DIARY OF AN ARTIST: Inspired by Wales

 

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

 

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

 

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


Inspired-By-Wales-Gorse-Sky-Siouki

 

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

 

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

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

Sky x

AUGUST Pinterest Board of the Month

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

JULY Pinterest Board of the Month

 

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

This board is called COLOUR by Rebecca Jane Broome.

 

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

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

 

JUNE Pinterest Board of the Month

 

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

The board is called Nature Inspired by Robyn Gordon.

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

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

Stay tuned for my next board of the month! Sky x

 

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FEBRUARY Pinterest Board of the Month

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

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

Collage/Mixed Media Images

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

Sky x

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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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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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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.

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/

TOP 5… Father’s Day Gifts from Bristol Designers

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away already so I think now is probably a good time to give you all a firm nudge and make sure you get your dad something nice! I’m really excited about this week’s blog post because while I was sat here scratching my head thinking ‘where am I going to find some good, unique Father’s Day gifts?’ it suddenly occurred to me that I know lots of amazing Bristol makers who offer brilliant man suitable gifts to feature!

So not only does this feature solve all your father’s day gift idea woes, it also promotes lots of lovely and talented fellow Bristol based designer-makers – the majority of whom I know personally and can totally vouch for as incredible ladies who fully deserve your support! What could honestly be better than that?!

 

Fiona Clabon Motorbike Coaster Father's Day Gifts

1. Norton Motorbike Coaster by Fiona Clabon £4.50 – I’ve always admired Fiona’s retro inspired collage designs even before I knew her! …And what dad hasn’t always dreamed of having his very own motorbike – even if it does only support his morning brew! This coaster would make a great affordable gift, or you can get the whole retro themed set or perhaps a gardening design instead if that’s what your dad is into.

 

Karve Design Timepiece Cufflinks Father's Day Gifts

2. Timepiece Cufflinks by Karve Design £25 – These cufflinks are something truly unique and special made using real watch parts! I’m usually next to the lovely Chitra of Karve Design when I do The Frome Independent market and so it’s lovely to see her incredible jewellery and accessories are always popular since each piece is entirely unique.

 

Girl & Bird Personalised Map Print Tablet Case Father's Day Gifts

3. Personalised Map Print Tablet Case by Girl & Bird £24-£27 – Annah of Girl & Bird sews all of her products by hand herself so you can even opt for a personalised choice of map and backing colour for this tablet case! She has a huge library of maps available to choose from so if your dad is at all like mine and likes his gadgets, he can be sure to keep his iPad protected in style with a beautiful case like this.

 

Little Paisley Designs Garden Birds Mug Father's Day Gifts

4. British Garden Birds Mug by Little Paisley Designs £12 -Eleanore much like myself is a big nature lover and sells a beautiful array of products featuring her cute and colourful wildlife illustrations. My dad has always been an avid bird watcher, these days especially, so whenever I see gifts covered in birds I always know they’ll most likely be a hit with him!

 

Alice Shields Save The Honey Bee Clay Badge Father's Day Gifts

5. Save The Honeybee Badge by Alice Shields £12.44 – The last of my five amazing Bristol designer ladies is one I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting but am a big fan of her work. I love that she is donating 10% of sales of this handmade product to the Bee Guardian Foundation and I expect lots of dads would appreciate that too! Besides birds my dad also loves bees, as well as all other insects in fact, so the message to ‘save the honeybee’ certainly seems like a good one to wear on a badge. Plus it’s a gorgeous design and made of earthenware clay!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope I’ve helped you find your dad a gift this Father’s Day or at the very least introduced you to some brilliant designer-makers from Bristol to order from in future! Don’t forget to browse the Sky Siouki online shop for Father’s Day gifts too! My next TOP 5 feature will be something super Summery… I’m thinking cocktails?!

 

MAY Pinterest Board of the Month!

INSPIRE/PATTERN by Cerulean Grey

I’ve chosen this bright and botanical board called Inspire/Pattern for my May Pinterest board of the month! You know it’s a winner when it’s near impossible just to choose three favourite images from a board. Paying homage to my textile designer roots a bit with this one. It’s full of inspiration for pattern designing and makes me want to get my paints out again and go crazy with collage!

