Exhibiting New Artwork

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Landskien-Exhibition-Sky-Siouki

 

Landskien-Exhibition-Poster-Sky-Siouki

 

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

Sky x

 

NOW IN THE SHOP – New Limited Edition Prints

 

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

 

Bright Haze - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Bright Haze

 

Sundown - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Sundown

 

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

 

Swoop - Limited Edition Giclee Print
Swoop

 

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

 

Summer Exhibition at Grain Barge

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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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.

 

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

 

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

 

Moorland-Giclee-Print-Sky-Siouki

 

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

 

Goshawk-Giclee-Print-Detail-Sky-Siouki

 

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

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

Sky x

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Sky x

 

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Bristol Girl Bosses present MUSE: The Exhibition Launch

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

Bristol Girl Bosses Members outside Blaze

 

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

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Night

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

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Cakes Right Good Kitchen

 

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

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Exhibition Blaze

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

 

Bristo Girl Bosses Muse Window Blaze

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

Sky x

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SHORTLISTED: Bristol Pound Competition

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

Sky x

 

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DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Tattoo Commission

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

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

Sky Siouki Hummingbird Outlines    Sky Siouki Hummingbird Progress

 

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

Sky Siouki Hummingbird Illustration

 

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

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

Sky x

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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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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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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.

 

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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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

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!

 

New Coaster Photos

I have now added some brand spanking new product photos of my stone coasters to my online shop! They were in much need of a little revamp, especially since I have recently started directly printing my designs onto the stone rather than using transfers. This new method means I can get lots more made to keep up with demand as they’ve become such a popular product, plus the colour and detail is much more vibrant and defined now so they look even better than before!

Waterbirds - Set of Four Stone Coasters

I had a great time doing this little photoshoot playing around with different coloured macarons as complimentary props! My bone china mugs also made for ideal props to create more of a lifestyle feel to the shots by showing the coasters in situ. I like to always keep my backdrops white in order to keep the photos neutral since there are quite a lot of different colours in my designs and it’s nice and easy to set up by just using big sheets of cartridge paper. A tripod is always a must for these shoots in order to keep photos sharp and take each shot from the same angle.

Behind Scenes Coaster Photos

Northern Lapwing - Stone Tile Coaster

Take a closer look at them by browsing the coaster listings in my online shop here! Hope they make the lovely stone texture shine, but you can always add one to your cart if you want to see for yourself firsthand! 😉

Do comment below to let me know if you like them!

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up Market

 

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

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up

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

 

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

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017

 

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

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