My First Zine!

Zines are like miniature magazines and can be on any topic that you want. They were originally developed as an alternative to main stream media and they have been in and out of popularity ever since. There are even zine events around the world. Zines are a way for anyone to share their story or their voice with other people. They can be made of anything and be of any quality, that freedom really appeals to the creative in me.

I have seen zines at various art fairs but I have never really looked at them properly. I honestly had no idea what they were until I watched a Youtube video by Holly Exley that really encouraged me to look more into it and to focus more on my artwork than on social media which is taking up more and more of my time.

After watching the video I ordered some zines from Folksy and Etsy from UK based artists. I also received my first zine from an art subscription box, Scrawlrbox.

Scawlrbox Zine comes with the subscription box.

I have had a great time receiving real post with the most amazing zines in, from creators and artists across the UK and I feel like this is something that I will continue to buy from now on. These are the ones that I have received so far.

I absolutely love them. They are all so different in size, in topic and in how the artists voice comes across loud and clear. They are all formatted differently from informational zines to stories and zines with no text at all. The freedom of zines is what has really struck me as special. It is amazing to receive such beautiful post, you can really feel how much care and attention has gone into each one. I would personally recommend every one of the five pictured zines, I was not disappointed by any of them. I am hoping that the artists will continue to create more zines in the future.

I discovered zines in my attempt to get off of social media more and really discover more about the artist that I follow online. I am happy to say that I have spent more time sat looking at all of these illustrations than I ever would of whilst scrolling through my phone and I will look at them over and over again. It has really helped me to feel more connected to the artists work that I have purchased from. It is also super exciting when they come with extras like stickers and badges which I was not expecting.

Feeling incredibly inspired and hoping to spread my own art work a little further than the social media algorithms will allow, I have worked on my first ever zine, Once Upon A Time. It is like a glimpse into my brain when I am trying to create, it is full of colour and makes next to no sense. I have collected watercolours, digital, pop-ups, sketches and photographs together to create what I hope is an explosion of excitement. My zine is now available for sale in my Folksy shop.

I also decided to add a little dino washi tape into every single zine by hand so you won’t know which dinosaur you are going to get.

I have printed a limited run of 50 and I will not be printing more of this zine but I really do want to make another one, so I am hoping that you will enjoy the artwork that I have compiled into Once Upon A time.

If you have a zine yourself or a recommendation for a zine you have enjoyed, please do let me know, I am on the search for more to increase my collection.

Thanks for reading,

Samantha x

Part Time Artist, Full Time Mum, All The Time Tea Drinker!

During term time I work full time hours illustrating and creating but during the school holidays my Webblings, Lilly and Harrison, come first. They are at an age where in all honesty they would be happy to stay in front of the screen for the whole entire holiday and not get bored but since we can finally go out, I didn’t want them to spend all week ruining their eyesight. I also struggle with sensory overload and two many screens on at once drives me slightly batty (and no they won’t be happy to watch the same thing, it is not worth the fight!)

Webb Family.

However all of that is easier said than done, I still have work to do and cannot afford to take every school holiday off of work and if I go more than a day without drawing I get almost as cranky as if I try to go a day without tea. So there has to be some balance.

Last week was half term and we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful Devon and Cornwall coast and countryside. Now that we are allowed out we wanted to make the most of it and to hopefully create some memories for our Webblings. This blog post is a bit like a diary of what we got up to and how I managed to sprinkle a little creativity into it too.

Lilly is a figure skater and despite the worldwide issues that have meant our local rink is still closed, Lilly has continued to train and improve and is very eager to get back onto the ice as soon as possible. While she trains with her amazing coach, Debbie Marsh, the rest of us wonder around the woods and have a play on the skate park (Minus the skates or skateboard). Harry always takes some form of screen in case we need to stay in the car rather than get soggy in the rain but we do try to get out and walk around if it isn’t too muddy! Jamie was very confident getting to the top of the skate ramp but then not is much when it came to getting down. Luckily we managed to have no accidents on this journey.

