Tag Archives: Creative Feature

Creative Feature: Troodlecraft

I’ve enjoyed bringing some great talent to my blog in the form of Creative Features for eight weeks, and this will be my last for a while. Though keep an eye out – when I see something special, I’ll let you know! And – I hope to be making a creative announcement of my own pretty soon! Until then I’m leaving you with cute and traditional in the capable hands of Troodlecraft.

I’ve known Trudi for a while and interviewed her daughter at Flourish Buttons just a few weeks ago, so this is another family with creativity running through its veins! I remember, when I was small, getting a clothes peg doll kit in my Christmas stocking, so Trudi’s little dolls brought back memories of something I did once myself. Her dolls are cute and cheerful and a delightfully simple idea for gifts. Take a trip back down memory lane…

Trudi Cotton - Troodlecraft

Trudi Cotton – Troodlecraft

Trudi Cotton – Creative and Doll Maker

What inspires you?

I think it is very difficult to pin point exactly what inspires me. There are so many things that I see daily that give me inspiration, whether it be a piece of art, a positive quote, or whether I hear about someone who has done something remarkable with their life.
I can remember some particular incidences over the last year or so, when I have been inspired by a particular event or a person, which has perhaps just been a fleeting moment in my life, but even so, has had a huge impact on the way I think about myself and my abilities. These incidences have inspired me to be more creative or inspired me to be more courageous, to try out new things, be more adventurous and childlike…and, I know that without these special moments, I would not have had the courage to start Troodlecraft, or to keep going when I had feelings of self doubt and low self esteem.

What inspired you to make clothes pin dolls?

When I was a little girl, and attended what they used to call Junior School, which is now called Primary School, the teacher gave us some pegs and showed us how to make ‘peg dolls’. A few years back, I remembered how much fun it was making peg dolls and decided that I would like to have another go. At that time I had no intention of starting a business, I was just purely looking for a creative experience.When I went onto the internet and typed in peg dolls, I found the clothespin dolls with lovely big heads, and I loved them.


I see you make both clothes pin and cotton reel dolls, which do you prefer to make, and do you create any other kinds of art?

I love making both of them…they are so different, but If I had to choose I would say the clothespin dolls. With the clothespin dolls you can give them flowers to hold or a baby to cradle, whereas the cotton reel dolls are a bit restricted by their cotton reel hands!! (Awww poor things!!) So, I have a lot of fun with the clothespin dolls!!! In fact that is what made me think about putting together clothespin doll kits, so that other people could have fun with them as well!! I also make bendy doll fridge magnets, wooden signs and, at Christmas I make nativity peg people, mini wreaths and Queen’s Guard peg dolls!


Do you have a favourite doll design?

No, not really!! Although, I do like the brightly coloured flowery material I sometimes use because it makes me feel light and summery, but apart from that I like them all! I find that each doll’s design is different, and I love that!


What are your future plans with your dolls?

Recently I made some clothespin dolls for people celebrating a special occassion, a bride and groom for a wedding, a doll for a university graduation, and someone asked me to make a gardener as a birthday present for their mum. I think it would be fun to do some more of these and perhaps expand that idea a bit more, and make some dolls associated with other hobbies like reading, computers and cooking.

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

I love fairies, fairy houses and gardens…so a fairy garden would be wonderful. Little fairy houses and miniature fairy gardens. My husband is always saying ‘I’m off with the fairies’, so no surprises there I suppose!! Or, I did have an amazing dream once that I was travelling through Toy Town…you know, where Noddy and Big Ears might live…and I was there to look for a house to buy. I woke up feeling really happy! So maybe, I could build my own Toy Town.

You can purchase your very own dolls at Troodlecraft, and like Trudi’s Facebook Page. You can follow her on Twitter @troddlecraft, find out the latest at her blog and find her on Pinterest too.

BlueBell - Clothespin Doll - Troodlecraft

BlueBell – Clothespin Doll – Troodlecraft

Troodlecraft’s Bio

Troodlecraft is a small craft business in the town of Cinderford in the lovely Forest of Dean! All the Clothespin dolls and Cotton Reel dolls are handmade and painted, with wooden parts such as pegs and cotton reels. And for those of you who would like to have a go at making your own Clothespin doll, then please take a look in the Troodlecraft shop where I am selling Clothespin doll kits . All the dolls are sent to their new homes with a handwritten name tag and a description of their character.


