#FridayFaves – Puffins

#FridayFaves Puffins

Way back when I used to blog on a daily basis – this was a long time ago – I used to do themed posts for each day of the week. I reserved Friday for my favourite finds – things from other makers that I absolutely loved. It was a means of promoting my own work and that of other makers I admired and so a #FridayFaves post was born, but back then I called it something different I think.

Flicking through Instagram today, I came across a gorgeous painting by Jenny McLaren, who is a Scottish artist based in Cumbria. I follow her on Instagram and her puffin painting reminded me of the two puffin pieces I made last year. Then I had a lightbulb moment – why don’t I get back into writing weekly themed posts to promote many of the amazing makers out there. Boy, we really need the support right now in the light of current world events!

So this is hopefully the first of many posts and it’s a little late this week. As of next week I’ll be more prepared and the posts will appear on Friday mornings from now on!

I work with recycled materials, so I’ve decided that my focus for these journal posts will predominantly be on other artists/makers who also incorporate recycled materials into their work.

So this week’s theme is Puffins!

First I’d like to introduce you to the work of Jenny McLaren. I’m drawn to her work because of her use of maps. Her paintings are like memories taken from exploring a landscape. Maps are fused to boards and used as a canvas.

She posted this puffin piece up on Instagram today and it caught my eye. My love puffins and old maps is perfectly combined in this piece and I think I have this map of the Shiant Islands too. The painting is entitled Shiant Puffin and is available in her shop right now. Here’s a link to buy it…

#FridayFaves - Shiant Puffin by Jenny McLaren
#FridayFaves – Shiant Puffin by Jenny McLaren

“I particularly like working on old maps of the areas I visit. There’s an interplay between the map and the washes of paint obscuring or revealing it that produces an intriguing image. It draws the viewer in to look closer at the details that mirrors how I explore landscapes.”

Jenny McLaren
#FridayFaves - Shiant Puffin a painting by Jenny McLaren
#FridayFaves – Shiant Puffin by Jenny McLaren

It is painted on a 6×6 inch old OS map which has been fused to a wood panel, the edges of which have been painted white. Jenny uses acrylic ink and graphite and seals each piece with acrylic spray varnish. This painting is unframed and ready to hang. Priced at £130.


In my search for more Puffin loveliness I then came across the work of artist Ean Dawbarn.

#FridayFaves - Retro-Futurist Animal Sculpture by Ean Dawbarn
#FridayFaves – Retro-Futurist Animal Sculpture by Ean Dawbarn

I’ve never seen his work before today and I was blown away by his Instagram feed. My life long fascination with the workings of human and animal anatomy means I’m very much drawn to any dead creatures I come across on my many meanderings. I have my own collection of skulls and skeletons and I don’t find them morbid at all.

Ean works with a range materials, all of which are recycled and his sculptural pieces are often a mix of bone and metal which are fused and riveted together, coloured and distressed. There is so much detail within and on the surface of each sculpture and the animals he (re)creates feel almost pre-historic but at the same time very futuristic.

#FridayFaves - Retro-Futurist Animal Sculpture by Ean Dawbarn
#FridayFaves – Retro-Futurist Animal Sculpture by Ean Dawbarn

They are so realistic, but also very obviously man-made and all posses a beautiful haunting sadness in their eyes. It’s as if their souls are trapped even though they’ve been given another chance to live and exist.

Absolutely gorgeous work that I encourage you to explore. Please visit his website as well as his Facebook and Instagram feeds to see more of his work and find out more about it.


My piece of shameless self promotion comes next.

Little Stories are small stand alone pieces made from scrap Copper, Silver and Brass and they depict a letter of the alphabet and an item associated with that letter. I aim to eventually make one for each letter of the alphabet, all along a coastal theme. It’s an ongoing project that will take a lifetime to complete, but I will do it.

I’m always happy to take commissions and last year was asked to make ‘P is for Puffin’ and soon after I made this first piece, I was commissioned again to make a ‘P is for Puffin’ as an anniversary gift for another customer.

The little Puffin got a lot of interest and I’ve been meaning to make little puffin pins, so I will add that to my to do list over the coming months. If you would be interested in a Puffin Pin, leave a comment below and let me know.

If you’d like your own Little Story piece, they are available to order here


Some amazing facts about puffins…
  1. A puffin’s beak changes colour during the year. In winter, it has a dull grey colour, but in spring it blooms with an outrageous orange!
  2. Puffins are fab flyers, flapping their wings up to 400 times a minute and speeding through the air at up to 88km an hour!
  3. In the wild, these winged wonders live for around 20 years.
  4. They usually pair up with the same partner every year and some puffin couples may have been together since the moment they met!
  5. Puffins can dive down 60m under water in search of their favourite fish.

I hope you find my #FridayFaves posts interesting and enlightening and that you take some time to visit the selected artists websites and socials to find out more about them and their work, enquire about purchasing it or commissioning them to make you something bespoke. Please support artists and makers and small businesses as much as you can. Use the box below to share your thoughts and comments…

Thank you!

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