Suffolk Lines: An Interview with Rachel Sodey

Rachel Sodey is a Suffolk based artist and printmaker who responds directly to the landscape around her. Rachel walks the Suffolk countryside with her dog Bo and draws inspiration from the flat land lines, the changing light, and the mood and feelings of the seasons. We are delighted to introduce a selection of her prints, created using a variety of textural printmaking techniques. In this interview with Rachel we get a little insight into her work and find out more about her process.

How long have you been printing for? When did you start out?

My first real experience of printing was at The Norwich School of Art where I studied a degree in fine art textiles. My favourite workshop was the print room and I definitely spent most of my time in there. The technicians were absolutely amazing and taught me so much. At Norwich I mostly worked with screen printing and free-hand embroidery. It was only when I started teaching at West Suffolk College that I rediscovered my love for printing through teaching it. I have the freedom to teach all aspects of printmaking and this is what drives my own work forward.

What is it about the Suffolk landscape that inspires you?

I am definitely obsessed with the flat fields of Suffolk and the clear horizons. Even from a young age I have had favourite fields and just cannot stop photographing the perspective lines.

A lot of your prints take an unusual circular form; how did that come about?

This was by accident really. I had written a project for my students and set the parameter that they all had to produce art work within a circular form. In one particular lesson in the print room, I demonstrated to the students how to create an intaglio plate on a circular piece of drypoint cardboard. When I put it through the press I was really happy with the outcome. This 10-minute demonstration inspired a whole new series of work. Most of my prints evolve from little experiments.

Tell us about the process creating your prints and how you create your plates

I mostly work on drypoint cardboard and make marks onto the plate by using a craft knife. I also have the choice to peel away layers of the cardboard which will hold the colour of the ink (just like the engraved lines) when I print it. The shiny surface of the plate also allows me to create mono prints as well. I am able to choose how much ink to leave on or wipe of the surface, this makes the printing process very exciting as I am never quite sure how each print will turn out.

You talk about the inking process being part of the experimental nature of the printing. How does the process of printing influence the end result?

There is so much to consider when printing a plate. I use the scrim to wipe the ink off the plate once it has been pushed into the engraved lines that I have made. The scrim then also becomes a tool to add movement to my prints – it is a painterly approach really. Although I have a certain amount of control that influences the end result, there are other factors at play such as how damp the paper is and the pressure the press is set to. I am just never quite sure how effective a print will be until I peel the paper away from the inked up plate.

You mention walking, where is your favourite place to walk?

My favourite place to walk is getting lost in the fields in the village where I live in Suffolk. After about 10 minutes of walking I am able to let the dog off the lead and I am just surrounded by fields. Lately on my walks I have been seeing a heron in one certain field which is completely amazing.

Have you found lockdown influencing or changing your work in any way?

Teaching online during lockdown has definitely been challenging so this has left me with less time than normal to get out in my studio. I think lockdown has made me appreciate the ability of being able to escape in my printmaking more.

Whats your favourite takeaway (food)?

Well normally I would definitely say my favourite takeway is a good old vegi curry, but I must say that lockdown has made me crave for a big fat juicy halloumi burger with fries.

Thank you Rachel.

To view more of Rachel Sodey’s work visit her Artist’s Page on ofcabbagesandkings.co.uk.

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Birds of a Feather

The 29th – 31st of January is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This annual event which began in 1979 is claimed by the RSPB to be the ‘world’s biggest wildlife survey’. During these three days the RSPB are encouraging us all to look out of our windows and record the birds we see. This valuable birdwatching data is used to record the population of different bird species in order to track their numbers, and aid in the preservation of some of our most loved garden visitors.

Birds are inspiration for many artists and makers. Here we take a look at some of our feathered friends found nesting on the shelves and in the print racks at Of Cabbages and Kings. And you might just learn a few fascinating facts along the way!

British Birds by Caitlin Parks – £35.00

Caitlin Parks takes a look at some of the more characterful small birds in this graphic black and white screen print reminiscent of traditional woodcut illustration.

  • The Blackbird (top right) adult male has sleek jet black plumage which is instantly recognisable. Usually nesting in bushes or hedgerows, they feed on insects and earthworms pulled from the ground.
  • The Bullfinch (bottom right) is a secretive bird who hides amongst dense branches. With a short beak it feeds on seeds and buds of fruit trees. It will also feed from seed feeders and suet balls hung in gardens.

Gold Top by Anna Marrow – £80.00

A vibrant screen print by Anna Marrow featuring a glitter covered gold topped bottle of milk. Showing a more mischievous side to this little garden bird.

