Creative · Nature

Just be You…part 2!

I think the time has come to accept that clearing my busy mind of all the things I have to do & all things I want to do isn’t as easy as I think. Now I’m not complaining here. In fact far from it. It’s actually been quite eye opening to see that this is how I work best. Little did I know that this is where my journey would take me but here I am, saying I’m ok with my crazy busy chaotic creative mind. I totally accept that this is who I am. This is me, and I’m achieving more creatively than I think I ever had.
Now anyone who knows me even remotely well will be rolling their eyes about now thinking “took you bloody long enough” but I guess these are things we need to discover in our own time. My last blog post (now part 1 to this one) Just Be You or even perhaps this whole journaling my creative journey thing is perhaps what has got me to my accepting state of mind.

Loved the stars print available to purchase…click image to visit shop!

I finally have my shop open again, and although there is only a small amount of items currently available I dream one day it will be stocked to the brim of all the whimsical ideas in my head. A more popular item is a favourite of mine to create, and I can’t keep up with how quickly they sell…perhaps I should put in a pre order system?* Wildflower was inspired by a tattoo I have on my wrist, and creating this hand has inspired me to add to my tattoos! It’s a win win really!

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To be able to make what I do, regardless of what I think others want me to make has been such an eye opener for me. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to realise this state of mind was the way forward. I’ve lots of personal projects on at the moment that I’m really enjoying. Projects that my old state of mind would of doubted my ability to do and a negative approach of what would be the point if nobody liked it. The point is because I like doing it. I LOVE doing it. Its my mindfulness. It’s my escape. Its my way of sharing what I see with others. If what I create helps others to feel the peace, the serenity & the moment of escape required in our less than slow lives then thats a plus with me.

Sketching my way through the Alphabet!

All the projects whether personal, or commissions or future ones I’ve yet to get started on are all part of this creative journey for me. To have the encouragement and wonderful responses from the folk that live in my phone, the folk that most I’ve never even met (lets change that if you’re reading this, you know who you are!)  is all I need to remind myself that I do what I do for a reason. To see things visually is such a blessing and it’s only now I’m grateful for that & If I can share what beauty I see with others then that to me is worth a happy dance!

 

Print available to purchase! Click image to visit my shop.

Love Victoria

*taking a note to look into that option!

Creative

Just be you.


I wrote a post once about my chaotic creative mind, you can read that post here if you fancy. This current mind state is still apparent as I struggle to find the time & my creative mojo to restock my shop. It’s constantly on my mind that I need to be getting projects finished and online but I start a project and then get inspired to start another project and  next thing I know I haven’t much clue as to wether I’m coming or going. Perhaps its a brand thing, although I’m fairly certain what my brand is, or perhaps its a confidence thing. I’m heading more towards the latter. I’ve taught myself to stop creating art that I think other people want and rather create art that I want and hope that others like it too. I’m not saying this is the best business strategy but I do think it is right for me. Its helped me focus on what my brand is and also tie in my photography so it fits with a brand. I also dislike using the word brand! Starting a business has taught me so many things, but the one thing that stands out from the rest is the importance of  just being yourself. I never started intentionally being something else but I’ve discovered so much about myself and my creative mind that the importance of having a brand and doing stuff because it is good for business just doesn’t work for me. My creative mind flitters from one project to the next and I still doubt myself daily but those doubts aren’t what they used to be. I know now, as I raise a headstrong creative 7 year old that the importance of not following the crowd and listening to YOU far outweighs the need to create something because its what everyone is talking about at that precise time. The same applies to most things. The latest toy, the latest gadget, the latest style in photography. I will raise my daughter to be her true individual self. I never had that as a child. I don’t believe authenticity was a thing in the 80s but it is now.


Back when I realised social media was the way I was going to help promote my business I started dabbling in creating better, similar photos. Creating a look and a style that fit my work but I got so confused and overwhelmed by all the larger accounts that I didn’t really have much clue as to what I was actually aiming for. I was over influenced by others photos and totally lost my creative aim. In hindsight though I can see now how that improved my photography and my direction. I see so many beautiful images daily. The difference now being that I no longer think “I should be doing it more like that” to “I love how they’ve captured that light, I must teach myself how to do that”

I recently bought myself a little camera so I could improve on my photography and hopefully take higher quality photos than my iPhone could give me. Its not easy and I’m sure one day I’ll figure out what the 4k button is for but right now I’m enjoying playing. I have two beautiful girls and a pretty little dog that sometimes are willing to pose for me and I’ve finally started taking some product snaps for my Etsy Shop.


