5 Minutes With… Breige King

Silver blue ringI haven’t interviewed anyone on my blog for quite a while so what better way to celebrate my first interview of 2014 than by welcoming a friend to my blog – the very lovely and incredibly talented Breige King. Breige and I worked together at NHS Direct until she took the plunge last year and left to concentrate on her ever-growing jewellery business. To give up the day job to work full time on your creative passion is something that many of us strive for and Breige is the perfect example of making a real success of going freelance.

So, without further ado I’m dragging Breige away from her workbench and making her put down her tools to find out what makes her tick and just how she’s managed to get to where she is today.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today. First off, for anyone not familiar with your work how would you describe what you do?

I’m an independent jewellery designer working with gold, silver and precious stones using traditional silversmithing techniques. Whilst I enjoy working with newly sourced metal and stones, my true passion is working with a piece of jewellery that has meaning, perhaps a piece left by a loved one, taking it and breathing life back into it. With any piece I make, the privilege is all mine – for someone to come to me and ask me to make them an engagement band, a wedding ring, remodel a piece of jewellery – it’s such an honour. It’s as if I step outside of my life straight into theirs…

Garnet ringBeing a writer I can certainly relate to that, immersing myself in my characters’ lives. Have you always been creative?

Mmm? I’ve always been a ‘maker’ without a doubt. As children, my sister and I used to save our pocket money and visit the local haberdashery in Chipping Sodbury. We’d buy packets of sequins, feathers and beads and turn them into magnificent earrings! Our poor mother ‘Ooohed’, ‘Aaahed’ and modeled every creation and so fed my habit of making! I never lost that ‘creative’ bug and dabbled in many crafts over the years.

I used to write mini-plays and perform them with a friend to our mums and long-suffering brothers, and I never lost that creative bug either. How did you then turn that initial childhood passion turn into jewellery making? 

Being forced to give up my horse after a nasty fall left me with two partially fused discs and meant I had huge crater in my life – not that my four children didn’t take up time of course! This is where evening classes at The Orchard Studios in Kingswood, Bristol filled that gap – silversmithing sessions – the rest, as they say, is history!

You quit your job just a few months ago to concentrate on your jewellery business – has going freelance met your expectations? What have been the highs and lows?

After five months freelance it still doesn’t really feel like a job! I left part time Green diamond ringemployment in August 2013 – somehow, at the same time my business demand went through the sky. Was it fate that I left when I did? Who knows! I had an exhibition booked for September/October so the time seemed right. The Peacock Art Trail  in Corsham took my exposure away from friends and family and internet selling and into the domain of those actively seeking art – I’ve really not stopped since. There is always something missing from a photograph compared to the real thing. I guess it’s to do with seeing in all dimensions.

My highlight has to be a complete stranger telling me that my calibre of creative work was what was missing from a long established county fair that I can’t name!

Freelancing does come with minor drawbacks of course, it can often be quite a solitary existence. That and the extreme effort involved in making myself look human in the morning in the knowledge that no one except the postie will even see me!

But at least you’re making the effort even if it is just for the postie! As for freelancing being a solitary existence, where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere and anywhere. I’m a really random person when it comes to the bare facts. I love to name my pieces, to give them an identity, to tell a story. Sweet Dreams, this was one of the frequent designs that woke me frantically from sleep, clutching for a pen and paper. La Pelosa, an aquamarine ring named after the clearest, crystal blue sea I’ve ever seen. Little Satsuma, a small but very sweet orange sapphire stacking ring. Something Blue, a modern twist on an engagement ring – set with a striking natural blue diamond – I could go on and on and on…

What are your favourite pieces that you’ve designed and the story behind Memories..them?

Every piece is special without a single doubt. Some pieces tug my heart strings more than others. I always cry at sad (and happy) movies and often shed a little tear over a piece of my work. Strangely, given my (fading) red hair it’s rarely to do with temper or anger (though my children and dogs do inherently know when is a good time to ‘not bother’ me and when to ask for those new trainers!)

I was recently contacted to remodel a set of wedding and engagement rings I named ‘Memories’. By some chance, I had worked with the customer some 20 years previously, she hadn’t realised this when she’d approached me regarding the commission. Her commission was tinged with sadness but also great joy – celebrating life and knowing that her son will always be in her heart… A great privilege to be part of this – and for a friendship reunited.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of giving up their day job and turning their passion (whether writing, illustration, pottery etc.) into their full time job?