  • The Blue Tit is a small familiar friend in the garden. Feeding on aphids, beetles and caterpillars, it is one of the most agile and acrobatic birds and well suited to hanging upside down from feeders. It nests in boxes or holes in trees.

The Owl And The Butterfly by Lauren Mortimer – £95.00

This ornate owl giclée print by Lauren Mortimer is taken from one of her highly detailed graphite drawings. The bird’s wings camouflage a mass of butterflies or perhaps moths flocking to the moon.

  • The Barn Owl with its iconic heart-shaped face is mainly nocturnal and many will only ever see a fleeting glimpse. Probably more familiar are its blood-curdling night time screeches. Feeding on rodents it hunts over open countryside.

Common Kingfisher by Melissa North – £50.00

This bright and colourful screen print by Melissa North depicts the elusive Common Kingfisher, waiting amongst the reeds to make his move.

  • The Kingfisher, with is famous bright orange and blue plumage, can be seen darting alongside waterways, eating fresh water fish, and nesting in tunnels dug into the river bank.

Chaffinch by Freya Cumming – £60.00

This pretty screen print by Freya Cumming in pastel shades shows a proud Chaffinch sat on a blossom filled spring branch.

  • The Chaffinch is the UK’s most common finch, with a pink breast and white wing bars. It feeds on seeds and insects and is more likely to be seen on the ground scratching for fallen seeds rather than from hanging feeders themselves.

Crow of Winter: White by 57 Design – £80.00

Steve Mitchell of FiftySeven Design creates heavily ornate and detailed screen prints. This two colour silver and black screen print captures a crow in flight.

  • The Carrion Crow has black plumage, black beak and legs, and has a wingspan of between 84 – 100cm. They are also one of the smartest birds. With a noisy call and solitary lifestyle they are often cautious when entering gardens. The crow feeds on carrion, insects, worms and also forages for scraps.

Green Woodpecker by Chris Andrews – £60

Chris Andrews’ series of vintage inspired bird screen prints feature characterful illustrations of some much loved birds like this Green Woodpecker.

  • The Green Woodpecker is the largest of the woodpeckers found in Britain. Its favourite food are ants, which it digs up from the ground rather than pecking at trees. Vibrant green with with bright red on the top of its head, it nests in the hollows of trees.

These abstract bird shapes are inspired by Doves, the symbols of peace and love. Designed by Pivot these pieces are produced by homeless people. Pivot provide coaching, financial support and guidance to create swifter pathways out of temporary accommodation.

  • A common Dove found in the UK is the Collared Dove, named after the black band that sits at the back of their necks. Their familiar monotonous cooing can be heard in gardens and towns and they are frequent visitors to garden bird tables, picking at the seeds knocked to the ground from bird feeders by other birds.

Dove Earrings – Steel by Pivot – £17.00

Dove Pendant by Pivot – £32.00

Birdcase – Exclusive Edition by Adam Bartlett- £95.00

A mass of brightly coloured birds, perhaps Starlings chatter amongst the branches in this giclée print by Adam Bartlett. This print is taken from one of Adam Bartlett’s paintings in which he uses acrylic, emulsion, enamel and spray paint to build up multiple layers and textures.

  • Starlings are noisy little speckled birds and spend most of their time in large flocks. They are common visitors to gardens and famous for their murmurations – Acrobatic displays of large flocks, that form in autumn evenings before taking roost in the trees.

Spice Gulls by Mister Peebles – £18.00

Helen McGinley, aka Mister Peebles creates fun animal pun prints from her original watercolour illustrations. Like these Spics Gulls – A humorous depiction of the famous ‘girl power’ pop group.

  • The Herring Gull is the iconic sound of the seaside. Large noisy and over confident. Eating almost anything it won’t say no to plucking an ice cream from the hands of a distracted tourist.

Ring Necked Parakeet by Julio Guerra – £80.00

Julio Guerra creates coloured brightly coloured giclée prints of tropical birds. This Ring Necked Parakeet has found a new home in the South East of England and can be seen flying in noisy flocks.

  • Ring Necked Parakeets are the UK’s only naturalised parrot. Bright green with a red beak and a black ring around its neck which gives it its name. They visit gardens in the South East of England where they will eat seeds and berries.

Cormorant And Fish by Factory Press – £120.00

Liz Loveless of Factory Press creates beautifully illustrative and expressive prints in a variety of mediums. This impressive, large Cormorant stands proudly. Its out stretched wings made of screen printed feathers and other mark making. 

  • The Cormorant can be seen along rivers and costal areas, usually with wings outstretched, drying them in the sun. It is also an expert fisher.