If I do little & often then hopefully my plan of being open again by the summer will of been achieved! In the meantime though I’ll continue I’m sure as I always do, with a chaotic mind and a plan! Also, I’d like to thank all who are waiting for me to restock my shop, your patience and encouragement mean so much to me and I’ll be sure to keep you posted over on Instagram of any updates!

Victoria

Food Glorious Food · Nature · Seasons · Slow Living · The Great Outdoors

Chocolate Bites & Tea from a Flask

As much as I love the muted shades and coziness that Winter brings,  I get to the point where I’m ready to feel the sun on my face again. I’m ready for the lighter evenings & the splashes of colour popping up in the gardens & fields. It’s nice to have the pretty blooms appearing in our not so perfect garden, the ones we forgot we’d planted last year.


Getting outdoors is big on my list of things to do this spring. Longer dog walks and days away with girls. The simple things like packing a flask of tea and heading off for a windswept adventure somewhere.  Living up North doesn’t guarantee much sun, but finding a sheltered spot to sit down to a hot mug of tea & some homemade treats really is enough to shake those cobwebs away & feel refreshed again.


On those days where perhaps we don’t want to venture far we love to just potter around the house, doing a little baking or crafting. The easter holidays allowed us plenty of slower days just to catch up on all those craft boxes we have piling up or make some healthier snacks which I’m still to get my 7 year old to like…It’s an on going battle I tell you, but I won’t be defeated! One of my favourites are these chocolate bites which I keep in the fridge and head to when something sweet is calling, which at present it is doing a lot, we have so many easter eggs in our home!!

Chocolate Bites (adapted from a recipe by Madeleine Shaw)

Ingredients:

◦ 50g Almonds

◦ 50g Pistachio nuts

◦ 35g Dried Cranberries

◦ 150g Pitted Dates

◦ 50g Raw Cacao Powder

◦ 3 tbsp Coconut Oil

◦ sml Pinch Salt

Method:

In a food Processor blend the nuts to your desired size and add to a mixing bowl. Then blend the cranberries, adding to the bowl then the dates so that they become a smoothish paste. Add to the bowl with the cacao, salt & coconut oil and mix together. Its easier to use your hand at this point to blend all the ingredients together, its gets rather messy though! You could use the blender to mix everything together but I find the heat from using your hands works better! When everything is combined add the mixture to a small baking dish or plastic lunch box and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. After this time it should be easy enough to tip out onto a chopping board to cut up into bite size pieces. You may need to go around the edge with a knife to help it out. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (although I doubt they’ll last that long!)

These are my go to chocolate treat when I’m trying to avoid all the sugar. It doesn’t always work but they really are delicious and worth a try if you like me are attempting a healthier lifestyle.

I think I failed on the easter crafts a bit this year, & the easter baking, we usual do a lot more but we still kept ourselves busy playing with clay and burning drawings onto wood slices. We’re fairly nature based, without trying, it seems to be our go to when drawing or creating but occasionally my daughter will pull a football out of the bag. I particularly loved her take & I must say an uncanny resemblance to Wayne Rooney. We now have him etched for eternity on a wood slice! Perhaps he’d appreciate a gift from a fan? Anyone have his address?!

Love Victoria

Creative

The Next Chapter 


This piece of wisdom was said to me once and it’s stuck with me. I’ve carried it with  me, reminding myself of it whenever I’ve faced a challenge in my business and in my personal life. It’s not the easiest answer to give because most of the time I want to scream “I’m not good enough” and hide in my bubble but it has taught me so much.  

Back in 2013 I only dreamt that one day I’d be making stuff that people would want to buy. I had no idea where I’d get prints created of my work and I had absolutely no idea how to run a business. Luckily for me though I said yes when Justin suggested he could help with that and before I knew it I was filling in paperwork to become officially self employed! I became Victoria Irving Artist and was following my life long dream. Over time though I got to understand what worked for me and what didn’t. My style of painting improved massively over a short period of time and I decided a slight change of name was my next direction. The Painted Feather was born and this put less emphasis on me as an artist alone. I could take more of a backstage approach and it allowed me to create more saleable items rather than bigger one off pieces of art. I loved learning what I could do with more than just a paintbrush. Teaching myself crafts like transferring my images onto canvas tote bags or using my photographs as prints or on coasters.  I started doing craft fairs and realised that this was definitely the way forward for my business. It allowed me more freedom to be creative without the worry of not quite fitting in to the artistic world I once craved so much to be a part of. 


