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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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.

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.

 

The Bristol Artisan

Some exciting news I’ve been waiting to announce for 2017! Designers/Makers who organise The London Artisan have chosen Bristol as their second city to branch out into which I couldn’t be happier about. Following a successful Christmas market in Bristol at the end of last year they are going to be holding a larger event this year in March at the Arnolfini and I am going to be taking part!

The Bristol Artisan

So on March 25th & 26th The Bristol Artisan will be taking place at the Arnolfini, with 40 designer makers exhibiting including Sky Siouki! The event will be free to visit and open to the public as well as trade. See who else is taking part here.

I’m going to have my own little white walled shell stand to fill so I’m super excited about planning this out. Think it’s about time I purchased a power drill! The event is also ideally timed for me as a stepping stone towards potentially exhibiting at Top Drawer this September. The January edition of Top Drawer opened yesterday and it’s been really exciting to see lots of photos of everyone’s beautiful stands popping up on Instagram and so I feel really motivated to apply now.

In other news this January, I recently did a Meet The Maker interview for my digital fabric printers BeFab Be Creative giving you a little insight into my business and how I work. Have a read here if you’re interested. I’ve had some lovely responses about it which is of course always really nice to hear!

I’m expecting to be taking part in The Frome Independent market again this year too but can’t announce which dates yet so keep your eyes peeled for that!

NEW PRODUCTS NOW ONLINE

It’s official! My new product selection has now launched and is all available to buy via my online shop! So excited to get everything launched, it’s been a lot of work getting it all together so it gives me a lovely warm glow to scroll through my online shop and see everything all together there. You can now buy mugs, notebooks, pencil pouches, notecard sets, gift wrap and gift wrap sets and waterbird design tea towels all from the Sky Siouki shop right here!New Product Collection

The mugs are delicate bone china so they feel wonderfully light and each have a little gold flick on the handle to add a bit of vintage-style elegance. They come in a recycled card box making them nice and gift-ready too!

The notebooks are digitally printed onto a textured matte cover using FSC accredited card giving them a lovely tactility.

The pencil pouches are currently handmade by myself and could be used for any number of things besides pencils. I’ve recycled spare fabric offcuts for the linings and they feel good and sturdy with their metal zips and leather pulls.

The notecard sets include 2 of each of 3 different designs digitally printed onto FSC accredited card and come with recycled envelopes.

The gift wrap is limited edition this Christmas as I’m stamping it by hand! I’ve also included some nice little stamped tags, notecards and striped purple cotton twine in the sets to fulfil all your gift wrapping needs!

Finally, the new tea towels are also digitally printed onto 100% cotton and made entirely in the UK. I always favour digital printing over screen printing because there is far less water and wastage involved so it keeps things more ethical which is a strong value for Sky Siouki.

 

Plain Limestone Coasters

There is one cheeky little bonus product I’ve yet to add as it wasn’t originally planned which is these plain stone background bird tiles. I’ll be adding them next week so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I’ll have all of my new products along with my ever popular coasters, giclee prints, cushions and greetings cards with me at my Christmas events this month and next month. First up is the Totterdown Arts Trail, where I’ll be joining forces with Abi Coombs and a selection of other artists from the Bristol based Free Wifi Make Art collective at 57 Windsor Terrace. See more details of all my Christmas events here.

NEW… Recycled Greetings Cards

Now available in the Sky Siouki online shop, my new recycled cards each printed with the Flight collection bird illustrations using white ink! Available to view and buy here, these cards use 100% heavyweight recycled card which has a lovely natural texture and feel to it. The white ink means that the drawings stand out really well against the brown background and I hope makes the collection a little more unique than your everyday greetings card too.

Barn Owl Greetings Card

Flamingo Greetings CardThere are eight designs in total so be sure to visit the online shop to see them all! Apologies I’ve been a little absent from the blog recently whilst stuck in a Summer haze of holidays and new products but I’ll be posting more about new stuff and such very shortly! x

NEW A4 Giclee Prints

In case you haven’t already seen on my Instagram, this May I have launched a few new A4 Giclee Prints in my online shop! The designs feature my own hand-drawn illustrations of a river otter, a goliath beetle and a wild rabbit. I really do love wildlife and drawing animals brings me so much joy. Hopefully these prints will soon bring joy to lots of homes hung up on beautiful art filled walls. I would love to see photos of them framed and hung so if anyone reading this buys a print, be sure to tag @sky_siouki or #skysiouki so I can see it in your lovely home! They are all available to buy here or click on the images below for direct links to each design.

River Otter Print

Goliath Beetle Print

Rabbit Print

I’ll soon be sharing news about an exhibition I’m about to show a new A3 print in this June so keep an eye out for my next post here! Until then, lots of love x

TOP 5… Botanical Fabrics

Since Spring is finally approaching, this month I’m featuring five plant themed prints for the home. I’ve gotten very into botanical studies of late and think there’s a lot to be admired in the beautiful variety of leaf shapes and sizes as well as just pretty florals. Botanical prints are really on trend right now and I’m enjoying the range of fabrics featuring delicately illustrated plants that’s about at the moment. I’ve featured interior fabrics since that’s my speciality but I have to say they are some gorgeous fashion prints about too. Here are my Top 5 leafy fabrics for the home…

1. Woodland Ferns by Sanderson

Love the drama of this colourway although if it’s a bit too dark for you it is also available in paler hues. The black really brings out all the intricate details of the leaves though and would look great used to furnish seats of dining table chairs or stools.

