INSPIRE ME – with Zakee Shariff

Zakee-portrait-by-AL-Newman-copyThere’s nothing like artwork that makes you feel happy.

Having luckily discovered the artist and designer Zakee Shariff a little while ago during her collaboration with fashion website ASOS – I fell in love with her work. Vibrant art, cool designs – and always with a positive message.

With her cult following – Zakee’s clothing collections have sold globally and she has worked with many fashion brands including People Tree and Urban Outfitters.

She has had a versatile career so far having also worked as a stylist, in publishing, as an art director and interior design – amongst other avenues.

I am ever so slightly in awe and hope you enjoy Inspire Me today with Zakee Shariff !…. a-to-zHighRes

You started out with your own clothing label as well as doing your art work – How did you get into fashion design ?

I had never thought of starting a clothing label and a dear friend who is one of the owners of a mens and women’s clothing label called YMC You Must Create, convinced me to start my own label and very kindly introduced me to various contacts to enable me to make it happen. It all just kinda unfolded.

I always knew I wanted to work both as an artist and a designer. My training was in printed textiles but it was very much rooted in painting and drawing and abstracting from that into design.  So it was a great way to explore that process, and learn about the business side too. Youth_0510

You’ve worked with textiles, fine art, illustration, styling, interior and product design.. and you’ve also been an art director – has this worked out as a natural progression ?

Definitely. One led to another and another and back again, like a creative dance.

 

Is there one particular field of design that you enjoy the most ?

I enjoy all the different design projects I have been blessed with doingI love designing textiles. Peace-heart-cushion-small

 

There are very positive messages within your designs – is this something that is important to you ?

Yes it is, I hope my work can give people joy and maybe help them to think more about the world from a different perspective.

 

Your collaboration with People Tree is going really well – how did this originally come about ?

 A lovely friend if mine Vickie Snow from Snow PR introduced me, as she thought we were a match, and we all just clicked. They are lovely to work with and very inspiring in the the way they are able to create everything they do ethically correct.

Safia the owner tends to sit with me and we go through old prints of mine and we brainstorm and I then recreate the prints and make some new ones and then her team and i work together to get them right. I don’t get involved in the garment shapes and styling….its purely a focused and joyous experience of drawing, making patterns and colouring them. And  I create the prints and we work on colours together.

 

Having worked with ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Japanese store MAYZ, Roxy Heart.. to name just a few – what do you enjoy the most about collaborations ?

I have such a love of collaborating. I thrive when I work with another creative or a team of people and make a vision come alive. That is very fulfilling and inspiring to me.

 

Describe a perfect working day for you ?

Drawing, painting or screen printing listening to some great music in my studio – loud ! main_8bd11_MOVEMENTANDCHANGEOFTHEj

 

What kind of music do you listen to ?

I love listening to all different types of music when I work,  it depends on the mood I’m in.
I’d say when I’m printing however,  I like to listen to loud Hip Hop, Soul, R n B, Dancehall and reggae.. a bit of a soul girl then, eh ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                        Can you offer some inspirational advice on how to get into fashion design and textiles ? 
Be honest to your creative vision, ask questions, ask for support there are amazing beings out there that do want to help. Work hard, research and give your self permission to have fun and make mistakes. Do choose to do work experience, it’s the best way to learn. Knock on doors, as you find your path and follow your instinct. Have a clear vision of what you would like to achieve, even if its a really basic feeling and the rest is unsure, get in touch with the ultimate desire. That sets you on your way for sure. main_758bc_PEACE2j

What are you working on at the moment and when will we get to see it ? :)

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I’ve just created a few prints for a great new kids collection called Ruff and Huddle. www.ruffandhuddle.co.uk The collaboration is for AW13. I love making prints for kids.

I’m creating a new print for my lovely friend Nick who has a beautiful womenswear brand. Studio Nicholson. www.studionicholson.com. It’s a very chic minimal collection.

I’m working on two personal projects. One is product based and the other is a group of new fine art screen prints.

