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NEW Limited Edition Prints

I’m very happy to announce that I have just launched four brand spanking new limited edition giclée prints in my online shop! All four are prints of my original paintings that I painted last Autumn using a mixture of oil paint, acrylic, charcoal, pastels, collage, gold leaf overlaid with image transfers of my original illustrations of birds and botanicals.

Click here to see them now.

New Limited Edition Prints

There are three 29.7cm x 29.7cm square sized prints titled Aurous, Azure and Flora and one larger 43cm x 43cm square titled Shore Song. Each is available in an edition of 50 so they won’t be about forever.

On that note… some of my existing limited edition prints that I launched last year are getting towards the tail end of their editions too so if you’ve had your eye on any of them I would recommend ordering soon to avoid disappointment. Bright Haze, Gold Hop, Lustre and Moorland in particular are all selling fast!

Azure Giclee Print

If you are interested in the originals, Aurous and Azure can both be found in Gower Gallery in Swansea and Flora is soon to be exhibited as part of a new exhibition called Inscape at Boundary Art in Cardiff Bay.

Shore Song is a personal favourite of mine and I’ve actually decided I’m not ready to part with the original at least for now so it’s currently hung above my bed in the bedroom. Since recently redecorating and painting the wall this gorgeous teal colour it just seemed like the perfect fit. Hopefully this image may give you some inspiration for how nice a framed print of it could look against a coloured wall in your own home! There are lots of subtle variations of colour within the whites and greys in this one giving it a beautiful sense of depth.

Shore Song Original Painting

I am also still in the process of designing a new mini collection of insect prints. If you follow me on Instagram you may well have seen the progress of my Eyed-Hawk Moth and Carpenter Bee illustrations. I have yet to finish the bee illustration and then plan to draw one more insect, the species of which is yet to be confirmed. Suggestions always welcome! The three new prints will accompany my already existing Goliath Beetle print as a series of four insect designs.

If you’d like to keep up to date with more of my latest news, then please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here!

Bossing Wholesale Workshop

This April I’m hosting my Bossing Wholesale workshop once again for all small creative business owners in and around Bristol looking for some inside know-how on trade shows, pricing and just how to generally master selling to retailers. It’s happening 6:30-9pm, April 18th at Studio Cotton, Bristol.

Bossing Wholesale Workshop in Bristol with Sky Siouki

Having gained lots of first-hand experience of selling to trade I want to pass on what I’ve learnt along the way, much of which has been learnt the hard way! I have exhibited at Top Drawer London twice as well as British Craft Trade Fair Harrogate and now am very proud to be able to say I supply over 50 stockists nationwide with Sky Siouki products and artwork. Selling wholesale has really transformed my business so I’d like to share how it can help to boost your business too in this friendly but very informative workshop.

What I will be covering in this workshop:

  • Trade shows: costs and what to expect.
  • Pricing your work
  • Minimum orders and quantities
  • Shipping options and lead times
  • Invoicing and payment
  • Following up customers
  • Selling wholesale through a website
  • What I have learnt from mistakes

This time I am collaborating with Aime from Studio Cotton, so the workshop will be hosted in her gorgeous new studio on Corn Street. Tickets are only available through Studio Cotton so head here to grab one now.

Studio-Cotton-Sky-Siouki-Workshop

Some of the very lovely feedback I’ve received from previous workshop attendees:

“Really friendly atmosphere where you could ask Sky anything business orientated and receive honest feedback.”

“Sky has a wealth of knowledge and provides info that can be hard to find elsewhere.”

“Sky was very informative and professional. Was great to hear about her work and success.”

Click here to get tickets.

New Products Now Online!

So pleased to at long last announce my latest design collection is now available to buy in my online shop across my full range of products! The new designs are a range of four waterbirds named Brown Pelican, Cormorant, Little Egret and White-Faced Ibis. Shop for them online here.

Stone-Coasters-Set-Sky-Siouki

The designs are available as A3 and A2 giclée prints, stone placemats, stone coasters, tea towels, notecard sets and greeting cards. It’s been such a joy to create this new collection and see the designs produced as actual products. They’ve had a fantastic response already at markets and shows with many customers commenting on the richness of the colours.

