Natural History Archives

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Natural History Archives at Corsham Court, Bath University Campus.

I had a wonderful time looking through the many drawers full of all sorts; from beautiful shells, pottery, minerals, stones, fossils, snakeskin, birds and insects.

As part of my botanical studies, I am also including insects in my work.  The Archives, with respect to insects, were mostly comprised of Butterflies, which were very pretty but I was after more unusual insects to draw.

I still had a “kid-in-a-sweet-shop” moment opening each drawer to reveal little boxes full of interesting finds!

Image 1 – Corsham Court Campus.
Image 2 – Corsham Court.
Image 3 – Stable block studio rooms.
Image 4 – The Archives.
Image 5 – Even before I began my search, interesting items on display.
Image 6 – More boxes and shelves to look inside.
Image 7 – All labelled!
Image 8 – Snakeskins.
Image 9 – I pulled this guy out! What was left of him!
Image 10 – I left this guy in there!
Image 11- Not sure what these guys are.
Image 12 – Coral.
Image 13 – Pretty shell all very dusty but still retained a lovely colour.
Image 14 – More shells.
Image 15 – Shells.
Image 16 – Seeds.
Image 17 – Mouse nest in the seed drawer with a mummified mouse in it!
Image 18 – Butterflies tucked away in a display box.
Image 19 – Butterflies.
Image 20 – Butterfly.
Image 21 – Close-up.
Image 22 – Red Butterfly.
Image 23 – Close-up Butterfly.
Image 24 – Butterfly case.

Please note these are very old archives.  As you can see, the butterflies are not in a great order but from a creative point of view interesting!

Prettier pics to upload soon I promise!!!

Hope I have not scared you off!


Botanical Sketches

Despite the weather being amazing, I managed to make my Monday quite a productive day!

I completed some more sketches (in pencil) that I will be developing into prints.

Image 1 – Geranium pencil drawing.

Image 2 – Close-up Geranium pencil drawing.

Image 3 – close-up Geranium. A hairy one!

Image 4 – Lupin.

Image 5 – Lupin pencil sketch.

Image 6 – Caterpillar.

Image 7 – Honeysuckle.

Image 8 – Honeysuckle.

Pattern Variations

Experimentation with pattern repeats.  Hand-drawn images scanned into Photoshop, then developed into a pattern repeat.

More time spent in the print room; check out imagery of test sampling below.

Image 1 – More bugs screen print.

Image 2 -  Screen print bug.

Image 2 – Screen print bug.

Image 3 – Experimentation with stripe pattern and floral.

Image 4 – Close up. Screen print on cotton.

Image 5 – Small scale pattern repeat with large scale contrast, screen print on cotton.

Image 6 – Experimentation with pattern and motif.

Image 7 – Sample of a pattern put in repeat.

Image 8 – Long length view pattern in repeat, screen print on paper.

Image 9 – Blue with black overlay screen print.

Image 10 – Leaf pattern repeat in light blue with floral motif, screen print on linen.

Image 11- Close-up light blue background pattern repeat.

Image 12 – Screen print on Linen.

Digital Print Samples

From previous experimentation, here are some examples of digital prints.

In a previous post, I showcased the same print but hand-screen printed.  This time, my goal was to complete a digital print with as much “hand-printed” detail as possible.

Image 1 – Digital print Anemone on cotton.

Image 2 – Close-up Digital Print Anemone on Cotton.

Image 3 – Digital Print, this one was not so successful as I lost most of the black line detail in the leaves.

Image 4 – Close-up digital print on cotton.


Work in progress.  I like turning my pencil drawings into prints.

My workflow involves going direct from my sketchbook to Photoshop and then on to developing pattern in repeats.

Just a few pencil drawings.

Image 1 – Honeysuckle.

Image 2 – Pretty shapes to draw.

Image 3 – I love sketching florals in pencil.

Image 4 – Drawing in pencil ready to develop into screen print.

Image 5 – More pencil drawings.

Image 6 – Insect in pencil.

Image 7 – Close-up of honeysuckle.

Image 8 – Clematis pencil drawing.

Image 9 – In the studio; a day of sketching.

Image 10 – Sketching a Campanula I plucked on way into Uni.

Image 11 – Pencil drawing.

More sketches to follow along with development work as they evolve into prints on fabric.


Another design house that I have long admired is Milan-based Missoni.

Founded in 1953 by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, Missoni has gained notoriety for its knitwear and colourful patterns.  In the early 80’s, Missoni introduced a range of home furnishing fabrics which has continued to flourish.

I admire Missoni’s sense of fun, creativity, freedom.  In particular, their use of bold colours, stripes and incorporation of flora.

My favourite? Well, with my background in horticulture and my connection to nature, Passiflora just makes me smile every time I see it.

Missoni's Passiflora

Missoni’s Passiflora

Missoni's Passiflora

Missoni’s Passiflora

I found this video on Vimeo and for me it offers a strong sense of what the Missoni Brand embodies:

This clip, from FashionTV‘s coverage of Milan Design Week 2011, includes an interview with co-founder Rosita Missoni.



Missoni’s Home Collection Look Book can be checked out by clicking [here.]


Photography Studio Trial run…

With the opportunity to use a professional photography studio, I thought I would test it out on my sample cushions and artwork.  With the help of the technician, who set up the equipment and lighting, here are my photos.

Image 1 – Three sample cushions

Image 2 – Four sample cushions

Continue reading