paper a sort of (business) plan defining how I want to turn my craft into a business activity (might take a while to realise though :-) but I'll sure share this later on).

While commuting from one friend to another, I made some stops in a few craft supply shops I used to go to when I was living in Belgium. Unfortunately due to the weak economy some gorgeous independant shops with lovely owners have closed down.  The big stores have remained, some have even expanded their business, offering huge diversity in craft materials. They also expanded their activities by running workshops from basic to more advanced knowledge for both children and adults.
Big craft stores in Brussels and Wallonia:
- Schleiper
- Creacorner
While having a look at the new trends, I was happily surprised to see that Doodles and Zentangles have reached the european continent and are getting more attention. I have been doodling for as long as I can hold a pen in my hand (like most children do!) and I still doodle as a final touch to add text, a border... Over the past few years Doodles and Zentangles have reached another level; it is no longer used as adding touch but as a design in itself. Some artists really developed the technique to its best and offer original designs/drawings with beautiful details.
Some examples and interesting links here:

I hope this gets you inspired to grab a pen a start doodling :-)

The next post will be dedicated to customisation and up cycling.

Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

from tissue paper to cardboard - part 2: versatile material

Paper is such a great material to work with.
It exists in a variety of thickness (very thin like silk and tissue paper to thick and sturdy like corrugated paper and extra strong cardboard) enabling you to crease, fold, create tiny shapes with details (flowers, jewelry...) or build resistant objects (such as boxes, furniture...).  Paper is proposed in a infinite range of colors and designs . Yet I often make my own to create backgrounds or ornaments. I might draw a pattern in Illustrator, print it and use it as a whole (for a card or notebook) or as background and add some embellishments like buttons, ribbons... Or I might just take a blank card and make an original lay out using stamps, painting, doodles... Another great thing about paper is that it can be used for many different purposes : it can be used as object (flower, box...), as holder (card, frame...) or as garment (as decoration).

For example when I make a card I use cardstock as basis for the card. I might use blank cardstock and add decorations using patterned papers, chipboard... But I could also just use paper as support and use garment from other material such as fabric, rubber, buttons, wood or I can print a design on the card.
I also often turn to paper, usually patterned papers, to decorate objects. I love using existing objects (mostly boxes and frames) and give them a new look. (I will dedicate the next post to customisation / upcycling).

  • Scrap card

  • Blank card + illustrator design

  • Blank card+stamp design

  • Notebook + illustrator design

  • Notebook + scrapbook

  • Frame+scrapbook

I am both interested in the creation of an object as to decorating it. And paper is so versatile that it enables me to do so. For example, I use corrugated paper and cardboard to make gift boxes, picture frames, doorhangers, and I turn to tissue and crepe paper for their flexibility to make flowers.

  • Tissue flowers

  • Gift box

  • Doorhanger

So it doesn't matter if you love creating objects, making cards, scrapbook or add some color to a piece, paper is the perfect companion for all sorts of projects. Ther's no doubt paper will add an invaluable dimension to your craft.

If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact me or leave a comment.