Jump forward a couple of years to 2017 and I’m sitting here writing this blog post about my third and I promise last name change! I’d been lucky enough to be mentored by the lovely Sarah who took me from being a scared of business housewife and mother to a far more confident saleswoman. With this knowledge I realised the ‘obvious when you know them’ tactics of running a business. That was when my final name change occurred and here I am now, Feather & Wild. I got rid of the social media platforms that weren’t working for me and focused on the ones that were, like Instagram & Twitter.  Instagram especially allows me to freely be creative without the pressure of selling and has become a real community. I’ve made many a friend through it and I can’t tell you how many amazingly talented people there are over there! It’s no longer a platform to sell from it’s a place to put the photos I enjoy taking. Where else could I post a photo of my morning coffee and know that someone somewhere will appreciate that photo rather than it just sitting in my phone doing nothing but being boring!! Being around so many creative people, a lot of them mothers like myself inspires me to carry on doing what I’m doing even if to some, a photo of my hand holding an empty egg shell is just quite ridiculous! 


I know I will always be creative in some shape or form. It’s not something I can just switch off but recently, since having my second child I’ve come to realise how difficult it is to run a business and a family. This is why, come September I’ll be going back to school. I’ll be studying to get my teaching assistant diploma and hopefully my forest schooling qualification too. I hope to take my creative knowledge and my passion for nature and the outdoors with me into my future career but I know also that I will continue to make for Featherandwild.co.uk

 I plan on spending this Spring making and creating so I can fill up my shop again by the Summer because I enjoy doing what I do,  I’m well aware that I’ve just added another ball to my rather dodgy juggling abilities but I guess it’s just the next chapter. I’ll learn as I go along…

I hope! 

Love Victoria 

Creative · Nature · Seasons · Slow Living · The Great Outdoors

Wildness is a Necessity

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‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity…”

John Muir said that, and he wasn’t far wrong!

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We try to visit the Scottish highlands at least once a year, and each year I leave feeling inspired and ready to create. There is an innocence to the wildness out there, at points it seems you are the only person around for miles, so small and so fragile. The weather can turn from a gentle breeze to a full blown storm in a matter of minutes and usually (always) I’m unequipped to deal with that but if I was I would stand and take it all in just that little bit longer. Take a few hundred more photos and sit and sketch with a flask of tea by my side. In reality I’m screaming “stop the car” at my husband so I can dive out, brave the wind/rain/snow/sleet and take a photo.

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The last couple of months have left me feeling a little un inspired with regards to getting creative and I feel rather off the ball since having my baby but I know that my creativity isn’t something I can switch off. It’s always there yet sometimes I am so busy with being mama that it’s had to take a back seat. A change of scenery was definitely in order, for all of I us I think. This year though, I didn’t take my sketchbook as I knew there wouldn’t be the time to sketch but I did everything I could to take it all in. I took many a photo on my phone and vowed next year I’ll have purchased a camera so I can take proper photos. I made mental notes of the colours of the heather, the mustard yellows and the earthy greens so I can use this in my future work. I slowed down so I could just stop and breath it all in because Scotland to me, feels like home.

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I don’t think any of us wanted to return to reality. Perhaps their reasons weren’t the same as mine, I imagine it had more to do with returning to school and work but I know I was sad to leave the wild ruggedness of Scotland behind. I left with a knowing feeling I’ll return sooner rather than later and if I manage to grab some time to myself to create then hopefully I can put some of these memories and feelings into a piece of art or two. The time has come to start making and selling again. My maternity leave is coming to an end soon and the time to get back on the ball is fast approaching. I can’t say I’m the type who puts on her business head well but as long as I have the inspiration then I’ll have the urge to create, and as long as I’m creating then hopefully I’ll be selling and the cycle begins. Plus its the perfect reason to head back north to the mountains…any excuse!!

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Oh and before I go, look as this handsome chap we got to meet while we were there. Highland Safaris, if you ever find yourself in the area is well worth a visit!

