Tag Archives: Christmas Market

Winter Fairs, First Frosts and The Grey People

Hello, and a Merry December to you all!

I’d like to start this post with a little story and observation that is particularly relevant at this time of year, I feel. When I was on the train a couple of weeks ago, returning from a trip to Hull during the wild weather, I was gratefully munching down my ham sandwich and peering out of the window at the ever-darkening landscapes flashing past. At every station, a handful of people would get on, wedging themselves into seats and cuddling in tight into their layers of clothing to try and thaw from the chill wind. Evidently, they were cold, and tired, and just wanted to get home- I understand. But a couple of them seemed to be saturated in this grey cloud, staring through my smiles and nods of acknowledgement and away again.

I’ve experienced this before, a few times, with a few characters really standing out in my memory as totally “grey” – one man I encountered on the bus a few months ago being the example that my memory will always jump to. He was the sort of character you just wanted to go and hug, and tell him that everything was going to be okay- life seemed to have sucked all the colour and joy from his bones, leaving his eyes dull and his mouth downturned. At this time of year, I always think of one of my very favourite stories of all time, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, and its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge. I always couldn’t help but feel sorry for the greedy old miser described in the tale. I remember a feeling of curiosity rather than despair or hatred the first time I heard the story: he was cold and unfeeling, yes, but why? I would wager that through the given descriptions of his youth, loneliness would be one of the largest reasons for Scrooge intially finding solace in his money and business, which would later cut him off from his peers, and also his heart.

Now, by no means will I, or can I, ever pass judgement on strangers I meet in the street- every soul has a thousand unspoken problems and worries that may glaze their eyes and leave them lost and unsure, and a little grey around the edges. We will all experience a period of this greyness, where life seems dull, repetitive and not heading in the direction we’d hoped. Money will be a worry for all of us at some point too, unless you’re incredibly lucky. But, I have realised, my greatest fear is that this will creep slowly, irreversibly into a heart and strip a person of all their character, all their passion and loves in life, until they lose all their colour permanently. People remember Scrooge for his tightfistedness, but I remember him for his indifference- his withered soul devoid of love for anything or anyone.

This Christmas, please help me in my main life’s aim- to prevent the onset of “total greyness” in everybody you encounter, including strangers. Please smile, be kind and generous in spirit- and you can help keep hearts warm, and the world more loved.

On that note, I’m overjoyed to announce that I’m currently still adding to a catalogue of greetings cards for “Thortful”, a new web-based “marketplace” which will officially launch in the New Year, which centres around a philosophy of making people happy- both creators and customers!

My cards will finally be available online!! They’re all animal-based, as with a great proportion of my work this year! The site is now live before its official launch, if you’d like a sneaky peek please follow this link to view my current collection!

In my last post, I mentioned a Christmas Fair I was participating in on the 5th of December. I’m pleased to say that it was a success- a step up from last year, and I received lots of lovely comments and compliments as well as making a fair few sales! Here’s some of the highlights in pictures:

5-12-15 Greetings cards photoPrince of Snow at craft fair5:12:15 Christmas Fair Stall Photo

As you can see from some of these images, bears have kept cropping up throughout my practice for a good while now. Any of you that look at my Facebook site as well as this blog will have seen a specific album dedicated to this study, which contains a few snippets of a personal project I’m working on (and one I am determined will be published!) My next post in January will contain a few little teasers of artwork that have been developing my ideas, as well as a short writeup of my influences so far.

I think all that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas (and a God Jul to all of my Norwegian friends celebrating today!) – spend these special days with all your dearest ones, laughing and making merry. Presence will always trump presents, after all.

The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God Jul! Christmas, New Year and beyond!

Hello again kind readers, and a very merry Yuletide to you all! I realise it’s been rather a long while since my last post, but I have had absolutely no time for the computer at all, or really any time to draw at all in the past couple of weeks- I have been working extremely hard at helping out Father Christmas/Père Noël/Santa Claus/Julenissen- whatever you call him where you live!

