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.

 

NEWS for July

I have lots of exciting announcements this month for Sky Siouki! First up is that I am once again selling my work in The Little Shop on Stokes Croft in Bristol. It’s a fantastic little gallery and gift shop in the centre of Bristol and I was sad to decide to stop selling there over a year ago. However since launching new designs and products I have high hopes for making a roaring come back to Amber Elise and Alex Lucas’ creative brainchild so pop in to see their magical selection of things, including mine! It’s the one covered in rabbits and pineapples so you really can’t miss it.

The Little Shop

They have also recently gained a partnership with the Boston Tea Party on Stokes Croft meaning some of my framed prints will now be hung up in the BTP cafe up the road as part of a continuous exhibition there curated by The Little Shop too!

Secondly, I am now selling beautiful digitally printed tea towels with full cover prints of my Flight collection designs! I couldn’t be more pleased with how these have come out, printed in rich colour onto 100% heavyweight cotton. They are the perfect accent accessory to add some style to your kitchen or would also make an ideal gift for a bird lover. See them all in my online shop here. I have a feeling they’re going to be a big hit!

Sky Siouki Tea Towels

Thirdly, I am going to be putting up a solo exhibition for the first time ever at the wonderful PAPER Arts Gallery from 28th July – 3rd August! I am very excited and have to admit a little (or a lot) nervous too, but it will be an excellent showcase for the new set of water bird designs I have just added to the Flight collection! All of my print designs will be available to buy framed and unframed as part of the show and I will hopefully also be producing a few original pieces of artwork especially for the exhibition. There will be a launch party on Thursday, 28th July from 6-8pm so if you are in Bristol please come along and say hi! Learn more and join the Facebook event here, and please please share away!

Paper Exhibition Poster

I will also be launching new greetings card designs very soon which should be available in just over a week. I’m full of ideas and raring to go at the moment so keep checking back and on my Instagram and social media channels for updates as there may be even more on the horizon for Sky Siouki yet!

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!

The New Sky Siouki Collection – ‘Flight’

This week was very exciting for me as I finally got to launch my brand new collection of designs after a long time coming! I’ve spent many weeks articulately drawing birds of prey and botanicals and spraying lashings of oil and acrylic paint to canvas boards and so it feels amazing to have now produced some final products just in time for Christmas. The new designs are currently available as linen cushions, A3 giclée prints and stone coasters although there may be more to come in the new year.

Cushions

I can’t believe I started planning this collection all the way back in June. There have been a few obstacles along the way as there tend to be in life but I’m so pleased to have got there in the end. The process really made me realise how limiting the project deadlines at university were and although I would never take back anything I did during my degree, I never could have produced a collection like this at uni because of the high expectations for quantity of work. I feel so much better about having four strong designs that I put my all into and didn’t rush than if I’d produced 20 quick and easy designs that meant little to me. These designs seemed to come together so much more naturally than ever before and I’m not sure if this was because I wasn’t under pressure to tick all the boxes on the marking scheme or perhaps just because it’s been so long since I created something new that all of my enthusiasm just fuelled me forwards.

Jackal Buzzard Cushion

After much deliberation I’ve named the collection ‘Flight’ highlighting the central focus on birds of prey but I also really liked that this word seems to suggest ideas of feeling uplifted and weightless. The collection has quite a natural, fresh look and the paintings used are very expressive and dynamic all of which I felt the word Flight emulated well as it relates to nature and movement. It is simple but creates impact, as does the composition of the designs.

Coasters

When I set out to design this collection I made a conscious decision to move away from the look of my previous work and create something more subdued in colour, less kitsch and more elegant. I didn’t originally intend to only draw birds of prey but once I’d drawn one, the rest sort of just followed. I’ve always loved birds and birds of prey in particular make me feel incredibly awed and empowered so I decided since it was working to just go with it.