The rest is pending research that I am doing.
Thanks Zakee :) Full of talent – and what a lovely person ! If you’d like to see more of her work online – go to www.zakeeshariff.com, become a fan on Facebook for updates and/or follow her on Twitter !

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INSPIRE ME – with Tatty Devine

Rosie_Harriet_TattyDevieToday is a good day. A really good day and I’m a little bit excited… because I am sharing my recent interview with the creators of a brand that I LOVE more than all the tea in China…

Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine have made a big name for themselves over the last thirteen years as Co Founders and designers of cult jewellery brand Tatty Devine, creating the most unique, fun and clever pieces made from often from perspex, but also wood, veneer, leather and enamel.

Their designs are featured around the clock in magazines such as Vogue, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan… and stand firm as one of United Kingdoms most original and exciting brands.

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I thought I might also mention their fab  “How to make jewellery with Tatty Devine” book – a really good idea for any crafty, jewellery loving people in your life. It’s 125 pages of creative inspiration and shows you how to transform any object into a new accessory and, what you will need to get started. At £12.99 I think it’s a very good price ! It’s on my list ! You will also find on their website that they sell stitching patterns and run jewellery making workshops too.

When you met at College, did you hit it off straight away ?

At Chelsea the year was split into 4 groups over 2 floors, Harriet and I were in different groups on different floors, so it look a while for us to become friends. In the second year the roof fell in on where I was living, I’d heard that Harriet had a spare room so I rang her up. Once I’d moved in we hit it of straight away.

 

 

 

 

 

You opened your first boutique on Brick Lane, thirteen years ago – did you know even then how loved and popular your brand would become ?

We had no idea ! We were just having so much fun and our criteria was to have a good time, make original things ( we just didn’t want to look like everyone else ) and not get ‘proper jobs’. We’ve stuck to all these things, although it could be argued that we now have proper jobs !

I can spot a ‘Tatty Devine’ piece a mile off.. what would you say makes your jewellery so unique and distinctive ?

I think its a few things, the first being that our techniques are unique to us as we have created and developed them, that we never want to go for the obvious – so I think there is always an unusualness to our jewellery and we like to think our jewellery is of the highest quality – which makes it stand out.

Do you have a current best seller ?

Other than the perennial name necklace we have been selling out of fox brooches and the Arrgh Necklace has been doing very well.


You have collaborated with lots of creative people so far, who would you love to work with next ? 

We’d love to work with Grayson Perry.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and how far ahead do you work on new seasonal pieces ?

We’re currently finishing off AW13, so for the non seasonal collections we tend to work3-6 months ahead.

Are you music fans ? If so, what do you like to listen to when designing ?

We love music, it’s always been central to what we do. When we’re designing we listen to whatever we are currently into, although there are always old favourites like Belle and Sebastian, Electrelane or ESG.

As well as making your products, you also run jewellery making workshops and sell a “How to make jewellery” book – what inspired this ?

We’ve always done events to celebrate Tatty Devine and get involved with the customer. Our customers just love anything experiential and at heart we are all about DIY so we thought it would be fantastic to do a book with making ideas and to support this with workshops to give people the chance to make some of the pieces with the Tatty team.

With your jewellery stocking in over 300 stores worldwide as well as your own, how do you make it all happen ?

We’ve got a team of 30 people that make it all happen. Harriet and I design and oversee everything, but then we have people making, packing, doing the admin, working in the shop and workshops, doing the press and marketing, the accounts, the customer care and someone to look after our wholesale customers and attend trade shows.

What do you love most about  being designers and having your own business ?

The freedom to do what we want to do and the joy of making people happy with our jewellery.

 

What are your career highlights to date ?

Opening our shop in Covent Garden, the pop up in Selfridges and working with people like Rob Ryan, Gilbert and George and Tate.

 

Can you offer advice to anyone reading this who has a unique brand idea but doesn’t know where to start ?

Start small, let it develop organically and put all your energy and enthusiasm into it. Most importantly have faith in your idea and in yourself.

What can we expect next from Tatty Devine? Personally, I can’t wait…. :)

So much, 2013 is going to be a very exciting year.