Cuff linksTrust your gut instinct and try to do something that sets you apart – don’t be scared to let your personality shine through.

You won’t need to be told to work hard if you love what you do. You might however, need to be told when to switch off, when to step away and when to chill out – I hear you family! 😉

Don’t be distracted by social media other than when working it to your advantage!Silver gold ring

Do make sure that you have a like minded friend to confer with. I’ve a good jeweller friend that I share a good few tools with, also a fair amount of ideas and problem solving, successes, failure and off loading etc! In a solitary working environment, I’d say it’s a must.

Do grasp life and live it! We humble human beings don’t have long to make our mark!

Purple rope ringWise words indeed Breige! What are your plans for 2014?

In 2014 I vow to become computer literate and hopefully get my website up in the near future – watch this space! (I will add a link on my blog to Breige’s website when it’s ready.)

I’ve a few exhibitions booked already – you’ll find me at The Pound Arts Centre in Corsham, Wiltshire during Cloth Road Arts Week 3rd – 11th May 2014 and somewhere in Frome (yet to be confirmed) during Frome Open Studios over the weekends 5-6th and 12-13th July 2014, so a busy few months ahead!

I’m also working on a collection for a wonderful gallery in The Cotswolds – but don’t want to tempt fate here!

Last but not least where can people find you?

Over on FacebookEtsy or on my new blog. I will also have my website up and running soon.

*       *      *

Thank you so much Breige for taking the time to share your journey from childhood ‘maker of things’, to successful independent jewellery designer. I’m sending you back to your workbench to get cracking again on making that stunning jewellery. I love the fact that I have such talented friends both in real life and online.

Breige takes commissions and there are also beautiful pieces that can be bought from her via Etsy. Also, if you like her Facebook page then you can get to drool at her creations on a regular basis. Just saying. 😉

Interested in Pinterest – Thursday’s Children

Thursday’s Children – A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.

I’ve been meaning to join Pinterest for a while now and I finally got round to doing so yesterday when I spent a happy hour or two setting up my account and browsing other people’s pins. I also managed to set up my own boards including one I’ve entitled ‘lovely stuff’ where I’ve pinned images that are inspirational, interesting or simply downright beautiful, and another board for The Butterfly Storm where I’ve pinned the cover of my novel and where I want to include images of places in Greece and Norfolk that feature in the novel.

Pinterest

A couple of months ago I interviewed my brother, Tom Frost, for my 5 Minutes With… feature. Tom’s an illustrator and print maker and when I asked him about what inspires him, the first thing he mentioned was Pinterest and I can now fully appreciate why. However, Pinterest should come with a health warning: you will lose hours of your life gazing at images of libraries and books or drooling over white sand beaches and colourful autumn scenes. But when writer’s block strikes Pinterest might just be a saviour in getting those creative juices bubbling again, whether that means looking at images of great book covers, travel destinations or cute cats. It’s definitely worth a try don’t you think?

I figured what better way to find inspiration for my new WIP, The House of Stone than by making a board featuring images of Tanzania and Zanzibar where the novel will be set. At the moment I’m still at the planning stage, jotting down plot ideas, getting to grips with the characters and figuring out exactly where in Tanzania and on Zanzibar the action will take place. When I actually start writing it though I think I’ll head over to Pinterest and take a look at my board and be inspired by the peeling blue paint of an old door in Stone Town or soak up the quiet beauty of a dhow bobbing up and down on the turquoise ocean.

Are you on Pinterest? If not is it something that interests you?

Inspire and be inspired by clicking on this linky and joining in with the Thursday’s Children blog hop. Big thanks go to hosts Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

The Versatile Blogger Award – Anniversary Special

On Wednesday the very talented Emily Witt of A Keyboard and an Open Mind awarded me The Versatile Blogger Award. So now it’s my turn to tell you a few things about myself and then pass on the award to seven deserving bloggers.

Today is mine and Nik’s 5th Wedding Anniversary, so in celebration I thought instead of telling you seven facts about myself I would share seven facts related to our anniversary.

 

  1. Nik and I met over 13 years ago when we worked together in a multiplex cinema in Bristol. We got together at the staff Christmas party on the 12.12.00 and we prefer to celebrate that anniversary in December rather than our actual Wedding Anniversary.