I didn’t do any work on this day but days like this in the fresh air, watching my family have fun are days that make me feel more inspired. Walking around the woods is one of the main inspirations for my book Sass Feels Lonely. I think that the fresh air blows off the cobwebs and you start to generate new ideas. I always have my phone on me (a blessing and a curse) and I have filled my notes app with so many ideas or fragments of ideas whilst we have been on trips like this where it is too wet to sit and draw or paint.

On bank holiday Monday we were amazed to get an actual sunny bank holiday and we didn’t waste it. We got in the car (we have a red and white mini called Sally!) and headed to World Of Country Life in Exmouth. It was really amazing. We got to see a lot of the animals up close and they looked really well cared for, they had a lot of wide open spaces and the staff seemed to genuinely care for them. Harry has discovered one of my old point and shoot cameras and he spent a lot of the day snapping away at everything from vintage cars to baby goats. He even managed to get a few pictures of me too! We had a brilliant day and I highly recommend it if you are in the area.

As you can imagine it was a full on day and there was time for a game of ping pong with the husband but sadly no art. However on the way back we decided it would be rude to go all that way and not have chips on the beach so that is exactly what we did, followed by ice cream of course. Exmouth beach is very sandy and with the sun shining you could easily believe you were somewhere more tropical. I sat on the beach watching the Webblings play, Harry burying himself and Lilly making a TikTok and I managed to do a few doodles in my scrappy little sketchbook that I take everywhere. These are life drawings and gesture practice not intended as final images but the process of creating them has improved my art and I urge everyone artist or not to take a sketchbook with them and doodle every chance you get!

We also managed to visit family over the holiday and as I am from a big family we managed to have some very fun water fights and barbecues during the days. Lilly and Harrison managed to spend a lot of time in Nanny’s garden with their cousins, they painted rocks and canvases, drew on the path with chalk and bounced a lot on the trampoline. The nice weather was a real bonus. My five year old nephew Toby dared me to paint Nanny’s house and of course being his crazy aunty (he has plenty of sensible ones don’t worry) I got out my paints and a watercolour book that I carry with me and painted a stylised version of my mums house. Toby declared that I am “like an artist” which was one of the best compliments that I have ever had!

We spent the evenings watching Taskmaster mostly which the Webblings find hilarious. Some of the challenges are completely absurd and I love to hear what the Webblings would do to complete them if they were on the show. If you haven’t seen it then it isn for young children because some of the language isn’t great but for slightly bigger kids and adults it is great fun. During these TV sessions I managed to squeeze in a few hours of commission work, mostly for the amazing Nurture Programme and I am very lucky that they are incredibly patient working parents themselves who understand that things take a little longer during school holidays.

Sample of Connie for The Nurture Programme.

We were invited to meet up with one of my very best friends and her beautiful son to journey over the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall and visit Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary and although it is a very small park it is very special because all of the animals have been rescued from the pet trade or other zoos. They have no breeding programme and are a real sanctuary for the animals in their care. It rained but we didn’t let that stop us. Harry was armed with his camera once more and we managed to see some adorable meerkats and amazing racoon dogs. It was a great morning out. We obviously needed hot chocolate to warm us up on the way home though!

To end the holiday it wouldn’t be a Webb holiday if we didn’t get up to the moors so on Sunday evening we took a spontaneous trip to Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor, my favourite place in the world! The sun was shining and there were a lot of people around but we managed to find some secluded spots for a nice cup of tea and the perfect end to a wonderful week. It is Tuesday now and I am still exhausted. I am not a fan of the 6am alarm at all but I am glad that we made time to make memories with our Webblings before they are too old to want to do day trips with us. I will catch up with work I didn’t manage to complete this week but I won’t ever have the chance to catch up with the Webblings at this stage ever again. It is really important to me that they know that even though I work, and I am so blessed because I absolutely love my job, I will always down the paintbrushes for just a chance to spend time with them!

I did manage to get my Kuretaki paints out on Sunday night and do a little paint doodle to end my week, inspired by the fairies and elves that we were pretending lived among the bluebells as bluebell farmers playing in the blossom.

Little Pixies playing in blossom by Samantha Webb.

