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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!

Sky x

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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.

Sky x

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DECEMBER Pinterest Board of the Month

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

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


chocolate-pinecones-christmas-cake

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

 

Christmas dog decoration hat

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

 

Nigel Slater Christmas Turkey Guide

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

 

Simple effective Kraft Christmas gift wrap

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

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

 

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TOP 5… Unique Christmas Decorations on Etsy

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

Marbleous Roo_ Bauble Marbled

1. Hand Marbled Ceramic Bauble by Marbleous Roo

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

 

Camptoun Mosiacs_Scottish Seaglass Christmas Snowflake Decoration

2. Scottish Sea Glass Snowflake by Camptoun Creations

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

 

Planet Pixie Decorations_Decoupage Vintage Birds Bauble

3. Decoupage Birdie Bauble by Planet Pixie Creations

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


Little Cottage Art Co._Ceramic Scene Glass Bauble

4. Cottage Christmas Bauble by Little Cottage Art Co.

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

 

Mayfly Mosiacs_Mistletoe Stained Glass Decoration

5. Stained Glass Mistletoe by Mayfly Mosiacs

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

 

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ADVENT Exhibition at The Malago

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

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

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

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

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

Advent Exhibition Poster

 

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

Tribe Aisthetica and Artists at Equinox Private View

 

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

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

 

 

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Sky Siouki Christmas Markets Line-Up

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

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

 

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

 

Shop Local This Christmas

 

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

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

 

NOVEMBER Pinterest Board of the Month

For November I’ve picked a Pinterest board called:

TEXTURE by Brenda Lowe Thomas.

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

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

Yellow and Grey Cracked Bark   Purple and Turquoise Pheasant Feathers

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

Green Peeling Paint   Grey and Ochre Tree Moss

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

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

 

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EQUINOX Exhibition at The Malago Restaurant

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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My 10 Biggest Lessons Learned from Sky Siouki

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

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

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

Bristol Girl Bosses Group Photo

2. WALK BEFORE YOU CAN RUN

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

3. TIME IS MONEY

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

4. DON’T UNDER-VALUE YOUR PRODUCTS

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

5. FAILURE CAN BE GOOD

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

You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying

6. TRY AND TRY AGAIN

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

7. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS AND GOALS

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

Your Best Year 2017 Book

8. EXERCISE

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

9. CARE FOR YOURSELF

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

You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup

10. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

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

Einstein Insanity Quote

 

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

 

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AUGUST Pinterest Board of the Month

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

Joint curated by Dean Hearne and Lobster & Swan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Going Bananas for Tropical Birds!

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

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

Tropical Birds Green-Breased Mango Hummingbird

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird

Tropical Birds - Greater Bird of Paradise

Greater Bird of Paradise

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

Tropical Birds - White Faced Ibis

White Faced Ibis

Tropical Birds - Banded Broadbill

Banded Broadbill

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

Tropical Birds - Oriental Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

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

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

TOP 5… Summer Cocktails

Thought I’d just post a fun little TOP 5 feature for today. It’s a lovely sunny day here in Bristol so what better way to celebrate than with some smashing fresh and fruity Summer cocktails?! I love drinks that are refreshing and fragrant and that suits Summer perfectly. If you’re planning a BBQ or Summer garden party for the weekend then here is the perfect place to start planning how to refresh your guests.

grapefruit cucumber gin summer cocktail

GRAPEFRUIT, CUCUMBER, GIN COCKTAIL

In my opinion, nothing beats gin especially for Summer, and a gin cocktail plus cucumber? Heaven!

 

Passionfruit_caipirinha_summer cocktail

PASSION FRUIT, LIME CAIPIRINHA

I hadn’t tried a caipirinha featuring Brazil’s answer to rum, cachaca, until very recently but once I had there was no looking back. The lime just makes them so zesty and thirst quenching!

 

watermelon-papaya-rum-smoothie-summer cocktail-4

WATERMELON, PAPAYA, RUM SMOOTHIE

What’s better than a fruity rum cocktail? A fruity rum smoothie! Can we just take a moment to appreciate all the beautiful colours going on with all these delicious drinks too please?

 

vanilla pineapple margarita summer cocktail

VANILLA, PINEAPPLE MARGARITA

A delicious twist on this tequila and triple sec based drink. I just love fruit so much, I’m starting to think it’d be hard not to enjoy any kind of Summer cocktail at this rate. Love the unusual addition of vanilla here though.

 

grapefruit elderflower rosemary vodka summer cocktail

GRAPEFRUIT, ELDERFLOWER, ROSEMARY, VODKA COCKTAIL

Tried to include an even mix of alcoholic spirits in my TOP 5 list so although I’m not a fan myself, vodka often does make a good base for cocktails since it’s less flavoursome. Love the sound of this mix of tastes. I mean who doesn’t love elderflower?

