Posted in galleries and shops, inspiration, news, process

Interview with an Artist – Keith Paton

Yesterday I caught up with Keith Paton.  Talking with Keith is always such a wonderful experience.  He has so many great ideas about his work, supporting other artists and has even helped me set up my website.  Here we talk about what happened in Bloc Gallery right before life on Earth completely changed (aliens might as well land now, such is the extent of the weirdness).

This is also part of the Girl Interrupting Series.  Stay tuned and find out more…

Posted in allthesmallthings, competition, galleries and shops, inspiration, news, process

#allthesmallthings competition


The other night I thought I would lay out all the drawings I have made for the #allthesmallthings exhibition.  The floor was covered from corner to corner.  I am rather impressed with the number of drawings I have created in spaces where I thought I did not have time to draw. It is interesting to me to see how much my style has changed and developed in just a few short months.  In August I was asked to draw people for the DECIEM launch event in Edinburgh.  I was like ‘People?!  You want me to draw people?  Have you seen my artwork?  I do NOT do people.  Or animals.  Buildings yes, but nothing on two or four legs thanks very much.’  So then I started drawing my friends and family and my obsession with drawing people caught in-between moments grew from there.

There is certainly a style growing from this challenge and I’m so glad I can use materials on the hoof.  I think of those artists with massive studio spaces and hours to be in those spaces.  One day I shall have that but for now I will embrace my parameters and see what great things I can make from here.

As for the COMPETITION part of the title, I have a little competition on the go.  It’s easy to play along.  All you have to do is Follow this blog or Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and tag in a friend.  What do you get for this small yet big action?  On January 31st I will choose two names from a hat and will draw a photo of you/your family/your favourite building/your best holiday snap/your favourite cafe/your prized shop dog in my style.

Please share and thanks for following.


Posted in galleries and shops, Hula, Leith Late, process, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

Madness is doing the same thing over and over and over and over

The Christmas market run. Oh, what fun it is to see it from the purchasers point of view and not from the POV as person freezing their buns off on the other side of the table. My first venture into Christmas Marketstall Holding happened 8 years ago, that effing cold fateful winter in London at Greenwich Market. There wasn’t room enough in the inside, so a bunch of us were set out into the cold wilderness, standing on cardboard because that’s what you do to avoid frozen toes and unhappy feet. On that day, I sold one knicker bag. (This was back in the day when I was peddling various bags for knickers, shoes, swimsuits).

From that year until the Christmas of 2010, I spent my December running from one Christmas market to the next. I would spend a frantic Night Before Market preparing my products with irons and taggings. The set design needed assembling, hence, tables, chairs, hat racks and whatever household item could lend itself to be used as prop was taken from its home and added to the ever growing pile of things to be used at the market. The day of the market meant sitting and smiling for hours, wondering if the person standing infront of me wanted to be engaged in coversation or not. It was not always easy to judge. Sometimes Possible would be interested in the ‘this is how I make my stuff’ spiel, whilst others would quickly retreat. There was that awful time I had flyers made up to hand out to strangers. I’d stretch out my cold, shaking hand with flyer attached and the passers by would recoil, as if I were trying to hand them a disease.

And so. Last year I decided to end my relationship with being a stallholder at any Christmas market. I did make the necessary money to earn my table, but for all of its stress, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I now go to those things and enjoy the wander around and the chat with the makers. Those markets can be a tough gig and I applaud each and every maker and creative using this method to introduce their wares to the world and to make some much needed, much deserved, hard earned cash.

As I’ve been relaxing from my whirl around town, reading the Wrap magazine purchased by my boyf and myself, I have been thinking about other things I will not be doing once January slips into my present.

Here is my short list:

1. I will no longer be using Gocco as my only means of printmaking. I tell myself this every year due to the fact that the supplies are becoming increasingly more difficult to come by as well as more expensive. I find the Gocco print restrictions on the size of my images could also be putting a restriction on my creative process.

2. Over the past year, I have booked venues to display my artwork before even creating the work. Although I feel that I am somewhat organised and flexible enough in my work schedule to deal with this, I find that the deadline rushes up so quickly that my last works suffer due to rushing the work through. Not ideal. And a mistake I don’t tend to repeat if I can help it. I feel that having had these many pop ups over the last 12 months (I Heart Cafe on Leith Walk, Urban Outfitters on Princes Street, Hula Juice Bar and Golden Hare Bookshop, both on Victoria Street/West Bow) has seen my work change. New ways of working with fabric and colour and collaboration with other artists (okay, one other artist, and of course we know who that is) has helped to develop my work. With that said, I think that I need to approach the new body of work in a more relaxed way. Not so much rushing, but more thinking, experimenting, and the nerve to ditch an idea if it isn’t actually working out. (Sorry Space Embassy, but we know I’m talking about you).

