Thursday, 30 October 2014


I was very excited when I heard about this great Hen Party idea.  Over to tutor Penny for a sneak peek behind the scenes of a Hens with Pens  class.

What actually happens at a hen party life drawing class? One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “How rowdy are the hens?”, quickly followed by “Is the model nude?”.

I really enjoy teaching the classes and find that there is a massive variance in mood from the quiet and studious to the very lively. It depends on the personalities within the group and, of course, what time of day the class is held. In all cases I try to provide some tuition so that those who really want to learn how to draw get the chance to pick up a couple techniques. At the same time I’m aware that it’s a party activity so I don’t put too much pressure on anyone to produce a masterpiece!

As for whether the model is nude – yes he is! In the academic tradition of life drawing, models would always be nude so that students can gain an understanding of anatomy. The same is true for a hen party life drawing class.

A Hens with Pens class - timeline
As a hen party life drawing tutor, my weekends are spent dashing round the countryside with sketchbooks in tow – one of the nicest aspects of the job is getting to see all the fabulous accommodation that hens are using – in one case we even held a class in a yurt!

After I’ve arrived and set up, my first task is to get all the hens wearing their berets and moustaches and furnished with drawing materials. We then spend about an hour doing some low-pressure portraits of each other that can and usually do have hilarious consequences.

At half-time our male model will arrive, and my job is to secretly usher him in to get changed without the bride catching sight of him. Once he’s modelling the hens often ask questions about whether he gets nervous, but for a professional art model it’s all in a day’s work. Both myself and the models love seeing the hens’ drawings and it’s really rewarding for both of us to see a progression in technique and an improvement in drawings over the two hours.

Penny is a life drawing tutor at Hens with Pens.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Vintage Baker Finds - Retrovert

Every so often I find a vintage supplier who's so good I have to share. So while they might not always be 'Bristol' based, they certainly get the Bristol Vintage & Vintage Baker Finds seal of approval.

This week is all about Retrovert.

Retrovert specialises in vintage clothing and accessories from the 1920s through to the 1980s.

Their collection is totally unique and absolutely authentic. 

You can find them via their online shop, at local Cambridge events and vintage fairs.

Retrovert is owned and run by Sophie and her eclectic collection is inspired by her love of textiles and design. 

Find out more on the website, have a read of Sophie's online vintage blog or check out where she'll will be visiting next on the events page. You can follow Retrovert on Twitter and Facebook too. Happy vintage shopping!

When Sarah Baker isn't writing children's books she writes features for Vintage Life Magazine and Pretty Nostalgic. You can find her on Twitter @bysarahbaker or via her website 

Sunday, 5 October 2014


It's been so wonderful looking through all the gorgeous photos of our fair from Frances Taylor - Bristol Wedding Photographer and her partner Chris.  The stands look out of this world and the venue was just perfect for the vintage theme.

Thanks again to everyone involved and to the Daffodil for providing us with the perfect venue!