I’m sorry. I was going to post about products but it seems pretty empty having just watched live footage of refugees- people- hundreds of mums, dads, daughters, sons, wives all stuck on the streets of Budapest.

Even emptier with the images of children washed up on beaches.

I’m heartened by the human response in the Highlands of Scotland collecting, donating, trying to help.

Periscope -Do you?


Do you periscope? Lots of people are – even Hilary Clinton uses periscope. Its owned by Twitter so it’ll probably be around for a while and can be an amazing business tool for certain kinds of business.

Talking craft – because that’s my thing – it’s a great way to reach new audiences and share techniques.

How does it work? Basically you stream live footage and either your audience asks you q’s or you limit who can chat and everyone else watches. The first one means your audience feels involved and part of something which is important in building a brand these days. The second ( limiting your chat) is WAAAY easier if you are a woman.

Which brings me to my main issue with periscope – pervy men. Its a mecca for them. You can block them but its a constant battle which is both distracting and could be upsetting. Why must so many men be total ass-holes?

I have watched women deliver scopes on the refugee crisis, hypnosis, baking and cleaning tips – every 3rd comment is sexual. I have watched the same scopes from men and it was bliss – not even a ‘your cute’. I think the offenders should be blocked…. there are plenty of people scoping that want that type of attention so why don’t they just go prev there.

Other negatives are that there is a lot of rubbish on it – but just don’t click it. There are people sharing their walk to work or getting stoned. People just sitting about bored waiting for someone to entertain them or attention seekers ( in every way!)

What do I love about periscope?

As a broadcaster Its free. Its instant. You can reach people around the world. You can choose to leave your scope for re watches for 24hrs and save them to Youtube (which also means you can choose not to… live and then gone.) You can get followers.

As a watcher its free. I can see things from a normal persons point of view ( i have been watching a reporter follow refugees through various countries to Germany and it has been upsetting, amazing, scary and very real) I have asked questions about hypnosis, silicon glue, personal safety, Peru’s women’s issues, the legality of drugs in Sweden and base coats for MDF and had honest answers to them all. I like the crazy variety of scopes and I especially like the access it gives me to motivational speakers, educational scopes etc. FOR FREE! with contact to ask instant Q’s.

Go have a look. Be selective and look for people you know and respect, watch a little craziness and get involved. Then come back and tell me what you think.

Playing catch up

Im taking a good look at my online presence………

I started this blogging 10 years ago on blogger. It didn’t suit me as a platform and so eventually I moved to WordPress. Initially I was a follower, my first blog crush was  Harlequin Feltworks (I had been an avid forum user from about 2002 which was like a facebook chat – but not) and I loved how I felt part of her world and connected to her work. At the time the only other way to do this was email or read about it in a book. Now there are more ways to share someones life than I can keep track off.

The first entry in this blog was on 04/05/2008 I’ve used the same theme and layout for all that time – I loved it.

But having had a wee break I came back to my blog and it looked dated. The white font on black background was old fashioned, 8 years ago I thought it was really funky. So much has changed. The way we use the internet has changed radically.

When I started blogging I used to preach to every crafter I met about ‘the trilogy’  Blog, social network and website/shop. It was met with resistance and cries of not having time or being unable to do it. Now everyone does it to suit there business.

Blogs used to be to connect to your audience but now they are a business in themselves. There are food blogs, fashion blogs, parenting blogs, adult blogs in fact I think there is at least one blog for every subject possible. People are making good money from blogging.

When I started Flickr was just becoming mainstream now there are too many photo sharing apps to choose from like Instagram and Snapchat. There thats another thing  – its apps now rather than softwear you download or websites.

Blogging has moved on too….vlogging has come along – Youtube and vine etc and now we have live networking – Periscope and Blab being my favorite.

So I’m spending my Sunday overhauling my online presence and it has taken me all day to adjust to the changes on WordPress (not all are as user friendly as before)

When did you last sit back and take a look at your marketing and online presence? Does it still serve you well? Are you missing something or worse still wasting time on something that gets you nowhere?

Craft Scotland

I’m just back from Edinburgh festival where I was lucky enough to meet comedienne Eddie Brimson through my friend Snowy and he took us to 3 shows. The middle show was called The Sunny Side Show. The room was hot (airless in fact) in a bar called the Mash Club, but despite stifling heat the the comedienne gave it his all and we were crying with laughter. If you get a chance to see either comedienne do it. Both very talented and just plain funny.