    The Proposal

  2. Nik proposed after a private dinner on a moonlit beach on Makunudu Island in the Maldives on the 10.05.07 and we got married exactly a year later in Greece.
  3. On the morning of our wedding, despite the best laid plans, we didn’t actually know where we would be getting married – yes really. But it all turned out fine, we managed to tie-the-knot and then had a fantastic reception with lots of food and Greek dancing.
  4. We had two honeymoons (greedy I know) – one was just a few days after our wedding when we went to Santorini and the other one was nine months later when we were lucky enough to spend two incredible weeks in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

    African Honeymoon

  5. On a day out to St Fagans: National History Museum a few years ago, I got accosted by a poet who was being filmed for a local TV programme about Valentine’s Day. She asked if she could write a poem about us, I said yes and to Nik’s dismay horror we ended up being filmed while she asked Nik what he loved about me the most before writing a poem there and then and reading it back to us – cue much oohing and aahing and appropriate looks of love from us both. He said my eyes by the way.
  6. Our 12th anniversary – you know the December one that we celebrate – fell on the 12.12.12.
  7. This evening, as befits a couple who met while working at Warner Village Cinema, we’re going to go and watch Star Trek Into Darkness in the Director’s Lounge of our local cinema (think big, comfy seats, a private bar and snacks such as nachos and chicken wings to eat while watching the film). Happy days.

Now, on to the important bit – here are seven bloggers worthy of an award entitled versatile (there are loads more bloggers that I could have chosen but Emily had already nominated them):

The rules of The Versatile Blogger are simple:

  1. Thank and link to the person who gave you the award.
  2. Tell seven facts about yourself.
  3. Pass it on to seven other bloggers.
  4. Link to specific posts on their blogs to they’ll be notified by pingback.

 

Fugitives – WIPpet Wednesday

A few weeks back I posted an extract from Time Shifters in which Maisie and Lizzie had hidden in undergrowth at the side of the road when a skinny horse pulling a covered wagon trundled to halt in front of them. It was all fine until Lizzie, much to Maisie’s dismay, decided to step out into the open and ask the man sitting at the front of the wagon where the nearest town was. The man, called Harold, a slightly unsavoury and rather smelly character allows them to hitch a lift with him and his family on the condition that they pay him when they reach Towcester. The only problem is Maisie and Lizzie don’t have any money and so when they reach the town they make up an excuse and run for their lives only stopping when they’ve put a good distance between themselves and Harold… The following extract is 17 paragraphs from chapter 7.

Lizzie was bent over with her hands on her knees. “You’ve turned us into criminals,” she said between breaths.

“We hitched a lift and didn’t pay. That’s not exactly stealing.”

“Believe what you want,” she said standing up straight. “How are we going to get food and a bed for the night now we’re fugitives?”

“Don’t be so dramatic. Harold and his family will move on and we’ll be forgotten about.”

“And in the meantime?” she said with her hands on her hips.

“We go on the hunt for food and water.” I felt rebellious and didn’t care if surviving here would go against everything that was right back home. It was 1471 after all, not the 21st Century. I wandered amongst the gravestones reading the ages of the dead, which ranged from a beloved son aged three months to a positively ancient sixty-one.

“This place is freaking me out,” Lizzie whispered as if she was afraid of disturbing the dead.

“The church might be a safe place to sleep.” I walked over to the door, slid the wooden bar across where it was wedged closed and gently pushed. The door creaked open. I beckoned to Lizzie and we slipped inside, closing the door behind us. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the dusky light. Lizzie stayed close to me as we walked down the aisle between wooden pews. I knew we had to have somewhere sheltered to sleep but it was still daylight and I was conscious of Danny and the army getting further and further away from us.

The door scraped open and daylight crept in. I pulled Lizzie down behind the pews at the back of the church.

“I know you’re in here,” Harold’s voice echoed inside the church.

I held my breath and Lizzie tensed beside me. “See, bad idea,” she whispered.

“Half the town saw you run this way,” Harold continued. His boots thudded loudly on the flagstones. “Then I followed your muddy footprints. I only want my two pennies, a deal’s a deal.”

