Author Archive

Espadrilles Handmade on Milos


Have had a great time learning to make espadrilles in a great workshop in Athens  Askardamykti. Thanks so much to Γιώργος, Γιώργος, Δέσποινα & Νάγια.

The sole is made using jute woven onto a braid or plait by a small business in Athens.


The top of the espadrille was designed and screen printed in the Milos Crafts Design Studio using strictly ecological inks and methods.  The butterfly design is based on studies of the beautiful butterfly – Papilio Machaon –  commonly found on the Cyclades.

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Traveling Essentials

On board the island ferry From Milos to Pireaus

Taking my little house with me on new adventures!   Oh the places we will go!  First stops Piraeus and Athens.

On board the island ferry From Milos to Pireaus

On board the island ferry From Milos to Piraeus

Traveling essentials for a 7 hour boat journey…..water + freddo cappuccino + sketch book + Sakura Pigment Pens + my white leather Island House Bag.




Artist Brush Roll in Luxurious Leather

Roll 1

 Luxurious Artist brush roll.

I love the idea of having a hardy but luxurious roll for my brushes and I’ve made it big enough so my drawing pencils and a few pens fit in too.   The roll is fully lined with designated space for fan brushes….. I hate to bend their precious little heads!   The leather is gorgeous and is sourced from 3rd generation tanners in Athens and I believe it to be very hardy.  To prove it I’m going to have to take it for a few test runs!!!

I’m delighted that I’ve made one of the best artist brush rolls that I have ever seen!

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Using Beautiful White leather Sourced From 3rd Generation Tanners in Athens

Cutting the leather

I’m so…so proud to be able to use such wonderful Greek leather for my designs.


Cutting the leather

Cutting the leather

Screen printing leather

Little Milos House printed onto beautiful white leather

Screen printing leather is really, really tricky ….. really, really  nerve-wracking…. and really, really  messy.   My studio looks like a smurf massacre….blue blood spatters all over the floor lol!!!

It’s nerve-wracking because, well,  it’s best not to make mistakes on a substrate that can cost 100 euro….but so far so good… now I just have to get some sleep.


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Searching for Supplies in London


Yes….London has everything …..  but it’s always nice to search for hidden treasure!  Wandering around these places is so inspirational!



Working With Leather

Learning how to professionally work with leather in London at  Prescott and Mackay.   I have used leather in bag construction  before but was never quite satisfied at the results…no more excuses now!

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Design Inspiration from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

London is an amazing city, I’ve been so busy I’ve hardly have time to post anything!… but it’s time to share some inspiration ……… these pics are from the Victoria & Albert Museum, one of my favourite places, bursting with wonderful patterns and colour.

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On the Bus to Athens Airport

On the Bus to Athens Airport

Driving along the coast to Athens airport, my journey begins!


Leather and Handbag Hardware in Athens

Leather and handbag hardware sourced in Athens
Leather and handbag hardware sourced in Athens

Leather and handbag hardware sourced in Athens

Have been busy working on new designs, combining more leather with my prints into bags and accessories.  My flatbed industrial machine is great but it has limits,  so far I’m not really happy with my results, especially as I want to add the sturdiness of thicker leather.   So, I have decided I need a stronger machine for sewing leather and I want to raise my designs to a more professional level!  To this end I have left Milos and am currently in Athens on my way to London for a prototyping seminar at Prescott and Mackay.  I have been running around Athens gathering the necessary bits and pieces…..leather and handbag hardware.

All of this is because I am my own worst critic and somehow my eyes fall only fall on what I think are imperfections…….bet I’m not the only one!



Journey Project Rough Sketches


The “Journey” project is a fabric wall sculpture

My Aegean Travelogue

#1 journey FB

I spend a lot of time traveling to and from Milos, my island home, mostly on ferryboats.   The voyages are usually 4 to 8 hours long,  depending on the age of the vessel ( yes!!!  :-O ), the weather,  and the number of islands the ferryboat stops at before reaching Milos.   Now although these voyages are potentially seriously boring, they provide the most amazing opportunity for ‘people watching’………observing the human condition ….. pencil and paper sneakily in hand!

On a recent return journey to Milos on the F/B Prevelis, I was surrounded by dull orange, rounded, padded chairs that now and again contained people in all kinds of positions.  Through the windows cool blue “sea light” came pouring in until the sun began to set and then the light slowly warmed to subtle orange hues..perfectly echoing the chairs.  It was really, really lovely…and my time passed quickly in the company of my sketch book.