White-Faced-Ibis-Tea-Towel-Sky-Siouki
Brown Pelican-Natural-Stone-Placemat-Sky-Siouki

You can find many of these new designs in various Sky Siouki stockists across the country already. I have a newly updated stockist map now on the website so you can even find the closest stockist to you! Click here to see it.

Or of course you can order direct from me right here on the website. Plus if you sign up to the mailing list you might just get an exclusive little introductory offer coming your way in the next day or two!

Egret-Cormorant-Note-Card-Set-Sky-Siouki

I hope to produce some new paintings and print designs this year too so keep your eyes peeled for progress on that on my Instagram!

Meanwhile, browse the new products in my online shop here.

DELA Exhibition

You can now find a little bit of Sky Siouki artwork in Bristol restaurant, Dela, on Mivart Street in Easton. Dela is a gorgeous open and spacious restaurant offering a varied and unusual seasonal menu of Swedish inspired food for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks. The exhibition runs until March 12th.

Dela Exhibition Sky Siouki Artwork

I have three pieces of artwork on show across the main back wall of the dining area. A framed print of Bright Haze, framed print of Cormorant and original painting Shore Song. All are available to buy although not directly through the restaurant, so shoot me an email at sky@skysiouki.com if you’d like to buy one following the exhibition.

I do also have an ample selection of unframed giclée prints and greeting cards available to buy straight from the restaurant in the small shop space next to the bar. Find a browser full of my prints to your right when you walk in and a varied selection of cards by myself and other lovely Bristol designers on the shelves above.

What is a Giclée Print?

 

This is something I get asked by customers all the time at markets so I thought why not dedicate a little blog post to it.

First off; Giclée is pronounced ghee-clay. The term was coined in 1991 by Jack Duganne to describe a fine art digital print. It’s derived from the French word ‘gicler’ simply meaning to squirt, referring to the nature of inkjet printing.

 

Lustre - Limited Edition Giclee Print Detail

 

So a giclée print is a digital inkjet print but what makes it special is the type of printer, inks and paper used. A giclée print produces the highest quality reproduction of a piece of artwork possible and is made to last at least 100 years.

I am proud to say I print all of my giclée prints myself here in my Bristol home studio. I use a professional Canon printer which has 12 different colours of archival ink to produce perfect colour accuracy and prints made to last essentially forever without fading. On top of this, each print is printed onto heavyweight 310gsm, superior quality etching rag made of 100% cotton, and is acid free to ensure no premature deterioration.

 

 

I often post snapshots and videos of my giclée prints being printed in my studio on my Instagram stories, so give me a follow here if you’d like to see the action! I hope this answers the question sufficiently but please do comment below if you’d like to know more.

 

Bristol Etsy Team X Bristol Girl Bosses WINTER POP-UP SHOP

 

Bristol-Etsy-Team-Bristol-Girl-Bosses-Pop-Up-Shop-Banner

 

If you haven’t heard about the new Winter pop-up shop in town already, let me tell you all about it. I feel so proud to have been a part of setting up this incredible project. The shop is a temporary lifestyle store in The Galleries shopping mall and a collaboration of the Bristol Etsy Team, Bristol Girl Bosses collective (which I am a member of), Tribe Aisthetica and Chroma Stationary. The shop will be open everyday between 16th November – 23rd December 2018 and features the handmade goods of over 80 different small locally based businesses! With a lot of hard work and by all pulling together we launched the shop a week ago and the VIP launch party was a huge success! A special thanks goes to The Malago restaurant and Lovely Drinks for providing canapes and fizzy refreshments.

 

Bristol-Etsy-Bristol-Girl-Bosses-Winter-Pop-Up-Shop-Launch-Window

 

We’ve been extremely lucky to have some amazing support from various local businesses in the running and set-up of the shop. KONK! Furniture have been kind enough to provide the entire shop with their beautiful handmade furniture for display which is also available to buy and be delivered once the shop shuts. The Galleries have also been very accommodating and offered us a wonderfully well located and spacious unit right next to Waterstones on the first floor of the shopping centre.