I motioned to Lizzie to follow, and crawling on our hands and knees we made our way slowly along the far wall of the church, skirting the pews. The cold flagstones bruised my knees and palms. I held my hand out to stop Lizzie when we reached the middle pews. I strained my head forward and saw Harold standing in the middle of the aisle.

“I know you’re in here,” he said, flicking a rope he held in one hand gently onto his other palm.

I took a deep breath and continued forward, we were nearly there, and I could see the patch of daylight on the flagstone nearest to the door… Thud. Lizzie’s iPod clattered on the floor. I scooped it up, grabbed Lizzie by her sleeve and pulled her to her feet.

“You little…” Harold swung to face us as we ran the few paces to the door and slipped out of the church, slamming it shut behind us.

“Help me close it!” I said, heaving the wooden bar across. Together we wedged it shut. The full weight of Harold landed against the door but it stayed closed.

All you have to do to join in with WIPpet Wednesday is post an extract from your current WIP that relates in some way to the date. For example, today, instead of opting for the extract above, I could have posted 17 paragraphs from page 117 (required way too much explanation) or 17 lines from chapter 17 (gave too much away). When you’ve published your post add your link to the linky that K L Schwengel hosts over on her blog and get reading some fabulous posts from the other WIPpeteers. Enjoy!

Creating Fiction While Walking the Dog – Thursday’s Children

Thursday’s Children – A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.

If you’ve got a dog then you’ll probably already understand the appeal of having some time to yourself each day to go for a walk and think about things. As a writer I find this time invaluable. You see the thing about having a dog is it’s the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. As the dogs sniff about greeting each other, the owners exchange pleasantries about the weather and their dogs but sometimes it’s amazing just how chatty and revealing people can be. This is a gift for me as a writer to get brief snippets of strangers’ lives and stumble across all kinds of interesting characters. On my daily walks I take mental notes of the different people I meet and file them away for possible future use as a walk-on character in a story. There’s the friendly but incomprehensible man who walks his dog at the same time each day in the local park; the young night shift guy who takes his excitable Pug for a walk before he’s able to get some sleep; and the frazzled mum contending with a baby and a puppy.

I started a new WIP last week and I found that I got most of my ideas for it while out walking. There’s something about being away from my laptop (and the distractions of Twitter and the Internet) that helps fuel my imagination. A brisk walk in the fresh air helps the creative juices to flow. Going for a walk each day this week gave me the chance to work out plot ideas and think about characters – in-between trying to stop Frodo from rolling in mud (or worse), eating everything in sight and chasing birds. The same way as sleeping on an issue – whether that issue is with writer’s block or difficulty with a plot – can help, going for a walk can clear your head and help sort out those tricky chapters or awkward characters.

Even if you don’t have a dog why not make the time once or twice a week to get outdoors, go for a walk to see what characters you meet along the way and where your imagination takes you…

For a weekly dose of inspiration click on this linky and joining in with the Thursday’s Children blog hop. Big thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

What helps get your creative juices flowing?

Heading Into Battle – WIPpet Wednesday

The other week I gave you the last few sentences from chapter 13 of Time Shifters. In it Maisie and Lizzie had been travelling for days in an attempt to find their friend, Danny, who they believed was caught up with the Earl of Warwick’s army. To set the scene – it was early in the morning and foggy and the two girls had been quietly riding along when they came to a halt at the sound of men screaming. Today’s extract follows on from that point with ten paragraphs from the beginning of chapter 14 (10 + 4 for the 10/04/13 – see what I did there!).

In the eeriness of the cold foggy morning the screams sent shivers through me. I didn’t want to ride any further or risk the noise making Zeus bolt. But most of all I didn’t actually want to witness what was through the fog. I reined Goliath in and dismounted.

“Let’s tie the ponies here and walk,” I said.

Together we crept through the damp grass towards the cries, shouts and clang of metal. I wanted to run in the opposite direction but Danny was somewhere amongst the noise. What if he was injured…what if? I stopped on the slope.

“What now?” Lizzie said, turning to face me.

“What if Danny’s dead?”

She stared at me with her mouth open. “Don’t be stupid. He’s twelve. He’s too young to die.”

With the bloodthirsty noise of battle growing by the second I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. Tears for Danny, and for Mum, Dad and Ollie streamed down my face, and tears for leaving Robbie behind and for being chased and for being stuck in the past.

Lizzie awkwardly put her arm round me and left it there, heavy on my shoulders. I wiped away my tears with the end of my sleeve.