Sanderson

 

2. Foliage by Shelley Steer

I love this designer’s style. You should also check out the cactus print she did for Australian brand Sanctuary Boutique Linens – gorgeous! Palm prints are so big right now, especially love the mix of dark green over pale peach pink here too.

Shelley Steer

 

3. Jindai by Designers Guild

Quite similar to the Sanderson design but with a slightly more handprinted feel, I love the variety of shapes and textures used here. It is available in other colours but I think the monochrome has a lovely simplicity.

Designers Guild

 

4. Mathilda by Abigail Borg

A bit more of a quirky, graphic print in Abigail Borg’s classic illustrated style. I love her use of line and all the delicate detail within this print. The black and white over a bright colour creates a stunning contrast. This one also comes in other colours.

Abigail Borg

 

5. Topical Tropical by Timorous Beasties

This one is much more of a statement print but what an incredible burst of colour and energy. The amount of detail in Timorous Beasties’ prints never ceases to amaze me, I love the contrast of scale they’ve used in this design. The directional style would be ideal for long drapes.

Timorous Beasties

Liberty Best of British Open Call 2016

Last weekend I made a trip to London to go and queue up for Liberty’s Best of British Open Call 2016 and present my latest cushion designs to their buyers. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Liberty of London, it’s a huge department store right in the centre of London on Regent St and it’s kind of a big deal. It’s an absolutely beautiful building and has been there since 1875. To be stocked in the store would be an incredible achievement and has been a dream of mine for some time so attending the open call had to be worth a shot. I actually went to the open call for the first time back in August 2014 but this time I felt more determined for some reason and more confident in my new collection.

Liberty

I arrived at about 8:45am. The queue was already pretty long but once the doors opened at 9am we suddenly moved forward by quite a bit and thankfully I moved into the building out of the cold by around 10:30am, joining the queue going up around the staircase. Both times I’ve found everyone else in the queue to be very friendly and there is a lovely encouraging atmosphere. The queue continues up the staircase for quite a while as the meetings are held right at the top of the building but someone came round calling people forward who had homewares as there were obviously less people waiting to see the homeware buyers. At the top there are lots of chairs laid out and you have to register your name and category and then wait another hour or so to be called. This is by far the most nerve-racking bit!

Queueing Up The Staircase

Soon enough my name was called around 1pm and I was put in front of Ed Burstell, the managing director of the whole store, and Julie Hassan, the head home buyer! I felt super nervous when I saw that they were the panel I’d be presenting to but you’re only given 4 minutes so it went incredibly fast. Julie gave me a lot of very specific and useful feedback on my designs and I was impressed by how in-depth she was, even opening up the zips and reading the tags.

Although they didn’t say it, the general impression I got was that my designs are a little too subdued for Liberty’s shelves which in hindsight when visiting the store on my way out seemed very clear to me. I didn’t take any of my first collection because I’ve grown to feel a lot more proud of my latest work but when they saw a photo of my previous designs in my lookbook they were a lot more intrigued by it and I realised how much my design style has changed and perhaps Liberty isn’t where my work necessarily fits anymore. I’m so pleased I went anyway as it was such a great experience and I appreciated how honest Julie was. The first time I went I felt like the buyers I met with were perhaps just being nice to me so it was refreshing to get some real feedback. I kind of wish I’d taken a mix of my old and new work now but you never know how much difference these things would really make. I also found out that around 3,000 people applied by email to see the buyers on the day but only 600 were invited so I feel really privileged to know that I was chosen.

Waiting To Be Seen

This year I’ve set myself a challenge to go for 100 opportunities and Liberty was number one. Now that I have this experience to reflect on I want to focus on trying to gain stockists that my new work is more suited to next and from there I can hopefully gage the right direction to continue in. If you have any questions about going to the Liberty open call please feel free to drop me a comment!

PAPER ARTS ‘Young Creatives’ Exhibition

My work is going to be part of a collaborative exhibition called ‘Young Creatives’ at Paper Arts in Bristol city centre this January! I’m part of a group called Mentoring Club in which myself and a few other young creatives can get advice and guidance on our practice from an organisation called Paper Arts, and next week we’re doing an exhibition together. This is the first exhibition I’ve been a part of since showing my work at New Designers after graduating so I’m excited to see how it will go and to learn from the experience. There’s going to be a real diverse mix of work including poetry, sculpture and even interactive mandalas so there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Young Creatives Exhibition Poster

It’s on January 14th-27th at Paper Arts which is right in the centre of Broadmead, 51-53 Merchant St, Bristol and the gallery will be open 10am-6pm Mon-Sat and 11am-5pm Sun. If you’re in Bristol pop along and by all means tell me what you think!

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.