 

 

The first week has been consistently busy and we’ve had an incredible response from the public. If you’re looking for somewhere to buy unique, artisan and beautiful gifts in Bristol this Christmas look no further. Our shop team are always more than happy to help and we have a huge variety of products in the store for any friend or family member you’re shopping for!

 

 

Exhibiting New Artwork

 

Over the recent few months I have begun exhibiting original artworks in several galleries in the UK which has been a very exciting new venture for me. It’s still something I am getting used to and feels considerably more scary than selling products since there’s so much more value and emotion involved in my paintings.

This is me at the private view of ACE Arts‘ British Wildlife Open Exhibition which has been on throughout October. In partnership with Somerset Wildlife Trust, this new open exhibition aims to raise awareness of the wildlife around us and was a fantastic and very varied show to go and see. I had two pieces selected called Gold Hop and Spring Tide. It felt a real honour to be selected and I now also stock my cards and kitchenware range in the gallery shop downstairs. The exhibition is on for a few more days until November 3rd so do try to see it before it ends if you are close to Somerton.

 

Ace-Arts-British-Wildlife-Open-Exhibition-Sky-Siouki

 

I am also currently exhibiting several new original paintings as well as lots of framed prints in my usual haunt, The Malago restaurant, in Bristol together with Oil & Oak. The exhibition is called Landskien and is on until January 6th so perfect if you’d like to buy someone some art this Christmas. The exhibition is inspired by the beauty of nature with Landskien meaning the braiding of horizon lines on a hazy day.

 

Landskien-Exhibition-Sky-Siouki

 

Landskien-Exhibition-Poster-Sky-Siouki

 

If you’re a bit further afield than Bristol, there may still be a gallery near you exhibiting some of my artwork currently. I also have some paintings exhibited with Obsidian Art in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, The Golden Sheaf Gallery in Narberth, Wales and Carron Pottery & Gallery up in Strathcarron, Scotland. If there is a piece you are interested in that you have seen me share on Instagram or my website please do email me to find out where it’s available from.

Sky x

 

NOW IN THE SHOP – New Limited Edition Prints

 

Very excited to announce I have eight new limited edition giclée prints now available in my online shop. They are all editions of 50 and reproductions of a selection of new original paintings I have recently produced this year. They are printed in a range of sizes and include four 30cm square, two A3 and two 42cm square, all signed, named and numbered by hand of course. I have included images of three of them below but the full new range can all be viewed in my online shop here.

 

Bright Haze - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Bright Haze

 

Sundown - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Sundown

 

It’s been incredibly exciting for me to find myself on the path to establishing myself as a painter and artist as well as a designer of products. Sky Siouki is fast becoming an artist pseudonym rather than simply a brand name for me. I hope to continue producing new paintings as the year goes on and exhibiting them in more and more galleries too. This will also mean more limited edition prints to come, although I have chosen to select my favourite paintings rather than to produce prints of every single one.

 

Swoop - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Swoop

 

I would love to hear which are your favourites and if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me do next? See the full collection of Sky Siouki limited edition prints right here.

 

Summer Exhibition at Grain Barge

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging some of my framed prints in the beautiful Bristol venue, Grain Barge. It’s the first solo exhibition I have put on for a little while so it was exciting to hang some of my newer designs for 2018 together with some older ones. The venue is a barge converted into a restaurant and bar as you may be able to guess from the name! Run by the same team as Tobacco Factory on North Street, they boast a gorgeous locally sourced menu and amazing views across Bristol marina which can be enjoyed from the glass walled bar area as well as the top deck!

 

Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

 

The venue makes for an ideal setting for my work as it is very light filled and full of rustic charm since the interior is largely made up of reclaimed materials. Love having a natural wooden wall as a backdrop to the main grid of work shown above rather than the usual white walls I’m used to in gallery spaces.

