Posts Categorised: Design/Interiors

New look LucyLovesYa – and an up cycled Purple Piece

Welcome to my new look blog ! I am so excited to be sharing it with you. Kim Lawler has done wonders. :) Kitty Finegan designed my new banner logo and caricature. I’ve been dying to show you it .. and now here it is. Over the next few days there will be more little tweaks … keep your eyes peeled.

Todays post is an up cycled chest of drawers – our spare room needed a bit more colour. This was given to us by a family member and it was a teak colour. No idea the era .. maybe you can tell me ?

My wonderful Sis, Clare, turned it in to something much more colourful. The paint is an Annie Sloane one – ” Emile “. I did have a look around at some knobs but the new colour, I think, personally really suits gold. So, I kept them.

Oh and look ! There’s us. I couldn’t bear to part with our wedding cake toppers so I bought a globe and popped us inside. We can live in a happy bubble forever more !

 

It is very difficult to find wall lights that are unique, kitsch and yet not too garish. These ones are from Lighting Majestic who very kindly wrote about LucyLovesYa a little while ago. They’ve a big selection of lighting if you’re ever looking.

In other news – I have been shortlisted, thanks to you lovely people for an Amara Interiors Awards 2014 in the Best Colour Inspiration Blog section. It has been narrowed down to 5 of us now. Very grateful that you voted for me. Thanks. The decision is in the hands of the judges now !

Hope you love the new look LucyLovesYa as much as I do. Tweet me @lucylovesyablog or leave me a comment. :)

Wallpaper to grow up with …

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There are literally thousands of stunning wallpaper designs on the internet. Trust me, I’ve been looking around to find one for my daughters bedroom, that will carry her through from being 8 to her teens. The ones I have chosen for you to see are of course, quite loud, but I think they would add great character to a room – maybe with just one wall covered. I would probably make a plain roman blind to go with this one made by Pip Studio and for sale on Not on The Highstreet by FIFTY ONE PERCENT ( no, I’m not shouting, that’s how they write it ! ). Love all the bobbins and sewing paraphernalia. :)

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Whether it is because I am obsessed with flamingos or maybe my just in the genes – Mae loves them too so this is definitely a consideration. We are only going to do one wall – I know feature walls aren’t as trendy as they used to be but I think it works well in a kids room, especially if it’s not too big. She loves blue too so it could be the one !

This wallpaper is by Cole and Son and and for sale at WallPaper Direct.

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This may not be every girls cup of tea * sorry, I’ll get my coat * … but it’s so dainty and pretty and I am sure would look amazing up. How could you ever get bored of looking at it ? It’s a Brian Yates print on the Select Wallpapers website.

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More birds. A really vibrant print, again from Not on The Highstreet by a shop called Snuggle. It is made to order in 50cm squares. What do you think ?

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I fell in love with this wallpaper the first time I saw it. It would probably mean a lot more to adults than it would to the ‘ new generation ‘ but it’s very retro and kitsch. Mae likes kitsch. So we might be on to a winner. This Penguin library wallpaper is by Osborne and Little from John Lewis.

My taste is very LOUD when it comes to prints as you may know. But I think these are all perfect for a growing girls bedroom.

What are your thoughts ? Do you have a particular favourite print that you’ve seen recently ?

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Lucy x

My Guest Post for Artist – Jessica Zoob

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 11.09.56 A quick update to tell you about my guest post on the very talented artist Jesssica Zoob’s blog. She very kindly asked me to write about LucyLovesYa.

Jessica trained at Central School of Art and Nottingham University and worked as a theatre designer for 7 years at venues such as The Royal National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. For 14 years now though she has worked exclusively as a contemporary artist from her home and studio in Sussex. She exhibits around London and her work is shown worldwide in private collections.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 11.08.11 I love Jessica’s style and find her use of colour really emotive. It’s easy to lose yourself in her work, I think it’s partly because of the different textures she uses in the process. I could stare at her paintings for hours ! If you’d like to see or read more about Jessica Zoob then click here for the website.

