Villa Gaiety Mini Wallaby Sculptures Commission

My recent Wallabies Gone Wild sculpture was sponsored by the wonderful Villa Gaeity theatre in Douglas. They are part of a small but vibrant entertainment complex in the islands capital. The Victorian Gaeity theatre the jewel in its crown. 

Wild in Art encourages its sponsors to offer incentives to followers of the trail. I assume it is to encourage app downloads and consequently generate more funds for the partner charity.

Villa Gaiety kept right into the challenge and provided a range of fun and engaging competitions throughout the trail. This included a selfie competition and the chance to win some vouchers and original art.

The commission

I was commissioned to design 5 mini wallabies by Villa Gaiety. The small wallaby sculpture was created by Wild in Art. They are available to take home from IOM hospice shops for the public to design. Villa Gaiety commissioned me to paint 5 small sculptures based on my large wallaby design. One was kept by the TheTre and four were for competition winners.

The designs

Each design featured 2 characters from the matter design. I felt it was important to keep the designs individual and not direct replicas of the larger design, the large sculpture will be auctioned off for charity. It’s only fair for it to be a total one of work of art! Also, the small size of the design meant that to get a bold design it made more sense to include less characters per wallaby.

The process

I used a mix of posca pens and acrylic paint. I used the exact same products to design the large wallaby sculpture. Also I used a smaller pallet to reflect the fewer characters and keep a good consistency between the designs. 

It was lovely to see on social media as the designs found their new homes. A great way to share art and engage people with the trail. 


Upcoming Fairs Autumn/ Winter 2019

So following on from last week’s post (which I had actually written a few weeks earlier) it seems a great time to update you about the fair appearances I will be making over the coming months. I spoke about how I had applied for 20 fairs, been rejected from 8 and accepted to two. Since then I have looked at some more applications, and got a fair few more rejections. Happily though, I now have a chocca fair line up to take me through until Christmas.  


28th- Sheffield Craft and Flea. Back once again with their last Sheffield market of the year I will be in the beautiful Sheffield Cathedral. I will be alongside talented makers and purveyors of vintage fashion and finds. I’ll be bringing lots of locally inspired prints along.


18th- Levenshulme Market.  I’m taking a little break at the beginning of the month to celebrate mine and my other half’s birthday but will be making my debut at Levy Market. It’s their Pumpkin Party Night and I’ll be bringing plenty of spooky finds including my brand new enamel badge. 

26th- I had such a brilliant time at the Manchester Print Fair in February! I am ecstatic to now be part of their Spooky Print Fair at the Hat Works in Stockport. You’ll probably find me spending all my takings at the other fab stalls. So come along and keep your eyes peeled if you want to catch me there!


9th- Design 44, Intu Derby. I am currently stocking in both the Design 44 store on Sadler Gate and their shiny new pop up in the Intu shopping centre too. I will be running a pop up in store thus November. I’ll mainly be promoting Christmas commissions. I only have a limited number of spots for this so if you are interested, act fast! 

23-24th- Now this is a bit of a trick question as yes I am at the Whirlow hall Farm Christmas Fayre but no you won’t be able to pick up any This Is Sian Ellis goodies as I am too busy running the show! Come along to see a range of stall holders, enjoy mulled wine, Christmas Carols, meet Santa, the whole shebang. There’s even a snow wolf! And all for a very great charity too!

30th- 1st December- Kelham island Christmas Fair. My first time to the museum fair and my first time to the museum! This Victorian themed market will see me dust off my purple velvet high neck dress (you bet I’m going victorian goth!) and bring local and spooky products. It’s your last chance to peruse in person before the big day comes.

I’ll be accepting commissions throughout the period too, but only as many as I am confident I can finish and have posted out to you in time for Christmas. So if you are interested in a bespoke house portrait, bespoke venue portrait or haunted house portrait then get in touch ASAP to avoid disappointment. 

Applying for a Million Craft Fairs

It’s probably not a surprise for me to say that Illustration is competitive. Having a makers business in general is competitive, but print makers especially so. 

Did you know in the U.K. you are never more than 3 feet away from an illustrator?

Ok, so I made that up. It’s not true. Sure feels like it though, right? Thing is it’s not just the attention and adoration of joe public you are competing for. Shelf space with stockists and table at markets are competitive too. Not to mention anything from big social media account shares to commission opportunities. 

In this post though I’m going to focus on fairs. At the time of writing this it may be summer but we are coming to the end of the season for applying for Christmas craft fairs. There seems to be more and more popping up, but still not at a rate comparable to the amount of new stallholders emerging all the time. 

