Saturday, 22 April 2017

My studio in Stroud will be open during Open Studios week-ends 6-7 and 13-14 May 2017

I'm looking forward to welcoming  visitors from near and far to my studio in Bisley Road, Stroud, open from 10.30 - 6 pm on both week-ends. The unmade road leading to my studio has no parking places, so please park in the main Bisley Road, near the cemetery lodge and walk the short distance along. Those who have been before will be pleased to know that this  rather rough road has recently been levelled off  slightly and potholes filled in to make walking along a little easier!

The brochure for Stroud Open Studios is now available in many local outlets as well those further afield in events venues, shops and museums, coffee shops, pubs and hotels  as well as online via   the following link   www.sva.org.uk

My studio is on Page 31 Venue No 21

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Cats on stamps .. or cats made of stamps .. or in Emerald's case, Cats sitting on stamps

Whereas some philatelists collect stamps by country, some prefer to arrange their collections by theme,  and a popular one is Cats on stamps!  There are many new issues every year and I am not tempted to continue my late mum's collection although it's nice to look at them once in a while.

However, I have made a few  stamp collages on a Cat theme .. see the Cats page of my website.
This one hasn't yet made it to the website ..

Purple Iris


















My black and white cat, Emerald, has taken the theme to a whole new level ..





Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Latest Commission - a personalised flag of Uganda

I'm always happy to consider commissions, and the latest one was a pleasure to make! I was asked if I would  create a personalised flag of Uganda as a 70th birthday present.
 My first thought  was that it would be difficult to find enough stamps of the right colours, Black, yellow and red, from  Uganda itself, to make up the six bands on the flag.  For other stamp collage flags I've chosen only to use stamps of the country concerned.  However, I was told that this was not essential and I could use practically any stamps, but maybe keep to countries holding some significance in the life of the recipient, so that made it a bit easier!

I thoroughly enjoyed the search for elements connected with family, work and travel  in countries including Australia, New Zealand, the USA,  South Africa, Great Britain and the important connections still retained with Uganda. I was also  told he enjoys crosswords,is a fan of the Beatles, is a Capricorn, and was also born in the Chinese year of the pig! The national bird of Uganda, the crested crane,  appears in the central disc of the flag - that was probably the hardest thing to track down, but I found a stamp with one on which fitted the bill!

Now that the flag has been framed and presented at the birthday celebrations, I can also reveal a tiny secret addition, a fountain in Naples, the destination for a surprise holiday!

Other personalised commissions have included the flag of Barbados, made into a slightly larger canvas print, and a Union Jack also featuring many personally chosen themes. This was reproduced as a huge canvas print more than 1 metre wide, and sent to Australia!

If you'd like to commission a personalised flag, please get in touch!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Boring "labels" on your letters? .. Single use only?? Recycle them is what I do!!

It's quite difficult to find stamps that are predominently white so I've been hoarding these rather boring "labels" which the Post Office put on Special Delivery envelopes in anticipation that they might come in useful sometime ....
 "Single Use Only" is printed in the bottom right hand corner, but I've managed to recycle them effectively I hope,  into the sails of my latest boat.


Almost finished .. just a few  details  to add, including a crew and a flag to hoist!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Not all the animals made it into the Ark .. the stamp collage version that is!!




Noah's Ark  is now finished, I think, because  we artists tend to wonder if indeed we have actually finished ..I had thought it was finished a few days ago, until someone pointed out that I had included two King Charles's Spaniels!
 This brings me to  a dilemma I often face and that is "authenticity or artist's licence?"
 I have to say that probably the latter should win every time with my particular type of work.  But the dogs really did have to go as I agree that they are just "too modern" for the ark.  They have been replaced by a pair of Golden Palm cats .. found on a stamp issued in Sri Lanka. I hope they are suitable candidates!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Stories of sailing and the sea .. The Jolie Brise, a new stamp collage in progress

The Oxfam shop in Stroud has some great bargains! I picked up an interesting book last week called "Jolie Brise - A Tall Ship's tale" by Robin Bryer.
Briefly, she was launched in 1913 at Le Havre and was in her time a pilot boat, and carried the Royal Mail, rescued the crew of a burning ship and won the Fastnet race three times!
The very first chapter starts with a quote I love, "What people really like are stories about sailing and the sea!"  I have found this to be so true.  Over the years, I've made several stamp collages based on boats and ships of many types and although most of these have now sailed off to new homes, you can still see them on my website www.rachelmarkwick.co.uk  under the SHIPS heading!
I thought it was rather appropriate that Jolie Brise at one time carried the Royal Mail, as my version is of course made from stamps!

I hope to have the picture finished in time for the  Open Studios festival in May in which I will be taking part, opening my studio along with many others in the Stroud area on Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th and Saturday 13th - Sunday 14th  from 11 - 6 . Hope to see you!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The animals went in two by two .. or seven by seven in some cases

Noah's Ark - my latest stamp collage - is still a work in progress and proving quite challenging in so many ways.   Faced with a pile of elephants ( stamps, that is), I 'm still  unsure whether to take two African elephants or two Indian (or Asian) elephants.  You can tell the difference by the size of their ears and the African elephants' ears are the largest!
  But having found an ancient and very large and heavy Bible, published in 1848,  I discover that it would be perfectly OK to take four elephants, two of each type! Not sure that I will though, as it depends on how much space I have on my paper!!
This version of the bible story says that Noah was to take 2 of every species of clean animals, which includes Horses, sheep, Dogs and cats,  but 7 of every species of unclean animals which includes Badgers, weasels and Rats!

I love the Bible's engraving showing the size and supposed design of the ark itself,  and  the list of animals that are to be loaded on board!
 Interesting reading regarding the many species per genus .. for example there is only one type of Giraffe - so simply 2 to be included, but two types of Hyena - spotted and striped, so 4 of these! And a total of 10 bears of five different species!
Luckily I found the missing Polar bear!
Clean and unclean animals are listed separately and include 19 different species of Squirrell (two ls) so 38 altogether!  If you want to read more, I suggest you find a very old bible ..
My own interpretation will of course be just that!!

The Bible referred to here is The Catholic Family Bible with notes and illustrations by the Rev. Geo, Leo Haydock - Dublin, London and Edinburgh - A. Fullarton and Co, 1848