Julie Hamilton Collage - May Pinterest Board

Liz Casella Textile Design - May Pinterest Board

There are some lovely influences of Matisse and Patrick Heron coming through in the designs on this board. Particularly love the Schiele like scribbled lines of the botanical patterns on the black and white design above. So bold and effective. The collaged piece above by Julie Hamilton makes me think of fellow Bristol artist Fiona Clabon‘s beautiful collages (go check her work out).

SOU SOU Textile Pattern Design - May Pinterest Board

 

Stay tuned for my next Pinterest board of the month for June and subscribe via the links on the right! Check out my own Pinterest profile too if you fancy a look at more of what inspires me.

 

Inspired by Insects

Hello and a very happy Hallow’s Eve to you all! I thought I’d make this week’s post a little Halloween themed by featuring creepy crawly inspired designs. I actually really love insect inspired artwork as their often intricate wing patterns and delicate structure make for fascinating subjects to observe.

So I’ve rounded up a little selection of my favourite artwork and products featuring beautifully illustrated insects right here for you to enjoy on the scariest night of the year. Click on the images to visit each designer’s website, or see more details at the bottom of the post.
Insect Models

Moth Necklace

Beetle Wallpaper

Butterfly Tea Towel

Textile Art Moth

Insect Hybrids PrintBeetle Jars

Top to bottom:

1. Insect Collection by Kasasagi. These amazing handmade sculptures use recycled papers and stitch.

2. Death’s Head Moth Necklace by Red Bird Makes. Unique laser-cut birchwood necklace by a fellow Bristol maker.

3. Beetle Wallpaper by Porter’s Original Paints. Wonderful wallpaper inspired by the Christmas Beetle and available in four different colourways.

4. Botanical Butterfly Tea Towel by Marks & Spencer. This beautiful printed tea towel has a very vintage quality and I love that moss green.

5. Fibre Art by Yumi Okita. Yumi’s handmade textile insects are absolutely stunning and one of a kind!

6. Insect Hybrids by Jess Albert. Incredibly detailed illustrations available as limited edition giclee prints.

7. Set of 3 Beetle Jars by Laura Zindel Design. Printed onto ceramics, these are available in a vast array of other designs and products too.

TOP 5… Desk Accessories!

I think it’s time for a September themed shopping guide! Even for those of us who are beyond our education years and don’t have kids I feel there will always be a nostalgic ‘back to school’ essence about September that you can never really shake. Perhaps as a business owner it’s more prominent to me because it marks the end of Summer and therefore the approach of Christmas meaning I need to get organised and ready for markets for the festive season. However September makes you feel, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself to some new stationary in order to get yourself organised during Autumn! Nothing makes me feel more like being productive than a fresh new notebook or a fancy pen so I’m doing a TOP 5 desk accessories feature this week. Stationary has also been on my mind a lot lately because I’m hoping to venture into selling more stationary products myself so this seemed the perfect way to expand my research. Enjoy!

Papio Press Notebooks 1. Scandinavian Bison & Jaguar A6 Pocket Notebooks from Papio Press – These illustrated animal designs are just gorgeous and I love the colours! They come as a set; one plain, one lined, ideal!

 

Ceramic House Pen Holder

2. Ceramic House Pencil Holders from Vsocks on Etsy – Discovered these quirky ceramic houses only today on Etsy and I’m absolutely delighted by them. What a fantastic way to store your pens, AND they can be used as candle or utensil holders too, whatever you desire!

 

Vintage Ladybird Stapler

3. Vintage 70s Wooden Ladybird Stapler from Sycamore Vintage on Etsy – Love an unusual vintage find like this amazing stained wood retro stapler! It even has little string antennae! I’ve also come across a vintage orange whale stapler before so there are a few of these treasures about if you keep your eyes peeled.

 

Pirrip Press Notecards

4. Jam Cuts Correspondence Card Set from Pirrip Press – These screen-printed notecards are each hand-printed with random compositions so no two are the same. Love the wonderful uniqueness of this and the bold mix of colours and shapes.

