Spirit Animal Shaman headdresses for SIRF Carnival Parade

I’ve had a bit of a thing for the folkloric and the shamanic in my own work of late.  When I was given Shangri-La as my section on this years SIRF carnival parade I jumped at the chance of making some Spirit Animal Shamanic headdresses for one my groups.  They’re a drumming group called Rhythm Train, so the shamanic look should work very well!  Here are some of the headdresses.

shaman dragon

Spirit Animal Dragon

shaman bear 01

Spirit Animal Bear 1

shaman owl

Spirit Animal Owl

shaman wolf

Spirit Animal Wolf

shaman bird

Spirit Animal Bird

shaman bear 02

Spirit Animal Bear 2

Posted in carnival, Carnival Art, Carnival costumes, carnival parade, Stockton Carnival Parade, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Disco Dragon + some goofy lions for SIRF Carnival

I spent this afternoon adding some last minute frou-frou to this incredibly glitzy disco Dragon.  He’ll be parading with a youth group in the Stockton on Tees carnival parade tomorrow.  Also a pair of last minute, rather goofy looking lion heads on sticks.  The weather forecast is SUNNY!! (faints with surprise)  If you’re in the area the parade sets off at 12 noon from SPLASH and winds its way through the town centre before finishing at the riverside. It’s always a brilliant spectacle.

glitzy dragon 01

A Disco Dragon for Shangri – La

glitzy dragon 02

with a tie dye-tastic body

silly lions02

A pair of silly looking lions


Posted in carnival, Carnival Art, Carnival costumes, carnival parade, Stockton Carnival Parade, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Exhibition at Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

I’ve put 3 pieces into the Lawrence Batley Theatre’s Summer Open Exhibition.Also a couple of paintings by my partner Lucas Stephens.
One of the works is my Chicken, who’s recently been revamped so it’s nice he’s found somewhere to go so quickly!
Here he is inspecting his newly painted brolly! That should keep the sky from falling…

Chicken: The Sky is Falling – inspects his newly painted brolly

I’ve also put in this embroidered Peacock in an oval frame:
and sticking to the peacock theme, this painting, called Bright Bird.  All of these pieces are looking for forever homes and are for sale (!) so do pop down for a look if you’re in the area.  I’m going to go and see the show myself  – it’s a lovely venue with a fab cafe and lots to see.
The Theatre is open : Friday, 15 July 2016 (All day)Saturday, 3 September 2016 (All day)
Whole Venue: Open Monday – Saturday: 9.30am – 5pm
Exhibitions are also open to view on evenings when the venue opens for performances. Sunday opening times are from 1 hour before the performance starts.
Posted in exhibition, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bradford Festival Koinobori lanterns.

The annual Bradford Festival was last weekend and I spent the weekend helping people to make Koinobori in the City Square. In spite of the slightly showery weather I was kept incredibly busy and nearly 400 Koinobori were sent out into the festival to wave at the musicians and performers. They looked so lovely fluttering in the breeze.   I didn’t really get a chance to take photographs as it was so busy but here are a couple I took before I was completely inundated! 🙂


A picture of my tent decorated prettily, the calm before the storm!


A new koinobori fish ready to go out into the world

lou sumray koinobori

and here’s a lovely drawing by artist Lou Sumray of people running at the festival  with their Koinobori flying in the wind.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIRF Carnival progress 2016

I’ve been busy making examples for this years SIRF carnival groups. Some of the groups have already had making sessions and the excitement is building for the event on the 6th of August.  Here are a few bits and pieces from the studio.  The Shangri – Lion is a new design.


A Shangri-Lion


Fire Monkey


Temple Dog / Lion

And here are a couple of Shaman headdresses. Rhythm Train the Samba drumming group are going to be my Shaman.

Here are Frederick Nattrass Primary School testing out their Temple Lion Headdresses.  They worked so hard to get them done over a day and a half. I was really impressed!



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shangri La – SIRF Carnival costume designs

Stockton-on-Tees is holding the fantastic Stockton Riverside Festival (SIRF) again this year. For the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to create costumes and structures with the local community for the Carnival Parade that happens on the final Saturday of the festival.  It’s always a brilliant spectacle and there is always a different theme. This year we’re looking at Mystical Lands and my section is Shangri-La.  My workshops start on Saturday and I’ve been busy drawing illustrations of what the costumes could look like.

small Shangri La temple lions

Shangri La lion sketch

small Shangri La sketches shaman

small Shangri La temple lion structure

small Shangri La sketches animists

small Shangri La sketches red fire monkeys

small Shangri La sketches dragon dancer

small Shangri La sketches mandala citizens

small Shangri La landscape banners


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beware for I am Fearless & therefore Powerful

I’ve made a new piece of work for an exhibition at this years Grassington Festival. There’s a preview TONIGHT at 7.30.  This year’s exhibition celebrates diversity of taste, personality and culture, using aprons as a blank canvas.