My post can be found here.

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All images copyright of Jessica Zoob 2014.

Rustic Trends – Tactile Textures

I was doing a bit of searching around recently on t’internet for trends this year because we’ve been doing some work on our home.

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Rustic is a top trend for 2014 so I have put together some images of what I would use for a bathroom with tactile textures.

I really like this Cambridge Free Standing Bath from C. P. Hart Bathrooms. I would ideally have some exposed brickwork which really breaks up a room, adds extra character and accentuates the shape. I do have some in my sewing room but would’ve loved to been able to do this in the bathroom too. I do like a splash of colour so would go for a wooden floor – and would some boldness in the accessories – like this Liberty London floral fabric for the blinds and some chunky towels.

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The board is on my Pinterest ( I strongly recommend doing an inspiration board if you are thinking of designing a new room ) of how I would accessorise with this bath – and have added some of the pics to this post too.

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A lovely earthy candle scent would add to the overall feel of the room – and a few pops of colour dotted around against the white walls to finish it off and a heavy duty wire rack. I don’t think you can go wrong with an old style radiator – again, this one is by C. P Hart Bathrooms – who incidentally have a broad range of bathroom showrooms, ideal to gain some inspiration and get a true appreciation of the look and feel of their products. Also, for professional and interior designers, they have a trade section on their website that is well worth exploring. if you need some when you come to do your own bathroom.

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This post is in collaboration with C P hart – all opinions are my own.

Make Roman Blinds – a Tutorial

As promised recently, having shown you my new sewing room roman blinds – here is a tutorial on how to make one for yourself. I’ve had some emails and tweets asking where my fabric is from – Kingdom Interiors and it’s Perroquet by Nina Campbell.

Before we get started, you will need:

Main fabric ( we will work out how much shortly.. )

Interlining ( Optional )

Blind lining fabric

Thread and sewing needle, scissors, pins, fabric chalk, tape measure, scissors, sewing machine, staple gun

Wooden baton cut to size inside or outside recess

Dowel rod and base bar – both of which you will need to cut to size.

Eye rings, blind cord, blind acorn, screw eyes and 1 cleat with screws.

All of these things should be obtainable from your local fabric shop, if not, try eBay.

Measuring up

Main fabric

You will either want the blind to sit inside or outside the recess. As you can see the one I made sits outside. You can do either as I have instructions here for both. Either way this tutorial is based on you using a 20 mm deep wooden baton. There are other methods but this is how I like to make them. If you are going outside the recess, the width of the window sill is your guide on how wide to make the blind and cut the baton.

Whether making for inside or outside the recess – measure vertically and horizontally , the top of the blinds will be stapled to the very top of the baton so remember to add allowances in the fabric length for this –  plus 5cm for a return at the top and 12 cm hem for the bottom. Each side of the blind will need 5cm return = 10cm total.

Work out all of these measurements below before buying your fabric to ensure you have enough – make sure too that your fabric width is wide enough for your window. Unless you have a plain fabric or a non obvious pattern you won’t be able to use the fabric sideways.

Horizontal: Desired width of finished blind + 2 x 5 cm ( 10 cm ) = Total width to cut.

Vertical:  length from very top of baton down to window ledge or desired finished drop + 17cm ( return and hem ) = Total length to cut.

NB. Before you cut, if the fabric has an obvious pattern – make sure you have decided on which parts of this you want to use and that you have it the right way up. In other words, frame in your mind the finished blind and how you want the it to look. I made sure on mine that the birds were as central as possible.

Interlining ( optional )

Same measurements as main fabric. I like to use this as it makes the blind more sturdy and it blocks out some light. You could use black out lining instead if you are making a bedroom blind – this will make your room much darker when they are down.

Lining fabric

Horizontal: Finished width + 4.5 cm either side ( 9cm ).

Vertical: Finished drop + 5cm return for top edge.