 

Hanging-Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

Owl-Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

 

All artwork exhibited in there is available for sale and includes nine of my giclée print designs all framed and ready to go straight on your own walls at home! If you always find it a struggle to get prints framed after buying them, this is the perfect opportunity to save yourself the hassle. The exhibition is on until August 14th so why not grab a pint in the sun, and maybe some dinner too, and have a good nosey at the show!

 

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NEW Limited Edition Giclee Prints

 

You may already be aware that I’ve been working hard on creating a lot more original artwork to sell this year. Since my open edition range of prints are all created by merging my wildlife illustrations over my abstract paintings digitally in Photoshop, I previously didn’t have the ability to show or sell ‘originals’ of the prints. So having been asked about original paintings a lot recently I have begun creating new artworks with my illustrations applied to the paintings directly using transfers. This has been so enjoyable and I’ve had such a wonderful response to these artworks! Lots of opportunities to sell the originals with galleries have opened up for me too and so I hope to continue producing lots more new artwork like this – taking Sky Siouki into a new and exciting direction of an artist based brand just as much as design based.

 

Painting-in-progress-art-by-sky-siouki

 

I have decided to release limited editions of 50 of each of my original paintings since I believe it’s important to make art accessible to all. You can now find in my online shop a section for Open Editions and Limited Editions. The limited editions being mainly all prints derived from my original paintings as opposed to digitally composed designs as my open editions are. Head over to the new section now to see the latest set of paintings I have released as prints named Moorland, Drift, Spring Tide and Harvest Sun.

 

Moorland-Giclee-Print-Sky-Siouki

 

There are also a couple of new open edition prints added to the collection, named Cormorant and Goshawk. The Goshawk design was a special design done for the Bristol Girl Bosses ‘Muse’ exhibition and the Cormorant was designed as a tribute to Bristol’s Harbourside.

 

Goshawk-Giclee-Print-Detail-Sky-Siouki

 

I am currently working on a new collection of water bird illustrations, with the intention of eventually launching four new designs across my full product range. These will be added to my current Waterbirds collection, splitting them into a British and an Exotic series.

Follow me on Instagram to see the drawings and artwork progress. I like to post little progress updates in my stories!

Sky x

 

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DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Exhibiting at British Craft Trade Fair 2018

 

Earlier this month I exhibited at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate for the first time. It was my second ever trade show after exhibiting at Top Drawer in September 2017 and quite a different show in contrast. As a designer-maker I know it can be really hard to know what these shows are like before attending them and to choose what is best for your brand. Hopefully this post may give a little bit of useful insight into what this show was like for anyone interested in exhibiting there.

Me on my stand at BCTF 2018
Me on my stand at BCTF 2018

 

Much like it was at Top Drawer, everyone was given the day before the show opened to set-up their stand which was the Saturday between 9am-6pm. However, unlike Top Drawer, the walls are not so solid so it is not possible to screw or nail anything into them, only to stick things to them and use hooks to suspend things from the tops. This meant I had to think a little more creatively about how to display my heavy stone coasters and placemats. In the end I prepared a shelf panel that could be hung from the wall which actually made set up much simpler on the day and I quite liked the appearance of. Hanging framed artwork on the other hand was really tricky as everything wobbled about and I managed to break one frame in the process. I used zipper hooks suspended on nylon cables which were difficult to keep in place being so lightweight so a lot of sticky fixers and gaffa tape ended up getting used behind the scenes. It worked in the end but took a lot of time and I ended up finishing at 6:15pm.

My Stand at British Craft Trade Fair 2018
My Stand at British Craft Trade Fair 2018

 

The show was open Sunday, Monday and Tuesday which was the same as Top Drawer again. The atmosphere felt quite different though. Overall it was quite relaxed and friendly. I felt less intimidated by buyers this time although this may have been due to having more experience by then. I think the time of year was probably a factor as well though as in September a lot of buyers were keen to get orders in in good time for Christmas.

The British Craft Trade Fair is fairly small but very well curated and has a much more niche craft and artist led focus than some bigger retail events. It was clear that most of the buyers had come from galleries and from a lot of rural places in the UK. Buyers were predominantly from the North and Midlands area which suited me well as I mainly had stockists based in the South before the show. Unfortunately the footfall did feel sparse and by the Tuesday the time really went by slowly. I got a really great outcome out of exhibiting but I feel fairly uncertain about whether I would exhibit there again due to what I gathered sounds to be a decline in attendance and the long distance to travel.