 

Kari Herer Flora Pencil Case

5. Captured Floral Pencil Pouch by Kari Herer for Anthropologie – These photographic floral prints are just beautiful. Keep your best pens and tools nice and safe in one of these lovely pouches featuring a leather zip-pull to boot!

There you have it. Let me know which is your fave?! Or if there are any stationary products in particular you would love to see Sky Siouki selling perhaps? Notebooks are definitely on the cards so stay tuned.

Exhibition Visit – Grayson Perry: ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’

Last weekend I made a brief trip to Bath to catch Grayson Perry’s ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ exhibition on it’s last day at the Victoria Art Gallery before it moves on to Coventry, and I’m so glad I did. I’d been thinking of seeing it for a while and then suddenly discovered it was about to end that Sunday so thought since I had the day free I was just going to have to go. I’d purposely tried to avoid reading too much about it or looking at many photos before going so as not to spoil the experience which I feel was a good move as it allowed me to get properly immersed in the story Perry tells. So for that reason I’m also not going to say too much about what the exhibition is about here and have just included an image of one of the six tapestries below.

The Vanity of Small Differences

The one thing that truly amazed me was the attention to detail and incredible amount of thought and consideration Perry has put into each piece. This can probably be said for most of his work in fact but until you see it up close in it’s incredibly large scale I don’t think you really appreciate that fully. Some parts made me laugh and others made me sad, he really takes you through a story and makes you realise just how fraught with connotations every tiny object in our world is. The exhibition illustrates this so well and made me realise just how much weight the role of design has in our culture. As a textile designer I was also very interested by his choice of medium to portray these pieces, especially having done some jacquard weaving myself during university. Tapestry is such an ancient craft with it’s medieval origins making it such a perfect choice to fit with Perry’s influences and the story-telling dynamic of the show, only cleverly reapplied to modern day using modern technique.

So having been a little unsure whether or not to go to the exhibition to begin with I wanted to write this post to say to anyone considering seeing it during the rest of it’s tour through Coventry, Worcester and Canterbury that you should! I’m so pleased that I did. You can see full details of where it will be on the British Council for Visual Arts website here.

Inspired by… Madeline Denaro

There You Go, 2014

Over the past year or so I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to abstract art and painting. I have enjoyed abstract painting for a long time but recently it seems to have gained a real hold on me, perhaps even just because it has become an ever more frequent trend on my Pinterest feed as of late. I have become captivated by artists’ work like Madeline Denaro‘s and as you can probably see it has begun to heavily influence my own work and how my tastes have evolved in the last year. I appreciate art in many forms and do believe figurative painting can be just as beautiful as abstract but there is something about the pure focus on colour and texture in Denaro’s work that sucks me in and has so much more of an emotional pull.

Nora's Green, 2011

I think that the reason for this surge of emotion most likely comes from the root of each paintings’ creation. Madeline explains how the process of her art is uncontrolled “Working intuitively, I enter a realm of the unknown where there is more of a following than any real choice” and I believe that much as you can feel the emotion in the words of a soul singer, you can really feel the raw emotion when viewing the brushstrokes of an abstract artist. The deep layers of colour and varying pressures and speeds of each mark fill me with wonder. As a creative myself I naturally find myself wondering how did she create this beautiful texture and depth? What tool made that mark on the canvas? How can I create something so purely beautiful as this? Works like these inspire me more than anything to create because there is such an emotional drive behind it.

Plum Loco, 2011

Crimson and Clover, 2012

My love for art like this transfers directly to my passion for textiles in that all that really seems important is the beauty of the colour and the texture. The way Denaro uses a heavy pulse of vibrant crimson balanced against misty greys and dusky pinks in the artwork above titled ‘Crimson and Clover’ for example has such a satisfying calming sensation. The bubble like textures overlaying patches of dense maroon and flurried contrasting marks fighting for space beneath fill me with so much intrigue. Each of her paintings feels like a world to dive into and discover… so beautiful and so mysterious. I feel desperate to get painting myself now, if only just to feel that rush of emotion that it brings.