Thank you so much for reading about my week and about how I fit in my career around parenting or rather how I don’t really do much work when my children are not at school. I am still trying to find the balance and I will keep trying. If you have any suggestions for how to better manage my time or for days out that you think we will enjoy then please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Samantha x

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolours, First Look, Review

I am a full time illustrator and I love to experiment with different mediums, you will find all sorts from digital to needle felted illustrations in my books but if I had to choose one art supply for the rest of my life (please don’t ever make me do that!) then it would be watercolours and Mr Webb definitely is not as impressed as I am with my ever increasing collection of palettes.

However I have never used Japanese brand watercolours so when I was commissioned to work with The Nurture Programme on a big project I decided to treat myself to some new paints (even though the commission is actually digital, any excuse for new paints!)

I have been looking at these paints for a long time and when they arrived I was so excited to use them. They come in a very beautiful green package that makes them feel very fancy a like a real treat. All of my other paints are in metal tins.

Beautiful green box.

This comes in a few different sizes but I chose the 48 colour set because I knew that if I got a smaller set and liked them then I would want the bigger set. This is why I waited until I had a reason to celebrate, it was a big treat. But opening the box felt like Christmas! It is so beautiful inside, I was a little intimidated to even swatch them.

Swatch card in the lid.

The pans are slightly larger than full watercolour pans and there is a swatch sheet inside the lid. All of the colours look stunning straight away! I really liked that each pan is marked on the bottom with the name and number. The bottom of the box has each colour and information on too, just incase you mix them up which I really appreciate because it means that you can take out a few colours to use on your desk at a time because this beast really does take up a lot of space.

I don’t know if it is just a me thing or if it is an artist thing but there is nothing that makes me quite as happy as swatching new paints, it is like new PJs or fresh crisp bedding. One of the most amazing pleasures in this world. I always swatch on the card that comes in the box as well as on a sheet of cold press watercolour which is what I paint on most often. These paints were incredibly satisfying to paint with. They do not need a lot of water for the colour payout, they activate very easily, even the metallic which fall short in some sets.

Swatch on the paper you are likely to use.

The colours are so vibrant and so clean that the swatch card is just so beautiful to look at. I absolutely love the selection of colours. My favourites are the Rose Madder and the Imperial Violet but the whole selection is just very pleasing to look at. I did try it out though too, firstly I had a good play to see how the colours lay down and how they layer because I know that I use layers a lot in my watercolours.

Experimantations.

My experiments were fun and unplanned but was good to see how the colours blend into one another. The colours are a lot less translucent than the watercolours that I am used to. You can layer them if you use the top layer slightly thicker and more of an ink consistency but I found that if you use a lot of water then it was reactivating the colour below even once it was fully dry. This will be an interesting effect to play with in the future that is definitely different to my other paints. I also found that they don’t bleed into one another excessively and I had to use a considerable amount of water to get them to bleed into each other which is something to consider if you use a lot of wet on wet techniques in your painting.

I wanted to try them with an actual illustration since that is what I will be using the paints for, mainly for children’s picture books but also possibly for some products in the future too.

On A Tiny Journey by Samantha Webb

I did not get on well with this illustration. I had a lot of trouble because I am not use to using such vibrant colours without having to layer and layer them. I was also very spoilt for choice with the colours, this is my biggest set of colours and I just kept selecting colours that did not go together and so the finished illustration is not what I imagined to begin with. Faced with such an amazing array of colours my mind totally forgot all that I have been learning about colour theory! Some days just go like that, they can’t all be perfect and I think I definitely learnt from the experience, I need to remember to select my colours wisely before I start painting.

I also did something very random, I totally forgot about mixing my colours. I am not sure if it is because I am so used to having a mixing palette built in that I use all of the time (the box is made of card and does not have mixing wells) or if it is because the pans were so big that it didn’t seem necessary but because of this I was using the paints from pan straight to paper which is again not something that I usually do. Hopefully with these things in mind my future endeavours with these paints will be more successful than these two little bugs in an umbrella boat. I did really enjoy using the paints though, I was able to add layers even though they were more opaque than I would of liked.

If you like really thick and creamy, opaque paints that have a flat finish then I think you would really like these too. I will need to practice more to get the most out of them but I do feel like they will be very versatile and will allow me to make some more vivid illustrations. I have since read that you can also use them on black paper too so I will have to try that out.

I am very happy to have them amongst my paint collection, I have yet to find somewhere to store this massive box though so maybe having it on my desk will make me use it more.