Dawn Maciocia and Joanna Coupland BCTF Stands
Dawn Maciocia and Joanna Coupland

 

Here are a few images of my favourite stands of other exhibitors there. There was a beautiful array of work on show including ceramics, glassware, artwork, textiles, sculpture, jewellery and greetings cards. There was quite clearly a lot of nature inspired work which explains why the show attracts a lot of rural based retailers.

Karen Risby and Rachel Thornton BCTF Stands
Karen Risby and Rachel Thornton

 

Pack down is on Tuesday between 5-9pm immediately after the show closes. I was very glad to have booked my Air BnB for one extra night so that I could make the journey home when I was fresh in the morning. Doing BCTF was a great experience and I’m very glad I tried it out. I wanted to use the show to gauge whether selling my original paintings with galleries would be a viable opportunity and it certainly helped me to answer that question. I had a wonderful response to the paintings I took with me from several galleries so I will certainly be continuing to do more painting in future which is really exciting! Otherwise, I am sticking with Top Drawer for now as far as trade shows go and will be exhibiting there again next year in January.

Sky x

 

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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.

Sky x

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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!

Sky x

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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.

Sky x

 

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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.

Sky x

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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.

Sky x

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Bristol Girl Bosses!

If you follow my Instagram you may have caught on that I have recently become part of a little collective of Bristol based girls in the designer-maker business called Bristol Girl Bosses. I wanted to post about our group here just to help spread the word really and promote my fellow group members’ work as they all produce such lovely things that you may well be interested in.

 

Since we started an Instagram account we’ve been astonished by the support people have shown and number of posts with our hashtag #BristolGirlBosses that have begun popping up. The group is really just about community and support for us. Being an independent one woman brand can be really challenging on a pretty regular basis so having a group of like-minded ladies to talk to and seek advice from means an incredible amount to us all. I’m so so happy to be a part of our little community. We have been trying to meet up about once a month for food, skill-swapping and idea sharing although it’s often tricky getting all eight members together at once when we’re all so busy!

 

Bristol Girl Bosses June Meet Up

 

WE ARE (in alphabetical order):

Corinne Evans Jewellery – Corinne makes stunning handcrafted silver and copper jewellery inspired by nature.

Fiona Clabon Illustration – Pictured below scurrying away at some collaging! Fiona creates colourful collage illustrations and sells prints, coasters and cards.

Jessica Baldry Designs – Jess is a surface pattern designer and papercut artist. Her glass framed floral paper-cuts are my fave!

Skirt All Week – Swedish seamstress and dress-maker extraordinaire. I’m forever amazed by Sabina’s gorgeous self-made outfits each time I see her!

Sky Siouki – That’s me. Hopefully if you’re here you’ll already know I create wildlife inspired artwork and sell a variety of printed gifts and homewares.

Stephanie Male Illustration – Steph creates a variety of printed and handmade products often with a macabre edge about them.

Warmlii – Bee makes traditional Swiss cherry stone pillows handmade with organic cotton.

Yay Rae Flay – Rae creates quirky illustrations and laser-cut jewellery featuring fun things like jammy dodgers and avocado on toast! She’s waving below.

 

Bristol Girl Bosses_Yay Rae Flay at Springfest

Bristol Girl Bosses_Fiona Clabon at Springfest

So that’s us. Six of the eight of us held stalls at Bristol’s SPRINGFEST last weekend so you may well have met a few of us there. The two pictures above of Rae and Fiona are from our day there. We’re all big fans of the Made In Bristol events so hopefully lots of us, if not maybe even all of us will be selling at the Colston Hall Made In Bristol Gift Fairs too!

 

Following the amazing response we’ve had on Instagram we’re really keen to try to accommodate for others to foster their own collectives. It’s been so beneficial to us that we’d love for others to have the same support within their own independent groups. We hope to eventually arrange some kind of networking or skill-swapping event that may facilitate this for other Bristol ladies in business.