We have some stylish ways you can encourage British birds into your garden.

The Birdball Seed Feeder by Green&Blue is designed to provide garden birds with a varied and reliable source of food. Made in the UK from slipcast clay, this simple and stylish design is frost resistant and offers safe, year-round feeding for birds such as tits, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches.

The Birdball Belle Feeder has been designed to hold both large and small fat balls, fruit and kitchen scraps, it can also be used to hold nesting material such as wool. The feeder allows small birds such as tits, sparrows, nuthatches and finches to feed while deterring larger birds.

Birdball Seed Feeder by Green & Blue – £59.95

Birdball Belle Feeder by Green & Blue – £29.00

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Follow Your Nose!

This post is dedicated to all things olfactory at Of Cabbages and Kings. While we stock a range of aromatic home fragrances to keep your house smelling beautiful, also included in this post are some not so smelly, but equally as nosey gift ideas. Follow your nose though this curated selection of gift ideas.

Hobo + Co candles are hand poured in small batches in Lincolnshire, England. They are made from soy wax which is a healthier alternative to traditional to paraffin wax candles. Cleaner burning with no toxins or carcinogens, soy gives off less soot and burns at a cooler temperature, so the candles last longer. Each candle has approximately 35 hours burn-time and available in four different fragrances.

Featured in Elle: Decoding Clean Candles – The Scented Alternative That Won’t Damage Your Health 13/08/2019

Karina Bank’s Anatomy Collection, designed for empowered women, is inspired by the unique and beautiful irregularities of the female form. Each piece is handcrafted sustainably in Karina’s Tottenham based studio from sterling silver.

These abstracted nose-shaped earrings are made from 2mm sterling silver round wire, offering an alternative to traditional hoop earrings. A humorous design that is minimal and stylish. Their irregular handmade design means each one is very slightly different. 

Hobo + Co’s collection of room mists are a great way for helping cleanse and refresh your home. Naturally scented with a blend of pure essential oils they are vegan and paraben free. Available in three different fragrances and blended from pure essential oils in a 100ml recyclable amber glass bottle.

These comedy glasses attached to a classic fake nose. It may not be very good for smelling, but this image will certainly put a smile on your face. Look further and you will see Lauren Mortimer has hidden three cats in the bushy eyebrows and moustache of this peculiar disguise.

Taken from one of Lauren’s original graphite drawings and printed on Hahnemuehle German Etching (matt textured) 310gsm paper.

Read our Interview Lauren Mortimer.

These reed diffusers fill your room with long-lasting fragrance without the need to burn or light a candle, so they are perfect anywhere in the home.

In her series of screen prints Phytology, Tal Brosh illustrates the history of the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. These prints explore the reserve’s life from a medieval meadow and market garden, through to a Victorian church, a war-time bomb site and now an apothecary garden. Phytology 2000 looks at the nature reserve’s now apothecary incarnation – where aromatic and medicinal plants grow. Bring a breath of fresh healing air into your home.

If you’re feeling adventurous why not conjure up your own scented candles? These little DIY, Make Your Own Candle Kits are an enjoyable way to spend a relaxing few hours. Each kit makes two small votive candles that will burn for roughly 15hrs each.

Contains soy wax flakes, fragrance oil, glass jars and wicks. The simple instruction leaflet explains exactly how to make your candles with ease. A thoughtful gift for any creative candle-loving person.

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Introducing Pretty Bee Fresh

“The journey of a sustainable future starts with a conscious decision everyone of us has to make, followed by small changes to our lifestyle. Our mission is to encourage people to live a more sustainable life, respecting nature and the invaluable resources Mother Earth provides. We believe in giving back to our planet and want to contribute in every little way we possibly can. It is now more important than ever to protect our vulnerable ecosystem, especially trees which have supported and sustained life throughout existence and are paramount to our survival. We’ve therefore chosen to work with Trees for Cities, supporting them in their incredible work, planting trees on a national and international scale in an effort to tackle climate change!”

– Katharina, Founder of Pretty Bee Fresh

Founded by Katharina Rauch, Pretty Bee Fresh is a London based beeswax wrap company. Producing natural beeswax products with a strong ethos in sustainability. As a business, they try to reduce their carbon footprint as much as they can and reuse/recycle materials instead of ditching them after first use, while also supporting other organisations and charities.

They have partnered with Plastic Oceans UK who are experts in plastic pollution. Plastic Oceans UK help to reduce the reliance on plastic and educate about ocean health through teaching, collaboration with science and partnerships with business. Pretty Bee Fresh have joined the Plastic Oceans Re-circle Programme, showing their support and core values for this pressingly urgent issue.

