The Last 2 Months!

Life has been a little crazy lately, in an amazing way, and I’ve COMPLETELY let blogging fall by the wayside during the time. Sorry! Now I have a few mins, I thought I’d do a nice little round-up of June and July!

June: Photography Exhibition Launch, Ireland and beginnings of design range. 

At the start of June, I was already pretty busy, but when the opportunity came up to participate in a photography exhibit with lots of other amazing artists, I couldn’t say no! The exhibition was launched on 16th June at POD, Bishop Auckland, a really exciting new emerging art space and gallery, and runs through til mid August.

The whole process was a big learning curve for me, as I’ve never printed, framed and hung an exhibit before! It was complicated by a delivery mix-up by my courier too, but Tim Scott at POD generously re-printed all my pieces the night before hanging day to save me! So well appreciated.

The opening night was lovely, and the exhibited was formally opened by the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, with quite an amazing turnout of people. Here are a few snaps….

Amazing crowd at the opening…

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 The hanging committee…. Got everything done just in time with help from these two ❤11108409_10100529970896242_5692007375776673972_n 11406499_10100530819635362_246707746200930703_o 11412010_10100530821666292_5358781895618265179_o

 

I also took the chance to quickly pull together a few greeting card designs for this event. I have plans to develop a LOT more design stuff soon, but thought I’d get a few done in time to share here.  A greeting card buyer was gracious enough to share lots of hints and tips with me, which I’ve noted down in my wee book ready for the next round of designing.  You can find my existing stuff in my etsy store. 

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Another cool thing that rounded off the end of June was that Tea People, a fine tea company I founded with my friends Neeraj and Vishaka Agarwal, was selected to win ‘Small Business Sundays’, meaning lots of exposure. Tea People exists to raise funds for children, especially girls, who need help with their education. We aim to reach tea-growing regions of the world, and have started with Darjeeling.  Here’s some of our gorgeous new packaging, a collaborative effort between my talented illustrator friend Maria Amelia Randall and myself. The Agarwals do all the heavy lifting with Tea People really, so it’s always encouraging when we get these wee boosts to keep us going.

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Apart from all this, I also managed to tour Ireland for a week in a car with our dear friends The Whites- 6 of us in a car. Such a needed and inspiring rest/breather in between several weeks of non-stop work, and Dublin, of course, always breathes new artistic ideas into me.

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July: The BIG NEWS!

July finally saw the fruition of months of hard work, because my book collaboration with author Carly Brown, finally hit the shops! ‘I Love St Andrews‘ is a 64-page illustrated book, celebrating everything there is to love about St Andrews in Scotland, a town I called home for 10 years before moving to England.  Carly and I both traveled to St Andrews to launch the book during the British Open Championship (the golf!). In fact, my car was practically scraping along the ground from Durham to Scotland as i temporarily transported my life back up north for a few weeks.  We could not have been more delighted with the support we received. We’ve had so many lovely letters from fans of the book, and nice comments.  I wasn’t expecting so many people to say they were moved to tears! Waterstones gave us an ENTIRE wall at the front of their store which is such a career goal for me that I almost passed out! J&G Innes, the local bookseller, supported us with SO MANY things. We were delighted to host our official launch there and break out the champagne gifted by the local wine sellers. One of the best things for me was that so many friends I hadn’t seen for AGES turned up to celebrate with us. It was so moving!  I’m terrible at writing long descriptions but, again, here are some pics of us celebrating and signing books at various shops!

Books delivered…..

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Carly in front of our Waterstones Wall

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Carly reading aloud at the book launch at Innes.11737939_10100546865035252_1523282321968038473_n

11698468_10100544291407822_1701423879207034726_n Well hello there, window display!

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Carly with Laala, one of our 3 amazing editors!11707452_10100546822754982_4739161083564576853_n

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Delicious treats made by my wonderful talented friend Karen McCormack of Sucre Coeur.10984619_10100546865544232_550724188151480936_n

 Jannetta’s Gelateria were pretty pleased to be featured as one of our happy St Andrews memories. Oh, and free ice cream for us that week!11028015_10100546822176142_5711535259461527436_n

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Front page news during Open week. Couldn’t ask for more!11666186_10100543726489922_6383960696147147411_n11707536_10100543726479942_1020194970399452688_n11755684_10100546865140042_891013005131710912_n11755177_10100546865135052_5120661974236439262_n

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So strange and fantastic to see a nice wee ‘signed first edition’ on a book with your name on it in a real book store!
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One of the best bits was sharing the celebrations with my super talented friend Maria Randall, who illustrated the amazing new book Little Tommy Morris, also launched this month!  We used to sit at opposite ends of a dining table when we lived close to one another, sketching and planning our ideas, so what a thrill it was to see our books in shop windows side by side! I’m ridiculously proud of Maria and all she has achieved. She’s done more in one year than I did in 5!

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In summary though, i have to say that i’m just so grateful for how well the last couple of months have gone after all the crazy hard work. I’ve been scribbling lots of thank you notes but i just wanted everyone reading this to know how grateful I am for all the support and comments. It really lifts my spirits to get your emails, FB messages, tweets and notes.

Much love to all my supporters near and far!

-Gill

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