Thank you so much for reading my rambling. If you would like to see some more of my collection of paints just let me know, I could talk about watercolours for days!

Samantha x

On A Tiny Journey by Samantha Webb

What Mermay Has Taught Me

Mermay is an instagram challenge for artists, the idea is to draw, paint or create a mermaid for each day in May. There are prompt lists to join if you would like to but you don’t have to. It isn’t a strict challenge, it is supposed to be fun and to stretch your creativity. Mermay was created in 2016 by Disney artist Tom Bancroft and it continues to get bigger and bigger each year.

I first joined the challenge in 2018 and actually managed to complete the whole 31 days of mermaids and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t drawing continuously at this point and I just had a lot of fun with it. I like to think I have grown as an artist but I still love some of the images that I created that first year.

Samantha Webb 2018

Having completed the challenge in 2018 I decided that 2019 was the year to make it more personal and as my heart really is set on creating children’s books it really did only make sense to try and create a mermaid book. One big challenge that I thought I would be able to accomplish.

Samantha Webb Mermay 2019

Well, I tried, I really did but for me 31 days is definitely not enough time to create a whole story, fully illustrate it and edit it too. I managed to do a lot of the illustrations and had my story to a point where I was really happy with it but time was just not on my side and I didn’t manage to complete it. I had come too far with it to leave my story sat in my sketchbook now. Despite some setbacks personally, Livvy and Pipps was published independently under Moby and Puddle Books and I couldn’t be more proud of my mermaid story even if it did take a lot longer than 31 days. You can purchase it right now!

Livvy and Pipps published January 2020

In 2020 I made my New Years resolution to not join in any art challenges and to spend more time on my artwork rather than trying to do lots in a short amount of time, quality over quantity. I didn’t do a single image for Mermay but I did enjoy seeing all of the amazing mermaids drawn by other talented artists on Instagram. Having the pressure off especially in the chaos that was 2020 (I hope I never have to homeschool ever again) was the best decision for my mental health and I am glad that I made that decision.

This year I have decided that I will join in with Mermay again because I love the community feel of it but I won’t be doing the whole month, I can’t even contemplate trying to fit in a new painting everyday. I am so happy that I am now very busy with my illustration career, something that seemed like a dream back in 2018 when I first attempted Mermay. (Let’s face it, It still feels like a dream now!) So instead I have decided that this year I will experiment, inspired by the amazing artist Cindy Lane and we went to the sea and got some sea water to paint with.

Plymouth Seawater!

We had a great day by the sea and then I had fun experimenting with the salty water and my watercolours. The textures and the natural gradients that the salt water achieve are stunning. It is hard to control where the pigments lay and I think it will take some practice to get it right but it is amazing. I have lived by the sea for most of my life and it is not until I saw Cindy Lane’s post that I even thought about trying seawater in my paintings. I love to experiment and it is great to find a way to experiment that doesn’t actually cost me a load of money this time!

It has been nice to join in with Mermay but with the pressure off. I think that my art has improved because I am not putting a strain on myself to create something new every day but I am not stopping myself from joining in when inspiration strikes. Hopefully I have found a good balance for me. I admire the artists that can create a new mermaid image every day but I have learnt that for me, art challenges lead to burn out and a decline in the quality of my illustrations. So I hope that you enjoy the mermaid illustrations that I do manage to post because I am really enjoying creating them.

Samantha Webb 2021
Samantha Webb 2021
Samantha Webb 2021

Thank you so much for reading my post. I think I have babbled on long enough but I really do love Mermay and think that if you can join in without giving yourself burn out, without stressing out and whilst keeping it fun then go for it, you will have a whale of a time! (sorry :P)

Samantha Webb

Devonport Library – Author Visit

Event poster – by Samantha Webb

In August I was lucky enough to be invited to my local library to share my stories with the children and to talk to them about what it takes to create a book, from your initial idea to the finished product.

Going to any reading is always really nerve wracking, what if no one turns up? what if loads of people turn up? what if I can’t speak or no one asks any questions. Oh my goodness, what if they boo??? Maybe it is just me that has these (and a million more besides) worries before each and every reading but I am glad to say that even though on this occasion I did have to make my visit whilst on crutches, nothing went wrong and the entire experience was exhilarating.