Basking in the warm orange light I decided I should actually start seriously working on all the flimsy sketches I’ve done over the years….some of them done on pages of my current diary at the time…and I’ve kept them all!   So…I’m tearing out and organizing  all the images and throwing away (recycling!) the old diaries and notebooks.  It may take a while though as I often end up reading them…you know the way you do when you are tidying up and find old magazines and newspapers.  DON’T say you don’t ’cause everybody does that!  LOL!

After working on the sketches I plan to make a series of prints and I think the series will be called “Journey’ or “Journeys”

Here is one of the most recent sketches done on the F/B Prevelis which sailed directly to Milos before sailing on to Crete.

Pencil with Derwent “Inktense” pencils on 300gsm cold pressed paper

Craft Exhibition on Milos

Inspired by the studio cat.

Summer is a busy time here on Milos and I haven’t had time to post about the wonderful exhibition here on Milos in which I am taking part.  It’s taking place at the Cultural and Social Association of Milos – Μορφωτικός και Κοινωνικός Σύλλογος Μήλου in Plaka, and is part of the Milos Festival 2013.                                           English link here.            Greek link here

The exhibition is a treasure trove of local color and craftsmanship, displaying everything from to paintings on wood to stone and wooden sculpture, to lights made from gourds, and of course  wooden boats made in many different ways.    I can’t post anything about individual artists or crafts-persons, as I don’t have their permission and that is always a tricky subject.

The president of the cultural association Angeliki Dagielli-Vitali (Αγγελική Δαγιέλλη-Βιτάλη) worked tirelessly to make sure everything was in order so she deserves a lot of thanks!

#1 exhib

The exhibition is open from 7 – 11 every evening and is being looked after by this lovely lady, Ευτυχία Σταυροπούλου, whose work can also be seen in the exhibition.

Here is a piece from my exhibit which was inspired partly by our studio cat, and partly by a friend of my daughter.  She is studying Play Therapy,  which I consider amazing,  and so I decided to make something fun and practical for parents and children who have to (or should) include play in their everyday life.

So this is a prototype of a screen printed series “Play” in which I aim is combine elements of “play” in everyday objects such as bags and clothes.  Here the Love Cat is a hand puppet which can be removed from behind the front pocket.

The Greek quote on the bag is by the Greek philosopher


Η ζωή πρέπει να παρθεί ως παιχνίδι”

   and is translated as

“Life must be lived as play” 

This is one of my most favourite quotes ever!

   If you are visiting Milos a visit to Plaka and the exhibition is thoroughly recommended!!!

I will post more pics soon.


The Studio Cat is a Rogue! Just check him out!!!

small cat

Am currently printing “LOVE CATS” inspired by our adopted bad-ass cat.   The print is to be made into cuddly soft toys.

A few years ago my hubby and kids found two tiny newborn kittens that had been thrown into a flowerbed at the back of our house.  I didn’t think they would live but they were fed around the clock for days and days.  As you can maybe see from the photo he has only one eye.  His sister also only had one eye but she was missing the other eye, so when they looked up it was the strangest, funniest sight ever.   The girl kitten didn’t make it..but this brute did.   He is an arrogant narcissist that talks… and who scratches the door regularly every evening to get inside.

small cat

I’m just making some test prints for now, so here are some “Love Cat” skins.

More news soon!

Creating an ocean with fabric tiles – thoughts, tessellations, dreams and memories.


Many moons ago as a student, I had fun learning about, and experimenting with, tile pattern for my thesis.  Using a new gadget called a computer and a plotter kind-of-thing the size of a small table (this was during the pre-computer age) I manipulated images to make patterns for tiles that could in theory be used by an everyday Joe to make his own decorative tiles.    It was a revelation to me at the time that mathematics played such an important role in many art forms, not to mention nature and crystals in particular.   Now, no, this experience didn’t make me love mathematics any more than usual BUT I did fall deeply in love with tessellations…or the simple version….the 17 possible ways that a pattern can be used to tile a flat surface without leaving a gap.

That’s what I worked with at the time but since then I have even bought books about tiles patterns and lust over photographs of  Isfahan such as this….

Sheikh Lutfallah Mosque, Esfahan, (1602-1619)

Back to today,  and me living on an island and being surrounded by the Aegean sea ….. and my dream of creating a fabric ocean.   So, yes… guessed it.  I decided to make fabric tiles that could be sewn together in different ways that would make my ocean.  In fact tiles that could be used by anyone to make their own ocean.

It’s an ongoing experiment and I have created a few wall hangings,  here are a few pics of what I have been doing for the last while.

More about tiles and geometry tomorrow!