“We’ll find Danny,” she said. “He’ll be OK, I promise.”

There were shouts and a clash of metal from somewhere close. Lizzie’s grip tightened on my shoulder. I couldn’t see a thing through the fog but heard a duh duh, duh duh sound like something rolling… something rolling and picking up speed. And then a soldier rolled to a stop in front of us. A dead soldier with a broken sword stuck in his chest. We both screamed and staggered backwards, falling onto the grass.

Got a WIP to share? Don’t be shy, the WIPpeteers are a friendly bunch. If you like the idea of joining in then post an extract of your current work in progress that relates, however creatively, to the date and add your link to the linkie found over on author and WIPpeteer extraordinaire, K L Schwengel’s blog. Even if you don’t want to join in then take the time to read the other fabulous WIPpet Wednesday posts that can be found here.

To Warwick and England! – WIPpet Wednesday

After the excesses of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend with a family meal, lunch out with friends, and not to mention a few chocolate eggs, it seems appropriate to post an extract from Time Shifters  that takes place towards the end of a feast at Warwick Castle. It’s the night before the Earl of Warwick and his soldiers march into battle and Maisie – after being time shifted along with school bully Lizzie to the year 1471 – has been forced into serving wine all night to rowdy soldiers in Warwick Castle’s Great Hall. So, in celebration of it being the 3rd April, I give you three paragraphs from chapter 3 of my children’s novel.

Towards the end of the evening the important looking man stood up to a fanfare of trumpets and everyone fell silent. I stayed in the shadows at the edge of the hall and watched as he raised his cup.

“We leave at dawn to join the Earl of Warwick and his army!” he roared. The soldiers leapt to their feet and with their cups raised high, yelled along with him. “To Warwick and England!”

I knew I recognised the year 1471. The man he was talking about, the Earl of Warwick, was the Kingmaker and we were in the middle of the War of the Roses. A few hours ago I was reading about him in my Warwick Castle booklet and now one of his men was in front of me getting his soldiers fired up for battle.

If you’d like to write your own WIPpet Wednesday post then choose an extract from your current work in progress that relates in some way to the day – 3 lines, paragraphs or even just 3 words from from page 3 or chapter 3 – simple! Once you’ve posted it, add your link to the clever linky thing over on K L Schwengel’s blog and have a read of some excellent WIPpets whilst you’re there.

Rain-Soaked London – WIPpet Wednesday

It’s unseasonably cold in the UK at the moment with daytime temperatures barely nudging 3ºC and snow up north. However, when I started writing this WIPpet Wednesday post on a dull and rainy afternoon last week, it seemed quite appropriate at the time to choose around 27 lines from page 217 of Time Shifters where Maisie and Lizzie have a run-in with a drunken old lady on a rain-soaked London Bridge. Out of context this extract may not make complete sense but to set it up is a bit complicated and would give too much of the plot away. All I will say is the year is 1730 and having eventually found Lizzie (who had gone missing in the extract I posted a few Wednesday’s ago) it’s now Danny’s turn to have disappeared (yet again). This time shifting business is confusing stuff…

“You looking for someone?” a raspy voice suddenly said. Lizzie grasped my arm as an old woman staggered out of the shadows opposite us. She clutched a bottle in her hand and swayed as she moved towards us.

I stepped forward. “Yeah, we’re looking for our friend, a boy…”

“A boy. A boy you say.” She waved the bottle at us. “I saw a boy here, a little while ago, a boy and a girl ’bout your age, and two men on horses. The boy and girl disappeared. I swear they just disappeared.” She started to laugh and then erupted into a hacking cough.

Lizzie leaned towards me. “That was you and Danny.”

“I know, I don’t think she realises though.”

“That’s because she’s too drunk.”

The woman finished coughing and spat a big blob of green phlegm onto the cobbles in front of us.

“Yuck,” Lizzie said.

I swallowed back the sick feeling in my throat. “Are you sure you didn’t just imagine this boy and girl ‘disappear’. It doesn’t exactly sound possible.”

“I knows what I saw.”

“I bet you often see things when you’ve been drinking,” I said.

“This ain’t strong stuff.” She held out the bottle and chuckled. “Tastes of watered down piss anyways.”

“Did anyone else see what you saw?”