I got to wear my bookshelf dress and all of my characters came along to meet the children.

I was welcomed warmly into the library by Nancy and her team. Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays are jam packed full of activities and free lunches so the library was already buzzing with children and their families, some I recognised but mostly I did not. I was given a room to the side of the main library where I could set up and read my stories without competing with the rest of the noise, I was so grateful for this, another worry … What if I’m not loud enough and no one can hear me? and the staff had put up posters to let parents know that the activity would be taking place.

One of my biggest fans, Lilly Webbling rarely misses a reading.

I was delighted to have had the chance to read on and off for the entire hour in a very relaxed drop in session . I read to around 12 children in total and a handful of parents too. My Webblings not included because they could probably tell you these stories by heart at this point. The children had chance to ask me questions and to colour some of my characters on the colouring sheets the library had been kind enough to photocopy for me. I was asked some tricky questions this time like, how do I choose the name of my characters? I feel like the answer to that could be a blog post of it’s own but the short answer is that it is the name I feel suits them most.

Bees can be any colour, you just need a little imagination. Doesn’t Blake look dapper in Purple?

I came out of the visit exhausted to be honest, I am still recovering from a broken leg and was not strictly off of bed rest at this point. I also felt amazing! The children I had read to had asked to hear the stories again and asked if they could find any of my books in the library and I told them that they could find ‘Glub’ when he is available. They all wanted to colour the characters and wanted to tell me about the characters that they would include if they wrote stories like me. The engagement with the children and seeing them engage with my characters is what makes it all worth while, it may only be fleeting but at that moment those children are inspired to create and to design. This is my favourite part of being a children’s author and illustrator even if it is the most terrifying part.

My Nanny and Gramps always said, ‘if something isn’t scary at first is it really worth doing?’ well this is scary but so worth conquering that fear. If you have a story inside you, let it out and show the world!

Thank you to Devonport Library and Plymouth Libraries for allowing me to take up a space on your jam packed summer program. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to returning again someday, just as nervous as the first time no doubt.

Samantha x

P.S. Big congratulations to my Webblings, Lilly and Harrison both finished the Summer Reading Challenge and managed to get their medals for the third year in a row.

Mission Complete! Well done Webblings!

FUNDED!!! Albie Ted Goes To Bed is coming soon …

When new author Becky Robertson contacted me about her project I had no idea what to expect. I agreed to read her manuscript and I am so glad that I did. As soon as I read Albie Ted Goes To bed for the first time I felt passionately that I really wanted to illustrate the project.

Albie Ted Goes To Bed is a story about the bond between a mother and a baby that continues to grow and get stronger even through gentle weaning, it is a positive breast feeding story aimed at young children. It really resonated with me; I breastfed both of my children and it was easier with Lilly because I could give her my full attention. Harrison arrived when Lilly was three years old, she couldn’t remember breastfeeding herself and hadn’t seen anyone else do it since so my little inquisitive three year old had lots of questions which I was happy to answer.

Lilly and Harrison Webbling x

Lilly was never upset seeing me breastfeed although she could be a little impatient like most three year olds and so she took to ‘feeding’ her baby dollies while I was feeding Harrison, we thought it was one of the most adorable things ever! However one day in nursery I was called in and told that Lilly had been told off, I was shocked, she was a good girl and never got told off (that changed as she got older but that is a story for another day!), they told me that she was told off for putting a baby doll up her top and ‘feeding’ the baby! Well, that was the first and only time I have had to really ‘tell off’ an educator! I took Lilly home and explained to her that she was not in the wrong, that her nursery teacher was the one who didn’t understand. Lilly doesn’t remember this incident but it stuck with me.

I wish that I had a book like this to read to her so that breast feeding was more normal for her, not just me telling her and showing her that it is. I looked online for cartoons, books etc to show her how normal it was and to reassure her that she wasn’t in trouble. This is a book I definitely would of bought for her. After viewing my portfolio and having lots of conversations I was absolutely blessed that Becky Robertson chose me as her illustrator.

Concept art for Albie Ted and Mummy.

