Write Sketch &

Write Sketch &: a stationery brand encompassing my love of pattern, colour, shapes and 1980s postmodernism. Founded in 2014 in Milan, just like the Memphis Group – one of their key influences – the company is still fairly new. I’ve been following them on Instagram right from the beginning and every product they create is formed of bold accents of colour and simple shapes. Strong, geometric stripes, waves or playful zig-zags, in the style of Nathalie du Pasquier, take centre stage a lot of the time. With a focus on notebooks, they’ve also launched patterned wrapping papers, tote bags, pens and bookmarks. My favourite products, their ‘Super!’ collection of notebooks, feature two different complementary designs on each side of the book. It’s nice having a choice of which side to use! I was lucky enough to come across a Paperchase store in London recently which sold their designs so I happily treated myself (despite not needing another notebook)! I also got very excited to spot their notebooks in independent design shop Chandal on holiday in Barcelona recently.

Visit writesketchand.com for their shop and more products (I do not hold the copyright to any of these images):

Habitat

I am always asking myself, Habitat vs. Heal’s vs. Oliver Bonas, which is the overall best shop for design? It’s a tough decision, and I try not to be too biased towards the company I work for! Habitat is well-known for being the shop which changed the way people saw their houses, being set up in 1964 by Terence Conran to bring affordable, modern design into post-war homes. With such a huge history behind it, I’m so glad the company seems to be flourishing again these days and hasn’t fully disappeared from our high streets. As Habitat is now owned by Sainsbury’s (who also own Argos), there’s now mini stores located in several Sainsbury’s and Argos stores around the country. So their designs are thankfully easier to get hold of now! However, visiting their Tottenham Court Road flagship store and Heal’s next to it is one of my favourite things to do when I’m in London. I also recently came across the beautifully modern Finchley Road store, which is definitely worth a visit – I got too overwhelmed because there were so many things I wanted!

Their fun new collection features, in true Habitat style, the use of vibrant colours, beautiful mid-century inspired furniture, abstract ceramic vases and mugs, geometric printed rugs, modernist lighting and I’ve noticed the trend of illustrated facial features and expressions being used on a lot of their products. Here’s some of my favourite items right now (I do not hold the copyright to any of these images, see more at habitat.co.uk):

End of Year Review

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sat at home with a throbbing headache, terrible cough and my cats are hiding away from the fireworks…so it’s probably a good time to rest and write a blog post. I’m still shocked at how successful my little business has been this past month – it’s been my busiest time by far! Two Christmas fairs at the beginning of the month saw lots of lovely people going home with my products, and then with a last-minute rush of Etsy buyers, I was working right up until the last day of Christmas post collections to get everything ready in time. It’s a nice thought that all these people around the country chose to give my earrings as presents.

Midway through the year, I purchased some Fimo polymer clay for the first time. I wanted to be more experimental with the shapes of earrings I was making and there’s not really any limits to what you can create with clay. Things were a bit shaky to begin with, but then I soon realised the shapes don’t need to be perfect. The first pair I made were custom for a friend and I’ve since made more custom pairs (something I love doing)! In the new year I plan to get even more experimental with geometric shapes, my use of colour and the way I paint the patterns. I’d also like to branch out from just jewellery to creating small ceramic pieces for the home.

I think I’ve pretty much achieved everything I wanted to achieve this year! Next year, the focus will be on improving my Etsy shop with updating with more products and photographs, and getting a full-time design job on the side of my personal work! Oh, and getting back into my print design work a bit more. I’ve got an exciting little project I’m currently working on so that’ll be shared this Spring!

In the meantime, here’s a selection of the ceramic earrings I’ve recently made:

(Happy New Year)!

Christmas Cards

Remember when everyone used to give each other Christmas cards? What happened to that? Is it only the older generation now who are keeping the tradition alive? I personally love choosing or designing, writing, giving and receiving them. For the past two years I was creating and selling handmade collaged cards at Christmas but this year I decided I wanted to do something inspired by all the photos I’ve taken over the years – or more specifically, photos of my cats. I love my cats. I decided to create illustrations of my wonderful current two, Tilly and Mischa, and Jasper, who was a huge part of the family and passed away 6 years ago.

You’ll be able to spot glimpses of my pattern designs within the background of each design. The set of 3 cards are available here, or you can pick them up from Berylune in Leamington Spa, Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair at Brewdog, Leicester (2nd December) or Realms of Rummage Christmas Fair at The Cookie, Leicester (10th December). Perfect for all your feline loving friends and family!

Dusen Dusen

Dusen Dusen are one of those companies who are just doing everything right. Slightly similar to Atelier Bingo in style but with a focus on clothing and homeware, they’re known for their bold prints, a fun use of colour and simple, modernist silhouettes. The company was founded by Ellen Van Dusen and is based in Brooklyn, NY (what a dream). With the use of contrasting shapes, scale, movement and colour within their print designs, it’s easy to see how much of an influence fine art has had. The company was originally just fashion-based and then Dusen Dusen Home was introduced in 2015 – new collections are brought out each season. There’s even a funky collection of classic shirts for men, in collaboration with Ddugoff. I’d love to get my hands on one of their beautiful bedding sets for my future house (see perfect example below)!

Visit dusendusen.com for their shop and more inspiring looks (I do not hold the copyright to any of these images).

Prints update

Woops, I meant to update this months ago and then suddenly it became October! It’s been a busy 6 months of working part-time (Oliver Bonas, which is still dreamy), designing and making as much as I can, doing two internships, putting PDF and physical portfolios together, applying for design jobs, taking part in art fairs, trying to keep up a social life and…hanging out with my cats. As well as interning with Frugi, Skinnydip London and Mirjam Rouden in 2016, this year I got the opportunities to work within the design departments at both George at Asda and Oliver Bonas; all very different, all very inspiring.

Within my print design work, I’ve started creating a small sketchbook of quick spontaneous line drawings, allowing myself more freedom than normal. I am also not allowing myself to use a ruler! This is an exercise to get me out of my comfort zone of doing geometric, structural designs. I tend to take inspiration from different styles, movements, artists or photographs I’ve taken of architecture, so coming up with shapes off the top of my head has been more of a challenge – definitely something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing! Some recent finished design examples:

Camille Walala

I remember coming across Camille Walala through Instagram a few years ago, just after I’d discovered The Memphis Group, and every project she’s created has completely wowed me ever since. Scrolling through her posts always fills me with so much inspiration and enthusiasm to keep up my design work. The influence of 1980s postmodernist design (specifically Nathalie du Pasquier) is very apparent, whilst I can also see the bold colours of Mondrian’s paintings and African textile designs have made an impact on her work.

A graduate in Textile Design, Camille shows just how versatile the degree can be – she seems to have gone down every route possible with her designs. Her popularity has risen from the many outdoor mural paintings she’s created on buildings around the world, but her designs have since been used for clothing, accessories, phone covers, homeware, etc. I recently got excited to find one of her rugs in Heal’s department store in London. I hope to one day have my designs used across a whole array of items like this!

Visit Camille’s Instagram and camillewalala.com for more of her wonderful work (I do not hold the copyright to any of these images).