The Craft Scotland ‘Summer Show‘ was on. Its easy to miss as its upstairs in Whitestuff , 89 George st. and there were only the signs in the upstairs windows to let us know it was on which in the madness off the festival is easy to miss. Its up two flights of stairs, but worth it as there were two large rooms beautifully laid out with furniture, ceramics and accessories. 35 makers in all. I found the knitwear a bit samey (and pricey) There were I think two.  Frances Teckkam (sorry couldn’t find her website) and another knitter but its not obvious who that is from the brochure.

Isabelle Moore created chairs that were unusual and sensual. Understandably we couldn’t sit on them to see how comfortable they were, but they made you want to try. They were sleek and very modern.

Louise Nadins Ceramics are pure, simple and very functional with a small finger dent in the cups which reminded us of Tone Von Krug, really nice but nothing we felt hadn’t seen before. Nothing wrong with that, they were beautifully made.

The jewellery was the stand out section for us. Quirky Gabrielle Reith‘s work lead us into cabinet after cabinet of wonder. It was lovely to see Aubine Stewart’s new work which is so perfectly designed and finished. She combines just the right amount of contemporary with beautiful – acrylic with pearls – that she makes something to suit most everyone. (note galleries)

The stand out for us was so romantically merchandised using vintage finds in unusual way that it felt wrong to touch it – such care had been taken looked like an image from a Tim Burton film. Unfortunately we were so blown away by the whole thing that we forgot to pick up her card. So sorry.

Ch ch ch changes……..

I have so much to write about I don’t know where to start. So much has happened since my previous post that I’m not sure whether to write about it or start anew.

I’ve changed – I used to really care about what was happening to Arts and Craft in the highland and was often frustrated at the opportunities on offer etc. But the last few years have really brought it home that you really can’t make a horse drink.

I am no longer part of Two:8. Negativity seems to win over positivety which is a shame. But one glance at the Facebook page will show you its not a collective, more a one woman show.

I miss my studio terribly and it holds me back with work not having a space. I am looking for another – non collectively – I can’t risk anyone having any influence over my reputation or the safety of my clients.

I poured 2 years into it and haven’t had time to work on my own practice outwith client based work which means I feel as if I’m starting all over again.

I love making and I love painting (not that I ‘paint’ i layer and reveal) so its fantastic to get back to it.

JP Jewellery

and i’m back…………….

…………………it’s been a long time baby.

About our studios

Here at two:8 we have 8 rooms. At present we have a ceramicist, sporran maker, jack off craft, jeweller , graphic designer, social media guru and a fine artist lease holding in our building.

We have a project space for short hire which is used by community groups and artists etc for meetings, workshops etc. And it is so so affordable we hope it helps inspire people to move on to more permanent studio working.

Our building is slap bang in the centre off town. Perfectly placed near the artist supply shop And more cafés than you can shake a paintbrush at.

It’s a fabulous location and we know we are so lucky to have it.

My room is 2.5 x 3.5 and all in ( in winter) inc electric I pay £150 pm.  Which I imagine will come down to £120 in summer.

What’s not to love?

April…always feel like the new year starts here.

Do you feel that? It’s spring and the beginning of the new financial year.

It always feel like the beginning, time for change. Time to take stock and map the year ahead.

At two:8 collective studios we have a new lease holder and a new short hire space which is adding to the feeling of change. Adding or removing someone from a group completely changes the dynamics and bring a breath of fresh air, new vision and renewed energy.

Project space

This off course means work. Spaces don’t sort themselves. Paint themselves etc. Which with 7 people in a collective would seem pretty quick ….but there are always the politics of groups.

I’m a can do person. I think ‘let’s get stuck in, get it done quick then everyone can go back to their day job’ but It’s never that simple, people have lots to do and coordinating so you are all free is a nightmare.  People don’t always see things as a priority and that is their choice…but it can be frustrating.


Never easy … And in fact I don’t think working as a collective works as it falls on one person in the end anyway, no matter how hard you try to encourage participation or how vocal others are about sharing.

So that brings me back to New Years and change. The beginning of a new regime.

I can’t go on being the can do. My practice is suffering and my relationships. I do nothing but work….but not for me.

April is a time off change……..

Creative habits

I have been struggling to get time for personal professional creative pursuit. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been creative…far from it. I work teaching creative activities. I do things that require creativity.
But none of it is for me.
I find it hard to find time …it’s somehow last on the list and yet it’s the first thing I am.

Which brings me to the point of the post….. Am I? Or have I now moved so far from practising that I just think of myself as artist, maker, designer?

At what point do you become ‘an artist’ so that you can say it out loud. Use it on your business card etc? And in turn when do you have to relinquish it….. I. Used to be an……
What do you think? Do you feel, like some, that its just innate ? Or that its a profession, a career?

I would love your thoughts.