Christmas is, obviously, the busiest time of year for makers’ retail sales. It’s exactly the time of year you want people to be thinking of you and browsing your products. But successfully applying for good fairs this year has been difficult for me this year. At the beginning of this year I was accepted to some really well regarded fairs and it was brilliant. Fast forward to now and I have currently applied for a whopping 20 fairs for the Sep-Dec 2019 season. I have been rejected by 8, accepted by 2 and still awaiting the outcome of 10 (although I wouldn’t like to hold my breath for any). These are fairs in my home city and across the country too.

So what to do?

What to do indeed. Although it’s upsetting, it’s just a reality. I’ve come to terms with it and have a few ideas for things to do. Firstly, I still have my stockists and online store. I am not going to miss out on Christmas sales altogether, just some market ones. I’ll ramp up my online promotion, focus on my stockists and promote the butt out of commissioned pieces. Plus I have some commissions to complete right now anyway and last Christmas I got a few specially commissioned Christmas orders. This year my business has grown and so I expect more this year.

Secondly, I could just let myself have a break. I have plenty of other things to keep me busy beyond markets, and I have worked really hard this first half of the year. I did a lot of markets in the spring and I have had a fair few large painting commissions over the last few months. Not to mention new stockists. I haven’t created much art for arts sake and I’ve barely touched clay in months. A break without fairs is pretty well deserved at this point. 

Thirdly, I can just critically analyse my stall and try again. I’ll see what the success rate is of these outstanding applications. Ultimately, I can just work harder to improve my craft and branding. This is something I would do whether I got accepted or not, but it at least gives a clear response to my work from a stall organisers point of view. I can think how to stand out from the crowd a bit more. On the other side, maybe I can look into new markets too. Find my audience, my crowd, my niche. 

Lastly I just want other makers to know that I am going through this too. A rebellion against all that is making yourself look flawless in the internet. It is hard work, it was always going to be. Accepting rejection is just part of business, and if you can do that then the only way is up from there! 


Kitty Barn Portrait Commission

It’s been a while ago now since I undertook this commission. This blog has been popping with all sorts of announcements instead. I mean, there’s still announcements but let’s take a break from those and look at some commissioned work. 

Kitty barn Sheffield

The Kitty Barn is a new cat cafe that has recently opened on Chapel Walk in Sheffield. Just a couple of doors down from one of my stockists, Birds Yard. The owner of the cafe is a keen supporter of local art. She set about to showcase some Sheffield talent on the cafe walls. The cafe is home to 10 cats all rescued from Millhouses Animal Sanctuary.

I was commissioned to produce a painting of one of the cats, Kit. His distinctive markings and beautiful eyes made painting him in a surreal style irresistible. It was brilliant to be given the artistic freedom. This really shows with the breadth of art produced for the cafe. It’s great to have a local business feel passionate about supporting local artists and offer a platform to them.

Recently I reached out to the Kitty Barn Owner Sophie Petford to ask her why she has such a focus on supporting local art.

“I wanted to work with local artists because I always think handmade products have a lot more heart put in to their production.

I also believe that our consumable products are the same – they have been lovingly made and what sells them isn’t a big, corporate name, it’s the quality and fantastic taste, so we know we will be providing a good service stocking them in the café.

A lot of our artists are quite young as well or are just at the start of their journey, so purchasing and displaying their pieces helps support them both mentally and financially”

You can find more info on the cafe, including deals and how to book on their website


New project announcement: The Great York Ghost Search

I was approached by Snow Home UK in early June about taking part in their Great York Ghost Search. The event will be in its third year in 2019 and takes place in shops across the city. I had seen the Easter bunny version and thought that I would have liked to have taken part. To be specifically approached for a ghost version of the project therefore was most exciting. If there’s one thing for sure, I’m ALWAYS up for painting a spook! 

I don’t know if you noticed but I REALLY like ghosts

York is such a beautiful and interesting city with a rich supernatural heritage. I think that even just as an excuse to visit, the project is well worth getting involved in. The project consists of 26 artists customising 26 porcelain ghost lamps. This is a lamp for each letter of the alphabet. The lamps will be displayed in store fronts around the city centre. Maps are available for the Visit York tourist office to help you on your way. The trail runs October 11-November 1st, to cover Halloween and the half term holiday. 

There are even mini ceramic ghosts up for grabs on the trail too. Although I’m not sure if they are hidden or won,  but I am sure that I want one! I am donating my time to the trail which raises money for charity through an online auction at the end. The trail is the perfect half term family activity. Plus I t’s also as a dream opportunity for me to display my favourite kind of spooky art in a city I love. 

Feels a bit familiar?

The trail is similar to the Wild in Art trails I have been an artist with several times recently. Obviously on a much smaller scale! It’s a nice compromise to bring these arts trails to a city whose infrastructure I would imagine would not allow WIA participation.

Follow my Instagram page to see my design come to life, and visit my Etsy store for some of my York inspired artworks too. If you get chance to visit the trail, don’t forgot to tag me in your pics!