You will also be adding rod pockets to the lining – so will need to also add on 2.5 cm per pocket ( dependent on size – the larger the blind the more rod pockets will be required )

Putting your baton up

I recommend cutting to size and stapling the rough side of your velcro on to the top before doing this. You can always do it afterwards but if you have little space between baton and ceiling it will be trickier once it’s up.

Making the blind

Cut out your fabrics. Double check you have the right measurements ( above ) and go for it. Do the same with your lining fabric.

Starting with your main fabric – lay out flat with wrong side facing up. Place the interlining on top of the main fabric so that all corners match up and press both sides towards you by 5 cm. The interlining should be sitting inside the main fabric. Snip the corners ( see pic below ) off the interlining at the bottom of the blind to avoid too much bulk later when you mitre them ( you will see what I mean .. ). Then fold the lining fabric in by 5cm each side too and press.

Now, you need to work out where the rod pockets are to be sewn in on the lining fabric.

To give you an example – my blind has 3 rods and so is divided into 7 sections ( the number of sections is always the number of rod pockets multiplied by 2 then add 1 ) from the base of the screw eyes to the bottom of the finished blind is 121.5 cm so divide this by 7 and each section measures 17.4 cm – therefore the spacing between each rod pocket is 2 x 17.4 cm which = 34.8 cm.

Making sure the wrong side ( the side you have pressed the seams into ) of the lining is facing up Stick a pin where each rod pocket is going to be and then mark 125mm either side of each pin. One by one, fold and press each pocket so that the marks are facing each other ( each ” loop ” should total 2.5 cm ), press them and then machine sew all along the widths of the blind. You now have your rod pockets.

As above, lay out you main fabric ( if you have added interlining this should still be sitting inside ) with right side facing up. Lay the lining on top, wrong side up – checking that the top and bottoms of the main and lining fabric are adjacent and that the lining is placed centrally, you’ll find that the lining is just short in size of the main fabric – about 2.5 cm each side. Ease out any wrinkles, then mitre ( fold corners ) the bottoms of the main fabric inwards ( this is why you cut the the corners off the interlining ) so that they are the same width as the lining and pin to the main fabric. Machine sew a 1 cm line along the width off all of these layers to hold them together.

Turn the main fabric and lining out the other way so that the right side of of each is on the outsides. The interlining is now in the inside, still folded inside the main fabric. Pull the top of the lining up so that it matches the top of the main fabric and ease out any creases in all layers and then pin all along the top and sides. The recess bottom of the blind should look like this:

Give the blind a pressing all over. Double check for any creases because you are next going to machine sew a 1 cm line all along the top width of layers. Once you’ve done this, either machine or hand sew the soft side of the velcro all along the top of the wrong side of the blind ( above ).

Place the base bar inside the bottom of the blind. They generally come in metre lengths so you may need to cut to size.Now, from the very bottom of each side, herringbone stitch the reverse of the main blind to the lining. Don’t yet stitch up the rod pocket as you haven’t inserted them yet :)

Hand sew eye rings 5 cm in on each rod pocket and then space others in between, depending on how many cords you are using vertically, to pull the blinds up ( I used 3 on my blind ) and then stab stitch just under each of the rod pockets. I tend to do two stitches as find it holds all layers together better, especially if you have interlining.

Insert your cut to size dowel rods and then sew up the ends of the rod pockets. 

Screw the screw eyes into the base of the baton. They need to be directly above the threads and one above the cleat – time to decide here if you want this to be on the left or right of the window. Screw the cleat in half way down the window ready.

On each bottom eye ring attach a cord by tying a knot and then thread up through each eye ring above then to the left or right, dependent on which side the cleat will be.

Putting the blind up

Velcro the blind together at the top. Now cut and thread the blind cords up through the relevant screw eyes above and then if going left thread all cords through each screw eye including the one above the cleat or vice versa if you are going right. Gently pull all cords down at the side so that the they are all taught at the back and threaded without any loose cords and then braid all cords together down the side ( this is for safety too ). Cut the braid where the cleat is and attach a weight on the end by threading the plait through and then knotting it underneath.