We are also doing Feature Friday plugs via our Instagram account for other Bristol Girl Bosses outside of our collective. To submit your work to be featured just use our hashtag #BristolGirlBosses. The hashtag is gaining lots of popularity already so it seems it’s a good one to use anyway!

Bristol Girl Bosses Hashtag Instagram

9 Reasons To Buy From Designer-Makers

This week I wanted to highlight the importance of buying from designer-makers and independent brands here on the blog. Every order means so much to us, and although it may cost a little more hopefully the reasons below will help you realise why shopping independent is worth every penny.

1.  ETHICAL.

Buying from a designer maker most likely means that each item is handmade meaning in turn that each item has been ethically made. You can rest assured when you buy from an independent like Sky Siouki that nothing even remotely resembling a sweatshop has been involved in the process of making your item and I hope you’ll agree that’s a piece of mind worth having.

Sky Siouki Hand sewing cushions

2. HIGH QUALITY.

Most of us designer makers really care about the products we make and so we want them to be the best quality possible. We don’t intend on making something that’s only going to fall apart by the end of the year because we’ve put our sweat and tears into those products and we want you to be able to cherish them forever. Besides that we’d be doing ourselves an injustice by spending hours and hours over designing something, only to produce it using materials that make it look cheap or sub-standard.

3. UNIQUE.

You have the opportunity to find something ever so special, and perhaps even one of a kind, if you buy from a designer-maker. I think most of us can agree how exciting it feels when you discover something so beautiful and unusual that no-one else you know has and has an ethereal quality like no other thing you’ve seen before. Take these needle-felted sculptures by The Whispering Wild for example, each one is one of a kind and has taken hours to produce.

Whispers of Wild Needlefelt Hare

4. SUPPORT INDEPENDENT.

Behind each product is a person who is trying their absolute hardest to make their passion and talents into a business. Designer-makers are not money hungry business owners trying to get rich quick. We have chosen the road less travelled against all odds and it is by no means an easy feat so each and every customer is incredibly valuable to us and your support honestly means the world.

5. SUPPORT LOCAL.

When you buy from a designer-maker in your country, or perhaps even the same county or city if you often buy at markets, you are supporting your local economy too. By supporting local economy you help to boost your community and may even get to know the real person behind the product.

6. PERSONAL.

If you’re looking for an extra special item many designer-makers can even make something personalised just for you. Love this adorable cat couple commission by ceramicist Little Birdy for someone’s wedding cake topper! Who else but an incredible designer-maker could create such a thing?!

Little Birdy Cat Wedding Cake Toppers

7. THOUGHTFUL GIFTS.

When you give someone a gift made by a designer-maker you’re going to make the recipient feel all the more loved for it. To go to the effort to find something so much more rare, unusual and beautiful than something simply found in a high-street store shows that you have carefully considered what to get that person and spent time picking it out especially.

8. BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED.

Designer makers almost always go the extra mile when it comes to our packaging and finishing touches. We want your item to arrive with a bang, or maybe a sparkly flurry, when it reaches your doorstep! As well as the product being handmade, so is the packaging, so the box is most likely going to look almost as exciting as what’s inside which is perfect if it’s a gift.

Paly Glass Botanical Frames

9. STORY BEHIND EVERY ITEM.

Behind each item or design there is no doubt a story in some shape or form making that item all the more interesting. For me each of my designs take their own journey through their process of creation and each bird has it’s only little story to tell within that. For other products, their stories may lie in their subtle imperfections or perhaps a wild dream the designer once had. I like to think that Little Birdy must have some amazing dreams looking at her Mer-puss and Narwhal creations!

