rural retro 

Hello and Welcome!

I am passionate about all things handmade and vintage with many interests.  I create, paint and love to gather and research lost,  overlooked or discarded lovely things. Thanks for stopping by.  Jacs x 


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  1. Abstract Edge exhibition.

    I will be there at the preview/ opening on Sat 20 th May but also I am stewarding the exhibition on Sunday 21 st May 2 pm until 5 pm and it would be good if you can  come along on either of those dates to keep me company!

    Art Retreat

    My tickets are booked and equipment and materials have been sent ahead,so here's what we will be getting up to at the Art Retreat in the Loire from 3 rd June.

    1) "Painted Patchwork"

    A workshop that explores and compares the effects that can be achieved with watercolour and Acrylic paints.

    2) "Making your Mark"

    We are going on a treasure hunt!- foraging for materials to make our own paintbrushes and tools.

    3)"From a Distance"

    Techniques for abstraction- how to respond and take inspiration from ALL your senses.

    4)"Making an Impression"

    Ideas and techniques for mono- print transfer 5)"Rip it up and start again"

    Collage and combined techniques.Make your paintings full of variety and surprise yourself!

    There are still a couple of places available for the week at and you could always book to  "drop- in" for just one workshop ( day rate can be negotiated) if you are going to be in the area that week?

    But ,anyone who's not going to make it to France this summer- don't despair! I will be teaching these workshops at a number of venues in the U.K. for the rest of this year.

    Stay tuned for details and confirmed dates- I will send to everyone on my mailing list very soon!

  2. Severn Hospice are hosting an exhibition and celebration of the very talented Judith Moy who died last year. I  exhibited and sold several of Judith's paintings in my gallery and have a couple in my own personal collection. She was a much admired and very special artist who will be greatly missed.

    Event Information

    12:00 and 3:00pm on Saturday 1st April at the Alington Hall, Shrewsbury School as we celebrate the work of Shropshire-based artist, Judith Moy.

     This unique event gives you the opportunity to view and purchase Judith's art, sketchbooks and materials; and learn more about the special lady behind the pictures.

     As was Judith's wish, all money raised from the sale will be donated to Severn Hospice. There is no charge to join us but we'd welcome your kind donations on admission.

     You are welcome to join us anytime between 12:00 and 3:00pm to view Judith's work. At 12:30pm Wilfred Langford, Chairman of the Shropshire Art Society where Judith was an active member, will introduce her work and give an insight into her life as an artist.


  3. It's all change at Rural Retro. My gallery located in the High Street in Bishop's Castle will be closing on 31st January to enable me to branch out in new directions and spend more time on creative projects. A  big thank you and farewell  to all  my customers who have visited me in person over the last 8 years.

    Once I have had time to dust down and refurbish the online shop, the shelves will be full of the same personal and eclectic mix of lovely things that I hope you have enjoyed finding in my high street shop. My online shop comes with the  added benefit you will be able to shop anytime that suits, so please stop by to see what I have found for you!


    My website will be kept up to date with news on new creative activities coming up later this year, or you can join my mailing list. In the meantime, my best wishes to the New Deli who will be moving into 32 High Street. I do hope everyone will  continue to visit me online and join me in my new adventures as they unfold during 2017.

    Jacs x

  4. It's a new year, and  things are changing at my retail shop as I will be focusing more on creative art projects in  2017. Lots of new things in progress but in February, I will be in the wilds of Scotland combining a holiday with  artist Susie Hunt and hosting a workshop in her studio.
    Monthly painting playschool for creative grown ups are planned throughout 2017 at Aston On Clun - they are very informal sessions exploring a variety of techniques aimed at all levels. If you would like to try some painting  in 2017, come along, make some new friends and have fun in a relaxed  way. More info on my workshop page.

    From 3rd - 10th June, I will be teaching at a beautiful 14th Century farmhouse in peaceful countryside in the heart of the French Loire Valley. "Retreat To The Farm" provides the perfect opportunity to explore, unwind and create in lovely surroundings. Find out more  and book a place or contact me for more information.

  5. I enjoyed reading a recent article on vintage tea towels and it has  prompted me to get around to writing a long overdue blog about the work of  Belinda Lyon, a talented illustrator  who created  tea towel designs for Oxfam during the 1970's.
    Belinda Lyon trained at a London art school and  started her commercial career in advertising.   Illustrators were in strong demand during the late 1950's and early 1960's and advertising was where  many young  graduates of the era started their careers. Iconic illustrated adverts and posters the early 1960's are  now highly collected and many talented  and now sadly  anonymous  illustrators started out in advertising  before television and photography took over  during the later "swinging 60's".


    Early 1960's adverts relied on illustrators to create the "look"
    These typical examples are from 1962/63

    Belinda started her commercial freelance career circa 1965 with illustrations for short stories  and  books. Almost from the start of her career, her commissions  were for books aimed at children and teenagers, featuring advice for young people, crafts, sewing and fashion. Some of the books and cut out  dolls she illustrated in the first few years of  her career  are fantastic retro time capsules 40 plus years on.

    Short story, book and cut out doll story illustrations  from 1966 - 1968

    Belinda Lyon is more well known to 1970s retro fans for her lovely  tea towel and fabric cut out designs which became  part of the massive Oxfam retail success story. Belinda's first  design for Oxfam was a colourful Christmas card illustration in 1966. In 1967 Oxfam  introduced their  first "own brand" products consisting of the first two tea towels.  The elephant and giraffe were initially produced in three colours and were selected for the London Design Centre - at this time still known as the Council for Industrial Design, prior to the opening of the Design Centre shop in 1971 which had people flocking in to buy the latest trend setting products.


    The first 2 Oxfam tea towels were produced in 3 different base colours.

    The  elephant and giraffe tea towels were an instant hit  and new designs were added to the range each  year with 20 different animals available in the series by 1979, most of which came in two different colours.  Oxfam were the very first UK charity to introduce a retail commercial model to their shops and as the number of shops grew so did their gift  range.


    Fox, Dandy Lion and bull from 1969 - 1972

    Belinda produced very popular designs for Oxfams  successful retail gift range throughout the 1970's and her work very much reflected the  colours, trends  and themes popular with children at the time. Belinda produced  over 60 designs for Christmas cards, tea towels, cut out dolls,  pillow cases, cushions and toys which continued to be sold in Oxfams shops into the 1980's.


    4 of the "Great lovers of the world" tea towel series from 1973 - 1976/77


    Belinda Lyon's first 2 cut out doll designs for Oxfam issued in 1972/73


    Other  designs for Oxfam included cut out cushions, toys, and pillow cases

    Belinda Lyon's designs also appeared on tea towels sold by a few other companies during the 1970's.

    As a published children's book illustrator, it seems a natural progression that Belinda Lyon went on to become  a successful comic illustrator.  Most of her later career during the 80's and 90's was spent illustrating for Twinkle comic, and lots of grown up girls will remember with fondness one of her most well known Twinkle comic characters - Jenny Wren. Sadly, weekly comics  started to decline during the 1990s and Twinkle stopped production in 1999.


    One of Belinda's last commissions before she retired from commercial work was for a lovely children's book by Nicola Baxter, still in  production as far as I am aware, which contains many of her highly detailed humorous illustrations.
    Belinda Lyon, like many other talented  illustrators from her generation,  has been mainly unknown  for the last 20 years until the  growing  retro interest in the 1970's and the current sewing craft revival has brought  her designs and illustrations "back on trend"  and her designs are a  reference source  for several of today's retro inspired designers.
    You can find lots more examples of her work on my flickr photostream.