This month we share 5 Instagram accounts which are inspiring us because of their creativity, honesty and drive.
Come and meet the makers, DIYers, bakers and those driving change...
The busiest time of year? Get a diary which is going to work as hard as you in 2017!
When we moved into our 1970s bungalow in Dorset from our terraced Bath Stone 1930s home packed full of character the initial impression wasn’t one of immediate attraction… However we knew that there were plenty of pluses with bungalows. The first being space, the second being all-on-one-level (handy with two tiny children) and the third being detatched. The bungalow was also a 5 minute walk to the beach which was a definite selling point and 3 years on we’re in love with the home we’re working so hard to create. It feels like home.
Here’s a little before & now photo which illustrates our work to date to keep a midcentury vibe but reference its coastal setting with the addition of new window sizes, shutters, cedar wood slatting, a white and grey paint update and tropical landscaping to include banana plants and numerous spiky plants.
Our focus has remained very much on getting the back extension and internal renovation finished but next up is to remove the green tile-hung frontage and replace with cedar wood, update the guttering and to relocate the ugly yellow alarm box! Even though there is a never-ending to-do list we can appreciate how far we’ve come and it was lovely when Michelle from Roxwell Press offered to capture our home renovation project with her customised illustration portrait service.
When the result arrived via post it was incredible to see how she’d really captured the spirit of the place (also kindly future-proofing the portrait with the cedar cladding rather than the current green tiles!). Michelle created the portrait by working from photographs we provided and asked about planting, colours and textures and it was this attention to detail that has ensured such a pleasing portrait which feels like home.
The bungalow always really sings on a bright blue day and it’s amazing to have this captured in the illustration. All that remains is to get it framed and hung. We’re thinking in the kitchen and know it’ll be a talking point!
The good news is that YOU can actually win a customised house portrait worth £100 by entering this competition which is running until 6th October. All you need to do is sign up with your email address to receive her occasional e-newsletters which feature sample sales, competitions and free hand-designed wallpapers for your screen. There is also currently free delivery on all orders (including a single card) at the moment so do take a look at her website or perhaps get an early order in for Christmas cards (if we’re allowed to mention the ‘C’ word yet).
If you’re not lucky enough to win Roxwell Press will offer a discount code to everyone whose signed up to the e-newsletter for the launch of this new house portrait service or you can skip the queue and pre-order with Michelle@roxwellpress.co.uk.
Just a quick little post to share the great news… Voting for #IBA16 is now open!
ecomodernstudios is a place to celebrate innovative fun design and our experiences in design. This year we have been fortunate enough to be included in the Best Design Inspiration Blog category in the Amara Interior Blog Awards. The awards were set up by Amara.com in 2014 and driven by an appreciation of great design – they stock really beautiful designers which include Tom Dixon, Orla Kiely and Kartell for starters!
So, if you enjoy reading the blog please do click on the link below which will take you through to the voting page:
There are some fantastic bloggers in this category so we’re really honoured to be listed, some incredibly well known bloggers and some less so, so it’s definitely worth checking out the list to discover some real talent.
Voting will close on 9th September and only one vote per person is allowed!
Thank you for your support xx
Meet Isobel. A Dorset Papercut Artist who is sure to brighten your feed with her creativity. After graduating in Textile Design from the Arts University Bournemouth in 2012 her work has evolved into illustration and paper cutting. Isobel took five from wielding a scalpel and scissors to explain what inspires her and her unique work…
We love your playful bright style. After graduating in textile design how did you end up going down the illustration and paper cutting route?
I’ve been obsessed with drawing, colouring, creating, cutting and sticking from the word go so I’ve always known that I wanted to work in a creative field. Whilst at university I became absorbed in intricately cutting, layering and sticking coloured paper as a way of designing colourful patterns and prints in my sketchbook.
I think it was my Final Project in my last year of studies which was my ‘light-bulb’ moment. I designed and engineered a collection of Elizabethan inspired collars solely from card and paper which I had printed onto and cut into. I loved the versatility of the shapes and forms I could creative by manipulating the card and paper and was hooked from there. Paper as an illustrative medium was also becoming popular around this time with the likes of Rob Ryan and his detailed paper cuts popping up so this definitely inspired me too.
How would you describe your vibrant style?
Colourful and playful with a sprinkling of sophistication through the three-dimensional intricate detail. My work most definitely requires a steady hand!
What topics or themes do you return to in your work?
