Hello, I’m Bren and I make paper.

Handmade paper,old-stylee

and 100% recycled.

I started making cards and other stuff out of it and quickly discovered that my cheap-ass printer is not greatly compatible with my

funky, textured paper! There started my quest for arty-fantastic ways to decorate my products,

and a crafty education for me along the way.




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Flower collage cards

I often use collage in my cards, using scraps of waste paper and fabric for the collage parts. This time, I wanted to make 3 cards that work as a set. I took inspiration from a few pics I saw on Pinterest, but I can’t figure out how to share them properly, d’oh! Anyway, here is a link to one lovely tutorial:


I liked how they used circles of bold colour as a starting point, working over it with pen to give the flowers definition. In the end though, I didn’t use this technique much.

Waste paper pile

Assorted circles

I gathered some waste paper and cut out lots of circles and flowery shapes, so that I had plenty to choose from. I put all my green scraps aside to use for stems and foliage. The muted pastels below came together quickly to become the first card design!

Ready to glue

I added a small bit of detail with some bright gel pens then glued everything in place with PVA glue, before pressing under heavy accountancy books! I believe other heavy books work almost as well- but accountancy bores the paper into submission. . .               also the gluey parts do not stick to the shiny cover of the books, so I can just trim the excess when the paper has dried.

Laid out for glueing

Two more designs in progress. I didn’t feel the need to add much extra detail with pen as there was so much texture in the scraps that I picked. Served up with complementary, recycled envelopes: Ta-done!

collage flowers 3 pack

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Wildflowers update!

Despite the poor weather and extra windiness- I have some wildflowers!

Poppies, cornflower, borage & crimson clover
wildflower box

. . .it looked like this in June. .

little sprouts

And in the big raised bed:

BorageBorage flower
PhaceliaPhacelia 1

Phacelia 2I can’t give you a wide shot until I do some weeding- it’s definitely more “wild” than “flower” at the moment!

How are yours getting on? There are a few varieties that haven’t come up for me- I wonder what effect different soil & climate would have on these seeds? Or later sowing. Please share your pictures! https://www.facebook.com/brenworks

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Wildflower seed paper

Instructions for planting: If you’ve received one of my seed cards here’s what to do! Remove the seedy shape and plant outdoors (once this pesky weather has passed!) .  In a pot is fine, and it may be easier to see them coming up. As the shapes are packed with seeds you may want to tear them up to give them space to grow. Read on for extra details and pictures of my flower pots.

It’s handmade paper which has been embedded with wild flower seeds. Customers have often asked me about it over the years, but I was a bit dismissive- if someone wants to plant flowers, they’ll go buy some seeds, right? Of course, I was missing the lovely sentimentality of growing something that you received in the post from a friend. 🙂

IMG_20150311_181845853And, as it turns out, it’s not that easy to find a nice selection of wildflower seeds! I was delighted with the selection available from The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim. I combined their bee mix and their butterfly mix as these contain some of my favourite wildflowers. Calendula & cornflower are two of the best flowers for petal paper – doubley great for me! The full list of seeds included is at the bottom of the post but here’s a sselection:

Wildflower Seeds

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AFM #2 Learn how to use Oil pastels

Crayons are rubbish.The only thing theyPastels 5 have going for them, in my opinion,
(I miss”The Good Wife”- when is it back on??) is that they are easy to use.
Oil pastels are like hard-to-use crayons.

All the same, I’ll give it a go! I had to do a bit of research having no idea how to proceed and I thought this article gave a good overview http://www.oilpasteltechniques.com/oil-pastels-for-beginners however he is adamant that cheapo oil pastels are a bad way to go. Hmm, I get the sinking feeling that my cheapo children’s pastels, from my ACTUAL CHILDHOOD, are not going to work very well. . .So, I decided to do a quick piece to suss out the quality issue.

Pastels 1
Difficult to blend colours; messy; difficult to do fine detail with big clunky pastels- DO BIGGER PICTURES!
Pastels 2
Pastels definately weren’t blending as described in the article, flaking off paper- GET NEW PASTELS!

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AFM #1 Cave Art

Cave art 1

Large sheet of handmade paper & drawing materials; metallic pens & paints, chalks, charcoal, colouring pencils and ink blocks.

I have done some cave art cards in the past (as you can probably see in the gallery!) and I really liked them because, for once, I wasn’t struggling with the bumpy texture of the paper- It was helping with the rock-effect!

I had two ideas for the bigger piece- 1. A detailed drawing of one animal- partly using cave-art techniques and partly going for a more life-like 3D representation or, – 2. A collection of scenes from different cave works from different countries. I opted for the second one. I collected images from the internet and came up with an initial sketch.

2014-10-03 10.43.49 2014-10-02 18.15.22








I decided to split it into 3 “bands” of images; initially intending for each band to represent a type of stone and therefore a geographical area, but I didn’t really stick to this idea!

2014-10-03 09.51.57

sketched in pencil and chalk

2014-10-03 10.43.09

first “band” in acrylic paint & chalk


People were not represented often in cave art, but I included versions of the two most striking human images I found. I wanted it to have a sense of movement and landscape- almost like a map. Continue reading

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Artist for a Month: The plan

As much as doing this brenworks thing gives me the opportunity to be creative, I often find myself dismissing card designs that require a bit of research and figuring-out ; favouring those I can get stuck into immediately.

And as much as I’ve learned new skills through brenworks, I haven’t played around with them nearly enough. eg. I can screen print, but still have made that Dave Grohl t-shirt from out my brain. My workspace is littered with post-its and scraps and sketches and swatches- all designed to remind me of what to get down to, when I finally get down to it.

BOOM. Gonna do it. Wish me luck.

This is the list of ambitiousness-ness: (order will be changed, most likely)

1. Representation of Cave Art on handmade paper, bigger than a card! For Andy, in a frame.
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