Highly inspirational stuff and thanks so much to them both for taking the time out for a little chat. Here’s hoping for a Grayson Perry collaboration soon !

Do you have a favourite Tatty Devine design ? Please do leave me a comment below and spill the beans… ? :)

Follow Tatty Devine on Twitter, Become a fan on Facebook and you can see an abundance of cool jewellery, learn more about their workshops.. oh, and check out the brill book on their website.

All images copyright Tatty Devine 2012.

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Tutorial – making a bag with bamboo handles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As promised, after the recent bag that I made – here is my tutorial on how to make yourself ( or a friend ! ) a lined bag like this with bamboo handles. Some of you mentioned that you were thinking of making one as a Christmas present – a nice idea and it won’t cost the earth to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need:

2 pieces of your chosen fabric for the outer bag ( this is a pretty heart needlecord from Fabric Rehab ) sized 40cm ( 15 7/8″.. ish x 20″ plus seam allowances all around each piece of 1.5cm ( 5/8″ )

2 pieces of fabric for your lining, 40  x 50 cm ( 20″ ), again not forgetting the 1.5cm seam allowance.

Sewing machine ( is it also possible to sew all by hand – will just take longer )

thread colour of your choice

sewing needle

pins

fabric scissors

bamboo handles – mine are from Fabric Yard and size 13.8cm ( 5 4/8″ ) in diameter.

Assuming you have already cut your fabric ready, pin the two outer pieces of fabric together so that right sides are facing each other ( and if you have a pattern on it, that it’s all facing the right way ! ) and stitch them together with a 1.5cm seam allowance, all along what will be the ( 50cm ) bottom of the bag and also stitch together 20cm up the edges –  I have marked the fabric on this rectangle piece to show you exactly what I mean. Nip the bottom corners off with some scissors, be careful not too cut through the stitching. Press the seams flat.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat this process with the lining fabric, right sides facing.

Next, it’s time to sew the lining to the outer bag pieces. This sounds a little fiddly but when you’ve done it once, it will make sense.. hopefully !..

Turn the outer bag inside out and pop it inside the lining of the bag .. working on the left hand side of the bag first, place the unstitched side seams together with right sides facing making sure that both the lining and the outer bag meet at the 20cm stitch you made earlier ( see pic below ) and then pin it ( see second pic below )…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then stitch them together with a 1.5cm seam from the top of one side down to the middle where you meet the top of the 20cm stitch. Stop here. Then repeat this from the top of the other side ( we are still on the left hand of bag, don’t sew the right hand side yet ) so that you meet the top of the 20cm stitch poin again. Stop. Turn the bag the right way out and check it –  ultimately, when you turn the bag the right side out, you want it to look like this pic. If you still have a little gap then the stitches haven’t met each other yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat with the right hand side of the bag.

Now, turn the bag all the right way out, to double check that the right side of your outer bag is on the outside and the lining is inside and all seams should be hidden away in the wrong sides of the bag. Give inside and outside a press as this is the last chance you’ll have to do this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn back out to the right way again. Fold and press both the the lining and outer bag inwards by 1.5cm ( as above ) and press – and then turn it on once more by 3cm ( like the pic below ) and press again. If you have thinner or thicker bamboo handle, you may need to adjust how much you turn the fabric over by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using your first bamboo handle, fold the 3cm pressed fabric around this handle and pin it as you go. Don’t do it too tight, mind… or you won’t be able to gather the bag around the handle once you’ve sewn it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve pinned it all, sew the folded fabric by hand along the edge to only the lining inside ( so that you can’t see the stitches on the outer side ) and repeat with the other side and bamboo handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re done :)

Does this all make sense ? I hope so :)

I think in total, I spent about £11 on materials, so a not too bad priced pressie that just requires the time to make it.

Please let me know if and when you make this – and how you get on.. any questions just leave me a comment under here and I will get back to you in no time !

I love to hear your thoughts so please do leave me a comment…

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INSPIRE ME – with Chie Mihara

91There are certain shoe designers who radiate individuality within their work. To be able to do this – and mix it up with beauty and vintage inspiration is my idea of heaven !

