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, 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 Hula, inspiration, process, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

Artist/shop girl/teacher/actor/waiter

“So, what’s your ‘slash’?” asked doe-eyed Ms Hathaway to curly-haired actor, the guy from Pete Versus Life.  There was a look of confusion.  Mostly from me to my boyfriend who seemed to be enjoying the chick movie I was subjecting him to.

The movie, One Day (loved the book, meh about the movie), was wearing a glorious outfit of Mexican ridiculousness, having been caught in the middle of her shift at work to retrain the newby.  He was a comedian/waiter.

That scene proceeded an article about ‘Double Jobbers‘ I read earlier that day.  It resonated.  Both article and movie clip made me somehow feel better about the situation in which I find myself; a situation that will most likely never change.  In most respects, it’s not entirely a bad thing.

For quite some time, I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to try to engineer my creative career to pay for, well, my life, really.  To pay for my rent, my food, my dog and her needs, my clothes, my bus fare, my entertainment and God nearly forbid it, the occasional holiday.  That’s a lot to demand of print and textiles and stitching.  It almost looks like a ludicrous expectation when written out like this.  I think I get a bit hung up on my age (wedged somewhere between 30 and 40) and think that surely by now I shouldn’t be having to heft around three job titles.  Artist/shop girl/teacher (although the teaching thing is hardly panning out.  I mean, I AM on the Supply Teachers register, but all paperwork seemed to scream out ‘Don’t expect us to find you work.  We owe you nothing.  Love…the Council’).

With that said, I am completely thankful for all the opportunities that have either presented themselves to me, or have happened because I worked towards them.  Tonight is my exhibition opening at Hula.  Tomorrow night is the exhibition opening at Urban Outfitters.  All pieces for both shows were created in the past four months, whilst I worked at a beautiful indie shop in the Grassmarket, and at the same time, volunteering my time at a High School to prove to God knows who that I was serious about securing an art teaching job.

Although this is by no means and easy existence, it is one that fills me with pleasure because I am doing what I love and working hard to take necessary steps forward.  I relish the diversity; I know enough about myself to know that I do not thrive in a cubicle.  I meet interesting people and find myself in interesting conversations.  Just the other day a face surgeon came into the shop.  That was an interesting 20 minute conversation (and no, she wasn’t trying to convince me to heft up my brows or tuck in my chin).

There really isn’t any sort of conclusion here, or revelation, or advice, or final thought.  If anything, it is somehow comforting to know I’m not doing anything ‘wrong’ or am not working hard enough or smart enough.  This is just how it is.  I have so many friends that are in the same boat.  We should all have a party on this boat.  We should name it and perhaps my woodworking friend Steph could create some interesting sculptural piece to whittle out of the front.  I could then maybe get Gill to create interesting typography, spurring us forward.  We could have necklaces made, brightly coloured prints put up, enlist a cupcake maker and a massage genius to make us all feel good.  This ship is full, brimming full of talent, hard work and ambition.  Hm.  You know.  I think I’m rather proud to be on this vessel.

The End.


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, Hula, inspiration, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

A completed work and a bit of teasing


The above work is a photo of a piece I finished just moments ago. This piece will be happily hung up on the wall at Urban Outfitters for the August exhibition. My lack of blogging is due to the manic work pace I’ve found necessary to keep to ensure that all pieces are finished on time for both the Hula Juice Bar gallery exhibit and the UO exhibit.

These are great opportunities…these are great opportunities…these are great opportunities. I know this. I’m thankful. I just need to tell myself this when I start getting stressed and go insomniac. All of this hard work now will pay off in two groovy little exhibitions in my not-so-distant future. This is what I told my Dad: I’m practically killing myself now in hopes that it will pay off in the future. My dad’s response: You’re thinking like a farmer!

A farmer?! Never in my life have I thought of myself anything like a farmer.

Today I am off to have a chat with designer guy at Edinburgh Copyshop. There are postcard flyer invites to create. Large artworks to scan to be made into giclee prints. And a funky poster. Must not forget the funky poster.

As for the rest of the UO artworks, I won’t be posting any more photos of completed work as I want the majority of the show to be a delightful surprise. However, I will post components of the pieces to give you an idea of where this is going.

Many thanks for following along and thank you for your encouragement.


Posted in Hula, process, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

4:35 am

What ridiculous hour is this?

The sky is already light, in a dull gray-blue overcast tone.  There is evidence of rain as the cobbles are looking wet and slick.  From what I can tell looking out my window at the other windows of homes up and down my street, no one else is up.  Good for you.  Sleep on and sleep well.  I’m totally envious.

I think I’ve been awake for at least an hour already.

In no particular order, here is a list of the things I need to do: Create one last screen for Hula, print, print Edinburgh Skyline in Hula exhibition colours, scan all Hula works and make four into postcard size prints to sell, order mounts for Hula works, take down artwork from I Heart Cafe, buy fabric for Hula and Wedding Invite Commission, print Wedding Commission artworks, make Wedding Commission artwork, scan and print into invites, order bespoke frame for Urban Outfitters chevron artwork, contact Dave at Edinburgh Copyshop to get a quote for postcard invites, do the same for man at ECA, buy frames for Hula artworks, confirm final details for UO exhibition and order postcard invites, download something I keep getting pestered about downloading but haven’t had time to download yet, re-install my printer to new laptop, book a hair appointment, disappoint friends by cancelling dates to meet in July or August, update website, update Etsy site, buy dog food, buy human food…uhm, I think that’s it.  I think that’s the list that has been keeping me awake.

Sometimes I get so desperate for a good night of sleep.  A full night of sleep.  One that doesn’t start with me lying there for an hour or more, wishing I was asleep by now and one that won’t have me up for hours in the middle, wishing I was asleep.  I’ve downloaded ‘Sleep’ apps to help lull me into a deep sleep.  They worked for a week but now I somehow seem to be immune.  Not sure what the answer is, but am sure it isn’t sleeping pills.  Maybe I just need to deal with my stress better or maybe this is just a particularly rough patch I’m going through.

Who knows.

I am thankful for the opportunities that have found me, or I found them.  I just wish they’d stop keeping me awake at night.

Posted in Hula, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

In addition


With the arrival of my much needed art supplies, I was able to have an amazing day in my studio space. As many of you may be aware, Gocco supplies are not just low on the ground, they are pretty flipping difficult to find and locating a good supplier as well as good supplies is almost becoming a fine art in itself.

When I was ordering my last batch of tricks, I saw a listing for Gocco compatible bulbs. When I received these, teased them out of their brown paper and bubble wrap, I was surprised/amazed/bemused as I hadn’t expected them to arrive in such delicious packaging. The bulbs are this glorious blue colour and as round as golf balls. There was rather a lot of skepticism in my vicinity as I wasn’t sure they’d actually work. So, I popped them into the lamp unit of my Gocco machine, clamped all things down that needed clamping down … and held my breath.

Much to my shock and amazement, they worked! Yes! I may have even high-fived the air as I was rather excited and work alone. I will certainly be ordering more of these bad boys.

In other news: I have been given an additional wall at Urban Outfitters for the August show. They will be taking down the books and bookcases to give me the full three wall space. Yeah! and AAAAH! I do have a plan and this plan is very much involving The Garret Print Studio and their A3 printing capabilities. They had my back for the last show and I know they’ll have my back for this one.

The Urban Outfitters show is going to be hopping, the opening party is on the 2nd of August, and involving a DJ from Sneaky Petes and free beer. At the moment I’m trying to find a sponsor for said beverage and have something in the pipeline. So hey hey kids, it’s all happening.

In other other news: Works for Hula are coming along beautifully. I am doing a new thing here, adding a couple of layers of ‘life’ in print form and am happy with the outcome. The photo below is of a piece I completed today, unframed.  Hula opening night is 1st of August and will involve The Edinburgh Samba School.


Posted in galleries and shops, Hula, news, process, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

An update on projects

Catchy title that: An update on projects.  Yawn.

You’ll have to excuse me as I am feeling very slow this morning.  Too much glorious sunshine (can you have too much?) and possibly a bit too much to drink at the end of the day may be contributing to my sluggishness.  I’ll have to persevere as I am a) rather brave or b) desperately needing to get stuff done and can’t be slowed down by the monumentally bad decision to have a whisky drink after my wine drink?  Answer: b.

And so, here is a little update on all the many projects that are needing my attention:

The I Heart Cafe collaboration is going well.  My partner in the war against ugly and I have decided things.  We’ve had agreements, which when working with someone else is essential.  As far as I can tell, we are on track to put up the work on the 1st of June.  I still need to draw out my plans for the window, which is an activity I have assigned to this Friday.

The Hula artworks are going well. For anyone who has worked with Gocco printing before, you know that ‘flashing’ the screens (making the drawn image appear by magic onto the screen) can sometimes go wrong.  The bulbs may not flash or the drawing may not have enough carbon, both resulting in lots of wasted time and wasted money.  I am happy to report that both of the screens I have made so far are looking fine.  Today I shall continue work on the third drawing.  There will be seven artworks all together.

The Urban Outfitters work is 80% complete.  I’m working on a piece that is a bit redefining, I think, and has taken me 10 hours so far to make.  I think I have another 3 or 4 more to go.  It will be worth it.  Promise.  I am doing something new and am hoping to delay the reveal for the show.  But you know me, I sometimes get a bit excited and impatient.

And then there is the artwork for a fine couple’s home and wedding invitations.  Apparently, the scaffolding over one of the buildings I need to recreate in my style has been dismantled.  What terrifically good news that is for everyone involved.

All of these projects are due in June, July or August.  I better hop to it then.  May is slipping away at a rather alarming rate.

Posted in galleries and shops, Hula, inspiration, process, Urban Outfitters Exhibition

August Exhibition at Hula

Who is gonna be at Hula?

Yesterday I had a very exciting meeting with Susan of Hula Juice Bar on Victoria Street.  Ooh la la.  We both left the meeting feeling utterly ecstatic about our plan for August.

You may be thinking ‘But wait, Cassandra.  Aren’t you preparing for a show for Urban Outfitters in August?’ And to this question I would say ‘Why yes, thank you so much for remembering that.  It means quite a lot, actually.  So what’s going to happen is that I’m exhibiting in two, yes TWO, different venues in August.’ And then you may want to follow that up with ‘But Cassandra, what about print and textile market saturation?  Aren’t you afraid that people are going to get a little annoyed/sick of seeing your work all over the place?’ And to this I would respond ‘Insteresting that you should say that as I had that same worry myself.  With that said, both shows are going to be entirely different.  Urban Outfitters works will feature a completely different type of architecture treated with different types of fabrics and stitching whilst the show at Hula will be based on architecture around the Grassmarket.  I will be bringing in another element to the Hula exhibition works, an element that I cannot wait to start experimenting with as I feel this is going to take my work in an interesting direction.’

I hope that you will be able to find time in your busy August schedules to see them both.  As I mentioned, the work is going off in one direction for UO and in quite another direction for Hula.  I think that I shall be busy the next few months experimenting and developing my current style.  I am so thrilled at the prospect.

It’s better to grow than stagnate.