TOP 5… Cactus Gifts from Bristol Designers

This TOP 5 feature was meant to be Easter themed, but as I sit here staring out the window at snow covered gardens I can’t quite manage to pretend rabbits and daffodils are just around the corner. So I’m going rogue and featuring cacti instead! Because a cactus is tough and prickly which is pretty much how this Spring feels so far, plus they’ve got more chance of survival than flowers right now. Also I realised everyone seems to bloody love a good cactus, and I know many other Bristol designers who sell cactus themed products. So what better excuse than to feature them all and make this post about Bristol makers too!

 

Jessica Baldry Handmade Papercut Cactus

1. HANDMADE PAPERCUT CACTUS by Jessica Baldry.

Jess is a fellow Bristol Girl Bosses collective member and an incredible papercut artist! Can never believe she does these by hand, just look at those delicate spikes. It may not surprise you to learn she’s a very patient person.

 

Snippet Art Cacti Pots Collection Print

2. CACTI POTS by Snippet Art.

This artist likes to remain mysterious, but I can tell you that you can buy his whimsical prints in Blaze up on Colston Street in Bristol city centre. Love the colours, and all the discreet little details of pattern on the pots in this print. My fave is the second row down, third column along, how about you?

 

Moloney Makes Cacti Crochet Magnet

3. CROCHET CACTI MAGNET by Moloney Makes.

So adorable! Sophie from Moloney Makes hand knits and crochets everything in her Etsy shop! This cactus is magnetic so you can prettify your fridge with it.

 

Melanie Wickham Tiny WIndowsill Garden Linocut

4. TINY WINDOWSILL GARDEN LINOCUT PRINT by Melanie Wickham.

I recently met Mel through the latest Tribe Aisthetica exhibition at The Malago. Her prints are all brilliant and so full of humour. I had thought this one was a little more serious than the rest, until I spotted that funny little face pot hidden on the right!

 

Hello Cleo Cactus Print Cushion Cover

5. CACTUS PRINT CUSHION by Hello Cleo.

Finally, another fellow Bristol Girl Bosses member. Sabina has such an eye for quirky prints to make her homewares and clothing out of. This cactus print is brilliant and has been such a popular one!

Have a very happy Easter, maybe try giving a cactus or a cacti themed gift this year instead of bunnies? Might make it my mission to start a trend with this! Whatever you do, remember to eat chocolate, that’s the main thing.

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Bristol Girl Bosses present MUSE: The Exhibition Launch

Last Thursday was not only International Women’s Day but it was also the night of myself and the Bristol Girls Bosses‘ collective MUSE exhibition launch at Blaze! The night was an incredible success, we all couldn’t quite believe the turn out. Thank you so so much to everyone that came and made the night a success and for all the support we’ve received towards our collective, including from those who couldn’t make it too. It was so nice to see other Bristol business babes sharing our leaflets on Instagram and wishing us good luck. Bristol is truly a place of incredible community spirit and I couldn’t possibly love it more for that!

Bristol Girl Bosses Members outside Blaze

 

Here are some snaps from the night and of the exhibition. I didn’t even manage to take many of the shop when it was at it’s busiest as it was getting too hard to move!

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Night

We were lucky enough to be sponsored by Bristol soft drinks company Lovely Drinks which went down very well, and worked splendidly as gin mixers too. Plus with Blaze‘s help we were able to offer out complimentary brownies and cake from the AMAZING Bristol baker babes Right-Good-Kitchen, much of which was vegan, dairy or gluten free to suit everyone’s dietary needs!

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Cakes Right Good Kitchen

 

The exhibition is still on for the rest of the month so you’ve got a good two weeks to get down to Blaze over on Colston Street to see it. It ends March 27th. We’ve all produced pieces of artwork inspired by our own ideas about women and femininity especially for the exhibition. There is also a selection of products and our other designs and artwork available there too.

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Exhibition Blaze

My design is of a female goshawk (shown bottom-left above). The design is exclusively available in Blaze whilst the exhibition is still on, but will eventually be in the online shop in April. I choose to draw a goshawk because the female is considerably larger than the male and is known to be a skilled and powerful huntress. I wanted to use my artwork of bird species in the exhibition to symbolise the various fundamental roles that females play. From beautiful sirens, to mothers and providers, often ferocious but incredibly elegant too.

 

Bristo Girl Bosses Muse Window Blaze

We really hope you get a chance to visit. Blaze is a fantastic shop full of lots of other incredibly talented Bristol designers and makers too. A big special thanks to them for having us! It looks like this may well be the start of more things to come in collaboration with Blaze for the Bristol Girl Bosses too so watch this space for the next party!

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SHORTLISTED: Bristol Pound Competition

Some exciting news to announce today! My design (shown below) has been shortlisted in the Bristol Pound Design Competition for new imagery to be printed on the new Bristol Pound notes for 2018! There will be 8 winning designs in total, one for each side of the four denominations of note. The competition included four Bristol inspired categories one of which was wildlife & nature which is of course the one I hope to win.

