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Archive for the ‘Sharing the honey’ Category

Sharing the Honey: Karen and Sam Lane of ‘Bound 2 Please’

Monday, January 5th, 2015

“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”  Theodore Dreiser

One of the gorgeous journals by Bound 2 Please

One of the gorgeous journals by Bound 2 Please

Beautiful books

Beautiful books


Welcome to ‘Sharing the Honey’ – an occasional series where Eliza profiles artists who catch her eye both on-line and in person.

Today Sharing the Honey features a mother and a daughter team – Sam and Karen Lane – from Auckland, New Zealand.  Sam and Karen have combined their considerable talents – Karen is a writer and a keen crafter and Sam is an artist – to create gorgeous hand-made journals and sketch books which they sell in their Etsy shop ‘Bound 2 Please’ and at markets around the Auckland area.

As Karen and Sam tell it: –

“Our journey with bookbinding began in 2012 when we visited an exhibition of books made by local bookbinders. Their creations took our breath away. The attention to detail, the luxurious materials, the artwork in their covers … the untold stories and sketches they could hold. We found ourselves revisiting the exhibition again and again, each time discovering something new between the pages of those books”.

A short time later Karen and Sam were offered the opportunity to learn the craft that had so entranced them and they leapt at the chance. For both women creating beautiful hand-made books offered a new and exciting form of artistic expression and they found themselves taking great pleasure in the whole process – from the selection of fabrics, threads and papers to the careful construction of books themselves. The idea for their Etsy shop ‘Bound 2 Please’ sparked as the pages for their first creations lay in the press.

While Karen and Sam work on their creations independently – as Karen says “our work-spaces are small – more suited to one person than two” – they do meet up to make recycled paper, share ideas and swap materials and also to seek each others’ advice about design elements. They have also done a few markets together – sharing stalls at the Matakana Indie Market and the Warkworth Artisan market.

Karen – a primary school teacher for 23 years – has taken early retirement in order to concentrate on journal making and on writing – she’s recently published a children’s book called ‘Big Mac’ – about a hungry ginger cat. Karen’s other great love is travelling around New Zealand with her husband Ray in their converted bus. Once a year Karen and Ray head off for five or six weeks – this year they did a road trip around the South Island –  as well as making other shorter journeys to favourite spots nearby. The beauty of the natural world that surrounds her during her travels provide endless inspiration for Karen’s creative endeavours.

Daughter Sam – also a school teacher – currently works full-time so it’s a challenge to fit the journal making and art into an already busy life. Indeed Sam’s taken an unplanned break from making art this past year due to her new-found love of book-binding. As Sam says, “you can spend days making a journal if you want to and because I teach full-time my art making time is already limited”. The challenge for Sam this year is to try and make time to get back into her art (primarily drawing, but she also experiments with other mediums) and one way she’s finding of doing this is incorporating her own art into some of her journals – as she has done in the beautiful Galaxy Journal pictured below.

Galaxy Journal

Galaxy Journal


And here is one of Sam’s beautiful original artworks – this was done for a recent commission.

'Moreporks' © Sam Lane - Ink on Hahnemuhle bamboo paper

‘Moreporks’ © Sam Lane – Ink on Hahnemuhle bamboo paper


The art and the craft of making books is not only a perfect fit for Karen and Sam’s talents and passions, it also provides the ideal way for this creative mother-and-daughter team to combine those talents and passions to create works of art that are beautiful, practical and ‘Bound 2 Please’.

Nature Journal with Tree Camouflage

Nature Journal with Tree Camouflage


Large coptic bound unlined journal

Large coptic bound unlined journal

Coptic bound unlined journal

Coptic bound unlined journal

Large, coptic bound, unlined journal

Chunky fabric-covered unlined journal


See more of Karen and Sam’s work on Etsy

Find out what else Karen and Sam have been up to on their ‘Bound 2 Please’ blog

Check out Sam’s amazing art on her Facebook Page ‘Samantha Lane Art


Sharing the Honey – Melinda Downing of ‘Cabin Castle’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing


“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”  Theodore Dreiser

The second in my ‘Sharing the Honey’ series where I profile artists whose work catches my eye as I wander the highways and byways of my virtual and my real life.

Today I’m featuring a talented Etsy artist and portrait photographer called Melinda Downing.  I first encountered Melinda’s work  through her Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castle’ in which she sells her own original photographs (mainly nature and travel-themed), vintage inspired photo pendants, market tote bags, and lovely postcards.  Melinda  designs and and makes by hand all the  items in her shop – using her both own photography and scans of images from her collection of vintage photographs.

