Skip to content

Posts from the ‘paper’ Category

Ola Origami | Absorbed in Paper

We’ve featured Ola before on the blog being a tiny bit obsessed with their stunning patterns and quality stationery however this time we’re sharing something from their Christmas shop;  the origami decoration kit. Whilst fantastic for Christmas they are quite frankly decorations we’ll probably display all year – especially as their homemade!

There are two kits to choose from but the one we selected was the Milano collection (top right) which was designed in collaboration with renowned origami artist Coco Sato.

fullsizerender-11

Using their signature patterned papers designed and Made In England you can make eight contemporary decorations.

img_2795

Learning a new skill takes time and concentration. With this in mind they are great for this time of year with long dark evenings when you just need to stop and quieten your mind and become absorbed in something that will take you away from day to day life.  We would recommend these for yourself or actually as a Christmas present as people may have the time to dedicate this time to a project over the holidays. We tackled it as a team of two and this definitely added to the enjoyment and sense of teamwork as we worked our way through the instructions.

img_2459

The kit comprises of 48 x small patterned squares, 12 x large patterned squares and satin ribbon and is presented in a hand-finished box with the instructions of how to make them all.

fullsizerender-10

Being novices at Origami it was exciting to undertake a new project but we have to be honest and say there were a few steps where we were completely foxed. Frustrating and funny at the same time those first ‘prototypes’ were definitely a challenge. However, the cheat sheet bit is that you get access to their exclusive step-by-step videos which show you how to do them and this always saved us when we had reached a dead end. A clever idea and great to have as a back up if you need it.

fullsizerender-9

We could see how we improved in our accuracy as the gaps got tighter and the decorations got more crisp. It was rewarding, fun and a great way of being creative with some guidance. We’d definitely recommend these as a beautiful present for someone with a love of paper to create their own bespoke decorations made by hand with paper made in England. What’s not to love?

Shop the Ola Studio Christmas Shop or follow on Instagram or Twitter for a shot of pattern and creativity.

For transparency we were sent the origami decorations as a challenge to make them as part of this feature! 

To the Moon & Back | Koko Kids

Transporting your imagination with wall decals. If you haven't used these before then we'd urge you to try!

Read more

Tiny Trees | Big Memories

If you’re on Instagram then we’re pretty sure you will have heard of ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’. We love this brand for their quirky take on bringing postable greenery into our homes in the forms of seasonal flowers, wreaths and even, well, Christmas trees! Each of the above arrives in a narrow slim box which easily fits through a standard letterbox.

fullsizerender

How the Christmas trees arrive through your letterbox

First up this year is ‘The Drew’ which arrives with a collapsable pot, moss and ribbon. You can choose what decorations you’d like it to come with for a little extra sparkle – be that baubles, fairy lights, deluxe beauty treats (yes really!), robins or jingle bells.

We couldn’t resist the stunning reflective hues of the mini baubles and fairy lights so this was our combo to get started with for a design-led looking mini tree in our kitchen.

fullsizerender-4

The Drew with shimmering papers and baubles. It’s Christmas in a box!

Kitchens can be tricky spaces for bringing festive cheer to as there’s the safety issue of adding flammable materials to a kitchen as well as the practicality issue of lots of ornaments and banners precariously taped or balanced. The idea of a mini tree which could sit on the worktop, be easily moved and watered once a week seemed perfect. The fairy lights are battery operated making it a really easy portable tree.

fullsizerender-5

We had an enamel Orla Kiely pot which seemed ideal for this tiny tree in the kitchen

For our kids room we wanted something fun which they could embellish to really make it their own. We opted for ‘The Jack’ with its colourful string of festive jingle bells and fairy lights which when initially decorated by our three year old looked like this:

img_2633

The bells jingle which was an added delight for the boys

And was later embellished with lego to look like this..

fullsizerender-7

It’s a sturdy little tree which withholds the daily redecoration process from the kids!

The great thing about these mini trees is you can move them around their room to set up different festive scenes (sometimes it is also ceremoniously walked to the playroom with new embellishments added). It becomes a living breathing part of Christmas the kids can enjoy looking after.

You might have clocked our first review of a mini-tree last year (if not you can read it here) and we just wanted to update you that we potted it up last year and it’s been very happy. We’ve added a few of the baubles from last year as a welcome by our front door! Once Christmas is over pot yours up and help the little fella grow so you’ve got a Christmas tree for years to come!

fullsizerender-6

Last years tree still going strong and adding to the outdoor Christmas decorations this year

If you fancy your own tiny tree or want to surprise a loved one to get them in the festive mood (especially if they’ve only got a small space) then enjoy 10% off your first order by signing up to the Bloom & Wild newsletter (scroll to the bottom of their ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’ homepage to sign up).

Or for a daily fix of floral follow them on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

For transparency we were sent these trees by Bloom & Wild for the purposes of photography and to share on the blog as part of our Christmas series. We’re huge fans of the minimal packaging, clever seasonal designs and practicality they bring to the flower delivery market! 

Christmas Countdown | The Busiest Time of Year with Busy B Lifestyle

The busiest time of year? Get a diary which is going to work as hard as you in 2017!