3. Not talking enough with the gallery owners that currently sell my work. I need to develop a closer relationship with the two galleries. I think my relationship with the boutiques is healthy and I do keep in good communication with them. It’s now time to give the galleries the same attention and see what we can make happen there.

Posted in galleries and shops, golden hare pop up, news

Put a badge on it (and other ventures)

For those of you who haven’t been introduced to the bizarre world of Portlandia, please indulge in this little clip: Put a Bird On It.  Go on.  You know you want to.  It will only take one minute and 42 seconds of your time and I promise you with my whole heart that you will thank me for it.


Last weekend, Jimmy and I put up our wee little exhibition at the Golden Hare bookshop in the Grassmarket.  We deliberated over the name and came up with the gem that is ‘New Wave Deco, ‘ which is an exploration of art deco architecture found in Edinburgh.  Buildings like Dominion Cinema, the Lothian House doors and the derelict Odeon were represented in bright, new wave colours created over backdrops of super stellar interplanetary ‘shizzle.’  The show piece was created by both Jimmy and myself.  It was an experiment of using my fabric techniques with his mixed media patterning and…badges!  The badges are mini artworks of the originals.  And hey, hey, lucky you!  You can have a mini artwork of your very own should you happen to wander through the doors of the Golden Hare.  Badges are £1.50.  Bargain!  Hello stocking stuffer and hello happy recipient.


Now.  About the badges.  I now need to introduce you to Tex and Bonnet, which can be found by following the yellow brick road to this link.  This is currently our holding page but hold on to your hats, kids, there’s going to be a whole lot of developments with this new venture as the months roll out.  We’ve been planning plans and scheming schemes.

As for me and my varied life as artist and teacher, I’ve been busy working in two local schools.  My day began with orchestrating the putting together of a dramatic Winterwonderland display.  One 4 metre stretch had a set design of 8 foot trees (white painted mdf) in the foreground and houses in the background.  The other space, stretching across 4 metres, is a set design of icebergs peopled by penguins.  The art departments have been busy creating 3D penguins galore, stars o plenty, background houses and 3D snowflakes.  As the children and teachers were discovering the set up, there seemed to be an overall feeling of ‘oh, penguins!  Cool!’ and ‘Man.  Those trees are huge.’  Hopefully a happy festive spirit has been properly injected into that space.

This afternoon I was at the primary school teaching young minds about the amazing qualities of salt on watercolour paint.  We were learning all sorts of fun techniques for watercolour painting.  These will be used next week when we revisit the Urban Sketching sketches they worked so hard to create.  With a little wax resist here and paper towel effect sky there, I should think their paintings are going to shine.

What a week.  And tomorrow…the commission of Royal Circus.

Posted in galleries and shops, golden hare pop up, process

Such a tease

The DC, EH10 <detail> by Jimmy Steel

Art Deco Villa, Costorphine Hill <detail> by Jimmy Steel


Her Former Glory <detail> by Cassandra Harrison


Drawing and print for Embassy by Cassandra Harrison

The above works are pieces to be displayed at the upcoming pop up at the Golden Hare, Victoria Street, Edinburgh. Jimmy has been creating vibrant, cosmic pieces and me, well, mine are very much still works in progress.
We have been planning this show for the past couple of months. Some discussions have been made whilst walking the studio mascots, Josey and Seal. Some discussions have been made whilst eating dinner or watching telly. At one point the floor was covered in frames and scraps of paper, with ideas, titles, artwork sizes and colours jotted down to try to keep it straight what each of us was to contribute to the exhibit.
There will be originals. There will be prints of originals. There will even be one piece that will be a collaboration. I’m rather excited about the latter as I think it will be such a lot of fun to make – a slight departure from what either of us are currently making. But it’s good to press yourself to try new things, develop as a person and see what new artistic expressions can be made along the way.
Exhibition opening night is December 1st, 7pm to 9pm. There will be drinks. And good music. And maybe even a little ‘Thanks for popping along to see us’ gift for those that rock up.

Posted in galleries and shops, process


I’m starting to feel that my lifestyle is rather nomadic.  I seem to pick up sticks every 12 months, set them down again, arrange things to make living feel comfortable, then remove the tethers, pick up and move on again.  This seems to be true for my weekly schedule as well.  This week has been different from the last and my next week will not resemble the current week.

I used to think that I needed more structure.  Perhaps there was a special formula to ensure more productivity or balance but you know, if I’m honest, I like it that I can decide to take myself off to galleries on a whim.

