Tutor Blog: Getting The London Look!


Liz and Kate Pope are a Chesterfield-based illustration team who happen to be twins! They teach our fabulous Collage workshops where you can create either a framed piece or some cards. Their next workshop is on Tuesday 15th November – a perfect opportunity to make some Christmas Cards!!

We’ve had a busy few months in the studio working on illustrating a few adult colouring books, so it’s been all about tricky, detailed line work lately! One of the projects we’ve illustrated was for a General Knowledge Crossword Book, so we’ve been researching all sorts of topics… from the Alps to Korean Currency, we even had to brush up on our knowledge of Chess! Honestly, we’ll be great at pub quizzes now!

It was a nice change last week to be working on some brand new pieces for a lovely gallery! It’s always nice when we are contacted from somewhere further afield to exhibit our work, and this time it is The Robins Nest Gallery in the little picturesque village of Wargrave on the River Thames.

Picking up on its location, we thought it would be our perfect opportunity to create some nice big pieces based on London! We love taking in the sights down there – especially at Christmas time – in fact Kate will be spending the weekend there soon so she’s sure to return with an Xmas Bauble (or two) from Liberty’s – a place we can never resist, well can you blame us?!

These new pieces were inspired by London Landmarks, and use our trademark mix of collage, paint,  and mixed media – building up layers of paint, collage, line work and more paint! We like to look at the buildings as if they are patterns and shapes to create almost a patchwork within a piece.

Next on our list are St Ives and Padstow pieces! We have also been challenged to create our versions of Dubai & New York – best get painting!

Tutor Blog: Mosaic Madness & Festive Fairs


Lis Greensmith is the lovely lady behind Lily Mosaics. She runs all of the Mosaic Workshops at StraightCurves and we also stock some of her DIY Kit range. In the first of our Tutor Blog series, she tells us about her crazy Christmas preparations:

Well it’s the mad season here at the Lily Mosaics’ studio in Nuthall! As well as my workshops, I’m trying to get new Christmas stock to all my stockists, and physically make stock for my 6 Christmas fairs which start in two weeks’ time. Panic, me?! Ha ha.

I’ve bribed enlisted the help of my two sisters who are coming to help me on the DIY Kit assembly line, and we’re aiming to put around 200 kits together! Lily Mosaics currently has 19 designs in the DIY kit range, and so I need at least 10 of each design making up ready to sell, plus in this last week alone I have sent out 3 orders – one for 18 kits, another for 20, and a big one to Denman College in Oxfordshire for 28! Who needs sleep?!

My Son started at Uni a few weeks ago and mentioned that he wanted to come home this weekend… Fabulous news of course, but his bed is ceiling high with stock and boxes at the moment, so he may well have to sleep on the sofa. Poor boy! Lily Mosaics’ stock has literally taken over his bedroom, the dining room, the conservatory, the ensuite shower cubicle (we have another, please don’t worry!!), the garage, the attic – oh and I’ve hidden yet more stock behind the sofa in the lounge (don’t tell the husband).  So you see, it really is a little bit crazy here at Lily Mosaics HQ!

xmastrees  fabstall2013-1   fabplaces

So, as I say, my fairs start in less than two weeks’ time. November kicks off with the Handmade Christmas Fair inside the stunning Southwell Minster on Saturday 5th November. That is THE most beautiful candle-lit setting and when the Minster choir starts singing it really is Heaven. The following weekend (12th & 13th November) is the 2-day Fabulous Places Christmas Market at the Roundhouse in Derby which involves setting up my stall at 6am on the Saturday morning and then selling til 6pm, eek!  The Roundhouse is another stunning venue, of huge architectural interest, and I love doing the events there. I then have Christmas fairs at the Derby High School on the 19th November and the Walled Garden in Beeston on Sunday 20th.  The 26th and 27th November sees me at the Kelham Hall Christmas Fair in Newark, and then my final event, and the one I am actually organising with a friend, is the Christmas Artisan Market at Strelley Hall on December the 3rd and 4th.  We have the most yummy local food producers selling their wares – artisan breads, cheese, fudge, wines, locally produced beers – and of course many stalls will be displaying the talents of local artists and designer/makers (like myself)!  The mulled wine and mince pies will be flowing…

I hope I survive the season.  And I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas (yes, the dreaded “C” word in October – well I’ve been planning for it since July, so think yourself lucky, haha!).

Here’s to a very happy and healthy Christmas for all of us!

Lis xx