 

There is currently an exhibition of all of the shortlisted artworks being shown at Christmas Steps Gallery in Bristol where you can also cast your vote for your favourite! (Vote for me!) The exhibition is on for this week only from Tuesday 6th – Sunday 11th March. You can also vote for the People’s Choice online via this link if you can’t visit the gallery in time.

You may well have seen the process of my cormorant drawing over on Instagram a couple of weeks back. It took me 16 hours in total to draw and was real labour of love, using one of my dad’s photographs to draw from in fact. I chose to draw a cormorant for my design as I always enjoy seeing them stood drying their wings out on the dock by Bristol Harbour. They are very characterful and recognisable birds that I feel are an integral part of Bristol and it’s harbourside.

 

 

I’m really pleased with the outcome and will be very happy to have the design to add to my collection if I don’t win. I took inspiration from the sun setting over Bristol harbourside for my abstract painterly background. It is obviously a loose resemblance but I hope that the charcoal lines are reminiscent of the infamous cranes outside M-Shed and the deep turquoise paint and little flecks of gold leaf are suggestive of the river and the bright city lights reflecting off it’s surface.

 

It’s lovely to be shortlisted whatever the outcome may be and very exciting to be part of an exhibition for the competition too! I would love it if you would cast a vote for me. Click here for the link to vote.

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TOP 5… Bird Themed Mother’s Day Gifts

What mother doesn’t want something pretty and adorned with birds on Mother’s Day?! Ok, I’ll admit this post wasn’t originally going to be bird themed but it appears I am just naturally drawn to all things birdy so it sort of just happened. Love it when I stumble across the most amazing products in my quest to put together a good gift guide for you all on here! There are some corkers in this list so keep reading!

Thornback & Peel_chicken_carnation_tote

1. CHICKEN AND CARNATION TOTE BAG from Thornback & Peel – ££

Just discovered that Thornback & Peel have introduced totes and make-up bags to their range and love them all. My favourite was actually the lobsters but something about chickens and carnations just seems to shout mum.


Sew Heart Felt Barny Owl Slippers

2. BARNY OWL SLIPPERS from Sew Heart Felt – £££

Another new discovery for today. Oh my gosh, how amazing are these slippers?! The brand also do a children’s range in a whole host of different bird and animal designs. Obviously I had to choose the barn owls. They’re organic and handmade too!

 

Anthropologie Swan Candle Stick Holder

3. SWAN TAPER CANDLE HOLDER from Anthropologie – £££

My mum loves candles. I love candles. I mean, who doesn’t love candles? And who wouldn’t want this magnificent and elegant swan candlestick holder for their dining table? So pretty, Anthropologie never disappoints.

 

Sky Siouki Mute Swan Towel

4. MUTE SWAN TEA TOWEL from Sky Siouki – ££

Kinda had to include one of my own designs if I’m going down the bird theme route. This design is always very popular with women and seems to often be the final choice when someone is buying their mum, grandma or aunt a gift. I think swan’s are very feminine birds so a good choice for Mother’s Day if she likes to be in the kitchen.

 

Kekoni Bird Cage Pendant Lampshade

5. COPPER BIRDCADE PENDANT LAMPSHADE from Kekoni – £££££

Finally, I’ve come across these lampshades here and there on Pinterest but today realised you can actually but them on Etsy in a variety of sizes and styles! I just think they’re fantastic, so cute and quirky. If your mum has an eclectic style and loves her homewares then this will really push the boat out!

That’s it! Mother’s Day here in the UK is Sunday March 11th. I will actually be selling at Tobacco Factory Sunday Market with the whole Bristol Girl Bosses collective so you can even do your gift shopping with your mum on the day if you need her to choose for you!

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FEBRUARY Pinterest Board of the Month

This month I’ve chosen a board named Collage/Mixed Media by Vasiliki Kypraiou on Pinterest.

It’s weird, wonderful and playful! I’ve always loved collage, and although I use it in a very different way in my own work, the use of retro imagery to create these bizarre scenes and juxtapositions has always entertained and fascinated me.

Collage/Mixed Media Images

I hope you enjoy scrolling through as much as me. I have to admit, having hit the ground running this January, I think the cold weather and busyness of everyday life is taking it’s toll a little on me now it’s February so seeing this Pinterest board gave me a little lift today! There are an awful lot of planets, lemons and fish used I’ve noticed – I guess they’re just good for creating humour!

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DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Tattoo Commission

A new feature for the blog called Diary of an Artist which I hope may give a little interesting insight into the process and ideas behind my work.

I’ve been working on my first ever commissioned illustration for a tattoo design over the past couple of weeks. Someone who’s seen my work in Bristol approached me via Instagram to ask if I would draw a hummingbird design for her to use for a tattoo. It’s really exciting to be asked to do something especially for someone and a little different to my usual design application.

Sky Siouki Hummingbird Outlines    Sky Siouki Hummingbird Progress

 

I’ve loved every minute of drawing this hummingbird and can’t wait to see the final tattoo literally in the flesh! I have had others show interest in the application of my illustrations for tattoo designs previously so it’s something I’d be very happy to continue with on a commission basis. If you’d like a bird, insect or perhaps some other kind of wild creature designed by Sky Siouki for your next tattoo then please do send me an email for a quote!