When you pull the braided cord the blind should pull up evenly ! It might take a few days to sit “right” so I recommend leaving it up for a few days for the folds to settle.

INSPIRE ME – with Horace Panter

Today, ‘Inspire Me’ is with Artist Horace Panter – whom you may well also know as Sir Horace Gentleman, bass player with Iconic Ska band The Specials.

Horace already had a Fine Art degree under his belt when he joined The band in 1977 and so it was just a matter of music, tours and an interesting teaching role, before he would produce his own icon inspired artwork. The first public exhibition of many took place in November 2011 with great response and there are plenty more to come.

News of a 2013 tour with The Specials is out, so all in all, next year is sounding good too.

I could’ve asked many questions to someone with such an interesting and varied life to date – but I managed to narrow them down and hope you enjoy …

You studied art before even joining the Specials – you had your first exhibition at the Strand in London only last year – what has the reaction to your work been so far ?

I think it has surprised people. There have been a lot of positive responses and Iʼve been taken a lot more seriously than I was expecting, you know, the ʻsemi – retired rock star with too much time on his handsʼ reaction, but itʼs been more like ʻwow, this guy can actually paint !ʼ

Do you think it’s important to study your craft at college or university, be it fine art or whatever you choose in life ?
If youʼre going to be a doctor or an architect, then yes ! I suppose it depends on what sort of artist/musician you would like to be. Francis Bacon, for example, never went to art school. It has helped me, I know that, by giving me a credibility I would not otherwise have had. Also, a grounding in Modern Art History has helped but you donʼt need to go to university to study that.

Has working as a musician developed you as an artist – and vice versa ?

Only in as much as it has enabled me to travel and visit art galleries and find inspiration from around the world. No, thatʼs not all, if I wasnʼt a professional musician with lots of ʻdown timeʼ I wouldnʼt have the excess of free time to paint. When Iʼm rehearsing in the studio or doing a gig, I have to fit into a team and concentrate on what works best for the group; when Iʼm painting, Iʼm solo, making all the decisions.

When you are painting do you like to surround yourself with solitude or paintings and music ?

Preparing boards and preliminary stuff I can listen to music, but I canʼt multitask very well; I could never do my homework in front of the TV so, when Iʼm painting, I like solitude.

Did you design The Specials logo ?

Not entirely. Jerry did the two-tone man and I did the 2 -Tone Records bit.

You were Head of Art at a school for autistic children for ten years – how did this come about and did any of the students work inspire you ?

I went into the special needs school as support for one specific pupil. As he settled back into the school, I was ʻabsorbedʼ into the staff and once it was discovered that I had an art degree  (the art teacher was really a PE teacher who took the job because no-one else wanted it … yes, school is like that! ), I was offered the job so a bit ʻunder the radarʼ really. It was a fantastic experience, especially dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. It made me change the way I viewed art – to make it more immediate.

Who and what are your biggest influences ? Is this ever evolving ?

Musically, most stuff on Tamla/Motown and Stax/Atlantic, Chicago Blues and Dub Reggae. Artwise, the list is longer – Henri Rousseau, (Sir) Peter Blake, Wayne Thiebaud, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Robyn Denny, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, James Rosenquist – mainly American 1960s artists, but they, the 60sʼ, were my formative years. Lately, I think Iʼm like the Borg out of Star Trek inasmuch as I accumulate everything and it becomes a source for work. I like the phrase ʻappropriation and subversionʼ!!

As a bass player and teacher you are in a supporting role – how does it feel to be the front man ?

The art career is my ʻsolo albumʼ. It is a different kind of creativity.

Are there certain galleries that you look forward to visiting when you’re on tour ?

