Portraits from the scrapbooks. 1945.

Last year I acquired three scrapbooks.  One was filled with photographs and two were filled with sketches, paintings and pastel drawings like this.

Scrapbooks PilotThe photos showed family and friends on holidays and the pictures were a vast array of different subjects and styles by an amateur who I think must be one of the people in the photos.  Amongst the drawings there were two whom I think bear a resemblance to women in this photograph.

Scrapbooks four friends.Scrapbooks MuffScrapbooks portraitWhat do you think?


Hopes & Dreams

The blog may have been untouched for 6 months (oops) but The Forgotten Library has been busy with December seeing every weekend on the top floor of Waterstones as part of the Craft in the City event.  This was my stall and welcome refuge on a Saturday from my retail sun-fri day job.

Craft In The City 2013During December I reached one of those big birthday milestones and a very dear friend sent me this gorgeous painting by Ritchie Collins.

40thPaintingI can’t do it justice in a photo, the detail is so incredible.  There is something so magical about the night time cityscape that my imagination has been filled with what The Forgotten Library at this building might be like inside.

40thPaintingright 40thPaintingleftWhilst I fall over the crates of stock on the landing and try to rearrange my work bench to create amongst all the tools and materials piled there I dream of a studio with plenty of space in this amazing building full of historical character and dreams.

Find more of the artists work at http://www.ritchiecollinsgallery.co.uk/


The Secret Garden Craft Fair

Sherwood Art Week brings together talented artists to exhibit their work in shop windows throughout Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.  I am looking forward to following the yarn bombing trail I’ve been hearing about to go and look at the displays this week. There are also some great workshops (unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to subscribe to the one I hoped to do) so take a look at www.sherwoodartweek.co.uk for full details.

Starting things off yesterday was The Secret Garden Craft Fair.  My experience of this started on Friday night as a group of lovely people gathered together to prepare the gardens of the United Reform Church.  I can now play my part in constructing metal market stall frames and with luck (or a broom for assistance) put on the covers.  In humid evening temperatures the orange squash and biscuits a kind lady was offering was very welcome.  Having started work in my day job at 7am and gone straight to help set up in the afternoon/evening getting my own things together late Friday night was a challenge and I was glad of the 8.15am start the next day so I had time to rearrange the unplanned bits of display that went a bit awry.

Still by 11am I was set up to go……..

SAW2013d You are probably wondering why there is a wall behind for the secret ‘garden’ fair, well I was lucky to have an indoor stall as my paper based crafts don’t do well outdoors once they’ve stopped being trees.  I should have taken photos of the gorgeous displays outside but this turned into the busiest event I’ve ever done and I never quite got round to it.

Here are some of my fabulous neighbours in the hall ovrobin and modflowers


Thank you to all the lovely people who came along. I had such a nice day.  Everyone was so supportive and I had some wonderful conversations.

Here are a few more images of the stall

SAW2013b SAW2013a SAW2013e SAW2013f SAW2013g

It was the first time I’d had my newly designed pencil pots on sale and I was pleased to find new homes for many of them.

Any crafter will know that every craft fair brings the huge temptation of wanting to buy gorgeous goods from the other sellers.  As soon as I’d had my first customer I knew I could treat myself to this fab bag from ovrobin

OV Robin bag

Their website will be up and running soon, in the meantime take a look on Facebook for the latest news www.facebook.com/ovrobin (and if you are looking for a graphic designer check out Ali’s work Gifted Scribble).

Later on I was able to take a quick look round the garden with my umbrella thanks to the British weather and picked up these treasures

Foto Ceramic pedant

Can’t wait to wear this. Take a look at all the beautiful work at Foto Ceramica

Corrina Rothwell card

This card is so me I had to snap one up when I spotted them on Corrina Rothwell’s stand.

Now I had better start making some more stock!


Forgotten histories & decorative designs

Yesterday I purchased a selection of (okay far too many) books with the intention of turning some into clocks.  I’d used the Folio Society Shakespeare before to make a clock like this..