Sky Siouki Hummingbird Illustration

 

This is the finished illustration. I always try to post the progress of my drawings on my Instagram profile and stories so do make sure to follow me on there if you’d like to see more of my creative process! My next illustration is going to be a cormorant for a special Bristol inspired design.

If you enjoy my blog posts, you can stay up to date with what I’m posting by subscribing to my mailing list – sign up form on the right.

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Sky Siouki Events for Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is just over a week away, so if you’re a bit of a romantic, or maybe you just want to show your mum or best friend some love, it’s time to get gift hunting! I’m diving into my first markets of the year head-first this weekend and doing one on Saturday AND Sunday, both in Bristol, to give you the best chance of getting your sweetheart a Sky Siouki gift.

On Saturday Feb 10th I will be at Fox & West at 172 Wells Road for their Valentine’s special pop-up market, 9am-5pm, alongside lots of other talented Bristol makers including Yay Rae Flay, Corinne Evans Jewellery, Dakota Rae Dust and Jessica Baldry Designs.

Fox & West Pop-up Valentine's Day Market    Tobacco Factory Sunday Market

Then on Sunday Feb 11th I will be back at the Tobacco Factory Sunday Market where I will now be making a regular appearance once a month this year. There’s going to be a Wooden Heart Workshop going on in the spirit of Valentine’s Day plus The Brass Disciples will be playing live!

In addition to selling at markets this weekend, I will also have some work available at the launch night of the new Lenten exhibition at The Malago this evening. 5-9pm with free canapes and prosecco, plus a selection of pop-up stalls from the artists with myself included. The preview evening is open to all and myself and curator Tribe Aisthetica want the exhibition to go off with a bang so come along for a mingle!

Lenten Exhibition at The Malago

 

I have also just produced a new A4 print just in time for Valentine’s! Perfect if you’re after something subtly romantic without being soppy. It is called Chaffinch Pair and not yet available in the online shop so come along to one of the events above if you would like to get your hands on one! If you can’t make it but really desperately want one however please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

Chaffinch Pair Sky Siouki Print

If I don’t see you, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY and thanks for keeping up with the blog!

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TOP 5… Ethical Valentine’s Gifts

Just love doing a good TOP 5 gift guide! Valentine’s is coming soon so I thought I’d give any male followers of Sky Siouki a heads up on some interesting gifts for her that are a bit further outside of the box than chocolates and flowers. Plus while we’re at it why not keep it ethical because that’s something we should all be striving to keep at the top of our agendas when gift buying.

Also I’m introducing a new little price scale to these posts using pound signs. From £ to £££££. £ being in the £5 and under bracket and £££££ being £100 or more. Happy Valentine’s shopping!

 

Cunningham Clay Vase from Eclect Design

CUNNINGHAM CLAY VASE from Eclect Design – £££

If you do like to get her flowers or plants from time to time then why not get her a beautiful vase to display them in too! This Jade coloured clay vase has a lovely tactile quality about it.

 

Grey Swan Print Organic Camisole from Primrose and Pixie

GREY SWAN PRINT ORGANIC CAMISOLE from Primrose and Pixie – ££££

A bit more of a sophisticated take on buying lingerie. This camisole is also available with matching shorts as well as a bra and knickers if you want to go all out to impress. Made of organic cotton it’s sure to feel super soft on her skin.

 

Green Tea Avocado Radiance Face Night Cream from Shaloah Skincare

GREEN TEA AVOCADO RADIANCE NIGHT CREAM from Shaloah Skincare – ££

Green tea and avocado, could this skin cream be any more on trend? But there’s a good reason those detoxifying ingredients are so popular, because they really are super nourishing, and what women doesn’t want to feel nourished at the end of each day?!

 

A5 Sky Gold Foil Notebook by Jen Rowland

SKY BLUE A5 NOTEBOOK from Jen Rowland – £

If you just want to get something simple that won’t break the bank or go to waste, why not go for something pretty but useful. Most women I know love to keep a notebook on them for all their important list making. There’s a lot of lists to be had in a woman’s life I can tell you! Independent designer Jen Rowland offers a stunning range of stationary in subtle nature inspired designs.

 

Natural Eye Pillow Wheat Pack by Blasta Henriet

NATURAL EYE PILLOW WHEAT PACK from Blasta Henriet – ££

This one’s a good present for showing thoughtfulness. If January’s been a tough month and she’s feeling worn out, something to help her relax and de-stress like this natural warming eye pillow surely can’t fail to impress.

OR if you fancy getting a Valentine’s Day present from Sky Siouki instead, you can find me in Bristol at The Tobacco Factory Sunday Market on Feb 11th! …And if you’re not in Bristol, shop online! Shipping is free if you spend over £20!

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JANUARY Pinterest Board of the Month

First Pinterest Board of the Month feature for 2018! This January’s choice is a mix of homey vibes by Jane McCormack simply called ‘BEAUTIFUL THINGS’. Nice.

It’s full of earthy tones, mainly in beautiful home interiors but it also includes a few lovely items like handmade pottery and succulent plants. There’s even a couple of infographics on plants that purify the air in your home!