This book is raising money for The Breastfeeding Network which was just even more incentive to get on board with the project. It is a charity that supports parents and families throughout the breastfeeding process. £1.00 from every book sale will go to the charity.

Becky Robertson, author of Albie Ted Goes To Bed set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, I helped by adding a few pictures of the concept art and on 26.02.19 with 7 days to go, the campaign was successfully funded and the project will definitely be going ahead. I am so excited to illustrate this heartwarming story and to share it with children who might just see breast feeding as a little more mainstream and normal than they did before. I will begin illustrations for Albie Ted late March and I will keep everyone updated with the publication dates.

A huge massive thank you to all of the people who have backed the project, to the people and businesses that have shared the project far and wide. I cannot wait to get started! Big congratulations to Becky Robertson for her successful Kickstarter project, now the work begins!!!

If you have a project that you think I might be a fit for, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks for reading, Samantha x

Albie Ted is going to be SUPER!

Knowing me, knowing you, Aha!

Ok be honest, did you just sing the title of this blog post? I sang as I typed it!

I am hoping to work with lots of new people in 2019, I would love to help add some colour to your blogs, websites, products, brands etc etc so please do not hesitate to get in touch and we can chat about your ideas. Until then, here is a little more about me, why not let me know a little about you?

hello, i am samantha, i love tea , watercolours and i often put my paintbrush in the wrong cup! i am a freelance artist and teddy bear creator with a mild addiction to sherbet fo
i enjoy illustrating cute and colourful people and creatures. you can see more of my illustrations on my website. link in bio.-4
i love bears, bunnies, dinosaurs and blake the bee!-2
i.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon,

Samantha x

5 min Tea Break – 2019 Art Project

tryagain
Happy New Year to you and your family. 2018 was a great year for me in many ways. My children’s story, Glub was published by Little Goblins’ Books and I had the pleasure of reading my Cornling’s stories at 3 Wishes Fairy Fest. 

2019 is going to be great, I hope to continue to work on my forthcoming titles and have many more ideas that are just taking shape. 

But I want to talk to you about a little project that I will be working on alongside my work and I have titled it the ‘5 Min Tea Break’, the idea being that every day of 2019 I will take just 5 mins of my day to draw my tea!

I absolutely love tea and drink it everyday, this is a great little warm up drawing to get me started with the added bonus that I will have a cup of tea to drink when I have finished. Some of them, like my first one of the year (shown above) will be drawing from observation and some of them will be more like my new logo (below) which will be more whimsical. 

My hope is that at the end of the year I will have improved drawing from observation and turning my observational drawings into better planned out whimsical drawings. I hope that it will reduce the amount of procrastinating that I do when I sit with my sketchbook, the hardest thing to draw is usually the first thing because its hard to decide what to draw first. Once the first doodle of the day is finished the rest usually flow much easier, like stretching before you do any exercise helps you perform better.

You can follow my progress on my instagram feed where I will post to my story, unedited phone snaps each day. They won’t be perfect and sometimes they wont even be pretty but I hope you enjoy seeing them regardless. 

Have a wonderful 2019 

Samantha x

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Community Is My Lifeline

It is day three of the Just A Card campaign and the prompt for today is community.

Working from home and being self employed can be a lonely place but I have found a community both locally and across the globe of artists and crafters who have been my friends and celebrated my successes with me and my cheerleaders when I needed to the encouragement to to continue. It would be an awfully long blog post for me to list them all so I will give you a few highlights from the fantastic comment of artists, traders and craftspeople who have made a huge impact on my life by being wonderful people.

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WOODLAND WHIMSY BY SHANA HOLLINGSHEAD

1. Woodland Whimsy , Shana is an amazing artist who creates very unique creatures from needle felt and tiny homes from organic creatures. I am lucky enough to home a little goblin named Irving and I am luckier to call Shana my friend and part of my community despite being across the ocean.

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SPRYTEWOOD BY VICTORIA PAYNE

2. Sprytewood is a magical place created by Victoria Payne, I don’t mind telling you all that I am a bit of a super fan when it comes to the Sprytes and all of the creatures in Sprytewood. Victoria has been a friend for years now through a joint love of whimsy, Victoria is a master of her craft and her art dolls are a superior quality, I own several myself and my Webblings have one each too.