No, this isn’t a joke- I have been working a temporary job as a Christmas Elf, taking children to see F.C, and selling them gift ideas of their experience at the end: baubles, snowglobes, framed pictures containing their photo with the big man himself. I have to say- I absolutely LOVED IT. My team were lovely, and it was incredibly exciting going to work in a castle everyday (with a light show on the turrets every hour!)

Of course, as this is a busy time of year for Father Christmas and all his elves, the hours were long and gruelling, and we all suffered being ill at one point or another. We all pulled together though, and it was worth it to see the looks on some of those children’s faces!

I have felt severe withdrawal symptoms though in the last couple of weeks, as I haven’t had time to do any more than eat some dinner and go to bed when I get in- I did try doodling in bed one evening, but to no avail. So now that Father Christmas has finished his rounds for another year and has got a nice footstool and bubblebath waiting, I’m delighted to be able to get back into the swing of drawing everyday- especially as there are so many exciting things happening next year!

First and foremost, I can confirm that I will be a part of Made In Somerset’s Arts Week in May of next year- teaming up with a group of painters and ceramisists from my home town to deliver a week long showcase (with all pieces for sale!) of some of our favourite work. I am pleased to announce that I plan to centre my part of the show around Siggi and Skog- producing some original, finished paintings will come in handy if I’m permitted to go and pitch their tale to some book publishers!

Which, on a side note, I’m planning to really get my teeth into this coming year. In recent years I’ve tried so many new things and been to so many places that the shy girl of a few years ago never would have dreamed of, and I’m tired of being scared of what might happen if things don’t work out. If I don’t take the plunge, I will never know. 2015 will be the year that I can tie up the loose ends of both Erik and Siggi’s stories, (as they are both nearing the stage of being ready to do so) and begin writing my letters. I’m hoping to attend a couple of trade fairs with friends in the first half of next year, so the boys may be going to London!!

I’ll keep you all posted on how they get on.

Before the rush of the last few weeks at Father Christmas’ castle, I also managed to take part in another craft market stall- which was every bit as fun as the first, if not better! It was in the same place as last time (The Old Fish Market Pub) and this time, I was rewarded with double the amount of room to display my wares, and free pots of tea! Definitely a promotion, I think… I also sold a little more as well, which was just great!

Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 1 watermarked
The creatures line up again to be taken to market!
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 2 Watermarked
Christmas Market 2.0
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 3 watermarked
Cards, creatures, decorations and tags!
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 4 watermarked
Handmade boxes, gift bags and recycled Christmas Card decorations!

Now, as it’s been so very long since my last post, I realise that this month’s wordcount is a little heavy… But never fear, there are plenty of pictures to be found! If you have a look in “My recent sketchbook” you’ll find some of the sketches I’ve been working on since last time, specifically some of my favourite SkADaMo (Sketch A Day Month) scribblings from November (they were centred around exploring more about Siggi: his homeland of ancient Scandinavia, his culture- possibly mesolithic, his relationships and his story.) I’ve also included a concept art-style page of drawings that I completed for a friend’s birthday present… But I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I’ll let you find those!

But right here, I’ll share something very appropriate to the time of year- a folk song from Norway that I found called ‘Musevisa’ – ‘The Mouse Song’. It’s a lovely bouncy tune which tells of a mouse family’s celebrations at Christmas-time, despite the biting cold and the threat of being caught, and encompasses all the good cheer and hearty warmness that makes Christmas so many people’s favourite festivity. (Also appropriate as one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to keep up my studies of Norwegian, my passion for which was set ablaze by my good friend KayDraws. I’m hoping to even attend a night school class if I can find one!)

(From an English translation) : “A grubby home at Christmas, would be a great disgrace.
So young ones dance a Polka, their tails sweep out the place.”

Musevisa for blog watermarked

“Om julekvelden da skal alle sammen være gla!”

“A Merry Christmas season is good for me and you!” Enjoy the festivities, and open your minds and hearts to the new year- throw away the darkness that has come before, start afresh, and plan some new adventures!

– The AutumnHobbit.

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Twinkling Fingers and Hooks for the Sky

Hello all!

Huge apologies for the delayed update this month, it’s been a very busy time!

