An Unwanted Birthday

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Brighton Art Fair

Fun at the fair!

I had a great time showing my work at Brighton Art Fair at the weekend. Many thanks to the organisers Jon, Sarah and Anne-Marie for putting on such an enjoyable and vibrant show. 

It was a really good experience for me and I hope to be back next year to do it all over again! Once I have a little breather I will be back with new paintings so keep your eyes peeled for new work... I'm thinking a pets's memoir, huge canvases, lots of colour... I'll be back!

Huge thanks to my pal, Sarah Day, for being my trusty assistant and b+b provider who helped me willingly and cheerfully! Also, thanks to Cath for making it to Brighton even though the odds were stacked against you! It was lovely to meet everyone and get such good feedback, I would highly recommend the fair to other artists.

All images copyright Emma Challacombe 2011

Friday, 2 September 2011

New paintings

It was about time I added some new paintings to my blog! I have been unable to do much painting lately but here is a fresh batch. I'm looking forward to showing my work at the Brighton Art Fair which runs from Friday 23rd September until Sunday 25th. Come and see me at stand 33!

All alone now

Spotted dog enjoys his birthday

Unsavoury cake

Dandelion shoes so bright

Bob and Trevor

Petula the Pixie

Blind Date

Reworking of Girl with Pelican

A return to painting

My last post was quite a while ago, apologies for that. The painting below was the last one on my 1st of June post and it was labelled as a work in progress. Soon after that I reworked the painting, and I realised it was a portrait of my Dad and his partner. It was the last thing I painted before he died incredibly quickly of cancer.

He was diagnosed with pancreas and liver cancer on 21st June and passed away 17 days after his diagnosis. Needless to say I'm still completely shell shocked to have lost my dad and it will take a long time before I can fully accept the reality of it all, but painting will definitely help me on my way.

The work in progress

S and J

Peaceful Stephen

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

New paintings from a very happy lady!

The Blackbird show is all packed up, I had a brilliant time in Margate and many thanks go to Maxine at Blackbird for putting on such a great show and selling lots of my work! I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome, so many, many thanks Maxine.

I'm delighted to say that I will be showing my paintings at Brighton Art Fair this September at stand 33. The fair is open from 22nd to Sunday 25th September. I can't wait!

Here's some new paintings I've been working on, continuing the theme of portraits of dolls/imagined characters, some of them are at parties that have turned slightly sour, dishevelled or just plain awkward!

Girl with her pelican
Cuthbert and Mike

Misty and Eugene
Want to go home

Cedric's Party

Nothing but regret for Mr.S 


Work in be continued!

All images are copyright Emma Challacombe 2011

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Last day of online charity auction!

I've donated a painting called 'Matilda Mae' to a friend's charity online auction which is going to raise money for a very worthwhile cause, see details below. 

The facebook page for the auction is at

This auction closes at 11pm tonight (Wednesday 4th May) so get your skates on if you want to place a bid for the painting below!
How it works - if you are interested in any of the items please send a private message to the facebook page above or to the following email address:, with your name, the item and your bid. 

Keep an eye on the facebook page as there will be a daily update with the highest bid.


This is a silent auction to raise funds for Jen and Olivier's Kilimanjaro climb which they are doing in October to raise money for the charity 'Caring Matters Now'. It features many excting artists and I hope that everyone will enjoy this unique opportunity to buy hand made and beautiful work. 

A word from Jen and Olivier:

Our daughter Mia was born in 2006 with a giant congenital naevus or CMN. A CMN is a very rare condition and is a brown or black, hairy mole present at birth. Mia's covers her back and she has three on her scalp as well as numerous 'satellites', smaller CMNs. It was a worrying time as not only did she have a large birthmark but we were told there can be associated risks where CMNs may be present on the brain or spinal cord which can cause complications. There is also a small risk of melanoma. Mia had an MRI scan when she was 1 year old and was found to be free of any problems but we have always felt that after what we went through we want to help other families and to help raise funds so that that the support group, 'caring matters now', can continue it's good work in educating on the subject and also raise funds so that research can continue at Great Ormond Street Hospital. 'Caring matters now' has been a great support to us because we would have known very little about the condition due to it's rarity or known what actions to take. 