Ghost Town Notecards

Ghost Town Notecards in Melinda’s Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castl

Wedding Thank you Cards

Wedding Thank you Cards – ‘Cabin Castle’




Jane Austen Pendant - Cabin Castle

Jane Austen Pendant – Cabin Castle

And the story behind Melinda’s Cabin Castle shop is as enchanting as her lovely work. As she says in her Etsy Seller Profile she was just about to give up on her dream of building a cabin on her piece of land in the Sierra National Forest when – over a blackberry pie – she and her retired truck driver uncle decided to build a one room cabin themselves – using mostly recycled materials. “Who needs running water and electricity anyway?” says Melinda.

Now she has a little 8×13, solar powered cabin that feels, she says, like a castle. A”I go there often”, says Melinda, “to hike, read, rest, build things and to make some of the art that I sell here on Etsy”.

As well as running Cabin Castle Melinda also has another Etsy shop called ‘Parts for your Art’ in which she sells vintage prints, art and craft supplies and gorgeous little crowns which can be used for all sorts of purposes from cake toppers to photographic props. Melinda says that spending a lot of time in her small cabin has made her realise that although she loves all the old things she has collected over the year it is OK to let go of some of them now.

Crown from 'Parts for Your Art'

Crown from ‘Parts for Your Art’

As well as running two busy Etsy shops Melinda teaches yoga –  “one of the most joyful jobs you can imagine” – makes beautiful portraits, and spends time with her wonderful husband and her two beautiful children.

Here is the link to Melinda’s lovely Etsy shop – Cabin Castle

You can also visit Melinda at her vintage shop on Etsy

or at her portraiture website – . . .

'Sweet Melana' - @melindadowningdesign

‘Sweet Melana’ – @melindadowningdesign



Sharing the Honey – June Hunter

Monday, June 16th, 2014





“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”                                                        Theodore Dreiser

This is the first of series of occasional short artist profiles I have called ‘Sharing the Honey’.  I have been wanting to do posts like this for a long time because I keep coming across so much beautiful work by so many talented artists and craftspeople as I wander the highways and byways of the virtual (and occasionally the real!) world. Very few of these people are ‘famous’ or even all that well-known but they’re all amazing and I would like to compile a little gallery of them here on my blog so I can keep a record for myself of their stories and their work and – of course – share them with anyone who may happen by here.

And so I will begin with June Hunter – a full-time artist-photographer who lives in Vancouver, British Colombia.  I came across June’s work on Etsy – where she has a gorgeous shop full of beautiful photographic prints, photo pendant jewellery and tiles.  As well as selling on Etsy June’s work has been shown in individual and group shows in Canada and in the United Kingdom and she has been featured in ‘Style at Home’, ‘House and Home’ and ‘Where Vancouver’.  Her art and her jewellery are also sold at local Vancouver galleries and markets.

June’s work reflects her intense love for the natural world and a real passion for birds, especially crows. Describing herself as a “crow paparazzo”,   June captures the  beauty and intelligence of these birds to perfection in her gorgeously detailed, sumptuously produced photographs.


Dark Angel

Dark Angel

June was born in the north of England and grew up in what she describes as an “ultra-urban environment” where her playground comprised “the rusting leftovers of the industrial revolution and fragments of the Roman Wall”.

After high school June studied at Bangor University in North Wales, specializing in Anglo-Saxon poetry.  In her mid-twenties she moved to  British Colombia where she immersed herself in the nature she had been starved of – building a cabin by hand, living miles from her nearest human neighbours and working as a tree planter for many years. By the 1980’s though June had settled in Vancouver –  where she studied art, worked in graphic design and raised her children.

For me – what really sets June’s work apart from other ‘nature’ photographers is the painterly beauty of her images which is achieved by very clever – and very subtle – layering effects (using both digital and traditional techniques).  This process creates images with a gorgeously magical atmosphere – like these four prints from June’s ‘Bluebell Woods’ series.

Bluebell Woods

Bluebell Woods

June  created these by combining her photography with textures from her life history — fragments of letters, old lace, cracked stonework, wallpaper patterns, maps and so on. As June says in her listing blurb on Etsy  “these glowing images evoke childhood memories of country adventures on golden idyllic days — embroidered upon by the light, shadow and texture of the intervening decades”.

June works from a studio in her garden – with the assistance of her daughter, Lily (an accomplished photographer in her own right) – and their cat Edgar – who June says is useful for “modelling a deeply relaxed approach to life”.  June feels she has now found a happy medium – living within walking distance of Vancouver’s downtown core, but surrounded by a lovely garden with trees full of birds and  – clouds permitting – still able to see the mountains from her home.

If you’re interested in finding out more about June and her work here are some links to her Facebook page, her Etsy shop and her webpage

PS: The information for this profile was sourced from June’s About Page and her Profile in her Etsy shop  🙂