Obviously a lot of the time, the theme of my work is defined by the clients brief. However, when I’m playing or working on a self initiated brief, a recurring theme is most definitely food! I find it such a colourful, vibrant subject matter and being a total foodie is probably a contributing factor too! The scale skin of a fish, the segments in a citrus fruit, berries bursting with colour… I find the inspiration from natures patterns and colours is endless!
What inspires you about Dorset countryside and coastline in particular?
I have a concerning habit of imagining how everything I see would look constructed out of paper, so I feel very lucky to have the ability to sponge inspiration from pretty much everywhere I go! I’m very drawn to colour, so colourful signs in particular inspire me, from bunches of wild flowers when I take the dog for a walk to rows of colourful beach huts along the Dorset beaches.
Some of my favourite Dorset towns also lend themselves as inspiration for my work. I have a range of paper cut prints, including a view over the harbour in Swanage and the famous steam railway chugging down the hill away from Corfe Castle in the Purbecks, two of my absolute favourite spots.
What other contemporaries are inspiring you right now with their creativity?
Fellow Paper Cutter wise, I adore the work of Jared Schorr. He works more two-dimensionally, but his work is just so much fun! He creates the sweetest little characters and worlds from card and paper and I really admire his imagination.
I follow lots of current illustrators on social media and two of my favourites at the moment are Holly Exley and Danielle Knroll. They both work in watercolour, but their styles are completely different. Holly creates the most intricate and realistic paintings with food and wildlife as recurring themes and I think her work is just gorgeous. Danielle paints in more of a whimsical style and I love the playful subject matter of her paintings and her use of vibrant colour combinations and patterns within her work. I’m also very inspired by set designers for their compositional and three-dimensional design qualities – there is a lot to be inspired from right now!
We’re lucky to have a brilliant local shop which picks the very best British kitchenware, stationery and book selections on the market. When we were last there we picked up a few goodies from the Busy B range which we’d been eyeing up for a while as we had a spate of mini-breaks and holidays coming up.
We’re often the people you see emptying everything out of their suitcases, patting themselves down looking for that missing ticket / passport / money with the flushed look of panic on their faces so we resolved to do better this year. Having a dedicated travel wallet for passports, secure pouches for holiday bags and a hard-working small purse are all invaluable for making travelling that bit more relaxed!
Intrigued by this Busy B brand which seems to keep organisation at its core (albeit under a deeply pretty facade) we were lucky enough to have a chat with the Managing Director Kerri Middleton this month. So if you’re a fellow stationery addict then grab a cuppa and read about what makes this British brand tick.
Kerri, why do you think this love affair with stationery is still so strong in this digital age where we can have a calendar on our phone and can be connected instantly via text or email?
I think stationery is about so much more than keeping organised nowadays. With all the different brands, styles and quirky planners not only on the highstreet but online too, there’s something to appeal to everyone. Stationery is more emotional than digital, and notebooks and diaries are much more intimate and personal. The lust for beautiful stationery lives on.
We went to France recently (more to come on that soon) and the above spread REALLY helped us get organised. Leaflets and important paper stored flat in the spotty expanding file, a travel wallet for passports, money and health cards, the little doggy page markers for our holiday reading and guide books… last but not least the really beautiful mini-purse which has a handy front pocket for tickets. We’ve been back from holiday for a month now and this purse has replaced the monolith Ted Baker purse for good. All the materials Busy B use are ethically sourced right back to the paper mill they come from and the pouches and purses are made from faux leather so they’re vegan-friendly too.
In your Busy B collection your designs are very colourful with pretty florals, bunting, dots and animals. How do you decide which new designs to add?
Our designs have to stand out and be very much on-brand, in terms of the Busy B style which gives us our brand identity so market research and trend analysis helps with this. Our USP is to be beautifully organised, so as well as ensuring our designs are beautiful and pretty, our products must have clever features and formats for all the Busy B’s out there. We put a lot of research and design energy into making sure our products are genuinely useful for busy women e.g. the pockets in our family calendar make it easy to find appointment cards, invites or bills just when you need them.
For transparency we bought a number of Busy B items from our local shop and Busy B sent us a few more items for us to try out and photograph as part of this interview.