Sad Stefano and Friends at Blackbird, Margate

I had a lovely weekend at the opening of my show at Blackbird in Margate, it was great to get some fantastic feedback and sell two paintings on the first day of opening which has made my year! I am the featured maker at this gorgeous shop which is based in the heart of Margate's old town, just a stone's throw away from the newly opened Turner Contemporary. 

I have launched my new website which is at where you will find more images of my work and you can sign up to my newsletter so you don't miss out on my next show!

I will be leading three workshops at Blackbird on 21st and 22nd May. See all the info below...

B l a c k b i r d
Creative Textiles Workshop - Knitted Memories 
with Emma Challacombe MA RCA
Memories, pets and favourite objects will serve as inspiration to get your creativity flowing. This easy and enjoyable beginners workshop is suitable for all. Have fun with colour, texture and imagination. Learn to knit a simple square which can be transformed into a personal keepsake or memento such as a brooch. Once you have mastered the basics of hand knitting you will be talked through further options and encouraged to explore possibilities for embellishment such as felting, appliqué and hand embroidery. Learn how to construct colourful textural mementos to adorn yourself or your home + they make ideal gifts too!
What to bring:
You only need to bring yourself and your imagination, all materials and refreshments will be provided. You may want to bring pet or childhood photos or other images as a visual reference. We have lots of books and magazines at the studio if you get stuck for ideas and Emma will bring lots of yummy textile samples to show everyone.
A three hour workshop costs £30 per person + £10 materials. 
You’ll be supplied with your own starter kit in a calico bag, to take home.
Your kit will include:
Pair of knitting needles, 1 x ball of 100% wool yarn, felt and fabric pieces for embellishment,1 x thread skein, 2 x brooch findings and a set of printed notes.
Dates and Times
Session 1 Saturday 21st May: 10am – 1pm
Session 2 Saturday 21st May:  2pm – 5pm
Session 3 Sunday 22nd May: 10am – 1pm
Maximum of 6 people per session. There are three sessions to choose from.
Please book in person by visiting the shop in Margate you will need to pay in advance to secure your place. 
Please ring for further details or to check availability on: 01843 229 533.
NB: this is an adult mixed ability workshop.

No 2 Market Place, Margate Kent, CT9 1ER
T: 01843 229 533 E:

'Sailboat Hat'
The little yellow sailboat hat was all that Erin Musket had to remember the fateful voyage by. That and one small luggage tag with the initials E.M.

A new product by me, knitted and needlepoint brooches with crochet and embroidery details in bright colours to jolly up an outfit on a grey day, available at Blackbird until 29th May. My workshops will show you how to make a simple hand knitted brooch, sign up for a workshop at Blackbird today!

'Pet Party' 
The arrival of Hubert was the final straw for the house dog companion Trixie 

'Pet Party' has now gone to a very good home, sold on the first day of opening.... YEY!!!

'An Unwanted Birthday' 
Petula always hated birthdays, but this time she really meant it, so much was her repulsion for the annual event that she refused to blow out the candles on her orange blossom fondant confection, in the vain hope it may cancel getting another year older. Percy the small house guest was more than a little bit angry at the prospect of a party without cake.

A photo from inside the wonderful Blackbird shop, lots of beautiful jewellery, ceramics, greetings cards and gift wrap and lots more besides!
Look it up at

Glorious Margate old town enjoying lots of visitors on the grand opening of the Turner Contemporary, and my show Sad Stefano and Friends, of course!

The newly opened Turner Contemporary

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sailboat Hat, Sad Stefano and An Unwanted Birthday

'Dolly Daydream'

Here are the latest batch of paintings I've just completed. 

I'm still obsessed with birthday parties, birthday hats, circus performer has-beens, dolls houses, and dogs on wheels. I like to convey a hint of melancholy in the paintings which conflicts with the saccharine bright hues which I use. A sickly sweet, nostalgic depiction of slightly out of date toys, dolls and animals.
'Sailboat Hat'
The winner and loser of the 12th annual birthday hat contest briefly share a moment of contemplation 
(joy tinged with bitter regret)
Close up of Stefano's sad circus face
'Patrice the Pixie'

'An unwanted birthday'

Petula always hated birthdays, but this time she really meant it, so much was her repulsion for the annual event that she refused to blow out the  candles on her orange blossom fondant confection, in the vain hope it may cancel getting another year older. Percy the small house guest was more than a little bit angry at the prospect of a party without cake.