Chie Mihara started out in 2002 and now ten years on, stocks her shoes, boots and sandals with over one thousand clients worldwide, including Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Neiman Marcus in the United States. She even has a really pretty and distinctive bridal range.

I have been a bit of a fan of Chie Mihara for some time, so am pleased to be sharing some of her inspirations with you today…

How did you originally get into shoe design ? Was it always a dream of yours ?

I was always into fashion. For me, shoes was a big unhappy story because I could never find a shoe that I liked for my 40 feet… but never thought I would be a shoe designer !!

Being into fashion takes you to all it’s areas.

Can you tell me the process from design to actual fruition ?

The longest process is the searching. I go to the shoe museum and look for images from different decades, also look for my fashion and accessories book archive I hold in my studio, do trips to Paris, Milan and look around what´s cooking…shops, movies, music, everything is feeding your mind with information.

Later I start defining last shapes, heel shapes, soles, platforms…go to leather fairs in Milan and Paris to see and buy from the tanneries. Once you get all these information you can start drawing…that can take three to four weeks…

Then you pass the catalogue finished with all details to the factory, once the patterns are made. The factory makes the samples and now we are ready to show to our customers from all around the world. we do fifteen to eighteen fairs per season and from the selling season we go to production time, that could take another three to four months until the stores would receive the goods to sell.. shoes

How many seasons ahead are you with your designing ? 

I finished summer 2013 a few months ago.  Right now for example, I am working on the fall 2013 /14 wich will be shown in fairs of early december through march and the shops will have it delivered by July / August.

Are all of your shoes handmade ? 

Yes. All shoes are hand made. even in China ! but of course the process we use here in Europe is more hands on and little details are watched carefully.

Which era’s do you draw inspiration from ?

I love the 30´s and 40´s because it was a very down to earth times and fashion was very utilitarian. Also enjoy the late 70´s and early 80´s for the fun and funky of disco and the explosion of youth. MG_06092

What would you say sets your style aside from other shoe brands ?

Comfort and the very personal style. I never look to what other brands are doing, I dont care. I only look and work for my never ending joy of  creating ! can´t allow myself being too comfortable or relaxed, I have to be hungry at all times !

Do you like to listen to music when working and if so what inspires you ?

Always ! music carries you to another state of mind…sometimes when I´m creating, I repeat the same cd over and over again…

With your shoes stocking in over a thousand stores worldwide now, this must keep you super busy! How do you relax when you get the time ?

I have three children (15, 13 and 11) and my husband, we do lots of things together. I have a very balanced life. I don´t live in a big city, we are sorrounded by mountains and the beach …we are in the mediterranean, its really nice.

But, I´m a very active person, I don´t know what´s relaxing and watching tv…never do that.

I take work on weekends and thats relaxing for me !

How long have you been designing wedding shoes as well ? They are stunning :)

Thanks ! I started wedding shoes four or five years ago…it was an easy choice, because my shoes are already romantic. Some clients would do the white combination and i decided to do it myself.

Could you give a bit of advice to new designers out there ?

You have to work hard on exploring your creativity. Develop techniques to get more original ideas and concepts. Don´t copy other designers! keep your personal integrity ! be original !

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Good looking shoes designed by a very inspiring woman ! Thanks so much, Chie.

I love the fact that Chie focuses on her own idea’s and remains unique !   

You can follow Chie Mihara on Twitter – @ChieMiharaStore, become a fan on Facebook and see more designs right here.

All images copyright Chie Mihara 2012.

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Kitsch fabric, 50s dress… I’m in heaven…

dress1I just wanted to show you this simple little vintage style dress that I’ve just finished. The fabric has been sitting in my cupboard for over a year.. maybe slightly because I like it alot, I didn’t want to use it up on something that didn’t get plenty of airings ! Luckily there’s enough left to make something else with it too.  It’s a nice feeling, making things that I can keep and pass onto my little daughters ( they already have their eyes on half of my wardrobe ! ) and this fabric is great quality so it should last the test of time… I just wish I could remember where I bought it from, incase anyone likes it.. but I can’t, sorry !