January Pinterest Board of the Month Images

 

Here’s a selection of my favourite four images from the board. Having just moved into my very own project house I am getting super obsessive about kitchen tiles and layouts and those rich aquamarine hexagonal tiles are just to die for! Mixes of retro furniture, copper lamps, shelves full of intriguing items and exposed brick are totally in line with my homestyle vibe and I am also a massive sucker for a beautiful bowl! Just can’t say no to a nice bowl, honestly my partner will tell you it’s a problem. Plus that succulent image is just so darn pretty! Not quite at the plant buying stage yet but I’m certainly thinking low maintenance (and air purifying even) is the way to go!

Stay tuned for my TOP 5 Valentine’s Gifts feature and February’s Pinterest Board choice!

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JOLLY JANUARY SALE NOW ON!

You heard me, it’s January sale time over at Sky Siouki once again!

I always like to treat you all to a little discount in Jan as I know times can be tough and the cold feels never ending at this time of year. So this sale is titled Jolly January in the hope that some Sky Siouki items will bring a bit of extra joy into the month after Christmas for you all!

I’m starting my sale a little late this year simply because I was rather busy with moving house at the beginning of the year. You have 12 days to use the code so go go go!

 

Be Jolly This January

 

The deal is simple. 20% off everything in the online shop.

To get your discount simply enter JOLLY into the coupon box at the checkout.

Ends midnight, Wednesday Jan 31st.

Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Code can only be used once per customer so fill your cart up high to make the most of it!

SHOP NOW

 

 

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TOP DRAWER TOP TIPS

Yesterday I hosted an informal advice session about my experience of exhibiting at the Top Drawer A/W 2017 trade show for the first time last September. I learnt an awful lot from it and a lot of people have asked me to hear about it since… So I put out an open invitation to ask me all of your questions within a small group meet up and people actually came!

I love to share what I’ve learnt and it was incredible to receive such a lovely response from those who came. It has made me seriously consider hosting more events like that and whether I could even give my advice as a sideline to Sky Siouki.

Anyway, I thought it may be useful for the people who attended yesterday and for anyone who unfortunately couldn’t make it to summarise my key tips here on the blog. There were some things I didn’t get to say yesterday (a grumpy waiter kicked us out well before the advertised closing time) and some that may not have been heard by all.

Top Drawer Spotted Footer

 

1. HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY

I applied for the Spotted section of Top Drawer which is especially for first time trade show exhibitors and benefits from a 30% discount. The application process was pretty easy via an online form and I got offered a spot the next morning! I applied at the beginning of February and was able to have a fairly broad choice of stand position so I think it was a good time to apply. Trade show spots are allocated on much more of a first come first served basis in comparison with markets so it’s worth getting in early. The Spotted section is popular with buyers because they all want something fresh and new for their shops and so it’s a whole section of brands they’re guaranteed not to have seen before. It’s well positioned right next to the VIP Lounge and the Craft section too.

2. SEPTEMBER (A/W) VS. JANUARY (S/S)

I’m sorry I don’t have a definitive answer for this one as I’ve only done September but we discussed it yesterday. At the show a lot of other exhibitors told me they usually find the January edition the busier of the two shows. From what I can gather, larger retailers will be doing their Christmas buying in January and plan much further in advance. All of my orders came from small independent shops and galleries who were mostly stocking up for Christmas so it could be worth considering what type of retailers you want to attract.

Top Drawer Wild Woodland Trend Board

3. DISPLAY EVERYTHING CLEARLY

I kept my stand layout fairly simple. You are allowed to paint the walls, add wallpaper and screw into them so I put up shelving and a rail to show most of my products. However even then, I found that in practice it still could perhaps have been clearer. Buyers often wanted to look at every design of every product all at once and I had stacked my prints in a wooden box for browsing through as I do at markets. A lot buyers ended up lining them all up on the floor in order to make their choices which wasn’t a problem but it would of course have been better for them to be able to immediately see everything together and just point out which designs they wanted.

Sky Siouki Stand Top Drawer A:W17

4.  KNOW YOUR PRICES

Buyers will ask you the wholesale price of everything on your stand and knowing them through and through rather than relying on skimming through sheets of paper makes it much easier for both of you. I in fact found myself blagging my way somewhat with my pricing. My listed RRPs were set as a 2x mark-up of my wholesale prices. I quickly learnt from interested shop owners that a mark-up more towards 2.5x was necessary in order to accommodate for the VAT most retailers are required to pay. In the end I verbally explained my new understanding of this to each buyer who showed interest and promised to amend my pricing accordingly. Knowing my costs well allowed me to make those promises on the spot so I was glad I’d done some memorising first.

5. PUT IMAGES ON YOUR ORDER FORMS

When a buyer decided to make an order it felt like a real whirlwind. Suddenly all of my products had been moved around and I would be rushing for my clipboard to take notes of what they were asking for. It made such a difference when a buyer would point at items listing quantities of each to be able to quickly find the matching item on my form by recognise the image rather than reading for the names. We’re all human and they were of course happy to repeat, but it’s a huge show and you can understand every buyer has an awful lot of stands to go to so time was somewhat of the essence.