Slimbridge Wetland Centre

A couple of weeks ago I went for a little day out with my dad to Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, not too far North of Bristol. My dad has become an avid wildlife photographer of late and I am always inspired and excited to see wildlife so it made the perfect activity for us to do together, and my dad has kindly let me use his photographs for this post.

We were amazed to see the masses of flamingos they had there which included flocks of all six existing species. My favourites had to be the Caribbean flamingos as pictured below just because of their incredible neon colour and flamboyant plumage! It was interesting to learn that their colour is due to the carotenoid in the crustaceans that form their diet.

Flamingos

River Otter

I expected there to only be birds there but they also had an enclosure with a family of three playful American River Otters there. They were so delightful to watch and have already inspired me to draw an otter which you may have seen on my Instagram feed here.

I was also surprised by how beautiful the wide variety of duck species they had were. My favourites were the Ruddy Shelducks as pictured below. Their markings are very subtle but they’re just such a lovely soft caramel colour and were very cute to watch too. The gentle white patches around their eyes made me think of deer markings which perhaps explains why I liked them so much.

Ruddy Shelduck

A big thanks to my dad, Robin, for sharing his photographs which you can see lots more of on his Wildlife Photography Facebook page here. I think I’ll be doing lots more drawing in the coming weeks and Slimbridge has left me full of inspiration so I can’t wait to see what I manage to come up with. Keep up with what I’m doing on my Instagram and Twitter.

TOP 5… Wintery Wildlife Prints

I absolutely love getting lost online finding artist’s work I haven’t yet discovered. It’s so awe inspiring to see the talent out there and so I’m giving a little homage to just that this week with my favourite 5 winter wildlife based art prints. I’ve known the work of some of these artists for a while but some are entirely new and very exciting discoveries. Hopefully you might discover a new favourite of your own amongst them too! I’ve gone for the winter theme to remind us to appreciate the frosty beauty of nature during winter since it’s been feeling particularly nippy out this January.

Deer by Mark Hearld

1. Deer by Mark Hearld – A printmaker and a collage artist, I’ve been a big Mark Hearld fan for some time now but everytime I revisit his work I fall in love again. These vulnerable little deer trampling amongst the winter branches are just delightful.

En El Bosque by Daniela Dahf Henriquez     Ghost Owls by Helen Musselwhite

2. En El Bosque by Daniela Dahf Henriquez – I’ve come across this illustrator’s work many times on Pinterest but never known her name so I feel it’s about time I give her some recognition. Her drawings are so full of character and charm, some sillier than others. This one beautifully celebrates woodland wildlife.

3. Ghost Owls by Helen Musselwhite – I came across this paper cut artist only today and was blown away by the incredible intricacy of her work. Her website is a must see, honestly I was dumbstruck! This collection of works called ‘Ghost’  fits my winter theme perfectly, the subtle variations of colour really make you appreciate the complexity of layers she uses.

Brown Hare 3 by James Bartholomew     Wreath (February) by Denise Nestor

4. Brown Hare 3 by James Bartholomew – Another new discovery, Bartholomew’s work beautifully captures the energy of the animals he paints and his colour use has a wonderful fresh balance. I particularly liked this hare against the duck-egg blue background with his eyes wide and alert.

5. Wreath (February) by Denise Nestor – The attention to detail in Denise Nestor’s illustrations is second to none but besides that her compositions make for such wonderful pieces of art. I love how this fawn, hedgehog and blackbird are so perfectly nested together into a circular wreath sleeping peacefully together like a little woodland family.

That’s my Top 5 for this month, look out for Valentine’s Day ideas next month and next week I’ll be posting some news about an exhibition I’m going to be a part of very soon.

In love with… Foil Polka Dots

Among the revamped chairs featured in my last blog post, the folding chair covered in gold polka dot burlap had to be my favourite and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those shiny gold spots since. The contrast of natural versus metallic is such a winning combo it got me thinking more about foiled spots and that I’d be quite happy to have some more of them in my life… So I went on the hunt for the best foil polka dot products around.