The bodice is from a pattern, in fact the same one I used for the polka dot dress for my friend, Lou ( I’ve added a detachable bow too, similar to her dress ) But, the skirt, I had to cut out a rectangle of fabric for front and back and gather it as it just wasn’t wide enough for full circle. I really wish there were more fabrics with wider widths, because it would make dressmaking sooo much easier. I guess there is always the option of having a seam down the skirt front as well as the sides, but personally, I prefer a simpler look. The dress has a cream lining and I popped some netting left over from my wedding dress, onto the skirt to add some fullness. I really recommend chalk marking the lining of the skirt where you are about to sew the netting in before doing it, it can end up wonky otherwise and it’s a right old pavlova palaver !

Now, accessorizing this… hmmm….Dolly Dagger have a very pretty Tarina Tarantino lucite bead bracelet that would work really well with the dress ( hint hint Father Cwistmas ! )…

… and I love these Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Patchuli III wedge heels, also from Dolly Dagger

What do you think, bow or no bow ? Are you making anything 50s at the moment ?  Do you have a favourite dress that you’ll keep forever more ? Leave me a comment and tell me, tell me !! :)

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INSPIRE ME – with welovekaoru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a firm believer that a cup of tea tastes so much nicer in a cup and saucer – and perfect if it’s vintage inspired, beautiful, fine bone china. Like all of these pretty welovekaoru pieces, right before your eyes :)

Kaoru Parry established welovekaoru after graduating from Central St Martins College in London. She owns Shoreditch collective boutique  Luna and Curious “offering a cornucopia of finely rendered objects and clothing” as well as stocking her own full collection of tableware.

The ethos of welovekaoru is to preserve the traditional values of real craftsmanship and work closely with small independent family run potteries to produce their pieces exclusively in the United Kingdom.

I had a little chat with Kaoru recently….

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   What did you study at Central St Martins and would you recommend college if you want to become a designer ?

I studied BA Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. The course has great contacts with the industry and puts a lot of energy into preparing you for the real world. It also houses a great team of technicians and facilities to assist in the practical aspects of design and manufacture. Now that you have to pay so much for further education, I would make sure that the course is definitely right for you. Even look to other European countries as their fees are often lower.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs ?

Anything old inspire my designs. I like the way beautifully crafted objects were often made to an industrial scale yet each one by hand and by highly skilled artisans.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   I first spotted your teacups in Liberty London – did it take long before you were asked to stock in lots of prestigious stores ?

I was discovered by Liberty at my first trade show in 2009. They have been stocking my designs since.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Would you say your work is influenced by Japan ….. having been born there ? 

Sometimes. The Take range ( green bamboo design ) was a direct influence from a beautiful antique kimono. But it’s probably more our company philosophy that’s been influenced most by Japan. Our values of excellent craftsmanship and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      Can you talk me through your process from your initial ideas to production ?

Lots of research and development followed by sketches and maquettes. I have great relationships with the small family run potteries in Stoke where we develop new products together. It may take years to finally get a new product into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Do you have a signature design ?

Not really but my ABC tea cups and mugs continue to be one of my best sellers.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Can you offer some advice for anyone reading this wanting to start a new brand ?

Work hard, do your research, understand business especially pricing, production and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                            What are your welovekaoru’s plans for 2013 and beyond ?

I’m really excited about 2013 as I’m going to launch a new range of products that are not strictly tableware. I’m also looking forward to interesting collaborations and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Thanks Kaoru ! Really elegant pieces, don’t you think ?..You can follow Kaoru’s store Luna and Curious on Twitter – @lunaandcurious or become a fan on Facebook.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway.. win a Janome Mega Tote Bag – it’s perfect for all of your sewing accessories !

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INSPIRE ME – with Jennie Maizels

Today I have an ‘Inspire Me’ interview for you with a very talented woman.