 

So there you have it. Remember next time you’re gift shopping that buying from a designer-maker supports others and spreads kindness. Love and care has been put into each and every piece you buy from a designer-maker, care to design it from the heart, craft it well out of the best materials, and present it in the prettiest package.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up Market

 

As you may well have heard I recently attended the Country Living Spring Fair as part of their pop-up market section for young businesses. There was a competition to be awarded one of these stalls for free for one day of the fair so I was delighted to get chosen to attend! The event was four days long so I was only there for the first day of the event on Thursday, April 27th but the venue was buzzing with people all day and a real joy to take part in.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up

Wish I’d managed to take a few more photos but here is one of my stand all set up. I was quite pleased with how it looked as I’m constantly trying to improve on my presentation as I bring out more and more product types. Propping up my pegboard using an easel was particularly handy. My new stone placemats proved really popular all day. Their rustic feel obviously appealed well to the Country Living magazine fans! I also sold lots of cards and coasters as I usually tend to do. It’s interesting how at each event there is always a favourite product that I’ll sell lots of that day.

 

I also took this quick hyperlapse video walking around part of the fair to try to capture a sense of the atmosphere on the day. It was so big and there was so much going on all day making it a really impressive event. They even had little lambs and hens there! I nabbed the photos below from the Country Living Fairs Instagram account just to show how many stands there were in just one of the rooms.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017

 

Overall I found the Spring Fair to be a really successful day and everything was very well run. It was a pleasure to get to meet some of the magazine’s editors and so flattering to hear how much they liked my work! I hadn’t realised the editors had actually been the ones on the selection panel for the pop-up market and they told me that the competition was really fierce so I felt really proud to have been picked.

Having been lucky enough to attend for free, I’m unsure whether or not to look at doing the event again with a paid stand for now. I certainly think the Christmas Fair would be more worthwhile when paying such a large sum of money so I may just look into it nearer the time! Next up I’m back at The Frome Independent market on May 7th with my suitcase up on Catherine Hill… Come say hi!

 

The New Sky Siouki Collection – ‘Flight’

This week was very exciting for me as I finally got to launch my brand new collection of designs after a long time coming! I’ve spent many weeks articulately drawing birds of prey and botanicals and spraying lashings of oil and acrylic paint to canvas boards and so it feels amazing to have now produced some final products just in time for Christmas. The new designs are currently available as linen cushions, A3 giclée prints and stone coasters although there may be more to come in the new year.

Cushions

I can’t believe I started planning this collection all the way back in June. There have been a few obstacles along the way as there tend to be in life but I’m so pleased to have got there in the end. The process really made me realise how limiting the project deadlines at university were and although I would never take back anything I did during my degree, I never could have produced a collection like this at uni because of the high expectations for quantity of work. I feel so much better about having four strong designs that I put my all into and didn’t rush than if I’d produced 20 quick and easy designs that meant little to me. These designs seemed to come together so much more naturally than ever before and I’m not sure if this was because I wasn’t under pressure to tick all the boxes on the marking scheme or perhaps just because it’s been so long since I created something new that all of my enthusiasm just fuelled me forwards.

Jackal Buzzard Cushion

After much deliberation I’ve named the collection ‘Flight’ highlighting the central focus on birds of prey but I also really liked that this word seems to suggest ideas of feeling uplifted and weightless. The collection has quite a natural, fresh look and the paintings used are very expressive and dynamic all of which I felt the word Flight emulated well as it relates to nature and movement. It is simple but creates impact, as does the composition of the designs.

Coasters

When I set out to design this collection I made a conscious decision to move away from the look of my previous work and create something more subdued in colour, less kitsch and more elegant. I didn’t originally intend to only draw birds of prey but once I’d drawn one, the rest sort of just followed. I’ve always loved birds and birds of prey in particular make me feel incredibly awed and empowered so I decided since it was working to just go with it.

Since I started Sky Siouki my tastes have changed a fair bit which I think this collection reflects very truthfully. I hope that it still sits well alongside the Curious Kingdom collection since my style of drawing tends to be quite recognisable but I also would be encouraged to know if customers can distinguish the change in direction I have taken. Anyway, this has been quite a wordy post but hopefully an interesting insight into my design process and the journey designing ‘Flight’ has taken me on. I hope the journey isn’t over yet!

You can have a proper look at my new products available in my online shop and I post little insights into my working day everyday on Instagram too.

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