Thursday, 25 June 2020

I started lockdown with good intentions, but I have found it tricky to keep my creative momentum going over the past 12 weeks. There have been bursts of creativity, but often that has been channelled into Toby, the garden, or making comforting things to eat. 

What I have been doing is running online art and animation workshops for TAPE , and I've made two 'How To...' films. One was for EDGE via MOSTYN and one was for World Ocean Day for Schools, a free online festival. 

Click on the images below for links to the films. 
Animating Water: 

Animating Nature: 

Lots of fun to make (especially the part where I made a sound booth out of bedsheets and coats to record myself talking in the coat cupboard...). 

I also created an illustration for an article written by stylist and eco-fashion activist Meg Pirie, about motherhood during lockdown - click the image to read. 

At the moment I'm working on a short animation for Imagine Colwyn Bay as part of their augmented reality app. It tells the story of some ancient stained glass windows that were found in a church in Mochdre, forming an important part of the area's history. It's intended as a collaborative animation between myself and attendees of the online workshops I've been running for TAPE. Here are some mini clips of what I've made so far: 

As ever, there are more ideas swirling around in my head that I can't quite catch just yet. Big ideas, little ideas, half formed ones, ones I've had for years and ones that pop into my head at random intervals. There are a couple of other unfinished projects I should be working on, too, which I won't describe here just yet because I'm so ashamed that I haven't touched them for a while! I just need to lever myself back into them, and hopefully get into a flow. The flow of time is such an important factor when you are making work, and time has moved in such a strange way during lockdown. I wonder if it will ever be the same again, afterwards. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

In support of change

The killing of George Floyd, and the protests in Minneapolis and across the United States have been at the forefront of my mind recently, as I’m certain they have with most other people I know.

I have felt very unsure of how to respond to what has happened, or even whether to do so, on social media. It seems a bit empty compared with the gravity of what happened. I’ve had lots of conversations with friends and family about this over the last few days. I think what it comes down to is that if I’m going to help in any way, I want to help in a way that is meaningful and considerate, rather than ‘screaming into the void’, as one good friend put it.

That’s not to say that using social media, or talking about these events, is a bad thing. It’s not. Social media is an amazing tool for activism. It is a wonderful breeding ground for community. It’s just that within our rose-tinted, liberal algorithms, we’re not necessarily changing anything by sharing our opinions, because – as the very nature of an algorithm dictates - everyone who looks at our stuff already believes in what we are saying.

Social media encourages communities, but it also streamlines them. It’s frightening to imagine that for every parent out there trying to teach their children to be kind, to accept people for who they are, to celebrate and recognise differences and to judge people by what they do rather than what they look like, there are parents out there who are raising their children to believe that white people are superior, and that anyone who doesn’t look like them or come from their culture does not deserve the same treatment or privileges as they do, or even, that they deserve to die. Or even just that none of that stuff affects them, or people they know. 

I have grown up feeling fearful of racism and of right-wing ideologies and aware of them in a simmering, under-the-surface, ‘I don’t want to touch that’ sort of way. But over the years, it has dawned on me in increments that we are already living in a powerful white supremacist system. It is like a fine gauze surrounding all of us, touching some and not others. I might have been subconsciously aware of it but not until recently, perhaps, have I realised how potent it is, and truthfully, how little progress we have made. I can say with sincerity that I feel acutely aware of my own privilege as a white person, because I do not have to face the same day-to-day anxieties that my black or brown friends do. My experience of walking through life is always going to differ from the experiences had by these friends.

This also makes me think that fear, like anxiety, is unproductive. Whereas anger propels. I think the anger that people are feeling now will change things for the better. I hope so, anyway. I also hope that people outside of this situation – white people in particular – will understand and empathise with this anger.

Here are some things that I believe to be true: I support change. I sympathise with the anger felt by the people of Minneapolis and by black communities / people of colour across the globe. This anger is right and I hope it will be transformative. I acknowledge my white privilege. I reject racism in all forms and I reject the notion of living in a society that rewards white people for being white and undermines and punishes black people for being black.

I have decided to delete all of my social media for a good long period of time. Anything that causes me the level of anxiety it has caused me over the past few months – pretty much since the start of lockdown, and even before then - is not good for my mental health. Anxiety has played such a huge part of my life, all my life, and as I said, it’s unproductive. I want to be productive. I want to make art, write, watch Toby grow up, be a good friend, grow vegetables, help to fight racism and intolerance, even if that's in small ways. I want to do all this stuff in real life (and write a little bit about it here, on my blog).

In the words of Bill and Ted: 'Be excellent to one another' 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Keeping up

I've not been here for ages. I tend use Instagram as a mini-blog now, as it's quick and simple, and the instant feedback (i.e. likes) is really encouraging and makes me want to keep going. There are loads of good things about it, especially if you're an artist, and if you bypass all the body-obsessed feeds and Kardashians (absolutely no 'fence, it's just not my scene), it can be a goldmine of inspiration and positive messages.