Creative Feature: Bekah Shambrook

A Creative post today that keeps it in the family!

Pieces of a  Dream Model Jess Brown photographer Kimberely Collins Photographer Retouching Bekah Shambrook

Pieces of a Dream – Model: Jess Brown, Photographer: Kimberley Collins Photograpy, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

Bekah is one of the most creative people I know, excelling in art at school and branching out into many creative ventures. She has three businesses beneath the Masterpiece Artistry umbrella. Masterpiece Face Painting was born first and she regularly face paints at children’s parties and events. Masterpiece MUA came next and she’s worked with some brilliant photographers and models, and her latest venture is Masterpiece Design, designing logos, brands and websites. She’s a chip off the old block and is my daughter!


Bekah Shambrook – Make-up Artist, Face Painter and Designer

Bekah Shambrook – Make-up Artist, Face Painter and Designer

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by everything around me but I think mostly by other make-up artists. It’s wonderful to see what other artists can create and I love to try to emulate techniques to create a piece of my own.

Model Abi Rose Photographer Kitty KEMS Photography Hair Owen Hair Follicle-Genius Roberts

Model: Abi Rose, Photographer: Kitty KEMS Photography, Hair: Owen Hair Follicle-Genius Roberts, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

You’re a very creative person, is your art planned or spontaneous?

The majority of my art is planned, being a makeup artist tends to be a collaborative process since you need a model and a photographer to create the finished product so I need to plan ahead. I love sitting down with my make-up kit and a mirror to create entirely spontaneous looks too though!


Work In Progress…face charts and application

Looking at your make up artistry – do you have a favourite brand of make-up, or colours, or techniques?

I’m not one for spending lots on my make-up, I’m a believer of the skill being what creates the look and not the tools. I use a lot of Make Up Academy (MUA by Superdrug) and Sleek Makeup.
As for techniques, I just like to try everything. I have used eyelash glue to stick feathers to a model’s face and I’ve used white face paint to colour a model’s eyelashes white! If it works (and is safe) I’ll give it a go.

All That Glitters Model Vikky David Photographer Joe Prileszky Retoucher Charis Talbot

All That Glitters – Model: Vikky David, Photographer: Joe Prileszky Fashion Photography, Retoucher: Charis Talbot, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

You’ve turned people into zombies and warriors, produced delicate bridal make-up and created an eclectic variety of make-up work. What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

I always love the more creative work, I feel as though my skill as a make-up artist is being challenged which is what I strive for. Your can never better yourself if you don’t try things you’ve never done before. To that end, my favourite piece is ‘ All that glitters…’ although it was one of my first pieces I love it and it would have been nothing if it wasn’t for the wonderful photography by Joe Prileszky.

Model Kirsty Walters Photographer Ginger Snap Dragon Photography Leather Gauntlets Lydia Wall Millinery

Model: Kirsty Walters, Photographer: Ginger Snap Dragon Photography, Leather Gauntlets: Lydia Wall Millinery, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

What are your future plans with Masterpiece MUA?

I’m not entirely sure, I wouldn’t really want to do it full time because I’m worried that it wouldn’t be so much fun for me.
I plan to work with Mel Davies Photography on her Nimra project which is super exciting!

Golden Mane Model Lizzy T Photographer Mel Davies

Golden Mane – Model: Lizzy T, Photographer: Mel Davies Photography, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

Hmm… This is a tough one, most of the time if I want something and and can’t afford it I’ll make it myself! (or at least try to…)
I think it would have to be a costume… One of Daenerys’ stunning costumes from Game of Thrones… Or perhaps one of Galadriel’s gowns from The Lord of the Rings.

Merched y Mabinogi Model Kseniya Photographer Kimberley Collins Photography

Merched y Mabinogi – Model: Kseniya, Photographer: Kimberley Collins Photography, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

You can find Bekah’s portfolio on her MUA website, find all her websites on Masterpiece Artistry, like her Facebook pages: MUA, Face Painting, Design and follow her @bekahcat on Twitter.