The sun and the sky walked out this evening…sky put on her prettiest dress




Mixing colors in the studio during storms

Have been quite busy in the studio and started the new year mixing colors.   The weather has been quite bad and for a few days we even had what is called  ‘απαγορευτικό” which means that boats are prohibited to travel and we are cut off from the mainland.

That’s the worst kind of weather for us on the islands, but because of it I have developed a new kind of admiration and love for shutters.  Well…in particular the shutters on the windows of my house.   I was trying to take photos outside without getting blown away or soaked to the skin and I jest you not at one point the rain was flying sideways ….ultimately some rain will always sneak in under a door …. but the trusty shutters stop the pelting rain from flooding the house altogether !

 I gave up on the photos when huge forks of lightning starting flying sideways across the sea!!

Here is what I have been working on lately and must get finished as I have other projects to start.  Inside the studio is warm and magic no matter what weather….no excuse for procrastination!!!

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Καλή Χρονιά! Happy New Year!!

Καλή Χρονιά! Ευτυχισμένο το 2013!!! Ότι καλύτερο να σας φέρει και να έχετε πάντα υγεία και αγάπη.

Happy New Year!! Wishing you all the best for 2013 with health and happiness always!! XOXOXO

Christmas Carols in time gone by

The Greek Holiday Season extends from Xmas eve to January 6th, the Day of Epiphany. If you want to know how Greeks celebrate Christmas, why they traditionally decorate a boat instead of a Christmas tree, and just what are these special holiday treats?  Click here 


Traditional Christmas sweets

To learn more recipes giving the taste of Christmas and New Year click

Headphone Bag – Psyche as Butterfly Design


     The bag is almost finished and I want to share.  It was specially made for my daughter’s Urbanears Headphones.


Psyche screen printing frame for side panels of bags


All the printed pieces pieces ready to be sewn together











Here the bag has been sewn and placed next to my lovely coffee mug so you can see the size

Some D-rings just need to be attached


The finished Psyche headphones bag



Side view. Now it just needs the zip pull and D-rings

Screen Printed Ψυχή – Psyche – The Butterfly Winged Goddess, Lover Of Eros, The God Of love.

I’m almost finished test prints for a series of butterfly prints called Ψυχή, or Psyche in English.    Psyche was a Greek Goddess depicted in ancient mosaics with butterfly wings and often in the company of her husband Eros.    The Greek word  Ψυχή, or Psyche as it is known, is a word with a lot of weight.     It means the human mind or soul or spirit.

According to Wikipedia   “The basic meaning of the Greek word ψυχή (psūchê) was “life”. Derived meanings included “spirit”, “ghost”, and ultimately “self”, “conscious personality”

“In psychology, the psyche is the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious. Psychology is the scientific or objective study of the psyche. The word has a long history of use in psychology and philosophy, dating back to ancient times, and has been one of the fundamental concepts for understanding human nature from a scientific point of view. The English word soul is sometimes used synonymously, especially in older texts”

In Greek mythology, Ψυχή or Psyche was a young girl so  beautiful  that she caused Aphrodite’s wroth and envy.  She  sent her son Eros (cupid) , the god of love, to do his worst with one of his arrows to make her fall in love with the most base, worthless person as punishment.   However, things didn’t work out the way she planned  because Eros fell in love with Psyche and carried her away to his secret palace where he would visit her at night.  He never revealed his true identity and asked Psyche never to look upon his face.  Urged on by her sisters she took a quick peep at him one night while he was asleep ….. and betrayed him.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story because there are much better places than here to read it but this is just one of many Greek myths that make fascinating reading.    A good place to start is    THEOI  GREEK MYTHOLOGY-EXPLORING MYTHOLOGY IN CLASSICAL LITERATURE AND ART        I will add more good sites as I find them.

Ψυχή according to     can also mean – generosity, kindness,  bravery and courage.   All that meaning in a tiny little winged insect.

So, here is my screen print of Psyche as a butterfly…it’s long and narrow because it is for the sides and bottom of a circular bag for headphones.



A Working Studio-about to be tidied up…a little! :-)


Color tests-screen printing inks


Still testing color combinations

Screen printed butterfly using red and grey water based ink on un- bleached cotton.


Test Prints. Second colour


This butterfly design was actually a request from my daughter who wanted a butterfly carry bag for her lovely mauve earphones by Urbanears

The bag will be shaped  for the earphones when they are curled up and sleeping like this…

So that’s why the test prints are mauve.  The silk screen inks are water based and eco-friendly, I wouldn’t use them otherwise.



Tomorrow I’ll do more colorways.





Hand painting silk screen designs

Pattern 1

Color layer 1



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