A page of gull studies in pencil and watercolour

Workshops, a fair and a New Craft Kit

Getting Ready for the Spring to be Sprung!

Easter is behind us, but the weather has only just realised today that it is time to stop blowing us sideways into a hedge! This has put a bit of a halt to my fieldwork trips to the beach over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Fortunately there is always plenty of admin to be getting on with while I am waiting for better weather as the end of another financial year has come around. To start off the year I have some workshops, a fair and a new craft kit!

New pieces online

The drawing I did manage to get done earlier in the winter has, however, enabled a refresh of my pieces in the Scottish Ornithologists Club online shop. You can see the shop here:

A quick trip to Norfolk

The last week in March found me getting a quick trip away to London and Norwich. A much needed break and a lovely catch up with old college friends. I was, of course, accompanied by the famous Bob! A drive out to Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast brought us sightings of marsh Harrier and dark bellied brent geese. Both not often seen here. And a visit to the lovely Birdscapes Gallery to see their exhibition of Society of Wildlife Artists work

Trying my hand at lithography

While I was away, I also had an opportunity to spend an afternoon trying my hand at stone lithography. This is a facinating and slightly magical process that allows very free drawing and mark making to be captured in print form and, as such, is right up my street.

I was very fortunate to have the expert guidance of Simon Burder of Oaks Fine Art to keep me right. Basically I had a very enjoyable time playing with some crayons and then followed instructions! The result was this little print of a curlew, a bird I have sketched quite a few times this winter.

a small image of a lithograph drawing featuring a curlew in front of rocks and seaweed with 3 starlings in the background on the rocks

Where you can find me in the next few weeks

Back in the studio, there is plenty to plan for in 2024. Later this year I will be part of large exhibitions in Whitehead and Portadown, but in the meantime, here are a few local events coming up in the next few weeks:

May Day Celebrations in Holywood

The popular May Day celebrations in Holywood will take place on Monday 6 May bank holiday.

The town centre will be transformed into a pedestrianised hub of activity centred on the town’s historic Maypole with displays of dance by local school children, and other traditions such as the Bonnie Baby competition and the crowning of the May Queen!

colourful logo of Art on the Rails

Art on the Rails

Art on the rails will be part of the bank holiday event with stalls in the main street

You will find me somewhere among the Art on the Rails stalls from 10am – 5pm

More details can be found on the Ards and North Down Borough website
Merry May Day promotional image. White text on a light blue background with a stylised maypole and council logos

Two New workshop dates

A photograph of paper birds hanging from beech twigs inserted into a white ceramic pot. Red text reads"Paper Bird Making Workshop, Tuesday 21 May 2024, 7-9pm, the Craft Room Newtownards

Paper bird making

My next paper bird making workshops will be at The Craft Room in Newtownards on Tuesday 21 May from 7 – 9pm

This will be a very relaxed and informal couple of hours. I will introduce you to a couple of useful tools and a few simple cutting and folding techniques. Hopefully everyone will go away with a Robin and a Blue tit. There are still places available. Bookings can be made on the Craft Room NI website.

Tuesday 21 May
7 – 9pm
The Craft Room, Newtownards

Bug Drawing workshop

On Saturday 15 June, I’ll be doing bug drawing workshops in the Walled Garden Bangor.

These will be 2 one hour drop ins. I will have some bugs from the garden ready to observe and draw and a selection of materials to use. You are welcome to bring along your own sketch book and materials if you wish

Sat 15 June 2024, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Saturday 15 June 2024, 1:00 – 2:00pm

Bangor Castle Walled Garden

Valentine Road
BT20 4BT

FREE (pre-booking recommended)

The contents and packaging of a craft kit to make a paper blue tit are laid out next to each other

New Kit now available!

While developing the materials for the workshops I have also come up with another kit to compliment the make your own Bob kit.

Now you can also make your own blue tit! These are already available in The Craft Room.

Workshops, a fair and a New Craft Kit Read More »

Logo for the Creative Peninsula

The Creative Peninsula returns for August Craft Month!

After being scuppered in 2020 by a certain pandemic, its great to have the Creative Peninsula Art and Craft Festival make a return for its 20th anniversary. I’ll be taking part in a number of events – read on for details of these. For a complete listing of all the events taking place across the borough of Ards and North Down, check out the Creative Peninsula website.

The Creative Peninsula is also part of August Craft Month, a month long celebration of all things craft across Northern Ireland. August Craft Month did take place last year in virtual form, but this year, its 15th, it will be wonderful for artists and audiences alike to have face to face events once again. Listings for all the events can be found on the Craft NI website. Here are Katherine McDonald, Craft NI Director, and Suzanne Lyle from the Arts Council NI talking about this years August Craft Month:

New Makers Directory Listing

Craft NI also has its new Makers Directory up and running. Makers from across Northern Ireland are gradually populating their profiles so the directory will continue to grow. I have just completed my profile which you can view here

logo for Craft NI Makers Directory
watercolour drawing of two ants, one with a large cake crumb


For the month of August two Creative Peninsula exhibitions will run which showcase the work of makers and artists from across the borough of Ards and North Down. I have submitted one piece to each show. This year I have chosen to showcase my insect field drawings. These were made in the garden at home and were my response to being unable to make my usual field trips due to the travel restrictions imposed during the first wave of Covid.

The principle and larger of the two shows is at Ards Arts Centre. The second exhibition takes place at North Down Museum

Creative Peninsula in the Square

As always events will kick of with the an Art and Craft village appearing in Conway Square, Newtownards! this year, for everyone’s safety, a one way system, hand sanitizer stations and careful control of numbers will be in operation. I will also have hand sanitizers at my stall for anyone who requires them.

The event will take place this coming Friday, 30th July, from 11am to 5pm. I will be there with cards, prints, paper birds and original art for you to peruse!

Alfresco Art

it is always a pleasure to take part in this event which has a relaxed Sunday afternoon vibe enjoyed by makers and visitors alike. Enjoy a coffee from the Coffee Cure at North Down Museum and watch free demos from a range of artists and craft makers. There will be a chance to have a go yourself in some cases. I will be making my paper birds and will also have some free versions to colour in and make. the full list of artists and times can be found on the Creative Peninsula website:


This year I am also delivering my “Drawing a Moving Object” workshop, featuring the famous revolving sheep skull! Although, if the weather is nice we might venture out to the square in search of pigeons!

The workshop is on Wednesday 4th August from 10 am to 1pm. You can find out more and book a place on the Creative Peninsula website

The Great Kit Challenge exhibition

This has been a great project to take part in and we are all nearing the point where we can offer our kits for sale. Generous friends and family are currently beavering away trying to make the kits we have given them. We await their verdicts and feed back with trepidation!

To celebrate our efforts and the successful completion of the project there will be an exhibition at Top Floor Art in Saintfield where you will be able to see and hopefully buy all the kits that have been created.

Details for the Exhibition and meet the maker events at Top Floor Art can be found in the August Craft Month listings.

The Creative Peninsula returns for August Craft Month! Read More »