I am so thrilled to have Jodi Wiley guest posting on the blog today! Jodi was my covert robin buddy and the gifts she made for me were so perfect I nearly burst with tears of happiness when I saw them. But, enough of me; meet Jodi! :)
Hi! I'm Jodi Wiley from Art by Wiley. I'm an artist and writer from Melbourne Australia and I'm so happy to be writing a guest post here today!
Recently I decided to participate in my first ever mystery gift exchange. I'd heard of craft swaps before but I never thought I could be part of one because I don't sew. I could try but the results would be less than impressive, believe me. But the Covert Robin swap had an emphasis on handmade rather than just sewing - so it was possible to create an illustration as a gift - hooray for me! So I signed up and was soon given the details of my partner.
Well, I spent a lot of time faffing around on her blog trying to work out what she'd like. Luckily, Kara here writes such an entertaining and lovely blog that it wasn't a hardship to lurk here for a while! But I'm sure you already know that ;)
At first I thought I might do something with this post of hers because trees are my thing and I loved these bright images. I was also struck by the Hal Borland quote at the end about a single tree warming the heart, which really gets to the heart of the kind of work I like to do with tree images. I played around with watercolour and pen for a bit but it just wasn't coming together. Below are the images I printed from this blog to work with.
So I kept browsing and then I saw this gorgeous bunting Kara made for her nephew. I knew I had my drawing. It had something from me in it (the tree) and something personalised for Kara - the bunting.
While I was creating the illustration I shared a sneak peek on my blog, which was then shown by Rachael at Imagine Gnats. Well, a lot of people came over to look at my humble little drawing. It sort of gave me a bit of stage fright, to be honest! I kept working on the drawing and then something happened, which sometimes happens to me. I overworked it. Yup. I kept going long after I should have stopped and I ruined it. So, the image you see here is not the same image in the sneak peek a few weeks ago because I started again! This is not such a bad thing though because in the second one I was able to refine some of the techniques I used in the first and, honestly, this one is so much better and I'm a lot happier with how it's turned out.
I would have liked to send it over to Kara framed but the cost of postage to the United States from Australia was crazy-expensive. So I compromised and sent it with the mat only. I also included a few hand-illustrated cards I created for a market a while back, along with a little letter on the back of the sheet I'd been experimenting on for my original idea using the tree quote.
I can't tell you how excited I was to hear back from Kara that she'd received it. And even better was hearing that she liked it! Phew! This whole Covert Robin experience has been an amazing one. I got to create something special for someone I didn't know and in the process, I made a new friend! Yay!
Kara, here- Jodi, thank you SO MUCH for your beautiful gifts! I have framed all five of these treasures and will be hanging them in my house promptly; I'll be sure to share pictures when I do. Also, you were so sneaky with this project! You even started following me on Pinterest and I didn't even notice... tricky, tricky. ;)
Folks, this covert robin swap by Rachael from imagine gnats was the real deal! This too was my first ever craft swap and I couldn't be happier with the process and the results. I had the opportunity to make some lovely gifts for Megan over at City Stitches (more on that another day!), received absolutely gorgeous gifts from Jodi and made a friend in the process. I am one lucky girl. :)