Read more

Hello Marilu | Pops of Neon and Gold

 

With just 4 Sundays left before Christmas we’re starting our Christmas recommendations here at ecomodernstudios starting with Hello Marilu.

 

 

 

Hello Marilu is a creative lifestyle brand with a strong focus on handmade. Created by Mary-Ann Aveline in 2015, Hello Marilu offers an eclectic range of textiles and paper goods that have all been designed, handmade or hand finished in her South London studio, using a variety of techniques such as screen printing, marbling and painting.

We put in a 12-bauble strong order as her hand-painted ceramics are just the sort of one-of-a-kind heirlooms that are treasured on the tree year after year (as well as perfect for thoughtful gifts for those who have ‘everything’). Intrigued about what drove Hello Marilu in its first year of business we sat down with a cuppa to find out more about what makes this British brand tick.

fullsizerender-2

Each bauble comes in its own paper nest in a shimmering box

In a time when we’re so technologically advanced why do you think there’s been such a strong comeback of handmade with brands such as notonthehighstreet, Folksy and etsy championing the individual?  

 

There is no doubt that technology is great; I can’t imagine living without my iPhone now, or the internet, but its is also kind of sad how much it dominates our lives.  You might be working all day on a computer only to go home and spend half your evening checking social media or watching TV.  Its addictive, and almost a bit overwhelming at times.

I think its this technology overload which is actually encouraging people to want to take up new hobbies, such as hand made crafts, or learning a new skill at a creative workshop.  Being able to physically make something can feel so satisfying.  There is a sense of achievement, something real that you can feel and touch, and it focuses your mind in a totally different way, almost like a meditation.  The result is a finished product which you can feel proud of and that’s a good feeling.

The great thing about technology however is how it can help support and grow your handmade business. Years ago it would have been very difficult to know how to sell your handmade products or get any recognition, but with websites like notonthehighstreet, Etsy and Folksy, almost anyone can get their work out there.

It makes handmade products accessible to everyone and it also shows that it is possible to sell your own work – something which would otherwise feel very daunting.  People that buy handmade are looking for something a bit different – something personal, unique, and original.  It can be hard to know where to buy those things on the highstreet so websites that showcase products from independent designers are a wonderful source for both the buyer and the seller.

Creative workshops also really seem to be on the rise which is fantastic.  Its lovely to learn a new skill and try something you never would have thought of before, whilst meeting other fellow creatives.  There are some really unusual ones out there too.  Earlier this year I went to a spoon carving workshop by Grain and Knot, which is something I probably never would have had the opportunity to try had there not been a workshop available!

fullsizerender-5

We love the mix of neon and intricate detailing

Your work is bright, bold and playful with pops of neon and gold! What inspirations have you had in 2016 which has helped shape your brand and what are you looking towards in 2017?  

I have always loved bright colours, neon red in particular and of course gold.  I find colours like that can transform a simple design into something really eye catching.  I tend to be inspired by so many different things – almost everyday a new idea pops into my head, or I see a new technique which I want to try.  I am very curious with wanting to try different techniques and I have a long list which I need to work through!

It was Screen Printing however which really led me to start Hello Marilu and it is something that I always love to go back to in between other crafts.  I recently discovered through trial and error how to screen print with gold foil.  I was so pleased that I could finally get it to work, and I now have quite a few gold foil print ideas in the pipeline.

I also love how working on one idea can organically lead you on to something else.  I am really enjoying hand painting my ceramic Christmas baubles at the moment and I now to want to decorate other ceramic items such as plant pots and coasters.

I would love to try the Japanese technique Kintsugi.  If you are not familiar with it, its basically an ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken or cracked objects using gold.  Rather than trying to hide the damage you make it a feature by highlighting it with gold.  It is really quite beautiful, looks amazing on ceramics, and of course its using gold, one of my favourite colours, so I’ve just got to try it!

img_2438

Hanging on greenery they really pop!

What is the product you’re most proud of from your collection and why?  

My hand painted Christmas baubles are getting a lot of attention at the moment, which is great in the run up to Christmas.  It feels very special to personalise a bauble for someone, knowing that gift will hopefully be cherished by the recipient for years to come.

I love the build up to Christmas and decorating the tree is my all time favourite thing, so it makes me feel very happy to know that my baubles will be decorating other peoples trees too.  The hand painted design which I use was inspired by traditional Russian folk illustrations.  My mum is Russian so I grew up surrounded by beautifully painted Russian figurines and matryoshka’s.  I have always wanted to use this inspiration for a project of my own so working on my hand painted baubles holds a special place in my heart as they are inspired by things which are very dear to me.

img_2454

The gold lettering is strong but shimmers in the light making them tricky to photograph but so eye-catching!

There is a really strong creative community online in the UK. What social media accounts do you really love following and why? 

The online creative community is amazing.  Websites like Pinterest really help for inspiration and finding new craft techniques that I would love to try, and Instagram is just incredible for building your business and seeing what other like minded creative people are doing.  I love how supportive the Instagram community is.