My apron is called: Beware for I am Fearless and therefore Powerful. It’s a double apron, the first is folkloric and embroidered, attached to it with ribbons is a second ‘masonic’ style apron. There are two quotes embazoned across it. The first is from Annie Besant : “Through Storm to Peace”, the second is from Mary Shelley “Beware for I am fearless and therefore powerful” Something apt and positive after this week of turmoil

Power Apron5

All the aprons have been made by invited artists, designers and craftspeople. They have responded to our theme of Convergence: All Roads Lead to Grassington and will be wearable, fun, political and extravagant. Some aprons will be for sale.

I’m looking forward to seeing how other people have responded to the theme.

Exhibition: An Array of Aprons

continues from the 28th June – 2nd July.  11am-4pm

Venue: Festival Hall, Grassington

Power Apron4


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peril at Sea… Some new embroidery work

Here’s a new piece of work. It’s for a group show called Migration at the Wishbone Gallery in Grassington.  The set of embroidered cushions are housed in an old collector’s cabinet rescued from The Manor House Museum in Ilkley by a friend. The box is lined with a copy of a 16th Century map of the Mediterranean by Diogo Homem.


Peril at Sea, embroidered silk, lambs wool, felt, buttons, beads, found objects

Each of the cushions is constructed of embroidered silk stuffed with lambs wool and each depicts a ‘folkloric’ creature – although some of these have roots in traditional tales they are my own interpretations.  I made a set of sketches, transferred them onto delicate silk and embroidered them. I also made a set of 3 fragile origami silk boats that sit on each of the heart shaped pieces and on Poseidon’s head.  At one corner is a vintage wooden boat with fabric sails.


A Sea Serpent and the Sun



“Alcyone, daughter of Eolus, the wind-god, impelled by love for her husband Ceyx, whom she found dead on the shore after a shipwreck, threw herself into the sea. The gods, rewarding their conjugal love, changed the pair into kingfishers.” My Alcyone wears a nest of birds as a crown, the birds nest has frequently been used historically as a symbol of madness, most often in women…


The Kelpie and the Moon



A Kingfisher

One of the oldest customs regarding Kingfishers, popular in England and in France, was to turn this bird into a weathercock. The body of a mummified kingfisher with extended wings was suspended by a thread to show the direction of the wind.  In that position it would always turn its beak, even inside the house, toward the direction of the wind.

Stories say that once the Kingfisher was dull grey. One flew straight up to heaven to look at the water, and flew so close to the sun that its breast was scorched red and its back absorbed the colour of the skies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Moveable Feast at Saltaire Inspired

We had a fantastic time a couple of weeks ago bringing A Moveable Feast to the Saltaire Inspired Art Trail. The idea was to bring a bit of carnival and a few folkloric fancies to the event.  With that in mind I invited some fantastic artists (Duncan Burnett, Lucas Stephens, Lizzy Alageswaran and Jennifer Booth) to come along and help over the three days and we worked with visitors to create pieces to wear and parade. Techniques used included wirework, sun photography, willow work cardboard construction  and lots of other things – it was a case of bringing along your imagination and playing with materials – brilliant fun!  Every so often we gathered folk together to make some noise and go for an impromptu prance around the Saltaire streets. People really threw themselves into it and the sun shone! Thanks to Saltaire Inspired for hosting us and to Rev Caroline and the United Reform Church for allowing us to take over their gardens. We’d love to take the Moveable Feast to other locations so please do get in touch if you’d like us to animate your event!

Official photos for Saltaire Inspired by Geoff Tynan, Jenny Freckle and Angela with some added extras by Duncan Burnett, Jennifer Booth and myself

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superheroes + Manga at Bradford Literature Festival

I’m doing a series of workshops for children at Bradford Literature Festival over the next couple of weeks.  The festival starts on Friday and promises to be fantastic with so much to see and do it’s hard to know where to start – except here obviously! (that’s a link to the programme and website)

My workshops are themed around Superheroes, Manga and a little bit of Beatrix Potter thrown in for good measure.  I’ve had great fun putting together examples.

On Saturday I’m running a Superhero costume workshop in the morning and in the afternoon for older kids there’s a session making Superhero Tshirts and wrist cuffs.

superhero cuff

Sunday is Manga day so we’ll be upcycling bottles and cans into Manga characters.

manga cans and bottles

and trying our hands at some Japanese paper crafts.

The following weekend we’ll be painting up some Beatrix Potter themed plant pots.

lit fest examples 21My workshops are all booked up but there’s plenty on for all ages to enjoy so try and make it to some of the Literature Festival events.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment