Once upon a time …

… long, long ago, well that’s how it seems! We are unable to post pictures of our Christmas commissions yet, so how about a bit of history.


We first got serious about art and craft in 1994, when we took over a business running ceramic art classes – we called it ‘Studio Minerva’. The shop was built in the mid 1800s and has been used for all sorts of trades.

The picture on the left dates from 1870, the one on the right slightly later.
Unfortunately we closed the business in 1999, because trade was not flourishing – and now, ironically, the shop is a financial advisor, ‘Assured Private Wealth’.

But we loved our time there, made many friends, learned loads about ceramics, glazes, kilns, and customers, so thought it fitting to do a caricature of the old place. It hasn’t changed too much in over 100 years. The houses to the left are now replaced by the Co-op.

How life changes in 25 years, or even 150!

You have to laugh

Last year I was fortunate to be asked to illustrate a book of humorous poetry, so I did.
As an illustrator my job is fairly straightforward – read the poem, draw the picture. The difficult bit is with the writer.

The author of these chuckle-worthy gems is Dianne Phillips-Zito, she lives in a rather bleak and remote part of Western Australia, so she needs a sense of humour to start with. She then has to produce the poetry – not the rambling formless excuse for bad prose – but proper poetry, that rhymes and has metre. And she has to produce sufficient to fill a book – and it has to make the reader smile.

For those who have never tried, laying out the pages of a book to look attractive, as well as being the well ordered vehicle for the poems, is another work of art. And getting the whole shebang through the printing and publishing system needs the patience of Job.

It was a long time from idea to book shelf, but she has done it and “From Bad to Verse” is available from various publishers as well as Amazon Books. It is too late for Christmas, but buy a copy anyway, because you deserve to have your spirits lifted – and 2021 is the time to do it – because the cartoons are brill, even if I say so myself! A triumph of trans-global corroboration.

Dianne also writes horror/dark short stories, published in the UK and USA, under the pen name Anna Harris.