Home is where the heart is...

The official county motto for Essex is 'Many minds, one heart'

.......an alternative Joey Essex motto 'Who is the prime minister of Essex?'

I am a proud Essex girl (I'm also quite fond of Hertfordshire too, having been born in the Herts and Essex Hospital)

This deep rooted affection for my manor is what has given a boost to my upholstery business and is what inspires much of my artwork. In this little blog post I'm going to share some of this local love and explain how some local landmarks have influenced my work. Even with all the recent changes in the area and the much discussed roadworks, its worth celebrating how good we've got it in this neck of the woods.

When I was on a creative roll one day, after painting some fabric for a chair. I thought I should extend this into a range of locally inspired cushions. The best subject matter is what you know about?

Traditionally upholstered wingback chair with handpainted fabric

Aine Allanson - Traditional Upholstery

Stansted Mountfitchet Windmill August 2017

In the damp dreariness of February 2018, I'm harking back to the sunshine of last August and the annual Stansted Mountfitchet Windmill fete. This event has a wonderful community atmosphere, usually a beautiful blue sky and always has a brilliant cake stall. Walking through the village on such a perfect day made me appreciate yet again how nice this area is. They're so many quirky and charming features. All of which provide artistic inspiration....

It's the little everyday things which float my boat, like a day out at a fete, buying supplies in a village shop, having a chat with a neighbour or being stuck in a traffic jam. Finding joy in the ordinary. Something I see while I'm out might spark an idea. I like to combine all these little stories and tidbits in my work. I put a lot of this in my sketchbooks and record my memories visually.

Blue Sky Stansted Windmill Fete

Handpainted fabric - inspired by Stansted Windmill
Glorious Stansted Windmill August Bank Holiday

As mentioned and illustrated in this blog. When I'm choosing subject matter for my work I collect images from a range of places I've visited, including my home turf Stansted Mountfitchet e.g the Norman Soldier featured on the village signs, Mountfitchet Castle, plants from the fields around the nature reserve and of course the good old windmill.

Handpainted cushions - Boardmans Stag Bishops Stortford, Stansted soldier, nature reserve and frogspawn.

Stansted Mountfitchet Celebrity......Percy......my muse...

Percy the legendary resident Stansted Mountfitchet peacock. Famous for roaming from his official home at Mountfitchet Castle and loudly calling for a girlfriend! He's so important he has his own road signs.

Percy Peacock Cushion, hand painted and handmade
Slow Peacocks Crossing, Stansted Mountfitchet

Mixing permanent t pigment, fabric paint and dye.

These photos show some of the stages creating bespoke painted fabric (from initial sketchbook ideas, mixing pigment, saturating the thick cotton and building up layers of colour). I use this fabric for soft furnishings and upholstery. Because of the technique and the fabric heat fixed painting medium I use, the fabric is colour fast.

Sketchbook Percy peacock and Mountfitchet castle

Work in progress - Fabric painting

Building up colour washes - Fabric painting

Creative process - Fabric paint and dye

work in progress - fabric paint, permanent pigment on heavy weight cotton

Marie Antoinette - in progress. Mixing fabric paint.

I have lots more locally inspired delights and other subject matter (such as Marie Antoinette above ^) planned for my work. I am currently in the fortunate position of having lots of upholstery jobs booked in, so I'm squeezing my textile art experimentation, drawing and painting into my spare tme, when I have some!

My illustrated cushions are available to purchase from my

Etsy Shop

Facebook page

I will be building up my inventory in 2018 and trying to share the creative process via blog posts. Blogging doesn't come naturally to me. But, I have lurked on the internet long enough, and learnt so much from informative and motivational articles, I'm giving i t a go myself. It definitely focuses the mind.

#Essex #BishopsStortford #LocalBusiness #Hertfordshire #Art #Painting #Windmill #Castle #StanstedMountfitchet #Stansted #SoftFurnishings #Fabric #Textiles #VillageLife #Upholstery #Cushions #Chairs

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