Founded in 2014 by Katy Goutefangea, Ola creates traditionally crafted stationery collections, featuring original prints of such zingy energising patterns. ‘Made in the UK’ adorns their wares which is a refreshing statement in a time when we’re often told ‘costs have forced us elsewhere’…
The quality of the cards is something which is immediate to see with heavy thick set card and foil blocked designs – this sits well with the principle behind the designs: ‘each item is a quiet celebration of pattern, influenced by architecture, abstract geometry and artists such as Sol LeWitt, Anni Albers and Donald Judd’. There is a quiet brilliance to this brand and we were lucky enough to sit down with Katy to ask a few questions about the inspirations and design processes behind Ola.
What is it about architecture that you find so inspiring?
I’m often drawn to the ornament found in architecture. There’s an interesting interaction between the size of buildings and their smaller human scale detailing. The period we research will often change depending on the collection we’re working on – at the moment there are lots of postmodern buildings on the pinboard!
These architectural references make for a really refreshing offering. Ola products are crafted in small quantities with a dedication to detail – stitching in place of gluing, inks laid with a roller instead of digitally – traditional craftsmanship which just shines with quality. Take for instance the patterned spine notebooks which are designed so that the spines will match when shelved for display and ease of organisation.
Do you dream in geometry and pattern? What impact do you think colour and pattern plays in our lives?
Pattern is, and always has been, a huge part of human life. Some of the earliest items in known history are decorated – it’s something we’ve been doing since the beginning of time. The prints on each of our notepads have been developed to balance pattern and subtlety. It’s important that the prints enhance the notebooks aesthetically and inspire the user, without distracting from what is essentially a blank space to record thoughts and ideas. The patterns are intended to be almost meditative, somewhere you can rest your gaze while thinking of something else.
Katy, when so many are going digital why have you focused on going ‘analogue’ with paper and traditional craftsmanship / manufacturing?
There is something very different about writing in a notepad to taking notes digitally. They definitely both have their place. Paper can be used to sketch and write simultaneously, it can be rotated and torn. It doesn’t need to be switched on to record a passing thought. It can be carried anywhere, crumpled and dropped without much worry. It can be flicked through at a later date and stored on a shelf. The same cannot be said for any digital device.
This detail matters. Despite the technologically dominated age we’re living in stationery design continues to grow in the UK – we still all feel a connection with writing, with posting, with making. The tactile nature of these beautiful products will only continue to strengthen this bond and play their part in attracting new generations of paper addicts for all the right reasons; to help people tell their own story.
We will be trialling out some origami techniques with paper from the current range ‘Dash Print in Klein Blue’ and ‘Victor Print in Turquoise Blue’ using this lovely book ‘Folding Techniques for Designers’. These pattern papers are traditionally printed in England, using vegetable based inks and soft white uncoated paper stocks and is a lovely quality for craft (or wrapping for that special person). We love the bold geometric inspired patterns so we’re excited to see the results… watch this space on our Instagram feed for progress!
Please note we were sent products to photograph for the purpose of this interview. All photographs ecomodernstudios
There’s such a home grown talent when it comes to design and illustration in the UK and Roxwell Press is a prime example. Recently featured in the fascinating Letters to Adeline #WomanCan series Michelle Evans started her stationery company in 2014 and in a short time has been busily building up her range of products which include themes such as Tropical, Home, Christmas and a bespoke Wedding stationery design service. We’ve been working with Michelle over the past six months and thought it would be nice to showcase her work on the blog for those looking for British artwork made with soul for the home.
The latest Home range focuses on what it really means and the prints below entitled ‘Spring Florals’ and ‘Teatime’ evoke the calmness you feel when you’re at home. Your little nest to see the world from which is why architecture and design is so important in helping our sense of well-being!
Stories are close to Michelle’s heart too. Her creative approach to work has developed over the years from working in graphic design to film sets and it’s this experience which helps direct her new ranges seated in celebrating life’s little joys.
As Michelle so rightly puts it in the Letters to Adeline interview ‘Keepsakes are such a valuable part of our lives and our stories… The handwritten correspondence is still an important part of our lives, a meaningful gesture and art form which I would like to help preserve through designing beautiful stationery’. If you’ve ever discovered a long-forgotten letter in an attic you’ll instantly value this idea. In a disposable world the idea of post, of handwritten letters and cards still has meaning, it is something which can exists outside of our digital lives.
So if you’re looking for a company who celebrate the quintessentially English rituals then you should definitely check out Roxwell Press. Also if you’re London based then on the 15th-17th May Michelle will also be debuting Roxwell Press at Pulse London with new cards (she’ll be on stand K43).
I think it’s time for tea now…