Monday, 4 November 2019

Charcoal Caddy by Julie Ann

Hello and Welcome to Calico Craft Parts Blog. It's hard to believe it's November already! Dark and chilly evenings are upon us here in the UK and this is when I like to make my studio into a cosy and welcoming place where I can spend some relaxing, creative time, exploring new drawing and painting techniques.

Since my daughter moved out and I inherited her room as my studio, I've really spread my creative wings and taken some art courses on line. Of course this involves buying new materials and then finding storage for them. Calico Craft Parts have provided all kinds of storage solutions and it is great to be able to decorate and alter their boxes and display kits so that they contain not just art materials but inspiration for future projects.

For this project, I used one of the small Calico Caddies. They take just minutes to assemble; they come in 3 sizes and the lids fit brilliantly.

To decorate the lid, I provided a drawing surface by fixing craft tissue with fluid matt medium and a layer of gesso. I then allowed my lid to dry and created a mini portrait using willow charcoal, white charcoal pencil and gesso.

I had lots of fun digging into my stash of design papers and washi tapes to create collages for the sides of the caddy.

The backgrounds start to suggest little characters and stories the storage box might have to tell...

and more collage and craft parts help to enhance the tales.

Here a butterfly wing just happened to be in the right place on the design paper. I create the characters' faces by adding a blob of gesso above the collaged bodies and then forming the features with water-colour pencils and a drawing pen.  Here's Lady Constance with her mathematical brain and her beloved pet rabbit, Rufus who has his eye on a tasty golden maple leaf. 

The fantasy ladies are probably the dreams of the young lady on the lid - a portrait based on a reference photo I took of my daughter, Matilda. When she was a little girl we used to spend happy hours drawing princesses with collaged dresses, each with her own story to tell. Princess Ruby with her head full of songs has a ginger cat called Eustace who likes to climb trees.

Unaware of what lies in store, Lady Cressida is in the firing range of Cupid's dart!

Florabell dreams of spring, clasping a magical daffodil that's almost as big as she is!

And inside the caddy lie sticks of willow charcoal, ready to create new characters and new stories.

Thank you so much for dropping by the Calico blog today. I hope you'll feel inspired to create a caddy in your own style, whether it be to store art supplies or kitchen ingredients. Happy Creating until we meet in a fortnight's time.

Calico Craft Parts used in this project
MDF Kitchen Caddy - Storage Box (small)
Wood Sugar Maple Leaf and Twig
Ivy Leaf Corner Garland
Cat in a Tree silhouette
Sitting Rabbit wood shape style 1 (small)
Wooden Word Elements - blanks
Trio of Daffodils (small)


  1. Its just gorgeous !! Thank you for sharing Julie.

  2. How fitting that one of the elements here uses the word Sublime, Julie. The portrait of Matilda is just that - as is the harmonious, humorous and whimsical troop of supporting characters, each involved in a tiny drama. Transforming the wonderful Calico Craft Parts into works of art full of meaning and soul is a gift that I am oh-so-thankful that you share with us. Thank you! xoxo

  3. I loved reading your process and your box is just beyond beautiful!!

  4. Thank you so much, Shilpa, Heather and Kim - your beautiful and encouraging comments have really made my day! xx

  5. This box is masterpiece Julie! Many situations are beautiful art and very original. I love it!! You are really talented as always. xx