Since I started Sky Siouki my tastes have changed a fair bit which I think this collection reflects very truthfully. I hope that it still sits well alongside the Curious Kingdom collection since my style of drawing tends to be quite recognisable but I also would be encouraged to know if customers can distinguish the change in direction I have taken. Anyway, this has been quite a wordy post but hopefully an interesting insight into my design process and the journey designing ‘Flight’ has taken me on. I hope the journey isn’t over yet!

You can have a proper look at my new products available in my online shop and I post little insights into my working day everyday on Instagram too.

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TOP 5… Fruity Furnishing Fabrics

Time for another TOP 5 feature! Apologies I have to admit I’ve been a little slack with blogging this month whilst trying to get lots of drawing work done (and maybe having a sneaky bit of time off too). But doing these Top 5 lists has fast become my favourite blog topic so I couldn’t miss it before the month is out. This month it’s fruity furnishing fabrics as one last hurrah for the (pretty non-existent) British Summer! I’m a big fruit fan in every sense – I like to eat it, draw it and look at it too, so what better way to celebrate that than to decorate with it. So without further a do here are my favourite five printed fruit designs that I have found…

Fruit Fabrics

  1. Patterned Fruits designs by Hannah Rampley for Candid Fabrics – These colourful, quirky designs are quite bold and graphic featuring stylised pomegranates and pineapples. A great way to add a splash of colour to a muted living space.
  2. Fruit by William Morris – Going from the most contemporary to the most traditional of my selection, this famous William Morris wallpaper is a classic, featuring beautifully illustrated pomegranates. I believe it’s still available to buy, including as fabric curtains from Linen Fields here.
  3. Pineapples by Dark Dog Studio – I really love this modern monochrome pineapple design by Hannah Galvin-Horne of Dark Dog Studio, especially used on this vintage chair. I’ve come across the print a lot on Pinterest and it seems to be a big hit but I think the designer is currently still developing an online shop. Find out more about her here.
  4. Beatrix by Romo – One of my favourite Romo designs, inspired by vintage illustrations but using bright contemporary colour I think this floral design featuring pink berries strikes the perfect balance of traditional vs. modern.
  5.  Pears by Thornback & Peel – There’s not much Thornback and Peel do that I don’t like. Although their rabbits are probably my favourite this pear design has a lovely simplicity and would look stunning upholstered on a chair. The linen it’s printed on has a lovely texture to it as well.

See more of my favourite designs and patterns on my Pinterest and discover my own designs too by visiting the Sky Siouki shop.

TOP 5… Floral Interior Products

In the spirit of Summer and spending more time outdoors, this week I’m featuring floral printed homewares! Flower designs mix so well with all sorts of interior styles and make a fantastic way to add a pop of colour and energy to a living space. So below are my favourite five floral items for the home that are available this season.Floral Interior Products

  1. Autumn Tea Towel by Whitney Elizabeth – Although technically Autumn themed I think the flower illustrations on this tea towel have enough colour and spirit to keep your kitchen feeling fresh all year round.
  2. Laburnum Cushion by Abigail Borg – I love Abigail Borg’s graphic design style and use of vibrant colour contrasted against muted tones. This floral cushion would sit well in a modern or a traditionally styled home.

  3. Flower Market Colander by MacKenzie Childs – Pretty and useful! This floral colander deserves to be given pride of place hung from a kitchen cabinet for everyone to see.

  4. Sissinghurst Castle Dinnerware by Anthropologie – You can always be sure to find lots of beautifully patterned pieces of crockery in Anthropologie. This collection of flowery tableware is my favourite from their current range, but it was hard to choose!

  5. Botanical Coaster Set by Rifle Paper Co. – These stylised floral illustrations by Anna Bond have a very pretty, summery appeal and would be the perfect way to add some pops of colour to your dining table layout.

That’s all for now, but keep up with my blog to see more of my Top 5 features every month. You can find more of my favourite interior products on my Pinterest board NICE THINGS. and shop for my own Summer themed products in my online shop here.

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