Jennie Maizels is a well established illustrator who has had sixteen children’s books published to date. You’d think this would have her kept fully occupied considering each book can take a year to complete, yet, Jennie also has a line of furnishing fabrics with Linwood, stationery ranges and also a great collection of embroidered iron on fabric plasters ( I can personally vouch for these as a really big hit with the kids ! :) )

Did you come from an artistic background ?

Yes I did, my parents met at Chelsea school of art, my mother is an illustrator and photographer and my father is a fine artist. Together they run the art magazine ‘Raw Vision‘ an international journal about Outsider Art.

I was bought up without a TV and my parents spent alot of time drawing and painting with me, it was a very creative childhood !

What did you study at St Martin’s College ? 

My degree was in Graphic design but you were given options after the first year and I chose to specialise in Illustration.

I think St Martins has changed alot, I was there nearly 20 years ago and as far as I can remember there really wasn’t much teaching. We were left pretty much to our own devices. Although at the time frustrating, I think as an illustrator being left to ‘fend for oneself’ and not be too influenced or guided makes it is easier to develop your own personal style and in a very unselfconscious way.

Who and what inspired you to become an illustrator ?

As I was growing up I never thought I would be anything else to be honest. It may well have been ‘Hobson’s choice’ as I wasn’t particularly academic and there were no other subjects at school I felt so passionately about.

I loved watching my mother draw with her coloured pencils. I was fascinated by their colours and how pointy she kept them.

My Grandparents lived in Geneva and always gave me tins of perfect Caran D’ache pencils which I would literally wear out.

For my 16th birthday my parents gave me a beautiful huge box of Prismacolor pencils. Over 200 colours. I opened it on Christmas morning and after staring at them for over an hour, I started copying a William Morris design and didn’t stop until Boxing Day night.

I can honestly say that my obsession with coloured pencils lead me ( no pun intended ! ) to become an illustrator. I knew they had to become the tools of my trade.

As far as inspirations from other artists, apart from my parents, I have always adored Fornasetti, I love how he covers literally everything with his illustrations, from plates and fabrics to furniture. I found this incredibly inspirational, it made me think that the work of illustrators shouldn’t be confined to flat surfaces and could be used on all manner of objects which are usually just adorned with print and pattern.

You have worked on sixteen children’s 3D ( pop up ) books over your career so far. The illustrations are really detailed – how long does each page take ?

A particularly complicated page of a pop-up book can take me up to 3 months. The final spread of The Global Garden Book comprises of a big bunch of symbolic or ‘useful’ flowers and is stupidly detailed. My studio was full of glorious bunches of extraordinary blooms, however, 6 weeks into the artwork and the flowers were all droopy and revolting, my children wouldn’t enter the room on account of the horrid smell !

In my recent Pop-Up London book, there is a small flap ( which many may miss ) revealing a cross section of Piccadilly underground section. It took me a whole weekend to draw and the image in the book is the same size as the artwork ( really really small )

Some single pages can total as much as 20 pages of artwork as there may be wheels, layers, flaps and big pop ups with the reverse artwork for the 3-D pieces too. A book will take on average a whole year to complete.

I love your line of furnishing fabrics for Linwood – are the prints taken from your book images at all ?

The wonderful thing about my fabric deigns for Linwood was that I had completely free range. I came to them with ‘mood boards’ expecting to go away and rework and elaborate, but instead they just said “yup” to each design and I started artwork straight away.

The images themselves were a mix of my most successful Clothes Plasters designs and a completely fresh think about what I thought would make great kids fabric. The Keep Out, Control Freak and Dream Room designs were originally designed as wallpaper, which I really hope one day to be able to do for them. They were all completed with the same coloured pencils though…

Will you be producing more fabric prints in the future ?

I would love to. I would really like to design a range of slightly more ‘grown up’ fabrics, something I have discussed with Linwood, but it’s up to them, I have a sketchbook full of fabric ideas ready and waiting !

Can they be purchased on your website ?

Yes all the fabrics, cushions, Clothes Plasters and stationery can be bought from the shop on our website www.jenniemaizels.com it’s free post and we even gift wrap them for you !

Your wonderful boys and girls fabric plasters make perfect stocking fillers – how did you come up with the idea for them ? 

