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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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

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.

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!

Made In Bristol Gift Fairs 2015

This December I held a stall at the Made In Bristol Christmas Gift Fair at Colston Hall on both December 5th and 12th. I’d been feeling a little deflated after a poor show at the Christmas Maker’s Market which I did on November 29th but the Made In Bristol fairs turned out to be a vast improvement which to be honest was a big relief. My new designs and products have proved extremely popular, particularly the stone coasters but also my giclée prints. So now I’m really keen to do some new designs next year and produce more prints in different sizes and perhaps another coaster set too.

Me and My Stall

I did the Made In Bristol Gift Fairs last year too and each time the day has been very well run without any glitches. There’s always a fantastic selection of work on offer and in fact this year the standard seemed to have gotten even better. Split across four levels there was jewellery, prints, ceramics, clothing, textiles and everything else in-between available all beautifully handmade. My only criticism was the un-festive music left on repeat all day!

My Stall

Colston Hall

Now I’m finished with Christmas markets for the year though and I have to admit I can’t wait for a little break. It’s been a tiring season but I’m looking forward to seeing where Sky Siouki will go next year. Think I may well be at the Made In Bristol Gift Fair again next year as it’s such a well put together event and all of the customers were so lovely too! Hello to any new fans reading this, it was a pleasure to meet you! I’m still taking online orders too, but order by Friday 18th Dec latest if you want something in time for Christmas.

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

TOP 5… Spring Inspired Prints

Springtime is now in full swing and so in light of all the lovely weather we’ve been having, this month’s Top 5 feature is on Spring inspired prints! All the prints I’ve picked are for interiors either on furnishing fabrics, wallpapers or interior accessories.

Spring Inspired Prints

  1. Lotus Pink Cushion by Bonnie & Neil £75 – Love the vibrancy of this pink botanical print by Australian brand Bonnie & Neil, contrasted nicely with a fun black trim.
  2. Bashful Bunnies Silk Cushion by Silken Favours £95 – I’m a huge Silken Favours fan and a major rabbit lover too so when this new silk bunny design came out it was bound to be an instant hit with me.

  3. PowderPuff Rose Fabric by Abigail Ryan £89 per metre – Abigail Ryan’s graphic florals and bold colours create a really strong Spring vibe full of warmth and joy.

  4. Harrys Garden Fabric by Louise Body £55 per metre – This design is a little more subdued but the sweet little garden birds inject some Springtime life into the delicately illustrated design.

  5. Harvest Hare Wallpaper in Corn by Mark Hearld £60 per roll – Mark Hearld’s linocut designs have a beautiful timeless quality. This wallpaper would make any room feel warm and happy even when it’s not Spring.

Keep up with more of my Top 5 features on the Shopping section of my blog.