 

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NATASHA’S IMAGINARIUM BY NATASHA SMITH

3. Natasha’s Imaginarium is a beautiful selection of hand crafted gifts made by Shetland based artist Natasha Smith who has been a true friend throughout the span of my own business, she creates gorgeous gifts from polymer clay and wool. Despite never having met we have been brought together by the crafting community and I regard Natasha as a very good friend, she is always there for me night and day, good news and bad!

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THE IVYBRIDGE CRAFTERS BY JENNY PEARCE 

4. The Ivybridge Crafters is run by an amazing woman named Jenny Pearce, she runs a craft group that I have been honoured to teach on several occasions. The group is fully inclusive of everyone and is so warm and welcoming that new members feel like they have been part of the group forever. Jenny is an inspiration, she literally spreads art and craft throughout the community and is a believer in fairies too. If you are local and get a chance to go along to one of her sessions I urge you to give it a go, you will fit right in.

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TWEE TRADING BY NATALIE FELL

5. Twee Trading is a wonderful business that sells eco friendly, reusable home ware. Created by Natalie Fell who is a fantastic artist and business woman. Natalie has encouraged not just myself but many others in the community to keep going through the tough times and to celebrate all of our small victories. I met Natalie whilst running my own bricks and mortar shop where I learnt the real lesson behind the Just A Card campaign for myself. Natalie was one of the wonderful people who kept me believing in myself even after my shop closed.

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A QUIRK OF FELT BY KATHLEEN JAMES

6. A Quirk Of Felt, Kathleen James and I met through a Facebook group of only 100 artists from literally all around the globe, we became friends and soon realised that we lived just across the Tamar river from one another. Kathleen was kind enough to teach my how to needle felt and she is an extraordinary felter, her creations are exquisite and I had no idea how good needle felting could actually be until I saw Kathy’s artistry. If you get a chance to own one of Kathleen’s pieces you will be owning a piece of art by a master of the art form.

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TWEET TWEET DESIGNS BY ABBY

7. Tweet Tweet Designs by Abby is insanely skilled, there are not many crafters or artists that I have met who have been able to create something this amazing, crisp, clean and unique. I am a massive fan and lucky enough that Abby Rounding the fantastic artist is part of my community. Abby works tirelessly to make her creations beautiful and bespoke, I love giving them as gifts and receiving them too of course!

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OAKWOOD FOLK 

8. Oakwood Folk are a very different kind of artist, they are performance artists and they are the very best at what they do! This is a photograph of me with Oakley and Ivy at 3 wishes fairy fest a few years ago. It seems that 3 wishes has become our annual get together and despite only seeing them once a year I consider them friends and part of my community. If you get a chance to see Oakwood Folk perform then don’t miss it for anything, they will have you mesmerised and giggling in no time! If you have seen them before then see them again, the new characters are phenomenal too.

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SOPHIE ADAMSON TATTOO ART

9. Sophie Adamson Tattoo Art, I don’t know Sophie very well in my personal life but I am a massive fan of her work and although you may wonder how it fits with the Just A Card campaign well you can purchase prints of some of Sophie’s work and I have heard a rumour that there may be a colouring book in the works too. Sophie works in Plymouth and has tattooed me three times, this image being one of mine. She is quite literally in my community and I recommend her to anyone who is looking for a tattoo, including my husband and best friend who have her artwork too.

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10. I cannot write a list of my community without including this amazing man, Jamie Webb Photography  my husband is a fantastic photographer who has built his business up from scratch from free shoots of our friends cats (which are flipping adorable) to being booked up two years in advance for the most beautiful weddings around Devon and Cornwall and often even further around the UK. He works so hard on his own business but without him I could not even hope to follow my dreams, he has helped overcome so many hurdles and I am proud to stand next to him as his wife.

 

Community can mean many things to many people, my community, with thanks to technology and the internet, spreads across the world. It is my lifeline when I am struggling to find the encouragement to continue. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who are immersed in the creative arts and self employment. All of these people and many more besides will be directly helped by the Just A Card campaign if more people shop with independent artists. You have the power to make them do a happy dance!

Love Samantha x

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Happy Dance by Samantha Webb