She shook her head and her wet grey hair slapped her face and remained stuck. “There ain’t no one about but me,” she said and started coughing again.

Got a WIP to share? Then join the WIPpeteers! Every Wednesday post an extract of whatever you’re working on that somehow relates to the date – for example today you could post 27 words, lines or paragraphs from page 27, chapter 27 or even page 217 like I’ve done. Make sure you share your link by adding it to the helpful linkie that you can find on K L Schwengel’s blog.

Other fabulous WIPpeteers include: Raewyn Hewitt, K L Schwengel, ReGi McClain, Elaine Jeremiah, Alana Terry, Krista Walsh, Kate Sparkes, Jessica Minyard, Emily and Ink and Papyrus (who also designed the WIPpet Wednesday logo).

5 Minutes With… Tom Frost

Straight up I have to tell you that Tom Frost is my brother, but he also happens to be a very talented print maker and illustrator making all kinds of magic with screen printing, vintage Meccano, wood and acrylic paint. He lives in Bristol with his girlfriend, Teresa Murfin (also an illustrator), and my cute-as-a-button nephew, Harry.

A week ago we met up at The Harbourside, a cafe-bar on Bristol’s regenerated waterfront, for a working lunch (any excuse, Tom, for a sneaky lunchtime pint or two…) and talked blogs, Pinterest, writing, print making, and the potential move to a house with a barn in a Welsh village just 20 minutes from the Pembrokeshire coast (that’s Tom not me).

Before launching into the interview we tucked into a peppery bowl of broccoli and potato soup followed by lip-smackingly good Cornish Mussels with Somerset cider and cream served with black pepper fries… come on, we had to get our priorities right…

How would you describe your style of work?

Err… (laughs) … it’s going to be really difficult to get started… it’s um a bold, it’s a screen printed, um… what a terrible start… (we both end up laughing and agree that we’d both be far more professional if we didn’t know each other – honest…)

So, it’s a bold style of screen printing?

The majority of my work is screen printed, which lends itself to a strong, flat, bold style of work with strong geometrical graphic shapes. I’m influenced by 1950s packaging, labels, tin toys, folk art – just a mishmash of styles.

You’ve been ridiculously busy over the last few weeks – what have you been working on?

I’ve been finishing off prints that have been commissioned by the V&A for their Spring/Summer collection. I’ve got five Affordable Art Fairs coming up this year, London’s just out the way and Hong Kong was on the 15th – 17th March. Then I’ve got a solo show coming up in August, a group show in Brighton with two other great artists, Graham Carter and Helen Musselwhite, which focuses on our 3D work. In amongst all of that it’s just keeping on top of selling my prints in my online shop, stocking galleries, and doing other commissioned work such as cider labels for a company in Somerset, doing a poster for Selvedge, a great textiles magazine, and all sorts of other stuff like that.

Where’s your solo show taking place?

The solo show is in Bath at the Rostra Gallery. It’s the first solo show where I can really focus on my prints now I’m up and running as purely a screen printer.

You graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 2001 with a First in Illustration, is what you’re doing now what you dreamed you’d be doing when you left Falmouth?

It is exactly what I dreamed I would be doing but not necessarily what I thought I’d be doing, if that makes any sense! When I left Falmouth we were geared up to be freelance illustrators – that’s what we trained to be and I spent ten years doing exactly that, being commissioned for editorials and book covers, but I eventually realised that I didn’t actually like doing that. I didn’t like working for the publications, it wasn’t inspiring. What I’m doing now is very similar in the fact that it’s artistic and I’m still freelancing but I’m now doing what I love doing, which is creating artworks that people will buy and put on their walls, which means they like it, rather than it just appearing in a magazine because somebody’s asked me to be in it.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years time?

I would hope to be doing exactly what I’m doing now, which is being inspired to do more personal artwork such as prints, moving into creating 3D pieces, and for galleries to continue to show my work. Just be inspired to do different things and for it, not necessarily to get bigger, but to continue to be paid for what I love doing.

Apart from Harry, what’s your greatest achievement to date?

It is quite simply being able to make a living by doing something that I love.

Which is what most people, particularly in a creative field want to be doing, myself included.

Yes, exactly.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere, and from everything and anything. There are so many great blogs out there, websites like Pinterest are brilliant. Specifically my inspiration comes from things that I collect such as old tin toys, children’s books, old stamps, old packaging from the 1950s, and the fact as a creative person I’m surrounded by some brilliant people, lots of my friends are illustrators and artists, painters and writers.

