The Spring Hare Gift Guide

Mad as a March Hare

Boxing hares are one of the key indicators in the natural world that spring is on it’s way.  This behaviour marks the beginning of the breeding season, causing lots of unpredictable, frenzied action and excitement in the hares.  So much so that the term ‘Mad as a March hare’ was coined in the 16th century to describe a person acting in a similar way.  This also must have surely inspired the March Hare character in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The Spring Hare

spring hare ooak doll

The hare has become synonymous with spring.  Both are symbolically linked to fertility and the nocturnal hare is sacred to the Goddess of Easter, Ostara or Eostre.

The Handmade Hare

I have never witnessed this curious natural event in person and it is something I would very much like to see.  So in the meantime I have collated a collection of hare inspired goodies from independent UK designers and makers on Etsy.

hare necklace

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FenandCo

 

wire hare

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WireyCreatures

 

hare card

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaintingPasserine

 

Lucy Hare

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LucyBrydonArt

 

hare cup

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HudsonandMiddleton

You can discover more hare finds on my Pinterest board.

Small makeup bag by Vaudeville Hippie

Mother’s Day Gifts from UK Etsy Sellers

Mother’s Day UK 2017

Mother’s Day in the UK is approaching us on Sunday 26th March.  Celebrating and acknowledging all the wonderful things our mums do for us is important and should not be limited to this one day.

In recognition of this, here are some of our favourite handmade items from Etsy, a global marketplace of handmade, vintage and creative goods, that are available all year round.

This post features sellers from the United Kingdom, but you can be sure there are plenty of amazing makers in your local area destined to be discovered.

Handmade in the UK Wallet by Vaudeville Hippie

Billfold Wallet by VaudevilleHippie

Choose Handmade

There are many benefits from choosing handmade gifts.  The internet provides a greater variety of choice, which means you are likely to uncover a gift that is unique and different from the usual cliches that are available in the high street shops.

Painted Wooden Necklace Handmade in the UK by Vaudeville Hippie

Up-cycled Necklace by VaudevilleHippie

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

So lets celebrate the small independent makers and embrace some of the beautifully hand crafted items, by individuals and small businesses that have been created with passion and dedication to their craft.

Handmade Soap

Help your mum soak it all up with these hand crafted vegan soaps made out of luxurious essential oils and organic shea butter from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Aromawakening.

soap

Handmade soap by Aromawakening

Fabric Phone Case

Give a new lease of elegance to your mother’s phone and dress it in one of these lovely fabric phone cases by www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modernandvintage.

phonecase

Fabric phone case by Modernandvintage

Original Textile Art

Give a truly beautiful one of a kind  art doll to adorn your mum’s living space from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/pantovola.

pantovola

Textile art doll by Pantovola

Paper Flowers

Experience flowers that will last and with a unique twist by www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaperBouquetsUK

flowers

Paper Flower Bouquet by PaperBoutuetsUK

 

Unique Jewellery

Try a gift that is simple and delicate with this special necklace from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WishesontheWind

dandelion

Glass Dandelion Necklace by WishesontheWind

 

Happy Mother’s Day to All

For more handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas please visit our Pinterest board.

 

 

Bath Upchuck 2011

Bath Upchuck

Bath Upchuck

The Bath Upchuck is an annual one day circus convention organised by Bath University’s juggling club Gravity Vomit and is almost upon us, next Saturday 25th February 2017. It is held in the university’s large sports hall, which provides a great space to practise. Naturally the high ceiling provides jugglers with perfect opportunity to perfect their siteswaps with larger numbers of clubs, balls or rings.  There is also plenty of room for hoopers, poi and staff spinners too.

The event is split into a day session that is reserved for general practise, workshops and socialising with others who have a common interest.  And of course, like any good circus meet up the day ends with the much loved games, such as gladiators and endurance. Whereas the evening is a real treat with the nighttime  performances.  Top performers in their field showcase their acts.  This must be a daunting prospect for the performers because they are showing their skills to people who understand the techniques and theory behind them.