Oh yes ! There is a probability we will be in New York towards the end of summer. I have never been to the new MOMART. The year before last, we were in Europe and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne was fantastic, as was The Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Is you work influenced by pop art ?  What do you love about it ?
To my way of thinking, Pop Art was to Art History what Punk Rock was to Rock and Roll. You had Abstract Expressionism, which was very elitist and metaphysical ( I love Rothko by the way ) and then along comes a guy with a soup can ! My work is heavily influences by traditional iconography and the word ʻmundaneʼ is used a lot in iconography as it is in Pop Art. ʻElevating the Mundaneʼ is one of the tropes of Pop Art and a lot of my work looks like Pop Art. Peter Blakeʼs technique and his use of colour are also big influences.

I love your cassette paintings, they really remind me of my treasured mix tapes  – if you were making up your ultimate mix tape of 30 minutes / 10 songs.. what would they be and why ?

1. Road Runner, Junior Walker and the All Stars

2. All Down the Line, Rolling Stones ( off Exile on Main Street ) !

3. Too Much Alcohol, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks

4. A Little Bit of Love, Free

5. Outta Space, Billy Preston

6. Dub Tree, Joe Gibbs ( from African Dub Chapter 3 )

7. Trampolene, The Spencer Davies Group ( worldʼs greatest B-Side )

8. PCH, ZZ Top ( great driving music )

9. China Girl, David Bowie ( with Stevie Ray Vaughan channelling Albert King )

10. Pour Me One More Drink, Robert Ward ( the Blues – for real )

What inspired you to write your book  – Ska’d for life ?

I had these two diaries from our US and Japanese tours and my parents had collected 11 scrap books full of Specials and Two-Tone related press. I was always the one that people were being directed to: ʻAsk Horace, he remembers stuff like thatʼ. There had been a couple of ʻfan-relatedʼ attempts at writing about the band but I thought they were far from accurate and no-one in the band had done it … so I did. Also, I twisted my ankle during the summer holidays and had fuck all else to do !!

Could you offer some words of advice for any aspiring artists and musicians reading this on how to fulfill their dreams ?

Self belief and persistence. Oh, and a good manager. Thatʼs A GOOD MANAGER!!

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ? .. and will The Specials be touring next year ? I will look forward to both..

By the time you publish this, The Specials May 2013 UK Tour Dates will have been announced. In 2012 I had 14 exhibitions – great fun but too much! In 2013 I am discussing exhibition dates in Liverpool and Glasgow in the early months and have one pencilled in for Number 9 Gallery in Birmingham for the summer. As soon as I have confirmation of any exhibitions the dates are published on Twitter and Facebook and also in the ʻHoracePanterArtʼ quarterly newsletter … all the logistics are handled by Clare, the woman I love !

A massive thanks to Horace ( and Clare ! ) …it is an honour to interview someone whom I have grown up listening to and loving their music, and now am very inspired by Horace’s artwork too.

You can see more of Horace’s work on his website – www.horacepanterart.com Follow him on Twitter @horacepanterart and you can become a fan facebook for info on upcoming exhibitions and shows.

All images copyright Horace Panter 2012.

Leave me a comment here to say hi or tweet me – @lucylovesyablog I’d love to hear from you :)

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INSPIRE ME – with Paris – Coldplay’s Artist in residence.

A few weeks ago, I talked about my evening at the Coldplay concert at Emirates stadium on the leg of their Mylo Xyloto UK tour.

As my husband is currently working with them, myself and a few friends went to their show and our first impressions of the huge stage area were all literally “WOW”.

We were completely blown away by the graffiti artwork, the enormity of it all and how totally captivating it was. A massive beautiful work of art !

This week for ‘Inspire Me’, I feel very lucky indeed to be interviewing the artist who has created all of this – Paris, and to find out more about his artwork, inspirations and plans for the future as well as what it is like to be collaborating with Coldplay, one of the biggest bands on our globe…

Firstly, Paris, what an amazing gig to get ! Please tell me how your collaboration with Coldplay came about ? 