Bizarre Magazine Model Abi Rose Photographer Ginger Snap Dragon Photography

Bizarre Magazine – Model: Abi Rose, Photographer: Ginger Snap Dragon Photography, MUA: Bekah Shambrook

Bekah’s Make-up Bio

As a freelance make-up artist I love to use my creative flair to dream up new concepts, looks, and ideas.
I don’t just make models ‘pretty’ I make them different, I love to take them from their comfort zones and drop them into a new realm. I will bring dreams to life.
I use make up as an art form.
I love working with models and photographer who also have ideas of their own, and I love to help bring their ideas to life to create a phenomenal shoot.

Models Kas Mason and Megan Toomer

Models: Kas Mason and Megan Toomer, MUA and Prosthetics: Bekah Shambrook

Creative Feature: Abi Burlingham

This week I’m bringing you another artistic writer, what a choice, words and pictures!

Abi is the author of several children’s books and when she’s not filling notebooks with words, she’s painting and creating works of art instead. I relate so easily to Abi, as much of my time is spent the same way! 

Abi Burlingham – Author and Artist

What inspires you?

Nature and poignancy for themes, colour and shape for appearance. I love the natural curves of nature and the diversity of colour. I really love being outside amongst trees, meadows, moors and I love creatures of all shapes and sizes. I find nature very inspiring and want to create something that the viewer feels a connection with, which is why an animal or person often feature in my paintings. Artists that have inspired me are Paul Cezanne, Gustav Klimt and Gaugin – I love their use of colour and shape and themes.

Live Abi Burlingham

Live – Abi Burlingham

Is your art planned or spontaneous?

I usually get an image in my head – it pops up without any conscious thought. Sometimes I store it in there and when I have two or three I draw them on tiny sheets of paper – about 3 x 4 inches – just in biro. They take seconds to do and are the only planning I do. Drawing the picture on canvas usually takes around 10 – 15 mins – I am a fast drawer! The painting and re-painting, as I make changes along the way, take a lot longer and I feel it as I go along, so yes, I would say my art is far more spontaneous than planned.

Matlock Abi Burlingham

Matlock (pen and ink) – Abi Burlingham

I can see you like bold colours and I’ve seen you use pencils and acrylics, but do you have a favourite medium, colours or techniques?

As a child and teenager, I loved using pencils. I still have my box of Caran D’Ache pencils. I now also use Derwent Inktense pencils which are really distinct colours and you can add water to them which increases the intensity. I love doing sketches in situ with these and a black pen. For larger pieces that are completely from my imagination, I love acrylics. They are so bold and bright and you can build them up and get a range of textures. I think they suit the bold, abstract nature of my paintings more than any other medium.

Ivy Leaves - Abi Burlingham

Ivy Leaves – Abi Burlingham

What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

Ooh that’s a hard one. I think my personal favourite is the big ivy canvas I painted five years ago and have hanging in my hallway. It was a labour of love and took every day for six weeks to complete. I also love ‘The Walk’. I barely thought about the painting as I was doing it – it seemed to create itself and I was so pleased with the end result.

Grub's Pups Abi Burlingham

Grubs Pups – Abi Burlingham

You have several published children’s books, have you ever thought about illustrating them yourself? What are your future plans with your art?

I have! I really would love to one day. I have illustrated a book which I couldn’t find a publisher for and still have all the paintings for this. Maybe I’ll give it another shot one day. I need a fantastic concept that also fits in with my style and the themes of nature and animals. I am currently arranging for a limited amount of prints of my acrylic canvases and plan to sell these and the originals – I already have a buyer for ‘The Walk’ which is wonderful.

Leaf Fall - Abi Burlingham

Leaf Fall – Abi Burlingham

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

It would be a painting. I love sculpture too, but I am drawn to huge canvases more than anything. A really huge abstract canvas of trees and birds would be wonderful.

Tree from Website - Abi Burlingham

Tree from Abi’s website (you can all four seasons of trees on her website!)