Our First Upchuck

So this was us in 2011, enjoying our first Bath Upchuck experience, with our local circus group The Boscombe Spinners.

Circus Conventions

I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has not experienced a circus convention to give it a go. Vaudeville Hippie has enjoyed being a part of the circus community for several years now and many of our friends are through our shared love of practising object manipulation.

Vaudeville Hippie at Southern Lights Circus Festival 2010

Southern Lights Festival 2010

We have been to several gatherings of circus skills enthusiasts and  I must say that they are the friendliest events I have ever experienced.  Southern Lights Festival, that ran from 2007-2011  in Dorset, was an excellent example of this.  This is because conventions and festivals provide a space for experienced professionals and newcomers to practise side by and share ideas about the props and tricks they feel most passionate about. Or simply to pick up tips and advice about the technical issues they are struggling with. The sharing continues through the many workshops that are on offer at these events and nothing beats the thrill and satisfaction of learning a new trick.

One Big Family

It only takes a couple of visits to these circus events before you realise it is made up of a close knit community people. After a while faces become familiar from one festival to the next convention. We made friends with the people we camped next to at our first Play Festival and the following year camped next to them again and continued the fun where we left off from the previous year.

Vaudeville Hippie at Play Circus Festival

Play Festival 2013

The evening shows and end games really help to consolidate this family feel with friendly banter using well known circus heckles, but also admiration and support for the performances.

So this year why not get yourself a set of juggling balls, poi or hula hoop and join in the fun!

Links

Bath Upchuck 2017

Play Festival 2017

British Juggling Convention 2017

European Juggling Convention 2017

VaudevilleHippie Etsy Shop

 

A Cloth Doll For Steve: Zombie Poi Spinner

So for Steve’s birthday doll I wanted to created something a bit more masculine.  After a bit of thought I decided to base his doll on some design ideas that he developed for Vaudeville Hippie in the early days based on zombie jugglers.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Steve and I enjoy practising circus skills, which includes the art of poi spinning.  Now am I not sure, but I think we were heavily into The Walking Dead at the time, which sparked the inspiration for the zombie juggler range.

CLUB ZOMBIE 2

DIABOLO ZOMBIE 2

BALL ZOMBIE 3

To create the artwork, Steve whole heartedly threw himself into this project, posing with a range of circus props in different zombie stances and facial expressions.

zombie juggler design exposed on a silk screen

zombie juggler hoodie screen print

These were then hand drawn and then adapted in Illustrator and Photoshop with filters so that they could be prepared for a silk screen print for T-Shirt printing.

IMG_6214

POI ZOMBIE 2

IMG_3904

Poi Zombie (Drawn)

I tried to copy the stance and facial expression of Steve’s zombie poi spinner photo and drawing as faithfully as I could, with some artistic license with the hair.

IMG_6222

I wanted to create a sense of the hair decomposing and therefore have used a combination of cut up plastic from beer can holders and small off cuts of black netting fabric.

Now, although this is based on Steve’s work, it has allowed me to start personalising the style of the dolls and moving away from the templates I have been using so far.

IMG_6211

The body parts are a combination of patterns from both Jan Horrox and Patti Medaris Culea to get the shape of the arms that most reflected the photo I had chosen to work from, one bent and one straight, this meant resizing the length of one of the arms to keep them a uniform length.  I also extended the length of the legs and added wire inside to enable to doll to stand in his zombie pose.  To create a male torso, I widen the waist.

IMG_6220

IMG_6226 IMG_6225

The details have been drawn on by hand with micron pens and water colour pencils and a little bit of stitching in red for the zombie scars.

IMG_6228

The poi are simple and small woollen pom-poms.

I am planning to make more zombie juggler fabric dolls.  To see my other OOAK cloth doll creations and read about my doll making challenge click the appropriate links!

What’s in a name? The meaning of Vaudeville to me

Why ‘Vaudeville Hippie’?