Top Drawer Olympia

 

6. KEEP IN CONTACT

Being my first ever trade show, I didn’t know what to expect and was overwhelmed by how many orders I received during the show. I didn’t have any stock prepared before hand and in future I will certainly stockpile a certain amount pre-show in order to shorten dispatch times. I don’t want to say I’d recommend doing that to everyone first time, as everyone’s experience will vary depending on their product. The key thing I learnt from it though was to keep every buyer well informed of the progress of their order and reassure them that it would be on it’s way soon.

 

I’m going to leave it there because I reckon I could go on and on and on listing more tips otherwise. Those were some of the main things I was asked yesterday and learnt though. Plus there are certain things I feel more comfortable sharing personally in a small group rather than publishing publicly on the worldwide web.

Hopefully there will be more advice sessions to come as there certainly seems to be a high level of interest for them. I’m by no means an expert but I enjoy doing what I can to help and encourage other business owners and am very happy to be honest and open about these things.

Please do leave a comment below to let me know if you’d be interested in more advice sessions and on what other topics.

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DECEMBER Pinterest Board of the Month

As it’s December I had to make this one a Christmas feature! I have chosen a wonderful festive Pinterest board for the month of December called HOLIDAYS…. by Suzi Park and it is packed full of wonderful resources for Christmas baking, cooking, gift wrapping, decorations, table settings and even how to make your dog look festive! I love the choice of nature based styling and rustic traditional ideas with a bit of a Nordic influence coming through.

With Christmas day now only 6 days away, you are probably ready to prepare the final finishing touches for the big day like wrapping presents, cooking chutneys and cake in advance and making a few final decorations for the house and dinner table. This Pinterest board is full of inspiration for all of the above so go get creative and Merry Christmas!


chocolate-pinecones-christmas-cake

How amazing is this Christmas chocolate cake decorated with flaked almond pinecones?! Can’t get over how beautiful it looks. There are lots of other gorgeous looking baking ideas on the board too.

 

Christmas dog decoration hat

I’m a big dog lover, and I know lots of Sky Siouki fans out there are too. This Pinterest board has plenty of adorable festive dog photos on it too. They’re fun to have a laugh at even if you don’t fancy trying to wrestle your dog into a tangle of tinsel yourself on Christmas day.

 

Nigel Slater Christmas Turkey Guide

There are also tips on how best to cook your turkey and make delicious condiments. Plus ideas for interesting side dishes such as braised red cabbage. Prepare to start drooling.

 

Simple effective Kraft Christmas gift wrap

One of my favourite parts of Christmas what with being a creative and all, is the gift wrapping! There’s some great inspiration here for how to make your gifts look extra pretty this year. I love the simple style of this one. Always a fan of using recycled Kraft paper and jazzing it up with rustic twine or natural accessories like leaves as shown here.

This will be my last blog post before Christmas and most likely the new year since I’m about to move house by the end of the month! I have two last Christmas markets in Bristol left to go which are Harbourside Christmas Market on Saturday Dec 23rd and Tobacco Factory Christmas Eve Market on Dec 24th! If I don’t see you there though, a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all and thank you a million for supporting Sky Siouki. See you in 2018!

 

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TOP 5… Unique Christmas Decorations on Etsy

Time for a Christmassy TOP 5 feature for December as always! I’ve gone for beautiful handmade baubles and decorations this time, all available on Etsy, and all extra special and unique from UK makers.

Marbleous Roo_ Bauble Marbled

1. Hand Marbled Ceramic Bauble by Marbleous Roo

First up is this arty and deliciously colourful stunner from a Bristol maker friend called Roo. I’m absolutely in love with all her handmade marbled creations. These baubles come in a variety of colour combos and are each one of a kind! SO hard to choose a favourite.

 

Camptoun Mosiacs_Scottish Seaglass Christmas Snowflake Decoration

2. Scottish Sea Glass Snowflake by Camptoun Creations

I love the rustic uneven nature of this snowflake star made out of subtley stained glass. Once again each one is unique down to their handmade nature, made out of glass collected from beaches in East Lothian in Scotland.

 

Planet Pixie Decorations_Decoupage Vintage Birds Bauble

3. Decoupage Birdie Bauble by Planet Pixie Creations

I love the vintage style of this bauble and that it’s a good large size too. There’s something about extra big baubles like this that I find really satisfying. There are all sorts of retro style decoupaged designs available in this Etsy shop so go have a browse!


Little Cottage Art Co._Ceramic Scene Glass Bauble

4. Cottage Christmas Bauble by Little Cottage Art Co.

This tiny ceramic Winter scene placed inside a glass bauble is just amazing! So delicate and sweet! With an 8cm diameter, I can barely fathom how the designer even manages to make these.

 

Mayfly Mosiacs_Mistletoe Stained Glass Decoration

5. Stained Glass Mistletoe by Mayfly Mosiacs

The final one on my list would look good on a tree or above a doorway for those who are hoping to get lucky! Made with stained glass and ivory pearls for the berries, this decoration really is a handmade work of art and unmistakable for mistletoe. Beautiful!