I’ve been so lucky to land what I reckon is one of the best jobs in the world !….

The band already had an interest in graffiti , but they wanted to meet a real graffiti artist… I was recommended through a friend of a friend.

I met the band, we had fun spraying in their studio, and before you knew it we were painting the Album cover for Mylo Xyloto and getting jetted around the world to paint all kinds of things for their shows !…

 How does it feel having 50,000 people a night at the Coldplay shows looking at your graffiti work ?

It’s an amazing feeling, I got to see quite a few of the Stadium gigs last month in Europe, and the other week in Manchester was one of the best yet… the whole show, the whole production is incredible ,so just to be a part of that is great…when I think how many people see it in just two days its staggering…and our artwork is hard to miss, it’s all over the stage, instruments, screens & stadium !

My husband, Andy, is blown away by your speed ! You turn Chris Martin’s piano and Will Champion’s drum kit into pieces of art so quickly. Do you pre plan what you are going to create and do you always work at a fast pace ?

I think working fast keeps you on your toes, and it gives your artwork an added vitality.

This is what first attracted me to graffiti as a kid, when it’s done well it has a lot of visual power.., and a lot of this comes from painting at night, the thrill and the energy comes through in the work.

For the Coldplay artwork I’m creating a look that is playful and loose, and this can be a lot harder to create in a studio than it looks…one way of getting the right effect is to do it fast, get loads of paint & pens and just go at it !

At what age did you start graffiti-ing and what inspired you ?

I was about 7 or 8 when I first saw graffiti, in about 1981, at that time it was just Punk graffiti, stuff like the Anarchy symbol & “The Jam” & “Sis loves Saz” written on walls near my house, even then I remember it fascinated me, to think who did this ? and when did they do it ?..

By about 1984 there was a lot more breakdance style graffiti around Hull, and this was more colourful, that stuff I loved.

In the middle of a housing estate you’d see “Egyptian Lover” in 6ft high letters in reds, oranges yellows blues & greens…I’d see this from the school bus every day….I just thought “I want to try that” it looked like so much fun.

Did you study art at college?

Yeah, I had a really good tutor at Hull College called Connie Littlefield, she taught a whole bunch of us Hull kids about the Great Masters & the great art movements..The Cubists, The Impressionists,  Art Deco.. all that.. and took us to London & Paris ( this is where I chose the name….in 1992 )..she really opened my mind to what was out there, really really inspired me…, after that I studied in Bolton for 2 years, then in Bristol for 2 more specialising in Printed Textiles for Fashion.

This was definitely the best course for me, so much looser than Graphics, and Fine Art was a bit too snooty…

I came out with a First Class honours so that was okay, but I had to build my business myself, and that took years !

 

Where did you used to do your graffiti art and do you know if any of it has survived the test of time ?… 

I used to live near a big park as a kid and like everywhere in Hull back then there where a lot of abandoned buildings.

There was an old boat house that we called the “Acid Hut” and this is where I did some of my early pieces with my mate Xenz and later we teamed up with an older lad called Eko. We painted an old swimming pool in the park too, the Lido, and the basket ball courts, it was good fun in there, not bothering anyone, and if you painted when Home & Away and Neighbours where on it was so quiet you had the place to your self and all the time in the world to spray. Sometimes the Park-keepers would chase us off but it was all good fun.

Most of those places have been re-developed or knocked down now, the handball court is still there but that gets re-painted every month or so…..it’s a legal graffiti wall now…haha.

I guess its the nature of graffiti to be temporal, even if it survives the test of time the weather will one day wash it away, there might be few bits & pieces around, maybe in someone’s back garden!

Your girlfriend, Milk, is also an artist, do you ever collaborate ?

Yes, Milk has helped me out a lot with some of the bigger Coldplay jobs, and we often get the chance to paint together at Festivals and on walls around the city. We met through painting, and our styles compliment each other well, I think it’s a match made in heaven ! X.