Whose work do you admire?

I admire people such as Jonny Hannah, Mark Hearld, Angie Lewin, Ed Kluz and the other plethora of contemporary British print makers out there at the moment.

Name three blogs that you would encourage people to check out.

Pinterest because it’s a brilliant source for anything – it’s just very inspiring. There are lots of great interiors and illustrations and toys. As a sourcebook it’s brilliant. Also, Remodelista and All Things Considered for endless inspiration.

If you could only choose one piece of artwork to showcase what you do, what would it be and why?

I would have to choose two – just to be greedy. The first one would be the first stamp design I did, which was a puffin, simply because it was the first screen print that I did that got interest from galleries and through my online shop. It made me realise that I’m doing something that can pay the bills rather than an indulgent hobby.

The second one would be an image that’s called Even on Calm Waters, which is just a natural progression from where I started, to where I want to be. It’s been received very well; it’s the first large, more expensive print that I sold out of an edition of and cemented that I’m doing something that’s worthwhile.

If you could be any character in a book who would it be?

Huckleberry Finn!

Why?

It just sounds like an idyllic childhood. Who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure down the Mississippi?

Did you not have a good childhood…

(Laughs) Not as good as Huckleberry Finn… it’s weird I can’t actually remember the story… when I think back on it it’s an adventure but there’s probably a lot of slavery and oppression involved… I’d have to go back and look at it again!

That’s reminded me of reading Swallows and Amazons when I was a kid, I’d quite like to be someone from that.

That’s true. Yes, a character along those lines, or the Famous Five. An idyllic childhood.

*       *       *       *       *

We may not have had an adventure on the Mississippi or spent the summer camped out on a deserted island when we were kids but I can assure you that Tom and I had a very happy childhood (Mum and Dad I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that). With the voice recorder turned off we continue to chat over another pint and glass of rosé before heading our separate ways.

If you’d like to find out more about Tom and his work then take a look at his blog, The Boy Frost, or take a peek at his online shop. A Twitter newbie, Tom can now be found @theboyfrost and he also has a facebook page, Tom Frost Illustration.

Time Shifted – WIPpet Wednesday

The 20th March has ended up being problematic in choosing an extract to post for WIPpet Wednesday. Page 20 of Time Shifters only has one line on it and page 120, 200, 220 and Chapter 20 either give away too much of the story or need so much explanation and scene setting that it’d be like writing another novel. In the end I’ve chosen roughly 20 lines from the first chapter. It’s quite an easy extract to set up as Maisie is on the steps that lead to the dungeon at Warwick Castle and has just been time shifted – although she doesn’t realise this yet…

I emerged through the trap door into daylight. Earth strewn with straw and muck covered the castle courtyard and had replaced the expanse of grass where the knights had been fighting. The air was filled with new smells of wood smoke and horses. Grey clouds shadowed the castle turrets. Even the castle had changed. The main building, where the state rooms were, looked as if it had shrunk and it was plainer than before, made of the same stone as the towers on either side of the gatehouse. I hovered by the side of Caesar’s Tower unsure what to do, aware of my heart thudding against my chest. The castle had been quiet, just our class and a few other visitors wandering around. But now there were people everywhere. Soldiers were gathered on the opposite side of the castle, dressed in red tunics and padded jackets with red and white coat of arms stitched into the material. Standing in line they clasped long bows and shot arrows towards targets on the castle wall. Two huge horses, covered in the same red material, snorted as they were led across the muddy yard. The clunk of metal on metal was loud from where I stood. The glow of a fire lit up the inside of a building behind me. A boy in a dirty tunic appeared in the doorway, his arms loaded with rusty armour. His face was red, his lip curled with a scar. I turned away.

Nothing was familiar.

No signposts.

No class led by an overly enthusiastic Miss Chard.

No Danny.

Just Lizzie. She was crouched in the corner by the gatehouse, where the tented entrance to the dungeon had been but only a solid stone wall now remained.

If you like the idea of sharing your WIP then write a post that somehow corresponds to the day, add your link to the linkie that fantasy author, K. L. Schwengel hosts on her blog and have a read of the other great WIPpets whilst you’re there.