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DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Inspired by Wales

 

A couple of weeks ago I took a short break away with my partner to the Welsh countryside. It was a trip full of exploration and getting back to nature which was just what was needed during what’s been a pretty non-stop year this year. I wish it could have been a little bit of a longer trip but it still felt like a great relief to get away from the city and experience a change of scenery for a few days without even having to travel very far.

 

Inspired-By-Wales-Bird-Spotting-Sky-Siouki

 

We stayed in an adorable beech wood cabin in Tintern with a fire-pit outside for evening barbecues and toasted s’mores (my new favourite thing). It certainly made me appreciate all that the UK has to offer for holidaying without necessarily having to break the bank on flights and fancy hotels. Along the way over the three days we also visited Chepstow, Monmouth, St Briavels and RSPB Nagshead in The Forest of Dean. I spotted a few red kites whilst wandering about which I have heard are becoming increasingly widespread in Wales so this was exciting to see. We were really hoping to spot some wild boar or perhaps even fallow deer on our walk at Nagshead but didn’t have much luck unfortunately.


Inspired-By-Wales-Gorse-Sky-Siouki

 

There was a great deal of beautiful old buildings to see too, both in the towns and villages we visited as well as some incredible historical ruins. We took a good look around Tintern Abbey but also discovered an incredible old church ruin at the top of a hill overlooking the Abbey called St. Mary’s. If you’re ever in Tintern this one was well worth finding as the views were amazing and all the overgrowth made it feel so much more fascinating and spiritual.

 

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Inspired-by-Wales-Algae-Sky-Siouki

 

Among all of the places we saw I gathered loads of inspiration from a whole range of sources. As always beautiful colours and textures are what really captivate me as you can probably guess from the two images above. I hope seeing all those natural hues of browns and greys against bright pops and rough varying surfaces will fuel my painting practice further in the coming month as I have a couple of upcoming exhibitions to announce still before the year is out!

For now, I am back to it working hard on launching my new collection of water-bird designs. I have begun sending off the designs for production this week so feeling super excited to get the first lot of printed products back and see how they have turned out soon! It will take me until October most likely to photograph and upload everything new so you’ll have to be a little patient still, but if you’re local to Bristol you might be lucky enough to get a first peek a little sooner!

Sky x

AUGUST Pinterest Board of the Month

 

This month I’ve chosen a beautiful botanical themed Pinterest board called Succulents + Plants by Justine Swindell.

Having recently been drawing leafy plant illustrations to add as finishing touches to my new design collection, I’m finding tropical leaves and succulents particularly inspiring at the moment.

Plus having become a home-owner for the first time this year I’m getting rather obsessed with home decor ideas and garden plants too so all the beautiful little ceramic planters also featured on this board are calling out to my interior designer side!

 

August-Pinterest-Board-of-the-Month-Cacti-Succulents-Sky-Siouki

 

There’s all sorts of inspiration to take away from this board, in many different forms. With a great mix of botanical based art and illustration, creative photographs showing off stunning colour contrasts like the pink and green leaves above, and succulents planted in teacups and handmade pots dotted about too, this board is totally worth a shout out today!

If you’d like some planters similar to the black and white ones in the bottom left, head to 1220 Ceramics! She’s a lovely Bristol based ceramicist who makes very similar pots to these and can often be found at local markets like Tobacco Factory and The Frome Independent alongside myself!

 

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.

 

JULY Pinterest Board of the Month

 

Whilst I’m in the midst of editing photos of my paintings to create new limited edition prints… and also working on a new design series of water birds to add to the Flight collection… Summer colours are inspiring me more than ever right now! Colour is what really fuels my passion for painting and is at the core of what I create. That and my love of birds obviously! So a Pinterest board full of beautiful satisfying colour combos just makes my heart sing basically.

This board is called COLOUR by Rebecca Jane Broome.

 

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These three are some of my top faves, something about green is really calling to me lately. I never used to be much of a green fan but lately I’m all over it so expect to see more! I chose the board before realising Rebecca was in fact a fellow student on my textile degree, which explains her great choices of contrasting hues! The board is full of fresh nature inspired tones, many that have a summer feel perfectly suited to the hot July we’ve been having. Think dusky pinks, peachy oranges and deep botanical greens… yum.

Stay tuned for August’s board of the month! Sky x

 

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.

 

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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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DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Keeping It Real

 

Today I wanted to share something a little different on the blog. I’m a huge advocate of always being honest in life and just generally keeping it real. So last Sunday I shared something on my Instagram story that provoked an incredibly warm and positive response from the designer-maker community around me that I never expected to get. The post that’s prompted me to write this blog entry is the image below about a bad market day I’d had that day. In fact, although it was the first time I’d ever sold nothing, it wasn’t the first bad market I’d done for sure and I’m sure there will be more bad market days to come too. But the response I had from people showing such surprise that I might not have sold anything made me think how being honest like that has so much more value than even I realised.

 

 

I’ve heard many fellow designer-makers say to me recently how social media can be a real struggle for them sometimes and how hard it becomes not to constantly compare yourself. To see how hard everyone else appears to be working and think ‘I’m not as good as them’ or ‘I should be doing what they’re doing’, etc. As much we all love to see a snapshot into each-other’s worlds and find inspiration from one another, there is unfortunately also an uglier side to Instagram and social media and I really hate to hear that it gets people down the way it does sometimes.

Sharing that very simple truth that day really made me realise how much we all need to hear about the bad days as much as the good! I’m not saying we should begin complaining about all the shit that goes on in life every single day, but sometimes maybe it’s ok and actually a really good thing to show each-other that we’re not perfect and that bad stuff happens to us all no matter how hard we try.

That market was an especially bad one for me but actually, I’d also had a pretty poor market only the weekend before that, and before that I’d had a very disappointing day only a month ago. Between those bad days I’d also had great days though and in fact the evening that I’d posted my truthful story, I received a large online order which really helped to lift my spirits and turned the day completely on it’s head!

I have to admit though, I do find myself thinking whenever I share a post on social media that I mustn’t make my business look unsuccessful or appear unprofessional by complaining so I consciously try to only share the positives. But last Sunday made me realise that whilst we are all probably thinking that way, we all believe that everybody else in the world is doing better than us and everyone else’s life is peachy perfect! And my gosh of course NOBODY’S life is peachy perfect but we all somehow find ourselves comparing and believing it. SO I wanted to write this post if anything just to put some awareness out there and to encourage anyone reading this to be honest… To not feel afraid to share the truth if you’ve had a tough day… and to know that we all have bad days even if we act like we don’t. SO BE REAL ALWAYS!

Sky x

 

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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.

 

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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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JUNE Pinterest Board of the Month

 

You know when you see something so beautiful your heart practically starts racing? That is how I felt when I discovered this month’s Pinterest board of the month. Featuring a stunning array of artwork all inspired by nature, literally every image is just utterly awe-inspiring.

The board is called Nature Inspired by Robyn Gordon.

If you love art and you love nature, I strongly suggest you have a browse.

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This is just a small selection of some of my favourites from the board. As always, it was so hard to choose just a few. There is a wonderful mix of ceramic art, embroidery, illustration, painting, printmaking, sculpture and 3D and pretty much anything else in between all there to inspire. Basically a textile design student or graduate’s dream!

Stay tuned for my next board of the month! 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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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!

Sky x

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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!

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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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!

Sky X

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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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