I have two ( now not so ) little girls who are real Tomboys. I was always so upset when their pretty tights and dresses got holes in them. I am no sewer and even if the holes were darned the fabric hung oddly, especially their stripy tights ! So I tried to buy some small attractive motifs to cover the holes. I discovered there really wasn’t anything out there apart from nasty brands or plain patches.

It took us over a year to find a supplier who could replicate my artwork, we were so delighted when we saw how beautifully embroidered they were and what perfect colours they had chosen.

We now have themed sets as well as single patches and I am working on new designs as I speak.

 

JMWith your vast experience – could you offer any advice to illustrators/designers ?

Gosh ! What advice would I give ? Definitely never ever give up, if I had a pound for every ‘nearly life changing’, exciting project that fell through… So important to learn to pick yourself up and keep going. Be doggedly determined too, I remember doing massive mail-outs after graduating and spending hours making follow up calls and then traipsing round London for weeks with my portfolio.

Make your ‘voice’ heard above the rest, send out samples not just emails and target your publisher/art director thoroughly, researching the types of illustrations usually commissioned and make sure your style is compatible.

One sound piece of advice if you are keen to show your work to a children’s book publisher, do not think that you need a story. Editors have hundreds of writers waiting for suitable artists and they may think that you are wedded to the writer of the story or to your own text, let your illustration speak for itself….

2013 is on it’s way… what’s coming up for you ?

We are launching two new sets of Clothes Plasters, more stationery and even a range of mugs. I am also just about to start on another major pop-up book with Walker Books to be published in September 2014, so I’d better go and sharpen some more pencils…

Thanks so much to Jennie.  Some brilliant advice for new illustrators.

I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed for ‘grown up’ fabric prints with Linwood soon ! Do you love her designs too ?

You can find out more about Jennie at her website – www.jenniemaizels.com. Become a facebook fan or follow her on Twitter – @jenniemaizels.

All images copyright Jennie Maizels 2012.

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Fabric Yard giveaway ! Win 10 fat quarters and a pack of self cover buttons..CLOSED

 

Hot on the heels of my first tutorial post yesterday on how to make a gathered skirt in which I used some really unique Alexander Henry buddha fabric, I am starting a new giveaway here today….

The winner will not only receive this fabric bundle courtesy of www.fabricyard.co.uk consisting of ten fat quarters ( equivalent of two and a half metres ) with a mix of quilting and home decor weight – there is also a pack of self cover buttons included.

I have bought some really gorgeous fabric from Alice at Fabric Yard recently, designers such as Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman and some cute Japanese imports at good prices – I particularly love the fact that delivery within the UK is only £1 however much you order :)

Fabric Yard also sell bag handles and self cover metal buttons.

 To enter this Giveaway you need to do just a few things:

1. Make sure you are following both @FabricYard and @lucylovesyablog on Twitter and are fans on facebook:

Fabric Yard

LucyLovesYa

2. Tweet or facebook this quote:

I’ve entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a @FabricYard fabric bundle & self cover buttons! www.lucylovesya.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
3. Leave me a comment under this post letting me know you have done so and to validate your entry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
All done – thanks for entering !
                                                                                                                                              This will run for one week and a winner will be picked at random on Monday 29th October at 7pm.
T’s & C’s
Postage supplied by Fabric Yard
No cash alternative offered
This is open to both UK and overseas entries
                                                                                                                                        Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

My good books…


photo3I have been a little out of action this week, due to a very odd virus indeed – ( me not my blog )…. so, have been busy working my way through some of my favourite design and fashion books.

As much as I love the internet, there is something especially warming about losing yourself in lots of inspiring pages. To know also that they can be passed on to generations to come is really satisfying. I’d happily hang out in a book store all day if I could, perusing and and reading.

There are so many design titles out there, it’s hard to know without reading first which are going to fulfill you. If you have any particular ones that you could recommend to me, please do !….

Here are my current top few…..

The Dressmakers Technique Bible by Lorna Knight is a brilliant little book to keep at your side for reference. This was actually my bedtime read for a while ( I know, I need to get out more.. :) ).