They have also partnered with Trees for Cities by donating a percentage of their takings to help plant trees in urban areas. Trees for Cities work with communities to cultivate lasting change in their neighbourhoods – whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or getting people excited about growing, foraging and eating healthy food.

Beeswax wraps are a great addition to your kitchen. They are reusable, washable, environmentally friendly and biodegradable – a sustainable alternative to plastic and tin foil.

This medium size wrap is available in five different pattern designs. Measuring 260mm x 260mm it’s ideal to cover larger open bowls or wrap your sandwich for lunch. All wraps are handmade in London from 100% pure cotton, organic jojoba oil, pine resin and beeswax from local bees. They are washable in cold water and last up to a year.

How To Wrap: Wrap and fold around any food or bowls using the warmth of your hands to create a breathable seal. Due to the natural antibacterial properties of the beeswax, jojoba oil and pine resin, your food will be kept fresh for longer. Suitable for fridge and freezer.

Beeswax Wrap – Green Monstera Print – £8

Beeswax Wrap – Blue Leaf Print – £8

Beeswax Wrap – Tree Blossom Print – £8

Beeswax Wrap – Seagulls Print – £8

Beeswax Wrap – Boats Print – £8

If you would like to learn how to make your own beeswax wraps, we also stock Pretty Bee Fresh’s DIY Beeswax Kits.

These kits will teach you how to make your own wraps at home. The contents include three cotton squares along with beeswax, brush and instructions to send you on your way to creating a sustainable alternative to cling film.

Contents

  • 3 pieces of pure cotton fabric in the sizes: 130mm x 130mm, 170mm x 170mm, 250mm x 250mm.
  • A piece of parchment paper.
  • A wooden brush and 4 cubes of the finished wax mixture.
  • Full instruction card on usage and care.

All you need is a cheese grater and a baking tray.

DIY Beeswax Wrap Kit – Floral – £15.90

DIY Beeswax Wrap Kit – Leaves – £15.90

DIY Beeswax Wrap Kit – Maritime – £15.90

Following on from the success of their wraps, Pretty Bee Fresh have also produced an Organic Nut Milk Bag Kit. Ideal for making your own vegan milk at home.

Explore the world of making milk at home with this Organic Nut Milk Bag kit. This DIY straining bag by Pretty Bee Fresh will help you create delicious vegan drinks and milks in your own kitchen. It can also be used for whipping up cold brew coffees, broths, juices and even vegan cheese. A great and fun way to reduce plastic waste and a fantastic alternative to store-bought drinks.

Contents
One medium-sized organic GOTS certified cotton nut milk bag in natural colour. Size 260mm x 360mm. 
A small recipe booklet for some inspiration to get you started in the kitchen. 

Organic Nut Milk Bag – £11.90

One last bee friendly kitchen item that can’t ‘bee’ missed is the The Bee Friendly Tea Towel by Stuart Gardiner.

Bee lovers rejoice with this tea towel. Listing an array of bee friendly plants perfect for encouraging more bees into your garden. A beautifully designed organic cotton tea towel, illustrated with flowering plants to help you choose year round colour. Don’t have a garden? You can still help the bees! A 75p donation is made to Friends of the Earth with each tea towel sold.

The Bee Friendly Tea Towel – £12.00

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City Rambles

London is an amazing city. Did you know that almost half of its area is made up of green spaces? 33% of this is natural habitat for animals and wildlife and 18% is public open space1 which includes 3,000 parks. Yes 3,000! That’s more than the area of the city covered by railways and roads combined2. It’s easy to think of London as being miles and miles of concrete, but look closer and you see a whole host of parks, fields, woodlands and canals sides. Below we have gathered together a selection of ideas to help you navigate this green space. So pick a sunny day and start planning your next city ramble.

This little pocket guide to London’s Green Spaces from Hoxton Mini Press is a selection of the best parks and green spaces London has to offer. With stunning photography by Marco Kesseler and text by Harry Adès. It features places to visit from central London to some of the outer boroughs. A great idea for planning a walk, taking a picnic or just enjoying the fresh air. Detailing 50 locations, you will find a new green space to fall in love with.

An Opinionated Guide To London Green Spaces Book – £9.95

If anyone can inspire an adventure it’s Liz Loveless of Factory Press. This charming screen print of the River Lea is full of summer colour. Bright yellows, blues and greens come together in this idyllic scene. Signs of the city are not far away though, as iconic buildings are dotted along the banks and electricity pylons loom in the background.