Cloud Gazing - Abi Burlingham

Cloud Gazing – Abi Burlingham

Thanks Abi!
Check out Abi’s website abiburlingham.com and keep up to date with her projects and the future availability of prints. Take a look at her books which are available on Amazon. She also blogs on her website and you can like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, she’ll be happy to see you there!

Abi’s Bio

Buttercup Magic Abi Burlingham

A Mystery for Megan – Abi Burlingham

Abi Burlingham lives in Derbyshire and teaches English to adults. She has had six children’s books published, including the Ruby and Grub series and Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan. She likes to walk through fields with her rescue greyhound, paint, write and eat cheesecake. She would quite like to do all of these at once and is still trying to work out how.

Creative Feature: Paul Ramey

My fourth Creative Feature involves two of my favourite pastimes: writing and art!


Last year, Paul Ramey’s book ‘Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire’ enthralled me. Wonderful imagery amidst an intriguing storyline drew me right into a mystery that Edgar Wilde, a teenage top-hat wearing misfit, stumbles into whilst taking amateur tours around his local cemetery. You’ll have to read the book to find out more…no really, you should! Let me introduce you to an author who does much more than write!

Paul Ramey

Paul Ramey – Writer, Graphic Artist and Musician

Paul Ramey – Writer, Graphic Artist and Musician

What inspires you, and what brought about your interest in graveyards?

I have always been thoroughly fascinated with lost or forgotten history. Capturing the mystery of times, places, and people that recorded history has lost track of is definitely what led me down the path toward writing my young-adult historical mystery, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire. Also, I tend toward “Goth/Victorian” aesthetics, and the stories and characters draw tremendously from that.

As far as graveyards – aren’t they just the most fascinating places? I remember when I was 15 and exploring the hills of Eastern Kentucky where my dad’s side of the family has a little nook up in the hills called Ramey Branch. And up near the top of one of those hills I stumbled onto a few small, forgotten graves. And one of them, I later discovered, turned out to be my great-great grandmother, and her name was America. America Ramey. Can you believe that? I’d never even heard of her before. And every family has markers of their past, their history, scattered like breadcrumbs as they’ve made their incredible journeys across continents and through time.

On another level, if you’re an artist then the beautiful iconography, calligraphy, materials, and styles are endlessly fascinating and addicting. Many of these places are truly national treasures – outside museums with their own stories and ambience. And even the saddest, neglected cemetery still holds so many stories and opportunities for discovery, and for restoration. One of my most important goals for the Edgar Wilde books has been to educate and inform young adults as to the importance and wonder of cemeteries, by trying to weave some mysteries through the stones.

You’ve used your graphic design skills to produce a great book cover for ‘Edgar Wilde’ and I’m familiar with your pen and ink drawings. How does your art fit and complement your writing?

My artist “inner eye” is vital to writing. I’ve mentioned it before, that the cover of Edgar Wilde was one of the first things that showed up, and I often kept a printed draft of it near where I was writing, helping me to imagine more clearly a book that didn’t yet exist. The auditory aspect of writing is certainly important – the cadence, the rhythm of the text – but a lot of my style is ultimately visual conceptualization and I think a lot in terms of colors, textures, and shadows and light. And to be honest, I always thought of my novel as a potential screenplay anyway, for an eventual Edgar Wilde motion picture! I mean, if J.K. Rowling can do it, right? So again, very visual.

Edgar Wilde Concept Art Paul Ramey

Concept art for Edgar Wilde: Chapter 2, Chapter 17, Corinthian, and Edgar and Shelby (left to right, top to bottom) – Paul Ramey

You have wide-ranging talents encompassing writing, music and art. Do you have a favourite creative ability, favourite colours and techniques?

Growing up, I dreamed of being a comic book writer and artist, and I still enjoy exploring the comic book styles of art. But my detailed pen-and-ink “stipple” work is the closest thing I have to an artistic craft. I’m very proud of it – these days many people who see it think it’s the result of some sort of computer program, but it’s really me, doing hours of dot-dot-dot with a pen! It’s a very zen, meditative process, and I love that place within me.