I just want to open this post with a little Rememberance Sunday message. I spent my walk into town this morning smiling in the frosty sunshine and listening to a lovely song about fishermen, running into people on the way who were going about their business but still had a smile and a “Good Morning” for me. It made me think about all those ordinary people like you and me who went off to fight, knowing after a while they might never return, but giving up their lives so that we might be given a chance, a promise of a better tomorrow. We still have a lot to sort out as a species, and a long way to come, but in this moment, seeing people free and entitled to their little lives, it hit me just what a wonderful, brave gift these heroes have provided for so many of us. So, in words once and in writing another, I thank you all veterans past and present for protecting us from the evils of ourselves. You will not be forgotten.


I’ve been offered a Christmas temp job which I’ve been preparing for, but mainly I’ve spent the past few weeks making and painting for a Christmas Market that took place on Friday. I’ve been involved with stalls in the past, but never one that I ran solely on my own- I was a little apprehensive in the days running up to the event, but I’m happy to say that it was an amazing experience! Everyone was so, so friendly, I made a couple of sales and had some cards taken away, as well as finding out about some similar events taking place over the next few weeks, so I’m counting it as a success! I’ve got a little bit of the Christmas bug already I think…

As this took up most of my freelancing time over the past three or four weeks, it feels only right to share some pictures of the event with you! (Also, just because I’ve been bursting with excitement about the whole process and want to share some inspiration with whoever might be considering doing something similar over the festive season. I SAY DO IT. IT’S AMAZING!)

As for things I had on offer- (the range will remain throughout any other fairs I get to attend) I had recycled christmas card decorations (little baubles for trees!) in various sizes, prints of current artwork, handmade Christmas present labels, Sculpey animal models (polar bears, penguin chicks and snow hares!) and luxury Christmas cards made using a select few of my favourite images from mini photoshoots my mum and I did with the Sculpey creature clans! (I have to say a very special thankyou to my mother bear for her help with the photoshoot ideas, she immensely enjoyed playing around with backgrounds, snowy materials and arranging the little lads and lasses for some of the pictures!)

First of all, a few pictures of the preparations (from the photoshoots!) :

Anouka and Ingle the Polar Bears in situe
Here is Anouka (on the left) and Ingle (on the right) the polar bears, enjoying a warm moment during a very cold day.
Polar Bear family watermarked
Anouka, Ingle and their little one, Siggi.
Siggi and Astrid
Siggi the little bear making friends with Astrid the Snow Hare.
Penguin takes the plunge
Little Meep the penguin deciding whether or not to have a swim…

And, for some photos of the actual event, all set up and looking pretty:

Stall 1
The stall in full!
Stall 2
Detail of recycled Christmas card decorations hanging and packaged for sale!
Procession of animals!
All the animal clans, assembled as their finest for sale!

My plans following this market are twofold: to sign up for as many other markets before Christmas as possible, and also to make my own online shop to try selling a different way!(and to make use of the wonderfully cute ‘in situe’ photos I have of all of my creatures!) I’m hoping to build an Etsy presence, more info when it’s up and running, but I am certain that all the wares you see here will be available for order!

ALSO: As previously promised in my last post, my blog is still being taken over by my plans for an upcoming storybook concept I’ve been working on in my ‘spare time’- about Skog the Norwegian forest cat. I’m trying my best to keep up with SkADaMo this month to help me plan it, (that’s Sketch A Day Month for November!) but due to the market I haven’t had too much of a chance to focus on it since my last post.

One large update though: Skog’s protegé, a small lost child who is seperated on a hunt and forced to put his survival skills into practice, has now been named, thanks to (quite strangely!) a scaffolding company called Skyhooks. What an incredible word- linking us to magic, light and whatever else we can find way up there in the sky! And thanks to Mr. Little Baby Bear featured in his photo gallery earlier in the post, the little boy shall be henceforth known as Siggi Skyhook. I’m still very much in the early stages of planning him, but here is a little something to keep you going until next time- a series of very early sketches, completed on the train, exploring his expressions:

Siggi Skyhook watermarked

As ever, thankyou for your continued interest in my blog! I hope it brings you as much joy to read as it does for me to write!

-The AutumnHobbit.

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.