Measure For Measure Book Clock

..so it seemed a good idea to bid on a large lot of books to make some more.  I’ve spent the day sorting out what I can create things from. Most of the books are on the way to the charity shop or will be on the bookshelves at Hopkinson (prices from 50p) soon so I can get back some of my shockingly overpriced investment (since I got bid up).  Back to those folio Shakespeare’s…

Folio Shakespeare

There are 37 Shakespeare books which I suspect is complete and I’m one of the few people who enjoyed Shakespeare at school (Macbeth hooked me) so they keep asking me if they can stay on my shelves.  My sensible business head points out the fact I need to make clocks.  My literature/theatre loving head says give them a home and preserve them!  They do have very pretty covers before you even look at the wondrous variety of illustrators in the different volumes (including Dali).

Shakespeare Folio Society detail

Some of the books were crumbling as often seems to happen with the leather spines.  As one opened when I lifted it what at first appeared to be a piece of silver paper slipped in between pages came into view.

Waverly novels photo silvered

The print from the book pages was transferred to parts of the paper and when tipped a certain way in the light I was sure I could make out the profile of a face (looking towards my fingers in this shot).  In the next volume I found what appears to be the same photographic image which had not deteriorated and a number of other photos, many also fading in intriguing ways.

Inside Waverly novels, flower photo Pressed leaves inside Waverly Novels Portrait photo inside Waverly novels Inside Waverly novels torn photos Inside Waverly novels face overlaid with print

Also in the box were some beautifully decorated covers, sadly detaching themselves from the books.

Everyman cover design Green leather, gilt decoration Decorated cover design Swirled leather Leather relief patterned book cover

Also in there was a bible published in 1806.  Amazing to think this was created over two centuries ago.  I wonder whose family it is from?  I know my mum talks of our family bible left when her grandmother died and my grandparents had had to travel several counties to clear the house by bus so could carry very few possessions away with them only practical things the family needed.  I wonder if that still survives somewhere today.

Bible marbled endpaper Family names in bible Family register in Bible 1806 Bible Bible illustration


We’re out of Puddleducks and Tiggywinkles.

The rather bizarre title of this post is what I found myself telling a customer on Sunday.  In my head this was a perfectly logical statement but the amusement of the customers made me realise how being a solitary craftworker means I’ve created my own code language without realising.  If you are wondering I currently have no clocks made from the Beatrix Potter tales of Jemima Puddleduck or Mrs. Tiggywinkle 🙂

Not The Camden Market April 2013 1

These are some images from Not The Camden Market last weekend.

Not The Camden Market April 2013 2

New display stand also in place at Hopkinson along with some vintage children annuals recently added, prices from 50p!

Hopkinson April 2013

One of the things I want to do this year is broaden the ranges I sell so I’ve been experimenting with some early tests for beads made from book pages.  These are the first two trials so there are lots of improvements yet to be made.

Sphere bead test Tube bead test

I want to get some other lines in production too if I can find materials at the right price and work out the methods for making.  Hopefully I’ll be able to reintroduce the paperweights.  I’d also like to have a go at small wall shelves made from hardback books.  Some other ideas I’m not sure are as feasible so expect more test product photos to show lots more design, fail and hopefully develop to working endeavours.


Children’s book illustrations (cats & dogs)

When in London I like to go and gaze in the windows of the antiquarian book shops as they have such pretty volumes.  Don’t worry I never want to repurpose these preserved treasures, I love the fact they haven’t fallen apart and will be treasured in a collector’s library.

Last month I was wandering along and was drawn to flick through the boxes of prints that often stand outside the shops off Charing Cross Road.  Outside one was a box of original painting/illustrations for children’s books.  I have no idea which book these were for but I loved the vibrant colours of the laundry day scene. Being a cat lady I couldn’t resist the images where the dogs were in uniform and the cats got to ride in a carriage and visit a castle too.

So here we have 3 unknown children’s book illustrations that I hope I’ll have the wall space to frame and hang one day.

Children's book illustration cats & dogs do the laundry Children's book illustration Cats in a carriage Children's book illustration cats visit the castle


J. O. M. Ashley 1919 diary entry 14th February


With one or two other officers and lady officers of the WRAF and WAAC drive over in a ? to a RAF dance at a large aerodrome about half a dozen miles away.

Very nice room and band: but glad to get away about 2.30am considering I have to catch the 9.17am for town.