 

That’s it for today. Perhaps a little off piste from my usual art and interiors based posts but I fancied posting something a little fun and different today in the spirit of Summer! Hopefully you’ve still enjoyed it. Besides art and wildlife, I really love cooking and creating things in the kitchen so it’s nice to share that now and then. Stay tuned for photos from Springfest – my next event this Saturday! See details here.

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.

 

JUNE Pinterest Board of the Month!

Sweet Food Collection by Home Girl London

Something about this hot hot weather we’ve been having here in the UK this week has given me a serious sweet tooth. So whilst full of cravings for fruit and chocolate this Pinterest board certainly grabbed my attention! If you’re planning a Summer party, bbq, birthday shindig or a wedding reception perhaps, my June Pinterest board of the month is full of amazing and interesting desserts to fill you up with inspiration. Heck, they all look so good I’d throw a party just for the sake of making desserts like these! They’re all so beautifully decorated and photographed too, making me feel inspired even just from a design perspective. Loving all the pastel colours and organic shapes!

June Pinterest Board of the Month - Sweet Food ice cream, coconut

As usual I’ve selected a few of my faves to show you here. There’s elderflower ice cream, coconut bliss bowls, grapefruit curd and chamomile tarts and fruit topped waffles to name a few! A love fruit based desserts, especially for Summer, and there are loads of unusual and exciting combinations to feast your eyes upon here.

June Pinterest Board of the Month - Sweet Food tarts, waffles.jpg

 

Homegirl London also has a brilliant lifestyle blog if you haven’t already heard of her! I’d definitely recommend checking it out and having a look at her other Pinterest boards too, full of interior inspiration and places to visit in London.

I’ll be posting another Pinterest board of the month in July so keep following Sky Siouki via the links on the right so you don’t miss out! My previous Pinterest board of the month features can be found here and my own Pinterest boards here. Planning a TOP 5 feature on Summer cocktails soon too!

You can see the Sweet Food Collection board in it’s delicious entirety here:

https://uk.pinterest.com/homegirllondon/sweet-food-collection/

SKY SIOUKI EVENTS COMING IN 2017

Hello lovely fans and readers!

As you may have noticed Sky Siouki has been attending increasingly more events this year, and it’s been great in fact! So I am keeping myself busy and booking more and more, trying new places and somewhat just seeing where the wind takes me.

So I thought seeing as I can barely keep up with where I’m going to be and when myself, I ought to create an online Sky Siouki events calendar so that you can all head over to the website and easily check if I will be selling near you anytime soon. So if you look to the right-hand section of the screen you should see a new ‘UPCOMING EVENTS’ list where you can also click to see further details and more dates. Alternatively you can go to https://skysiouki.com/events/ which will take you directly to this nifty calendar! Click the calendar image below to scroll through each month for full times and details of all my events this year.

Sky Siouki Events Calendar

So some upcoming events I’ll be doing which I have yet to officially announce are…

Bath Artisan Market on Queen Square on August 27th and October 29th.

Springfest Maker’s Fair in Brislington presented by Made In Bristol on July 8th.

A craft showcase at National Trust site Lytes Cary Manor as part of the Somerset Art Weeks Festival on September 23rd & 24th!

Keep reading for details of each below.

 

Springfest will be the first ever to take place this July in Brislington as part of a community initiative to enhance this area of Bristol. Run by Made In Bristol who organise the ever popular Christmas Gift Fairs at Colston Hall, I was excited to get on board as I’m sure it’ll be a very well put together event. Along with the Maker’s Fair held at St. Cuthbert’s Church there will also be a Love Food Market and special offers from local businesses taking place all day!

Sky Siouki Events - Springfest Brislington Bristol

 

The Bath Artisan at Queen Square is a new event this year on the last Sunday of each month and looks like a fantastic day out. It’s in an ideal outdoor setting in central Bath and will be full of independent artists, designer-makers, vintage sellers and local food producers! More photos and details of each market day can be found via the Facebook page here.

Sky Siouki Events - Bath Artisan Queen Square

 

Finally, the Craft Showcase weekend at Lytes Cary is a once per year event and I was flattered to be contacted by the organisers and asked to take part. There will be a theme of ‘A Landscape of Objects’ meaning the weekend will include a series of installations, workshops and talks that tie in with the theme of nature and all things botanical. I will have a maker’s pop-up stand where I will be selling my work. Can’t wait to see what other nature inspired creatives will be there!

Sky Siouki Events - Lytes Cary Manor Somerset

 

Next up is my second appearance at the Tobacco Factory Sunday Market on June 25th! Quite intrigued to see how it goes as I have yet to decide if I will be attending more dates at this one or not. I would love to since it is right on my doorstep in sunny Bristol but you’ll have to come along and stock up on coasters if you want to keep seeing me there!