But I have missed writing on my blog, which I used to treat as a proper diary - it's a good way of recording what I've been working on with a bit more substance. I'd like to try and write on here about once a month. Surely that sounds pretty doable (she says, nervously chewing her thumbnail)? Well, it's my goal from now on.

I'll be writing about the usual fodder - current and future illustration, animation and education projects, creative stuff I like, probably the odd rant, and definitely a slosh of Toby.

For now here's an animation made by parents and their children (under 4) at Galeri in Caernarfon, on International Women's Day this year. I ran a 2-hour animation workshop with them, which was quite a squeeze but a lot of fun and very fruitful. 

The workshop was part of my exhibition / residency 'From a Turnip to a Toby', on Y Wal at Galeri, which has since finished and was also a great experience. I showed drawings from my 100 day project about pregnancy and motherhood, and as part of a live drawing event, I illustrated stories and anecdotes on site, sent to me by other mothers of young children, to be displayed next to my framed pieces on Y Wal.

I'll update again soon with a bit more detail on what's coming up over the next year or so...! In the meantime I am on Instagram as @elstriggs so feel free to peruse my square pictures.

x peas and lovage x

Thursday, 16 February 2017


In November the baby arrived! His name is Toby - and he's really quite something.
It's been full on since he got here and definitely an emotional rollercoaster (though safely more highs than lows, I reckon). But I've managed to keep on top of the drawings for my 100 day project on Instagram - and while the baby boy has slept on this grey and murky February day, I've managed to update my website. There's now a whole bit dedicated to the 100 day project (all about the boy himself) - plus a bit more to come. Check it out and remember you can follow the 100 day project in full by finding me on Instagram as @elstriggs.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Back to the blog, with a bump. Literally

It's been more than a year since I wrote on here - have to stop doing that! But it has been a busy and very exciting year. After the residency in Budapest ended in September, it was to back work at the school, and later teaching Graphics / printmaking at a 6th form college in Luton.

Also earlier this year I managed to get pregnant - a whole other story! I've been using my Instagram account (@elstriggs) to keep a visual diary on all things pregnancy-related. As the bump gets bigger, so does my desire to keep drawing and making more stuff. I feel like I need to cram as much in as possible before he arrives!

In the first stages of pregnancy I felt so sick all the time I found it hard to pick up a pencil. When I started feeling normal again, I realized I hadn't done anything creative for what felt like an age - not good. So this project has given me a focus. Above is an etching of the first drawing I made for it - head over to Instagram if you want to have a nosey.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Tiny streams

I've started a blog for the residency I'm doing in Budapest in August. It's just the beginning, so there's very little on there at the moment, but hopefully it'll be overflowing by the end of the summer! That pun was fully intentional.

If you'd like to contribute to the project by answering a few questions about the River Thames (or the Danube, if it has some significance for you), please email me at I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Buda! Pest!

In August I'll be heading over to the magnificent Art Quarter Budapest - yes that's in actual Budapest - to do a two-week artist residency!

I'm going to be working on a narrative project, gathering stories related to the Danube and the Thames, to create an animation / sound piece; working title 'The River Is Smiling'. It's only a short residency (though hopefully it will lead to more), so phase one of the adventure - an exploration of all things Thames-related - starts now. Watch this space for more updates.

Do you have any stories, memories, anecdotes or even just feelings about the Thames you'd be happy to share with me? If so, I'd love to hear from you so please get in touch via my website, now fully updated -

In other news, I've now got cards for sale at the recently refurbished Oriel Wrexham in North Wales. Two of my card designs are currently featured on their Facebook page, hurrah! My Etsy shop is also up and running again so if you want to get involved in some old-fashioned letter writing, do go ahead and place your order.

New cards for sale at Oriel Wrexham

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Summer is late, and so am I!

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally updated my website. Hooray!

Find it at

The old site, created for me by the wonderful Creative Hero, is still online at (spot the difference) until further notice, or I can bear to part with it.

In other news, the latest issue of Cracked Eye magazine is out now, featuring illustrations I made for "Voices of the Past" by Hannah Spencer. Here's a teaser - download the app for the whole story!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

In Winter, I plot and plan. In Spring, I move.

So says Henry Rollins. I'm stating that as my reason for not writing on here since November. February always feels short but overly intense - I like the sound of its name, but the picture I have of the word in my mind is cold and grey and blue, with sleet and snow drifting around the edges of every letter.

Luckily this Winter has been productive. I've been illustrating for the lovely Cracked Eye magazine, a short story app and offshoot of The Other Publishing company. Here are some of the most recent pics, for 'On The Outside' by Lynn Peters. You'll have to download it to find out what it's about!

I've also written and illustrated a short story for Studio 73 gallery in Brixton, for their shiny new website - which isn't live yet, but watch this space for more updates. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Tudor Sunday

A bit of Tudor-ness keeps me entertained until the next project.