Its so encouraging when you post a picture and receive such lovely comments and likes from people that you have never even met before.  Its amazing how it can bring people together from all over the world! Instagram is definitely my favourite social media outlet and I think i would be a bit lost without it.  It was a huge inspiration to starting my own business because it made me realise so many people were following their passions, and that I could do that too.

Some of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow are @ohjoy for lovely bright colours and DIY posts.  Her account is always so cheery – its a great happiness fix and it just puts you in a good mood! Jewellery maker @benumade is another favourite.  She makes the most amazing, quirky leather jewellery.   Her designs are so unique, I find them really inspiring.  They make me want to work with leather.  I also love @elizabethpawle.  Her woven and hand stitched art pieces have so much depth and texture to them, you just want to reach out and touch them, and they incorporate some of my favourite neon colours which is always a winner!

If you’d like to meet Mary-Anne and have a go at your own designs at a Bauble Decorating Workshop then you’re too late to catch her at Anthropologie (sold out) but if you’re quick you can get a place at her workshops at West Elm on 24th November (only 2 places left!) or 8th December (only 4 places left!). Price £20.

Do join in the journey with Hello Marilu on Instagram and Twitter too.

img_2481

Clustered together

img_2489

The gold feels very Christmassy

img_2477

We loved them propped up against shelves for a relaxed but festive feel

 

Hatch | Life In Vivid Colour

HATCH was born out of the desire to create a range of simple, modern and design-led cards...

Read more

Illustrating Home | Capturing Spirit

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.

fullsizerender

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!

fullsizerender-2

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.

fullsizerender

Last but not least you might want to follow Roxwell Press on Twitter or Instagram where the winner will be announced early October. Good Luck!

 

 

 

#IBA16 | Voting Phase!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 08.10.34Just 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:

http://www.interiorblogawards.com/vote/ecomodernstudios/

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

Monthly Musings | Isobel Barber

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…

Picnic- Isobel BarberWe 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.

Studio snap no2How 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!

paper picnic 4 JPEG

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!

Mackerel

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!

The City Sleeps

If you’d like to discover more about Isobel then you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website or blog

 

 

 

A Life In Pattern | Sheila Bownas

 

We were lucky enough to be sent a copy of ‘A life in Pattern: The Life & Work of Sheila Bownas’ exhibition catalogue this month and it’s exactly as the foreword states: We now have access to a little piece of design history transferred into a very modern context. 

sheilabownas_pages_PRINTYou could be forgiven for not having heard of Sheila Bownas (1925 – 2007) but for the last few years ecomodernstudios have been following this incredible brand born from a body of works from a designer of the same name. The story is one that many of us might dream about; a treasure trove discovery of the life works of an unknown yet prolific designer. However not many of us would have the drive and determination to piece together the history in such an methodical and authentic way. This is exactly what happened to Chelsea Cefai back in 2008 who on a spur of the moment decision at an auction became the guardian of over 200 hand-painted patterns from the 1950s onwards.

The post-war period was a time of great vision, colour and pattern as British people embraced new styles. Sheila’s designs were bought by various textile and wallpaper manufacturers to include Liberty London, Marks & Spencers and Crown Wallpaper but these were never released under her name so she remained under the radar. This was of course in stark contrast to the star designer of that time Lucienne Day but was nonetheless common for the era and indeed to some extent today. These colourful designs seem as applicable today as they did then and our obsession with the colour and pattern of the 1950s onwards shows no sign of diminishing with popular brands such as Orla Kiely and MissPrint to name a few… and Marimekko, who’ve well, kept on going!

Included in the 65-paged colour catalogue is a fascinating essay by Design Historian Lesley Jackson who gives a detailed account of the designs within the context to which they were conceived. She states ‘to encounter all these facets within the oeuvre of one individual is rare, but it is this diversity that makes the Sheila Bownas archive such a rich resource.  What is especially rewarding about dipping into this archive is that wonderful designs that did not receive exposure originally are being given a second chance to shine’.

The catalogue is such a detailed and beautiful account of Sheila’s work and here’s a few of the beautiful patterns we couldn’t help but share starting with this 1950s design below:

SB 218

These 1960s prints

SB 477.jpg

SB 452

And this hypnotising 1970s print:

SB 1481With permission from the family of Sheila Bownas selected British artisans have used these original designs to create furniture, textiles, lighting and ceramics. What a legacy for an artist who never once had a retrospective in her lifetime. As Lesley Jackson so aptly put its in her essay ‘as well as appealing to be current vogue for eclecticism, the designs lend themselves to multiple applications in terms of style, colour and scale’ and you can see this yourself by visiting their online store. We couldn’t agree more.

IMG_0980Visit the exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum until 3rd September 2016 and if you can’t make the exhibition but would like a copy of the catalogue then call the gallery on 01788 533217. Priced at £15 the catalogue also includes a beautiful A5 Sheila Bownas print.

Please note there are limited free tours of the exhibition by Chelsea Cefai which are detailed here – we’re very much hoping to make one of these!

You can follow the journey with Chelsea on Twitter and Instagram or read more about Sheila Bownas in MidCentury Magazine in Issue 05 and also here.