Monday 18 January 2010

Introducing monday : "englishcookies"


I am englishcookies, also known as Karin, a serious garlic muncher: frenchy as it can be ;)

I run my studio from home : making paper goods, prints and other handmade products.

I use various techniques : screen printing, Gocco, old stamps, letterpress, painting, etc…

I moved from Paris, many years ago to travel a bit, and now live on the coast of Ireland, near Belfast.

I have swapped the rat race for the beautiful country life, and I am grateful for every day I spend away from all the hustle and bustle of big cities...

I trained for several years in Art schools : Fine arts, design, communication & illustration; focused mainly on illustration, but was keen to experiment with all media I could find : the more, the merrier! From there I spent several years working in the Graphic design industry, in agencies: designing branding, logos, websites ..etc... As a lot of people, I became more and more disillusioned over the years with the industry, and even if my career was going better and better, I wasn't happy at all. A turning point came for me when the economic crisis of 2001 forced me to closed down my 3 months old freelance business.

I then decided to go to London and improve my english for 6 months or so, until things get better. I stayed 2 years. Back in France, I searched for a place abroad to volunteer for the environment. I always wanted to work for free and learn more about nature, and I thought I had the opportunity to do just that when I arrived in Northern Ireland. I met my partner along the way and decided to stay for good: et voila!

Since I live here, I decided to go back to basics and use computers only as a last resort. I do enjoy using my hands again and get really inspired by other people crafts and handmade, in general. I went back to printing with "the SEACOURT workshop (, in Bangor, and also got into weaving and spinning with "the ULSTER GUILD of spinners, weavers and dyers"(, in the Ulster Folk Museum.

What first made me want to create things? Coloured pencils and felt tip pens!

One of my happiest and earliest memories are at the table, coloring and drawing pictures, for hours and hours, in a perfect bliss...I don't think I ever stopped until the dreaded computer came along, hi, hi !

One huge thing in my life, especially since I live in the UK, is thrifting.

All the charity shops, here, in Bangor, Newtownards, Donaghadee and Belfast are an unstoppable source of excitement to me : it is like being in a sweet shop ! I love to spend a long time trying to find this little special object or the book that nobody has noticed and give it a second chance. When I collect vintage objects, it does feel like I am buying history, even if my partner think (..the following part probably sounds very familiar to you..) it is more like buying junk! (..typical...I told you...)

I don't stick to one particular style. I am surrounded by those found objects, and move them in the house : on shelves, tables, corners…for months, then it becomes something else or simply an inspiration for a print. I get huge satisfaction from transforming discarded objects or pairing them with the perfect match.

Don't ask me what handmade possession I most cherish : I have never been able to choose a favorite for anything…

I do love them all and, at the same time, I am very happy with the idea of letting go of it.

Favorite to me is just an instant feeling : when I find something for the very first time.. and….hopla : the moment is gone!

What else do I do?

I grow vegetables. I am a novice gardener, but love the instant reward and constant surprise you get when you plant something in the ground and it comes out, few weeks later, in the shape, texture, taste and color of something else :

it is Pure Magic!

I also joined "the Northern Ireland Fungus Group (NIFG)", 2 years ago, and it gives me the opportunity to muck about in forests and parks of Northern Ireland 6 months per year, once or twice a month, and look at little mushrooms during a good day walk : I absolutely love it and would advise everybody to join us , it is only 5£ a year and a lot of fun.

Web sites I also like :

Written by engllishcookies for INTRODUCING MONDAY


  1. cool post!
    How is Tania? Were you at the Brocante? Hope to see you at the next Crafty missus.

  2. Great post Karin, I really enjoyed it, especially all of your different styles. Thanks again for contributing!

  3. Nice reading more about you. I enjoy your photos on Flickr as one of your contacts.

  4. Found your post very interesting. Such a divercity of interests. Me too as you moved to Ireland from another country, but I am yet to hopefully find many new inspiring activities:)

  5. Thanks you all for your comments :
    it is really good to hear from yous and greatly appreciated / Merci ;D

    Rainey : I haven't been to fairs or brocante since a while, unfortunately and haven't seen Tania neither.

    Nicedaydesigns: Thanks for the opportunity : it was a great pleasure to participate to the blog.

    Steve : I enjoy your pics on FLICKR too and your baskets are always inspiring.

    Lightkeeping : you are already doing so much : your blog is full of good ideas !

  6. this is great@! i love that you are a part of the Irish fungus group! lol! i would love to do that, my granny was a champion porcini hunter! i love your stuff too, espcially that apple print, lovely! do you do posters?

  7. aw cute! What an amazing wedding invitation!!! I love it ... ooh and I love the aul fungus too!

  8. Love, love, love your typography! Things with big, bold, confident type make me smile ... so simple and crisp, just fab.

    Lovely to hear more about you and looking forward to seeing more of your work.
    And gotta love the mushrooms too.

  9. I really like your work, I'm glad to read more about you here! and the fungus group sounds great!

  10. Many thanks to all :D

    I am glad I got such a response about the shroomies too : who doesn't love the shrooms, hey?, with their tiny winy little spots and their little balloony hats, anyway?
    Just cuties...
    Join the group, Go girls ! ;D