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Love Victoria

 

Creative · Nature · Seasons · The Great Outdoors

Seasonal Inspiration

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If every day throughout winter was crisp & clear, or even dry, I’d venture out a lot more. Unfortunately in northern england its often raining, and that certainly doesn’t entice me outside easily, but on those winter days when the sky is clear and blue, and everything has a clean fresh feel about it, I can’t wait to wrap up warm and head out for a brisk walk to blow away the cobwebs.

I find the muted shades so inspiring. The greys, the blues and the greens are always a favourite. The starkness of the bare trees, the atmospheric feel when the fog starts rolling in and even those days when its raining from sunrise to sunset, the deep grey colour of sky reminds me of a colour I’d like to paint my walls in (I really must get that colour matched one day soon!)

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I like to incorporate these colours into my home and throughout my artwork but I’ve found through hindsight some of my previous work never really fully incorporated the image I had in my head. Although the work in itself was fine, something about it wasn’t quite right and I’m currently making an attempt at taking more time to get my head and my hand working on the same idea. A task in itself it seems and a lesson on slowing down and believing that in its own time, it will all work out as its meant to…perhaps theres a lesson for living life in there too!! I want to be producing the type of work I’d like to adorn my own walls with. Work that catches my attention, that gets my childhood memories of wonder reminiscing and my adult self dreaming of that little escape.

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The earthy shades of autumn and the clear crisp days of winter are colours that attract my attention most, the simplicity of a winters day in the country and the warmth of an Autumn day in the forest are  feelings that I’d like my artwork to reflect and I’m working on putting an idea thats been floating around my mind for quite some while now into fruition. It’s taking its time but I did find the other day the little person I’d created in my head was screaming to get out and onto the paper. She, as of yet is just a mere sketch, has no colour and the placement of each piece is still unknown, but she is here, peeping her head out into the big wild world, eager to share her adventures with you. Perhaps I’ll call her Fern after my daughter, perhaps she’ll have an animal friend who joins her on her little adventures, possibly a fox, or perhaps a hare? I’m not 100% but I do know she’s here to stay, and  now I have the task of trying to get the image in my head, down on the paper so she can be made into prints.

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I will be making sure that I continue to get outdoors and into the country as often as I can, even if its only for half an hour because it is there that my inspiration appears. The little adventures I dreamt of as a child and I dream for my own girls now. The moments of escape from the daily chores and the to do list are where I create the images in my head and I’d hate to lose her now she’s here, I’m far to keen to see what adventures she’s about to get up to..I hope you are too!

Love Victoria

Creative · Nature · Seasons · The Great Outdoors

New Beginnings

I always see January 1st as a fresh start, although if I’m honest its always usually January 7th by the time I make the appropriate changes that I planned! It takes a good week to come down from the buzz of Christmas but I get there eventually!

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I spend some time contemplating the last year. What can I improve on that perhaps I didn’t do particularly well with. Where shall I be taking my business in 2017. What personal achievements do I want in 2017. I see the mistakes I’ve made in business and in life, I see the strength I’ve had. I see my beautiful little family standing strong beside me and that in actual fact, I’m stronger than I realise. That in fact I can achieve whatever it is I desire as long as I believe I can.

I make notes, I make lists, I organise the shit out of the year ahead! Always in a fresh new notebook,  which is important if one is starting over a new!  😉  I start as I mean to go on, ok kinda because theres still loads of christmas chocolate left in the house and those chocolate coins are screaming out to be eaten! But the motivation to make this year my best yet is strong!

I see so much light at the end of the tunnel for the year ahead, light that perhaps has only been a dim flicker for the last 6 years. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some and I’m ok with that now.

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The lovely Sarah and Lisa mentioned that they have a word for the year. A word they keep by them to help them along throughout the months, reminding them that they are capable of whatever it is they plan. It got me thinking about what my word would be for this year. It didn’t take much thinking to be honest. My word for 2017 is going to be BRAVE. Brave enough to be me regardless of what others may think.  Brave enough to follow my dreams. Brave enough to hold my head high and move forward into 2017.

What word would you choose for the coming year?

I’ve plans for new creative makes. Seasonal artwork and a possible new little person (of the fictional variety) for my little business this year. It’s all about following the pull of the seasons, my love of all that is nature and the causes and effects of a time well spent out in the wild.

Now if I could just add a few more hours to each day, I may get my Etsy shop re stocked, sooner rather than later!!

Wishing you all the strength to achieve your goals and desires throughout the coming year.

love Victoria.