A touch of Kind

I was reminded recently that in my early days of Instagram I took part in a pay it forward game that required me to offer a token/gift to the first three people that replied to my post in return that they do the same to their followers, i.e., pay it forward.

I thought this would be a wonderful thing to start again. As a fan of random acts of kindness anyway, what was there too lose right. Even if it never made it far. Even if only three people wanted to take part that was ok with me because, that was enough. Turns out it was a brilliant success and loads of people wanted to take part. This has encouraged me massively to try and continue this game and it was even suggested to me that a hashtag would be a great idea so people can track the journey or start their own game if they wish.

#atouchofkind was born at this point and I’m excited to see how far this could go.  This may not be your cup of tea, thats fine, you can stop reading now but if it is then I’d love it if you’d join me on this journey.

The algorithm on Instagram these days has caused a collection of people to miss out on taking part so I plan on keeping my future games active for around five days. Why 5? because still after 5 days I was getting messages about it so thats a good enough reason for me!

The rules are very basic & as flexible as you want them too be. All it requires is a little time, a little gift and postage costs to the winner/s.

If you’re a maker then please feel free to gift your products if it works in with your costings. For my first game I chose my wooden hangers, but of course if making isn’t your thing thats not a prob you could use anything, even a nice bar of chocolate or your favourite artisan coffee. It may be a nice way of showing others your favourite independent retailers, helping small independent business’s is always a plus in my book. Then all you have to do is tell your followers what your upto! You can do as many gifts/winners per game as you wish, I chose three on my first game but of course one is plenty. Its important to explain when the game is finishing so folk know when to enter by and also explain that if they win, then they have to Pay it Forward to their followers also. Don’t forget to tag any makers in your post that you use if they aren’t your own products and pop a little note at the bottom of your post stating your game has nothing at all to do with Instagram, just to cover your back!

Please use the #atouchofkind so we can follow the journey of each gift. Its quite exciting to see how far a touch of kind could go!

If you read this far then thank you. you’re wonderful, and please pop over and say Hi on Instagram, you can find me @FeatherandWild




Doing It For The Process




I said I was slowing down.

I said I wasn’t going to put pressure on myself to create.

I was overwhelmed by the whole process of creating.

This September I start college to further my education and I’m all the excited and nervous emotions about this and I know this is my next step but to quote myself:

  “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.” 

You can read that Journal Post here if you fancy.

I still stand by those words but don’t you find that sometimes theres something more powerful than yourself taking you on a different path?


I’m far too curious of a person to not take this path!

It won’t help me slow down but I don’t think I’m meant to be. Elizabeth Gilbert knows what she’s talking about with all this Big Magic talk and when I recently discovered this book and took all the signs that were leading me to it, purchased it on whim and now half way through reading it I’m referring to it on a journal post I know I’ve to keep going with these ideas, these inspirations that pop up out of nowhere if I want to keep on this path!

Imagine boat

I wrote my book idea at 3am. Literally. It came to me when I woke one night and I couldn’t let it go. Word after word, sentence after sentence so I took myself down to my studio and scribbled it down in a sleepy state of mind, vowing to use it as it’s meant to be used. It felt, still does feels right and I’m excited to get to work on the illustrations. Have I published a book before? Nope. Do I have the faintest idea where to start finding a publisher. Not really but I’m just going with it because I’m not letting this one go. I feel a sense of urgency about it though. So many ideas have left me in the past only to be used by someone else so this one, it’s mine.

I guess this explains my recent discovery of having many projects on at the same time is actually a good thing for me because once I get an idea I’m on it, if I’m not it’s gone again before I can say ‘but thats what I was gonna do’  There are some ideas I’m happy to pass me by and find an owner with someone else but others are like an extra part of me that I can’t let go off, and if I do grief will set in.  Ok maybe not grief, thats a tad dramatic but that niggly feeling when you wish you’d stuck with something but you didn’t, that! This is why my slowing down mindset didn’t work for me. For some unknown slightly ridiculous reason I thought I needed to create work to sell. I thought because I’d started my business that every idea I manifested had to be sellable and forcing myself to make sellable work dulled my creativity and it all became hard work and completely unauthentic which goes against my true self and as such caused me major head anxiety so I tried to escape it. Phew that was a long sentence!


I knew I couldn’t escape it, but I tried to. It found me though and threw me straight back in there with an idea in the middle of the night and a message from a fellow creative saying she knew a lady who wanted a book illustrated and would I be interested. I couldn’t escape and I didn’t want to. This felt right, it all felt right and here I am today taking it all in and loving the experience. I’m not to know where it will take me but I’m happy to be on the journey because doing it for the process is enough to keep my creativity flowing until the next inspiration lands at my feet.

If it could wait until I’ve had my morning coffee this time though, that’d be nice!

Love Victoria

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!


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!


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!



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


‘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!


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.


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.


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!!


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!


Love Victoria


Creative · Nature · Seasons · The Great Outdoors

Seasonal Inspiration


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!)


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.


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.


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