The River Lea – £95

There are some notable trees to look out for in London and with this map you can track them down. With details of 50 trees, follow this guide on a tree hugging quest. Rare species, magnificent English oaks, an ancient yew and the finest flowering cherries. From Kew Gardens to Greenwich Park, and Tottenham to Brixton. With beautiful photography, introduction and descriptions from London based plant lover Paul Wood.

Great Trees Of London Map – £8

This surprising guide will introduce you to 32 edible plants that are just on your doorstep. Take to the streets and go urban foraging! Organised by season, it contains 32 easy vegetarian recipes. Hawthorn berry ketchup, cherry blossom shortbread, nettle ravioli, elderflower fritters and cowslip summer rolls to name a few. Clearly written by professional forager Wross Lawrence, this guide will have you serving up some unusual meals throughout the year.

The Urban Forager Book – £12.95

  1. Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, 2019
  2. Parks and green spaces: gov.uk

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OC&K Curates: Nurturing Nature

An air of optimism is needed when times are hard, and that optimism can be found in the smallest of places. Be it a windowsill or an expanse of lawn, it’s important to connect with nature wherever we can. Bright flowers blooming around us, or insects flying past our window are reasons to bring joy into our life and we can encourage this joy for us and others around us.

With this blog post we bring you the garden. Here at Of Cabbages and Kings with have a variety of gifts and garden themed ideas from prints and garden accessories to ways of encouraging wildlife into your backyard.

We all know that bees are important for our ecosystem. So let’s help with the pollination of plants and crops. But did you know that there are over 200 species of solitary bees? A great way to provide a home for the these vital insects are Bee Bricks from Green&Blue. Coming in a variety of sizes they are perfect for a patio, garden wall or balcony. Solitary bees use the small nooks and crannies to lay their eggs. A perfectly designed contemporary home for bees in a modern, clean-cut world where their natural habitats are dwindling.

Small Bee Block by Green&Blue – £18.75

Bee Brick by Green&Blue – £30.00

This attractive Bee Friendly Tea Towel is sure to become a gardener’s best friend. A collaboration with Friends of the Earth and homewares designer Stuart Gardiner, it contains a guide to essential flowers that encourage bees and pollinating insects into your garden.

Bee Friendly Tea Towel by Stuart Gardiner – £12

Kew is one of the world’s greatest gardens. It houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections, while providing scientific research into conservation. Caitlin Parks has produced this multi layered screen print in a colourful collage style of the tropical plants and grand greenhouses. A cheerful print celebrating one of the most established and visited collections of plants from across the globe.

Kew Gardens by Caitlin Parks – £120

Being organised in the garden is a must when it comes to seeds. You don’t want to mix up your courgettes with your cornflowers! This seed collecting kit from Creamore Mill has everything you need to collect, store, plant and record your seeds. Envelopes and a pencil for keeping a record, dibber for planting seeds and wooden labels for marking what you have planted and where. If you are conscious to reduce plastic use in the garden, with this Paper Pot Press you can make recyclable and biodegradable newspaper pots for starting seedlings. These pots can be planted straight into the ground minimising damage to the roots of young plants.

Seed Collecting Kit by Creamore Mill – £14.50

Paper Pot Press by Creamore Mill – £12.50

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This innovative bird feeder by Green&Blue is a stylish way to complete a modern garden. Its clean and simple design adds a contemporary feature to any out door space, while also offering year-round feeding for birds such as tits, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Birdball Seed Feeder by Green&Blue – £55

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This second print by Caitlin Parks is perfect for amateur twitchers. A limited edition screen print, British Birds is in a wood-cut style and illustrates some of our most popular garden visitors.

British Birds by Caitlin Parks – £35

Maybe your little bit of green space are the houseplants that decorate your home. These 3D printed mid-century modern style planters from Studio Nilli are made from bioplastic. Tall legged pots are perfect for plants that grow and trail like vines, devils ivy and string of pearls.

Tall White Legged Planter by Studio Nilli – £35

These Houseplant Care Cards are the ultimate guide to growing happy plants – you can’t fail! A boxed gift set containing 35 cards packed full of advice and tips for botanical success indoors.

House Plant Care Cards by Another Studio – £12.95

And what better way to celebrate your green fingered achievements than with these Plant Awards! Featuring: Dream Plant, Surviving and Still Alive rosettes.

Plant Award – Dream Plant Ornament – £5.75

Plant Award – Surviving Plant Ornament – £5.75

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This peaceful image of a gardener, captures a sense of meditation at work. Garden Man is a 7 colour screen print by artist Tom Berry and forms part of Tom Berry’s Daily Rites Series which explores the ritual of daily activities.

Garden Man by Tom Berry – £75

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