The V & A Golden Age of Couture by Claire Wilcox has some breathtaking images inside as well “celebrating a decade in fashion history”. It’s perfect if you’re interested in the illustrations and workmanship behind a selection of all time famous couture styles.

I get a huge amount of inspiration from Japan. This Japanese Street Style book by Pat Lyttle is full of colour and kitsch fashion style photo’s of cutting edge looks. It’s fascinating if you love anything Harajuku or love the magazine FRUITS. It also looks at their history and how their fashion culture now takes much inspiration from british designers such as Alexander McQueen.

Forties Fashion by Jonathan Walford is a book stacked with 250 images from the 40s era, focusing on the ‘make do and mend’ approach to clothing due to rationing as well as how the second world war shaped this decades fashion. Lots of pics from styles across the globe. A really good read.

I can’t live without Winifred Aldrich’s ‘metric pattern cutting for women’s wear’ – if you are thinking of doing any designing – get this book !

Vivienne Westwood is my favourite designer. She’s smart, talented beyond belief and has the most incredible understanding of fashion when it comes to flattering the human form. So, this V & A book, again by Claire Wilcox is right up my street. It’s about her time in fashion and lots of photo shoots and catwalk pics.

Do you have any books you’d like to recommend ? Please leave a comment or tweet – @lucylovesyablog if you do as I would love to hear from you….

Oh, and don’t forget my giveaway ( below ) – it ends on Wednesday at 7pm !

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INSPIRE ME – with Celebrity Photographer – Steve Neaves

steve neaves photographerIt’s not everyday that you get to interview a long standing friend, but today I am, for ‘Inspire Me’.

Steve Neaves, a London based professional photographer, has worked with a truly diverse collection of people. Phenomenally talented ( rather modest ) and with an amazing eye for detail, his career in media spans two decades.

Recent well known clients include Ray Winstone, The Killers and Jonathan Ross.

I am really excited to be sharing some of Steve’s images with you today.

ray winstone image What inspired you to become a photographer ? 

Basically it was an accident, I was Art directing a magazine and we ran out of budget one month, so the editor suggested I shot a few features. People liked the work and I got commissioned to shoot a big campaign.

So I resigned – two days later the campaign was cancelled and I had no job !

the saturdays celebrities Have you always worked in the world of media ?

I started off as an engineer in my dads business – didn’t enjoy that so went into graphic design, which was exciting as Desktop publishing had just taken off.

keith lemon image

How did you develop your unique style ? 

It just evolved over time – I like unusual images, I always get asked to set fire to stuff, which is great as I like to set fire to stuff !

professor green imageYou have worked with lots of well known actors, musicians and models to date –  just recently, Ray Winstone, The Killers and Tinie Tempah. Are they ever involved in the creative process ?

Most of them just dont have the time, although you certainly find out when they dont like something, and its always on the shoot when its usually too late to do anything about it.

steve neaves images

From the initial photo shoot, how do you reach your finished image ?

I try to do most of it ‘in camera’ as opposed to photoshop – I love photoshop, but if you rely on it then things look very ‘photoshopped’. For instance my shot of Jonathan Ross with the car above his head we did for real.

We got it suspended from the ceiling on cables by two fearless professional rock climbers. It was insane !!

Your partner Zoe McConnell is also a photographer – do you ever get to work together on projects ?

We have often thought of it too as our styles are very different and would compliment each other – we just havent had the opportunity really.

What is the best thing about working as a freelancer ?

Not having to go to an office everyday….

…and the biggest challenge ?

Everyone says being self employed is great as you are the boss, well in my line of work every client is a boss, so you end up with lots and lots of bosses !!

steve neaves images

What is happening in the near future for you ?

I have a few things in the pipeline – which due to client confidentiality I cant talk about right now. But should be good.

I love Steve’s unique photography style and use of colour. Cool, huh ?

If you’d like to know more about his work or check out more images – here is the website www.steveneavesphotography.com and you can also follow on Twitter – @steveneaves72 :)

All images copyright of Steve Neaves photography 2012.

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