I have to also mention another source of creative pride, and that is my ability as a music composer and lyricist. I’ve been told I have a wonderful sense of wordplay and craft, and it’s exciting to be able to explore that kind of music-driven poetry and storytelling – more of a focus on essence, and intuitive partnering with the instruments, the harmonies, and tones. In 2009 I finished work on a goth/rock opera called Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan, which was a three-year endeavor. The final, published Veil & Subdue is a 2-CD, 22-song album that I conceived of and recorded with my collaborator friend, Anna Loy (Anna K. Meade). The story is basically about Morpheus, the Dream King, and his ill-fated love of a mortal woman. It is based on classical mythology, but also draws inspiration from the “night terror” phenomenon that many people experience. It includes a complete libretto and is ready to be staged, if the right people come along to finally bring that dream to life. In the meantime it is available as a CD album only.

Your work is very varied, but what do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

I guess because I am all over the place I don’t really have a favourite. I think that many of my pen-and-ink “stipple” pieces are quite good – I look at some of them now and don’t even know how I pulled them off. My personal favourite, though, is an acrylic painting from 2004. I’m not the best painter, but I am still so thrilled with the finished product, and with the depth of symbolism going on in there. It’s called The Great Escape, and it features a character that showed up in a few paintings of mine many years back, called the Merry Prankster. He was sort of a mischievous harlequin-garbed clown character, and represented change – usually traumatic life change that you just have to laugh about because it’s just so ridiculously overwhelming. In this particular painting, he’s rising up out of a painting, so from 2-D to 3-D. He’s trying to escape his situation. But there’s a hand also rising up out of the painting, pulling him back in. It’s a female hand, and obviously represents a relationship memory or situation. He’s caught there, mid-flight, with the past literally trying to pull him back down onto the canvas. It was the last time I ever painted the Prankster, so I guess he’s still frozen there, forever caught.


The Great Escape – Paul Ramey (acrylic)

I know there’s a second ‘Edgar Wilde’ book in the works, which I am incredibly excited for, what are your other future plans?

There are actually a second and third “Edgar Wilde” book currently in development, and that’s where my focus is. One of my most important personal achievements in the past decade has been learning how to focus on long-term projects, and to keep showing up for it. The Veil & Subdue project was my first major success with that. Edgar Wilde was the second. I believe Joni Mitchell coined the phrase “the rotating of the crops.” It means that you do some art, then eventually move to a writing phase, then some music (or whatever other passions you have), and then eventually you come back to the beginning. So it’s a cycle, and helps to nourish and inform each stage as you keep going around and around. That process really resonates with me, but I think mostly because I’m easily distracted, and “rotating crops” is a very comforting thought for a distracted person – an “easy out” for unfinished projects. No, these days I have to make sure I don’t drift too far, because I know I may never come back to finish what I started. So these days it’s all Edgar, all the time! And a little craft beer homebrewing. And a whole lot of raising my beautiful daughter, Sofia!

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

I’d like to send myself on a worldwide journey to explore and document fascinating cultures, architecture, achievement, history, and experiences (including culinary). Preferably by sailboat. Possibly an ongoing blog, with eventual books to follow (both fiction and non-). And at the end of it all, I’d like for those endeavors to sustain me so that I never have to worry about finances again.

I’d also like to commission myself to take on the inevitable film adaptation of Edgar Wilde. I have no idea how to do that, but I think I could give it a shot!

A fascinating look into your creative life, Paul, thank you for sharing your many talents with us! I like the ‘crop rotation’ theory…especially as I’m an arty writer, so I’m looking forward to a little rotation myself!

Please find out more about: Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire: www.ninemusepress.com
Zen Salvador: www.zensalvador.com
Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan: www.cdbaby.com/cd/paulramey
Graphic Design Portfolio: http://paulramey.carbonmade.com
Cemetery Photography Cards, Edgar Wilde Merchandise, etc.: www.zazzle.com/mementomorii


Pen and ink stipple drawing – Paul Ramey

Paul’s Bio:

Paul Ramey is a writer, graphic artist, musician, and unrepentant cemetery buff. His most recent published works include his first novel, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire, a two-CD goth/rock musical album, Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan, and Zen Salvador, a limited-edition book of zen-styled dog wisdom. Originally from Frankfort, Kentucky, Paul now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and child.


Painting – Paul Ramey