Which is exactly what Boyfriend and I did last week.  And man, do I feel all the better for having done this.

The Edinburgh Art Festival has rolled into town (and perhaps rolled out again) and this time I stepped outside of my hectic schedule to enjoy the fruits of several others’ labours.  We began our treck at Inverleith House to view the minimal exhibition of just a handful of Philip Guston pieces.  Hooded men, man in hospital bed, thick paint and painted over city scenes.  Large works with narratives that – I’ll admit – I didn’t fully ‘get.’  It’s nothing to be ashamed of; just see and feel what you feel then read the information panel to gain the perspective from which the artist was working.  On a whim, we decided to trek on up to The Scottish Gallery.  Large canvases of blocked out and in skies and mountains and hills laid out in thick paint and bright colours was on display here, thanks to the work of artist Duncan Shanks.  They were easy on the eye.

However.  However.  However…my absolute favourite pieces were lurking in the Bourne Gallery.  Hello Jock McFadyen, welcome to your new fan.  His subject matter is one that is very close to my heart: unloved, unlovable, hideous slab architecture.  Large skies, skies that swallow up the viewer.  Nearly.  But then there at the bottom, holding tight and looking unassuming and ugly is the low slung, sad little strip of retail or living space.  Usually overgrown with neglect.  I especially liked ‘Pink Flats’ and how much they reminded me of a studio flat I once occupied on the wrong side of the tracks in Kansas City.  That was another life time ago.  If Jock hasn’t been to the midwest in the states, he’s missing a treat.  He will find no end to interesting subject matter if this is in fact his favourite.  Buy yourself a ticket, Jock.  You won’t be disappointed.

The end.

Posted in galleries and shops, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

What went down at Urban Outfitters

Here are some snaps of our good man Sean at UO doing the heavy drilling. Jimmy and I mostly stood back and watched on. We hung stuff, too. So, not completely useless. We were quite tired after having secured the five cases of beer from Caledonian Brewery.

A good night.
The Sneaky Pete’s DJ
Me in stripes of neon pink
Prints of originals

Thanks to everyone who rocked up to the show. It was good to meet and chat and have an incredibly good night. I’m still flying on those good vibes.

All originals and prints are available on my website

Posted in galleries and shops, Hula

Photos of what went down at Hula

It’s been a crazy fun-filled two days. I’m still on a high (the natural kind brought on by good friends, good cheer and having finished all things needed finishing). The rum punch was a mixture of all things tasty and, uhm, rummy. The snacks were snacktastic and the musical stylings of the Samba Crew and Meagan the Singing Sensation made for a night that was a sensory delight. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen, thanks to Susan at Hula for inviting me to display my work at Hula and thanks to the rain for holding off whilst the drumming happened out of doors.

Let the entertainments begin
A cheery disposition. Thanks, Rachael. Thachael.
Sunshine, happy people
Hula Susan with the winner of the limited edition print
Meagan, the singstar of the night

All prints and original works are available for purchase at Hula during the month of August. Just a side note. Just so you know.

Posted in galleries and shops, Hula, process

Hula exhibition and par-tay

The show is up.  The show is on.  Last night the final installation phase went down (you could possibly read into this that I didn’t have all my stuff together for phase 1, which could have been the only phase).  However, if you’re feeling generous, perhaps it would be more beneficial to think that I’ve got such a lot going on and I am trying my very best.

So.  It’s all there, lined up and looking like it was meant to be there all along.  I did aim for that outcome; had the HULA logo beside my work desk the entire time to ensure that my colours gelled with theirs.

All the originals are for sale, bar the one that already sold.  There are also high quality giclee prints for purchase.

As for the opening night festivities on the 1st of August, read on…

As seen on the Facebook Invitation Page:

To mark the beginning of Edinburgh’s vibrant Fringe Festival, Hula is proud to be hosting a night of art and enjoyment.

In celebration of this city’s beautiful and iconic architecture we will be exhibiting a truly unique collection of print and textile art depicting the beauty of the Grassmarket from local artist Cassandra Harisson.

All of the artwork on display will be for sale – including the originals and the limited edition prints – apart from Hula’s very own commissioned piece that will remain in the café forevermore, something that we are very excited about!

There cannot be a doubt that this will be a very special night for Hula. In accordance with this theme we will be serving delicious snacks (straight from the Hula menu) and some not-to-be-missed rum punch. For your musical enjoyment The Edinburgh Samba School will be joining us at the start of the evening. Later in the evening Megan Davidson will be making a Grassmarket debut of her acoustic talents.