When I was deciding upon a company name I wanted to choose something that naturally reflected our passion and inspiration from all things circusy. Not only is the ability to practise circus skills important to us as a hobby, but visually, the circus theme has limitless potential from the shapes, colours and patterns it provides. I have become particularly drawn to circus stripes and the colour combination of red, black and white.

Circus is also the starting point for product range and our choice to develop our own fabric poi.  As poi spinners we realised that the majority of poi on the market had very similar designs and wanted to explore other possibilities.IMG_2167

I had never heard of vaudeville until we went to an event in Bournemouth titled ‘Vaudeville Circus and Masquerade Ball’. The night had a range of acts ranging from circus, to burlesque to belly dance and we were lucky enough to see English pin-up and burlesque dancer Anna Fur Laxis and her axe throwing act.

Image

IMG_1351

IMG_1380Since then, it has been a visual and creative reference point. I have particularly enjoyed exploring and collecting images using Pinterest and incorporating these ideas into my drawing and craft work. Whilst exploring images for my Pinterest boards I came across these gorgeous costumes by London based Prangsta Costumiers. I simply adore these costumes and feel that they totally sum up everything I love about the circus and cabaret style.

History of Vaudeville

Vaudeville is a style of entertainment first popularised in America in the early twentieth century. Acts would vary widely from belly dance, circus, burlesque, freak (bearded woman etc), novelty and comedy as characterised by Charlie Chaplin, all wrapped up with a strong vintage flavour.

Vaudeville Illustration

There are some great vaudeville finds on Etsy. These are a few of my favourites that capture the genre through either colour, style, costuming and Victorian aesthetic.  Each image take you directly back to the original pages on Etsy so you can explore these delights further.

flapper treasury

gypsy hats

lovechild dark fusion

Sketch Book Journaling

I really enjoy looking at and searching for the many diverse examples of sketch book journal pages that are currently out there on the world wide web!  I love the freedom and self expression contained in each page, as if it had its own mini story to tell.  I admire the way each artist uses a combination of the basic elements of art including colour, shape, pattern and texture that have been carefully (and sometimes accidentally) arranged and created by layering and reworking to create a rich and dynamic surface to work upon.  These pieces have then been lovingly developed with additional imagery that has either been hand drawn or found combined with text, which has been handwritten or pre-printed fonts.


Sketch book journal page by Journal Girl

I particularly like the work of Samantha Kira Harding aka Journal Girl who I discovered on YouTube a couple of years ago.  What I admire the most about Samie is her openness about living with her chronic illness and how art is helping her to get through it.  Not only does Samie create beautifully vibrant journal pages, she has uploaded over one hundred detailed video tutorials that provide useful information about suppliers, techniques and processes.  I picked up a useful tip recently when I watched this video below and discovered that to achieve the depth of shadow around key images, Samie uses a black watercolour pencil.  This seems so obvious now, but it just had not occurred to me to do that.  So I am very much looking forward to using my newly gained knowledge.

Up until about four years ago I was not even really aware of the concept of journaling until I came across some books by accident through Amazon’s ‘frequently bought together’ option where I was presented with Cory Moorgat’s ‘Art of Personal Imgery’ and Lisa Sonora Beam‘s ‘The Creative Entrepreneur’.  I was intrigued and captivated by this new and freer way of working.  (Although admittedly it has taken me all this time to actually start to explore this process for myself).

The Creative Entrepreneur Lisa Sonora Beam
The Art of Personal Imagery Cory Moorgat

I mostly use Pinterest to discover new examples of journal art and it seems to be quite a popular topic for a pin board.  My favourite pin is this one below.  I love the use of stitched line, simplified dragon fly, magenta circles and textured surface on the left hand side.

Sketchbook journal example

My Own Work

These are still very much work in progress.  I have yet to achieve the level of depth and detail. I would like to develop my own visual style a little more but I am happy that I have a starting point to work with. I have been inspired by Steampunk, Masquerade Ball, Circus and Alice Wonderland (Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit).

Sketch book journal pages Vaudeville Hippie