 

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ADVENT Exhibition at The Malago

In partnership with Tribe Aisthetica I am once again assisting in the curation of the latest new exhibition of artwork at The Malago Restaurant (where I also work a couple of evenings a week.)

This new showcase of emerging Bristol based artists will be called ADVENT and will run from 4th December 2017 – 4th February 2018.

There’ll be a private view on Monday, Dec 4th between 5-7pm with complimentary canapés, prosecco and live music plus a 10% discount in the restaurant for those who want to stay for dinner!

The artists we have selected for this show are Rosie Carmichael, Josie Falconer, Rachel Hall, Rae Roche, Studio Taro and ceramics by Hannah Walker.

There will also be a few of my own prints and artworks available as per usual amongst them. We’re really excited about the slightly cosmic, ethereal mood that has emerged through this selection of artists. There’s a very soothing colour range of dusky pinks, teal blue, turquoise and monochrome tying all of the work together beautifully with a very textural and natural appearance throughout. A show not to be missed!

Advent Exhibition Poster

 

Each exhibition has a subtle seasonal influence and focuses on promoting local artists, reflecting The Malago‘s focus on seasonal dishes and locally sourced produce. The restaurant provides us with a really beautiful space to exhibit in and our first Tribe Aisthetica curated exhibition, Equinox, has been a great success over October and November. The private view for this one will be lovely and festive with mulled wine and mince pies also available. The perfect opportunity to shop for a piece of art by a local artist to gift this Christmas!

Tribe Aisthetica and Artists at Equinox Private View

 

As you may have gathered, our exhibition titles have a moon phase influence, going with the seasonal theme. There are four more to go in the pipeline following Advent, which will called be Lenten, Ostara, Solstice and Harvest. If you’re interested in submitting your artwork, please contact Abi from Tribe Aisthetica at tribeaisthetica@gmail.com for more details.

The Malago is at 220 North Street, Southville, Bristol. We hope to see you there!

 

 

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Sky Siouki Christmas Markets Line-Up

I’ve got more Christmas events than ever lined up this year since I’ve had a great time doing markets throughout 2017 and so decided it’s time to go full throttle with the festivities this Christmas!

Hopefully you may already have received my latest newsletter with a list of the dates of all my upcoming markets for the festive season. A couple of dates have now changed however and I know it can be hard to keep up with everything that’s going on… So I’m posting a run down of them all here too to make it nice and easy for all of you lovely Bristol and Somerset dwellers to find me for all your Sky Siouki Christmas shopping needs this November and December!

 

25th November – MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR, Colston Hall, 10am-4pm
26th November – COURTHOUSE FARM MARKET, Portishead, 10am-3:30pm
2nd December – ETSY MADE LOCAL 2017, M Shed, 10am-4pm
3rd December – THE FROME INDEPENDENT, 10am-3pm
6th December – CAFE JACKALOPE NIGHT MARKET, 5-9pm
9th December – MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR, Colston Hall, 10am-4pm
10th December – COURTHOUSE FARM XMAS MARKET, Portishead
16th December – MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR, Colston Hall, 10am-4pm
17th December – TOBACCO FACTORY SUNDAY MARKET, 10am-3pm
23rd December – HARBOURSIDE CHRISTMAS MARKET, 11am-5pm
24th December – TOBACCO FACTORY XMAS EVE MARKET, 9am-1pm

 

Shop Local This Christmas

 

First up is tomorrow! The first Made In Bristol Gift Fair of the year at Colston Hall! Always set to be a great one with three floors of amazing Bristol handmade goodies available. Hope to see you there!

You can always check back on what events I will be involved via my events calendar too of course. You may even find the calendar a little easier to read. My Events page can be found in the top menu of this page or click here.

 

NOVEMBER Pinterest Board of the Month

For November I’ve picked a Pinterest board called:

TEXTURE by Brenda Lowe Thomas.

It’s been a little while since I got sharing some musings on the blog. I think I need a refreshing wave of inspiration to get me motivated at the mo so I’ve picked an exciting Pinterest board full of colour and texture for this month’s Pinterest Board of the Month!

These images have got me super excited about creating new colour palettes for new paintings next year! Just what I need to get me through the busy Christmas markets I have coming up. Things have felt a little monotonous and non-creative here at Sky Siouki lately so I’m looking forward to getting expressive and artistic in January again. These beautiful images are giving me something to get excited about!

Yellow and Grey Cracked Bark   Purple and Turquoise Pheasant Feathers

Pale yellows against cool grey, warm violets and bright turquoise, rich rusty ochres and creamy fresh greens are all really grabbing me right now. Watching Blue Planet II has also really got my creative cogs going lately as well. All of the colours and textures in these images are so stunning, the beauty of nature never ceases to astound me.

Green Peeling Paint   Grey and Ochre Tree Moss

There are even more amazing images on the TEXTURE Pinterest board so go and check it out if texture and colour gets you excited too!

Next on the blog I’ll be sharing news of the next Tribe Aisthetica exhibition I have helped to curate, taking place at The Malago Restaurant!

 

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EQUINOX Exhibition at The Malago Restaurant

I’m going to be taking part in a new exhibition titled EQUINOX at The Malago restaurant in Bristol this October and November!