We hope you can join us, there is limited capacity so please RSVP here.

If you are unable to make it, the collection will be displayed from the 20th of July until the 1st of September so feel free to pop down and have a look.

Cassandra Harrison:

The Samba School:

Hula Juice Bar:

Megan Davidson:


Posted in galleries and shops, inspiration, process

Know you’re worth (it)

Imagine a little wheel.  A squeaky one that rattles as it goes round and round and round.  Imagine the wheel with its little rungs and spokes and bolts that hold it tight to the ground from the center of the spokes.  Imagine the wheel from the inside, imagine the view of the rungs as they circle infront of you, under you, behind you, over you, infront of you, under you, behind you, over you.  Over and over.  Rattle.  Squeak.  Run. Run. Run. *Cue ‘Run Lola Run’ Soundtrack here*

At one point in your life, I’m sure you’ve felt like you’ve been on that wheel.  Running forward, running faster,  but where exactly are you going?  Towards exhaustion and collapse, I would imagine.

For the past several months I have felt that this has been my view, from inside the wheel as I run faster and faster.  But where am I going?

It is because of that feeling of running and getting nowhere, that I finally decided to book myself in for a little meeting at the Cultural Enterprise Office in Edinburgh.  Earlier in the year I had attended a seminar – not sure that’s the word for it – for mid-career artists.  It was a day of listening, learning, and trying to find new ways of seeing new options for your creative career, as well as hearing inspirational stories, hearing behind-the-scenes advice from gallery curators and so on.  And it was free!  With tea and coffee and snacks.  I’m such a sucker for free coffee and snacks.

Although I had taken notes and had personally followed up on some things learned, I still felt like I was working very hard, but not necessarily very smart.  And so I booked myself in for this meeting.  And wow.  I needed that.

I am happy that people like my artwork.  I am happy that I can scrape together something of a living doing what I love.  I’ve worked very hard to get here, trying to develop good relationships with boutique shop owners and gallery owners as well as listening to the specific needs for clients that commission work from me.  I have worked hard over the years to come to grips with my way of artmaking, refining the skills needed to get those blasted Gocco screens to work, reducing failure rate to only 1 out of every 10 not working out.  I’ve found two trustworthy suppliers, one in the states and one in Japan.  All of this has taken time to learn, to find out, to research, to experiment.

My work is created in several stages.  First, I wander around with camera and sketchbook, view and snap photos of angles, up streets, down streets, try to get the general feeling of the place.  When I decide on the image I want to use, I draw it using steady lines, calm breathing and a carbon loaded pencil.  It isn’t just a quick drawing.  Every line is considered.  Retraced three times, changed, erased, re-drawn.  Traced over again.  I then create my screen from this drawing.

Then there is the actually printing.  I go out, select my fabric, bring home, cut and iron the pieces.  I usually prepare 20 to 30 pieces of fabric, knowing that from the batch, only about ten artworks can be made from those.  So, I put aside a big chunk of time and print on white fabrics and colour fabric that I think will work well together.  After the pieces dry, I then sit down to cut and sew and recreate the scene all over again.

So.  Why is it that when I consider how to price my originals, why do I only count the time I spend sewing the bits together????!!!  I have been doing this for years and only just realised my big, gaping, massive mistake.  When previously I thought ‘Oh, well, it doesn’t really take me that long to get an image and oh, it only really takes me half a day to draw it out, sometimes a full day and oh, the printing, well, I don’t think that takes too long so really, it’s just when I sit down and piece the work together, I mean, yes, I should just count that time and so I’ll ask for some ridiculously small amount of money to cover that.’ Or something like that.

And this isn’t even counting the time it takes me to drive around the galleries and shops to deliver pieces, something I do once a month.  Or packaging up the work.  Or even going to the fabric shop to buy supplies.  None of this has been counted.

But these are hours worked.  These are minutes spent that add up to the end product of a framed finished work, printed with care and stitched with love. All of this goes into a 5″ x 7″ Edinburgh Skyline or whatever my kick is at the moment.

At this meeting I attended, calculations were made and the dawning realisation hit me.  I don’t spend half a day on one original artwork.  I spend a day and a half making that original artwork.  Sometimes more.  Sometimes slightly less.  But that is my time, that is my experience, that is my energy.

So, what I’m trying to say here, is that things need to change.  Running on that wheel is not helping and one way in which I need to work smarter is to reconsider the pricing of my work.  I am also going to explore new ways of creating prints that span a broader price range, so that if an original is desired but isn’t necessarily affordable, there are other options.

Now.  How to move forward with this.  That’s the new thing I need to consider.