Gone Fishin’ Workshop!

Anybody who read my last (moany, sorry!) post knows it’s been a bit of a roller coaster trying to find mates here in Brussels and extend the very limited circle of people I can wear my trackie pants in front of, and this post is going to seem like that was all a load of, well, crap. But it’s not, I assure you! Either way, I recently got to know a wonderful Dutch illustrator in French (Niveau II if you don’t mind!!), living in Brussels as an au pair for a year.

(Sidebar: Apparently “au pair” isn’t a French expression and has no meaning in French. So my incredibly knowledgeable French-speaking Belgian tells me, and I believe him. Weird though, where did it come from if not from French-speaking young women, trudging across Europe with their long blonde hair and accents straight from Allo Allo, dutifully caring for snotty nosed brats in the Anglophone world?!)

Michelle and I started talking in French class about the things we actually like to do, as opposed to minding other people’s children, and we discovered the creative in each other. We decided to work on a small project together to start, with Michelle preparing illustrations from which we would create a set of children’s characters, who would find their way onto quilts and bunting and god knows what else!

Today we conducted a small experiment at my atelier (mwah haw haw), just to see how and what we might do together, and it was a heap of fun! I’ve not had that experience of co-creating something hands-on with someone else since… maybe, since I was a kid! We chatted, drank tea and ate Reeses Pieces, working out the kinks in the piece as we went. And I had so much fun!

This is it! For sure, this is it! This is what I want to do. I’ve been saying it for a while now, but after just a short few hours, co-creating with someone else, with our defined roles, at a shared table and with shared resources, I know it absolutely. I want a creative collective with people who have simliar ideas to mine, with complementary skills, and with whom I can bounce things off and feel the excitement of moving forward on a project.


Michelle’s idea was to illustrate an under-the-sea scene, so we started on a fish character, who could double as a lavender bag for a kiddies wardrobe. And look how cute he is! Michelle drew the template on greaseproof paper and we rummaged through my fabric stash for suitable colours and textures. There were some issues with how to make the fish with two different fabrics and in the end, I’m not sure we chose the best course, as the tail was quite difficult to turn inside out. But still, as far as experimental start’s go, he’s adorable!

There’s Michelle, nervously taking a scissors to fabric!

More pictures to follow as we work out the rest of the characters! I’ll concentrate the next time for better quality pics, promise!

a x



9 thoughts on “Gone Fishin’ Workshop!

  1. Oh oh… “Au pair” is French indeed, what I meant is that it’s old French, and that the etymology of the expression is very uncertain to me (although, I could find an explanation here: http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/au_pair ). And funny enough, “au pair” sounds even stranger to me when used by English speakers!

  2. LOL I’m so self-obsessed (and bad at French) that when I read ‘niveau II’ I thought you meant that Michelle is Niamho II ! hahaha. Very glad you’ve got a crafty buddy over there though πŸ™‚

    Re. the photos, I know slick ones are great for making finished works look their best but for this sort of thing I like your shots – they’re keeping it real!

    1. Ha ha! You know I could never replace you with a Niamho II πŸ˜€ You’re irreplaceable lady!

      Thanks for the pics comments. I’ll keep it in mind for the next workshop! Maybe with you and a certain bunting maker in Dublin Castle?! πŸ™‚

      1. Indeed! Let’s find a date. I’d love my Irish ladies here to bring a touch of the Gael to Brussels!
        We could have tea next Friday morning when I’m back? YOu could take a little coffee break!! πŸ™‚

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