Since I work in the restaurant a couple of days a week it has proved a brilliant partnership for me to also sell my work through it. The new exhibition is curated by Tribe Aisthetica, a new artist support organisation which I am also assisting, and will be the first of six exhibitions held by us throughout the next year with the featured artists changing on a bi-monthly basis.

 

Each exhibition will have a subtle seasonal influence and promote local artists, reflecting The Malago‘s focus on seasonal dishes and locally sourced produce. The restaurant provides us with a really beautiful space to exhibit in and having already been selling Sky Siouki prints in there since May, I’m looking forward to introducing some new original pieces to the mix.

The exhibition will include a varied mixture of painting, illustration, paper-cuts and sculpture with featured artists Victoria Ashdown, Hattie Buckwell, Sophie Galliers, Jessie Jerymn, Emily Krainc and Lisa Travers.

Come along to the private view this coming Monday to meet me and Abi from Tribe Aisthetica and all of the talented artists!  There will be free canapes, prosecco and live music all to be enjoyed! Plus there’ll be 10% off dinner after the viewing if you’d like to stay… the menu is really something special.

The exhibition runs October 2nd – December 2nd 2017.

 

 

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My 10 Biggest Lessons Learned from Sky Siouki

No biggy, just a quick little blog post today I told myself. My Ten Biggest Lessons Learnt Ever, that’s nice and easy right? So clearly I’m mad but this is a post I’ve wanted to do for ages and hope will be a fun little exercise for myself if nothing else at least. I find it so interesting and inspiring to hear about other independent businesses’ stories and downfalls so hopefully this may help a few fledgling businesses out there by learning from my mistakes!

1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS.

Be it for help, advice, moral support or just drinking partners even! Since joining forces with the Bristol Girl Bosses group (read more about us here) I have felt so much more motivated, supported and positive about my business and honestly I think I’m probably just happier in life for having more friends around me. If you’re like me and perhaps pride yourself a little too much in being independent and self-driven, never under estimate the value of a creative network. Honestly. Seriously.

Bristol Girl Bosses Group Photo

2. WALK BEFORE YOU CAN RUN

This was quite possibly my lesson number one and I learnt it the hard way. Without any real-life business experience it’s all too easy to believe that as soon as you offer something to buy to the general public that it will just effortlessly sell itself. When putting it like that, it sounds pretty stupid actually, but I went ahead and produced way way too much stock (and not cheap stock either) right at the start without really knowing how well it would sell. Now I make a very small run of every new product type to test the waters first. Take baby steps and see where the path takes you.

3. TIME IS MONEY

Something I think a lot of independent makers and businesses are all too shy of admitting and I have to say I still struggle to admit too. When you enjoy what you do and making your business work is your passion then it is hard to get away from that mindset of ‘oh but I don’t mind spending time doing that because I enjoy it’. There are of course exceptions, and when you’re starting out doing everything yourself is a good way to keep costs down. BUT if there’s a menial task you’re spending hours over such as hand-making something that doesn’t have to be, or packaging cards for example, consider whether that time could be better spent on something that will actually create more revenue for your business and if that revenue would outweigh the cost of outsourcing said jobs? I was kicking myself when I discovered Photoshop has an automate function and I’d been wasting ages on manually re-sizing and saving all my image files!

4. DON’T UNDER-VALUE YOUR PRODUCTS

I’m realising now these are beginning to sound quite obvious but I suppose there’s a reason for that, being that they are all very easy traps to fall into. I reckon just about every designer-maker out there has done this. We all think to ourselves ‘oh but no-one will want to spend that much on my work.’ Well shut up because you’re wrong and they will! If your work is original and different from anyone else’s and you spent time and care creating it then that has a huge value! I often end up discussing with the Bristol Girl Bosses group how easy it is to forget that: you are not your customer. Someone quite different from you is, who quite possibly can only dream of having the skills you do and also quite possibly has a much larger income than you as well. The Design Trust has some really great articles on pricing your work.

5. FAILURE CAN BE GOOD

I recently listened to a new podcast called Failure By Design and I love the concept of that title in itself. The host introduced the first episode explaining how failures are branded as such a bad thing that we feel shameful of and hide, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. In failing, you were brave enough to take a leap knowing full well that you may fall and that’s surely something to be proud of! Ok, I’m not saying anyone’s happy about it when they fail, but there is always, always a lesson – or lessons – to be learnt from failure. I mean that’s kind of the whole essence of this post, and I tend to find if I learn something from failure, I learn that thing well.

You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying

6. TRY AND TRY AGAIN

So following on from point 5, when you do fail the important thing is you pick yourself back up again. Not everyone is resilient enough, but chances are if you made the choice to run your own business, you probably are! There have been maybe two or three occasions when I can remember really contemplating what the hell I was doing with my life and if I should just throw in the towel or start a second ‘supplementary’ career path (crazy I know)… and I’m so glad I didn’t! If you need to step away to re-assess then by all means do, but stay focussed and remember why you started this journey. Think about what is working and go from there. I personally think giving up is harder than giving in, but that’s probably because I’m so stubborn!

7. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS AND GOALS

Back in January a mentioned a book called Your Best Year Planner by Lisa Jacobs in my blog post HOW TO… Be a Go-Getter. This book has given me so so much and, as I explain in more depth in the post, a really key thing I’ve learnt from it is to write down my goals and to keep going back to them, checking if I’m making progress towards them and reviewing each month to check in with myself. Measuring my goals, writing plans down and creating habits have all been such major game changers for my business since mid-2016 when I first got Jacobs’ book. I would highly recommend it!

Your Best Year 2017 Book

8. EXERCISE

Ok, so not everyone is a big fitness fanatic or perhaps very able to move about, but then again I didn’t used to think I was. Even if it’s just taking 30 minutes out to go for a light walk I seriously cannot recommend the stress relief that exercise provides enough. For me it gets me awake and energised for the day, it takes my mind completely away from everything else going on in my life and I feel healthy for it too. Working from home used to make me feel really lethargic by the end of the day because half the time I’d barely use my legs all day but then when I realised all the other health benefits of sweating it out each morning I was hooked!

9. CARE FOR YOURSELF

Today I saw this little motivational post on Instagram: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’. It really struck a chord with me because I am so guilty of this. It made me think about the contrast of how drained and de-motivated I felt on Tuesday following a couple of nights of limited sleep, and how much fresher and better I felt today following three nights of much better sleep. Things like sleep, and time off enjoying yourself with friends and family have more value than you know. I can be awful for never taking days off, or even the evening to relax, but make sure you do at least sometimes because you really can’t run on empty.

You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup

10. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

As Einstein famously said ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Lisa Jacobs uses this point in her planner mentioned in point 7 and it resonated with me. When I bought her planner in 2016 I was forced to be a lot more honest with myself and I had to basically face up that by Einstein’s standards I was insane. Somewhere down the line you are almost bound to need to make change, so be brave and be honest and ask yourself what is and what isn’t working. Do this each step of the way in fact because as I see it, a business is an ever evolving thing that can always be strengthened and improved.

Einstein Insanity Quote

 

Ok. That felt like a good hour of intense self-reflection. Think I might do something creative now! I really hope this post is useful to a few people out there, I’ve certainly found it interesting to see just how much I have learnt. To start with I wasn’t sure if I could think of 10 things, but now I feel like I could go on and on!

 

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AUGUST Pinterest Board of the Month

This month I have picked Botanical Pick Me Up as my Pinterest board of the month.

Joint curated by Dean Hearne and Lobster & Swan.

Botanical forms are super on trend right now and I can understand why. Filling your home with plants creates a fresh, bohemian energy and succulent and tropical plants are so nice and easy to manage too.

Pinterest Board of the Month August - Botanical Pick Me Up - Plant Pots

Pinterest Board of the Month August - Botanical Pick Me Up - Art Print.jpg

This board is full of ideas of other ways to fill your home with botanical greenery besides plants in pots too! Just adore the print above, and the handmade trinket dishes below are so cute and unique.

Pinterest Board of the Month August - Botanical Pick Me Up - Trinket Dishes.jpg

Check out the full board here for lots more botanical loveliness and for more inspiration on how to make your home feel at one with nature. Love the title of the board too, as it’s so true that a few plants around the place really can be a wonderful pick me up!

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Going Bananas for Tropical Birds!

A little bit of visual research and inspiration on the blog this week! Feast your eyes on this beautiful array of tropical bird species.

If you regularly follow what I’m up to at Sky Siouki you may know I’ve been talking about ideas for a new design collection for a little while. I hate that I’ve been continually saying new designs soon but as of yet no illustrating has been happening. I’m so eager to get going on a new set of birds but it takes a lot of dedicated time to do and there are always a million and one other jobs that seem to need doing first! BUT I think I may have at least made a decision on what the theme of the new series will be… Tropical Birds!

Tropical Birds Green-Breased Mango Hummingbird

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird

Tropical Birds - Greater Bird of Paradise

Greater Bird of Paradise

Having had a few suggestions via Instagram, a lot of followers seem keen to see hummingbirds, kingfishers and birds of paradise which all fit into the tropical category quite nicely. I also had a lot of suggestions for garden birds and although I was heavily swaying towards that direction at one point, I then realised that there are an awful lot of garden bird designs already out there and let’s face it, tropical birds are just a hella of a lot more exciting! I mean check out the plumage on this White Faced Ibis!

Tropical Birds - White Faced Ibis

White Faced Ibis

Tropical Birds - Banded Broadbill

Banded Broadbill

Something I love so much about designing a new collection is researching all the different bird species out there and learning about them. It’s astounding just how many species there are and the incredible variations of colour and markings they each have. For example I only learnt today that the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher even exists, how gorgeous is this little guy?!

Tropical Birds - Oriental Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Putting this post together has certainly helped to get me inspired and motivated for this next collection so I really hope it won’t be much longer until I get working on it now! I will still need to make a final decision on four birds but a kingfisher and a hummingbird definitely look to be on the cards. It’s not too late for suggestions either so by all means post a comment below or hit me up on Instagram to tell me what you think. I always love to hear customer feedback.