I managed to track down the gold spot burlap via the Inspired By Charm blog and found out it’s available from American craft store Jo-Ann, but sadly they don’t ship to the UK.

Gold Dot Burlap Fabric

This Mixed Dots pattern by Romanian designer Georgiana Paraschiv is trending allover Pinterest at the moment and I can totally see why. I love how all the dots are uneven and the combination of small flecks with big metallic dots balances really nicely. The print is available on a whole range of products from both Deny and Society6.

Mixed Dots Pattern

The First Snow on Etsy sell a beautiful selection of stationary products many of which include foiled lettering and every envelope is lined with gold polka dots. They offer custom invites for weddings and the like as well as custom art prints all featuring the same stunning typography and charming illustrations as pictured below.
Wedding Invitations

I love these bright and quirky silver foil dot napkins from Anthropologie. Unfortunately I think they’re no longer available but fingers crossed they might be back by popular demand sometime soon. They also did a warm coloured set but I think these cool colours set off the foil best.
Foil Dot Napkins

You can even do it yourself with these Copper Confetti wall spots from OhhhMhhh. What’s great about these is you can go as minimal or as crazy as you like, using the spots to jazz up a boring corner of your house or perhaps just use a few here and there to compliment your colour scheme. The foil polka dot fun never ends!
Copper Wall Confetti

You can see more of my favourite patterns and products on my PATTERNED WARES. Pinterest board. I think I might have to experiment with foiling some spots myself, you can buy supplies to screen-print with foil here if you fancy a go too.

Hand Illustrated Father’s Day Cards

Father’s Day is only two weeks away now so I thought I would do a little online hunting for some unique and beautifully illustrated Father’s Day greetings cards from some UK based designers. There seem to be an awful lot of corny joke based cards out there when looking for cards for dads but I personally prefer to give a card with a little more sentiment and creativity about it… so here a few favourites that I found.

Felicity French

Traditional but very cute, this patterned socks card by Felicity French makes a playful dad joke without words. Love how all the socks are raised giving the card a 3D look. – £2.00

Alice Palace

This quirky illustration of a daddy badger with his young one by Alice Palace is incredibly sweet. I love the scribbly style it’s drawn in… Perfect for any nature loving dads! – £2.25
Katie Leamon

Something a little more sophisticated and classical, this car design is hand stamped using an original design by Katie Leamon onto textured linen card. – £3.75
Ailbhe Creative

My dad is an avid photographer and I’m sure there are plenty of other dads out there into their photography too. This lino printed camera design from Ailbhe Creative would be ideal for snap happy dads. – £2.50

Jo Clark Design

For nature loving dads, a simple blank card with his favourite animal on it could work perfectly. My dad loves spotting the birds feeding in his garden so I’ve picked out this lovely illustrated magpie card by Jo Clark Design on Etsy. – £2.50

Sky SioukiLast but not least is my own vintage inspired Happy Father’s Day card available in my online shop with free UK delivery. Particularly well suited to any garden or dog loving dads. – £2.95

In love with… Shilo Engelbrecht Textiles

Since I’ve been researching abstract painting and ideas for a new collection of painterly designs, the work of a favourite textile designer of mine recurrently comes to mind… Shilo Engelbrecht. Shilo’s collection is branded Älv Textiles featuring a stunning range of digitally printed table linen, cushions, bags and scarves as well as fabric by the metre for furnishings. The designs are taken from Shilo’s vibrant, expressive oil paintings and printed onto linen and silk. The fabric accentuates every bold brushstroke and colour contrast fantastically showing off the beautiful texture within her work in an explosion of colour.

Alv Textiles by Shilo EngelbrechtShilo Engelbrecht Table Linen

Expressive painterly textile prints seem to be hugely popular at the moment and looking at Shilo’s work it’s easy to see why. I find looking at her textiles so invigorating and inspirational – each piece just injects so much energy into a space, they really are a must have. To see more of my favourite textiles designs you can follow my Patterned Wares Pinterest board and if you’re also an Älv Textiles fan I’d definitely recommend following Shilo’s Instagram too.

Shilo Engelbrecht Paintings