Sunday, 15 July 2012

Trumpet Voluntary...

I'm sure you've heard of the expression 'blowing your own trumpet'? Naturally, some are better than others at blowing that trumpet. Some people are quite happy to tell you what they've done, how they're doing it, how good it is and why you should part with some money to experience it! Others are not so ready to put the trumpet mouthpiece to their lips and blow. But perhaps they should play a tune more often.

I'd like to do a bit of trumpet blowing. Its not for me, well, not directly...

This week issue 53 of Aceville's Let's Make Cards magazine was published. Craft magazine? This is Rock 'n' Rail, not craft 'n' sew! Never mind, today we'll talk arts 'n' crafts.

Not for the first time, an issue of this magazine comes complete with a full kit of stamps, papers, die-cuts and more. And, not for the first time, this kit has been designed and produced by our dear notjustmum or, as crafters know her, Sharon Bennett. The theme of the kit with issue 53 is 'Retro Baking'.

Sharon has been producing these kits digitally now for a couple of years. She shares the task with others: they do one month, she does the next. But, rest assured dear reader, Sharon produces EVERYTHING in the kits that bear her name.

Lets's Make Cards comes from Colchester based publishers Aceville and, amongst other title in their stable, is another craft superstar magazine, Crafts Beautiful. At the time of writing, Sharon is no longer a contributor to CB -- as it is affectionately known -- however she had contributed for the previous 20 years or so; ceramic painting, glass painting, painting on wood, card making, painting on metal, lino printing, silk painting, rubber stamping. You name the craft, she's produced a feature for Aceville on it and our house is full of many items that once adorned the pages of the magazine.

Now, there are plenty of ladies -- and some gentlemen -- out there making cards, scrap-booking, creating photo-frames and so on and plenty of them also contribute to CB... but what sets Sharon apart is that she originates everything in the project. Nothing is purchased at the craft shop and then put together at the work bench. No, Sharon designs the motif, she then works that into a design for the given medium and then applies it. She does it all.

Because what sets Sharon apart is that she is not a crafter; she is an artist, an illustrator, a designer. She can design, illustrate, paint and design both traditionally and digitally. Sharon has been using Adobe Photoshop for about 10 years now and an awful lot of her work is either originated in Photoshop or, at some point in its life-cycle, is manipulated in Photoshop.

Some people seem to think that 'digital' means that it is delivered via e-mail as a JPEG or PDF. Well, that's true up to a point... but with Sharon, digital really means DIGITAL. Her work is no longer painted on metal, wood, glass or fabric... it's digital. Its a file on a hard disc on a MacBook Pro.
And that is how the 'free' kit on Let's Make Cards 53 has been generated: digitally.

Others have made cards that are in the magazine using the kit but, as I say, Sharon is the originator.
In the past year, she has also designed several ranges of rubber stamps for Hobby Art. These can often be seen on Create & Craft TV channel. Again, we also see an awful lot of the cards made with the stamps on screen. But, let us not forget, the original drawing, design and development of the stamp is by Sharon Bennett.

Sharon has 6 books to her name, has a wikipedia page, went to the same art college as Tracy Emin (there the similarity ends), teaches craft techniques on P&O Cruises, used a dot in her designs before certain other and more famous 'crafters' and regularly gives away some of her designs on her own blog. She's not one, however, to blow her own trumpet. But she should. The tune would be magnificent as the many who use her kits or rubber stamps would surely testify.