Nicky Dowd

Artist in Residence

Blog

This Blog will be a window into the inspirations of my week that I think you may like to share too. It will have top tips that I have discovered, bite size art and craft that you can try out and samples of projects I am working on. Aswell as ideas for workshops you and your friends can come and do with me if you want a day or weekend in Westport.

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Top tip No 2 Clothes fitting trick

Posted on 4 August, 2016 at 20:35 Comments comments (0)

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Top Tip No 1- Strawberry Hulling

Posted on 4 August, 2016 at 20:30 Comments comments (0)

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Scented Candle Workshop

Posted on 1 August, 2016 at 19:35 Comments comments (0)

Upcycle your old candles by melting them gently over a tea light food warmer ,add a wax crayon shaving for colouring (less is more) and some aromatherapy oils ,dried rose buds or lavender seeds.I used short wicks with a metal base from the internet .Set in Shells you have collected from the beach .They make lovely presents .Always be aware of leaving a naked flame around .Or come to one of my Workshops in Westport .Contact me for details .

 

CRAFT,COFFEE & CAKE Workshop at The Gallery (brewery Place)WESTPORT

Posted on 21 June, 2016 at 11:20 Comments comments (0)

So much fun rippin' and shtickin' we are going to do it all again soon but think we may have a new addition joining us.We did keep it as chilled as poss!!!.


Crafty coffee and cake Workshop June 22nd THE GALLERY Wesport

Posted on 9 May, 2016 at 5:50 Comments comments (0)

A couple of sassy samples for my next workshop using vintage vogues ,1950's Graphis and hollywood mags.Tips for decoupaging,rip(don't cut) dip (in water to soften paper) and stick (laying least favourite down first).Be generous with the PVA and tuck images over and under to weave them together.You can decoupage just about anythin
g, walls, furniture, old boxes. (lightly sand a shiny surface first). Use old poetry, chldren's, botanical books. Maps, stamps, tickets. Go for it. Wahoo you know it's the excuse you needed so get stuck in .

After-Patchwork Chimney Breast

Posted on 13 April, 2016 at 9:00 Comments comments (0)

Take a wet weekend,1 old fabric sample book, 2 bottles of PVA, sharp scissors, a husband happy Dj'ing with some Jack Daniels and a tape measure and a bottle of Melbec for me -took a bit longer than the weekend but then doesn't it always.

Carlie and Craig's Wedding Flowers

Posted on 7 April, 2016 at 20:00 Comments comments (0)

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I was recently honoured to be asked to create Carlie (bestest friends daughter's) and Craig's Easter Wedding Decorations. Craig is a maverick and a bit of a plane spotter, Carlie being so laid back gave the perfect direction to me -yes ,fun, happy, colourful, whatever. I have never been so excited.Howard the photographer has snapped a few of the details but if you are looking for some ideas here is a list of a few things I did.

There were 3 main rooms -the meet and greet area

We had a fun night decoupaging polystyrene eggs with polka dot paper napkins and pretty ribbon ready to make an Easter tree table plan and Carlie cut out cardboard planes for the table names .It was a  show stopper piece made from a 4 foot budding plum blossom branch given by a friend that we sat by the radiator for 3 days to coax it out.!I love using real twigs and it was the ideal time of year when the white thorn leaves were just peeping lime irridescent green so I cheated and stuck a few silk flowers over them and that was propped over the huge wooden fireplaces . Kilner jars wrapped with hessian and simple single Easter flowers and twigs went on the sunny windowsills in between old photographs of their loved ones.

The Chapel  represented the next chapter evolving . This time the budding white thorn branch (with cheating silk blossom stuck on ) had blue tits and butterflies aswell and framed the fireplace infront of the bride and groom.Simple Toile net bows tied around the leading aisle chairs with lavender (Shropshire fields)and rosemary twigs ( gathered from friends gardens) creating a welcoming scent and ofcourse when the bridal ontarage arrived the vibrant Easter colours were introduced.

The reception room .This is where the fun and madness began .Teapots filled with a cocophone of coloured flowers and scents is pretty normal ,so we balanced  false nests filled with chocolate eggs and a sitting blue tit on top of their Grandmothers favourite cup and saucers entwined with eucaplyptus leaves.Carlie invited friends to write a message on a piece of jenga to play later which entertained the guests.

The dining room .So I mentioned earlier that the Groom was into aeroplanes. I got a bag of plastic aeroplanes from the internet (all of £3) -they were about 3 cm long -sprayed them raspberry red (bridesmaids colour) and glue gunned them onto some spiral twigs to mix amongst the flowers .From a distance they looked like some sort of exotic japanese blossom -great fun watching people realise what they were.The room was light and airy with tall ceilings so needed scale.We bought 12 tall glass vases and created loose high posies with pussy willow,wild roses,scented jonquils,ranunclus,hyacynth,daffodills,parrot edged tulips and verbenas. Sprigs of rosemary and lavender were gathered with a hessian bow around the table napkins and Carlie filled named eggcups with speckled chocolate eggs as place settings. The evening before I had shot around the local hedgerows and clipped a few twigs of flowering sloe blossom which provided a delicate foil for more of the decoupaged eggs which we scatttered in tall bottles around the window ledges bringing the glorious sping day outside -in.

The bridal bouquets were loosely structured bunches of the flowers used throughout the day contrasting raspberry with burnt orange ,violets and blues ,creams and yellows. The gents corsages were Orange gerbera with lavender and rosemary ,The ladies wild roses with lavender and rosemary.

All the loose flower heads that gathered during the making of the floral arrangements were put into a small wicker basket for the flower girl to tear up and petal scatter.She was 3 and looked adorable taking her reponsibility extrememly seriously -needless to say not one flower was "broken" on her watch.

Wonderful day ---joyous work -- happy times with special people.


 


Valentines Alternative

Posted on 13 February, 2016 at 13:10 Comments comments (0)

It may be Winter outside but in my heart it's Spring.

Abandon the shmultzy Red Heart, champers,chocolates ,food of love and make him something .

2 hours -square piece of MDF/Plywood .Paint with vinyl matt emulsion ,draw around a paper heart stencil, hammer in tacks around the edge of the board and heart (don't worry about being equidistant -mine were about 1 cm apart ) Weave ribbon,wire,string ,wool back and forth .You could choose to cover the positive space and fill in the heart .Have fun .Very therapeutic and great for all ages .Try different shapes .possibilites endless. 

Desert serving suggestion

Posted on 21 January, 2016 at 0:35 Comments comments (0)
Here's a glamorous spin on the banana ice cream desert and if it wasn't easy I wouldn't show you.
Lay out a piece of grease proof paper .
Heat 100 g sugar in a small frying pan,watch it until it starts to melt around the edges it should take about a minute. Take it off the heat and gently tilitling the pan swirl it around to help it mix in .You want to stop it from catching and burning so keep moving the pan around but avoid stirring with a wooden spoon until it is nearly all melted. Stir it gently back on the heat until it is all a golden toffee brown and the crunchy crystals of sugar have gone.Leave it for about a minute to cool .DONT touch it it is really hot .Move the pan near your grease proof paper and dip a fork in the toffee .Make swirls or criss crosses on the grease proof .In 2 minutes you will be able to pick them up and pop them in your desert to make Caramel sails.Sprinkle a little salt over them for that salted caramel taste. If it sets in the pan too quickly put it back on the heat for 30 secs.
This is the banana ice cream with a shot of Tia Maria or espresso coffee and almonds.Very inexpensive but great combo of flavours .Have fun 






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