I’ve discovered French street artist Koralie and Swoon, from the States.. Are there alot of female graffiti artists in the UK ? 

I think there are a lot more female graffiti artists in general these days, though even in the beginning in 1970s New York there was Barbara 62 & Eva 62 and in the 80’s there was Lady Pink who still paints now.

I think it can be daunting for girls who want to paint, as graffiti can be a bit of a boys club, but the female influence is vital, I think it really freshens it all up. That’s how I met Milk, I saw her work and it was a hundred times more original than most blokes graffiti out there, with really beautiful colour combinations too.

Milk’s done a few pieces with my sister K184, and they also did a show called “Great Birds of the British Isles” with Amour and Dora who are also female artists.

How do you get inspiration nowadays ? 

Even if it’s just on the walk to my studio I’ve started noticing all these amazing marks on old walls and doors, and the effects corrosion can have on buildings. I find I’m looking at all of this around me with new eyes, I guess it’s just looking properly…, its always been there.

The Hockney show in April had a pretty profound effect on me..that was very inspiring, just the scale alone, it helped me see “the bigger picture”… a true master, and Jeremy Dellers recent show was also a real eye opener.

I find travel is one of the greatest sources of inspiration, wherever me & Milk go we’re always searching for the ‘down at heel’ bits of a city with Dusty shop fronts and old cafes.

We went all over Europe in 2010 and when we got back we just had hundreds of photos of old logos, shop fronts and bits of fabric !

 Are there any other artists/bands that you would really love to work with ?

I’d have loved to work with the Beastie Boys, as I admire everything they’ve ever done….

Jay Z would be cool to do something for, or I’d like to create something for a Detroit Label, I love that futuristic sound.

It would be pretty cool to create artwork for a sci-fi film …maybe just decor or graphics.

Your website www.paris1974.com showcases your paintings for sale – is this something you’re focusing on more now .. and what is happening for you in the near future ?

Yeah, now I’ve got a lot more time in the studio it’s really helped my painting to flourish.

This is something I really want to push, hopefully I can exhibit in London & further afield.

I find painting on canvas pretty scary, but you’ve just got to persist at it.  Doing a wall anywhere, in front of hundreds of people is nothing to me, but I really feel the pressure with a canvas. One way to get over this is not be too precise about it. I’ve got a big wall behind my studio and I nail a load of canvass to this and then just go off!, have fun then work back into each painting individually over time. The work’s selling really well and the prices are rising so hopefully this is something I can keep doing for years to come.

The Coldplay work has made all of this possible, and a lot of my new paintings have been inspired by this collaboration.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists ?

Keep doing what you LOVE doing, theres a lot of distractions out there, but if you feel that art & creativity is your chosen path you’ve got to grab hold of it with both hands, Hockney’s work showed me that , he’s 70+ and all he’s been doing all his life is painting & drawing and being creative..and his work shows it, and its all totally possible, you’ve just got to believe in it, no-one will make it happen – but you.

Thanks so much to Paris, for giving me this interview and us all an insight into his life and inspirations. Really interesting, eh ?

If you would like to find out more about Paris’s artwork for sale, head on over to his website www.paris1974.com – that’s where I’m off to …. :)

All images are copyright of Paris 2012. Thanks Peeps

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INSPIRE ME – with Bombus.

Today my ‘Inspire Me’ feature is focused on Amelia Coward, owner of unique découpage gift company Bombus.

Mixing vintage style with modern design, the Bombus ethos is “making something out of nothing” – producing pieces such as bespoke map art, Up-cycled stamp art chairs, cards and jewellery to name but a few….

Amelia, what is your early design background ?

People often ask how I got into découpage and I realise that this was something my mother had introduced me to at a very young age. She would give me scissors and an old magazine and I would cut out small images and organise them in piles. She then taught me how to glue the pictures onto large pebbles and varnish them for door stops.

and your formal design background ?

 I studied textiles and weave at Central St Martins; followed by postgraduate study at The Royal College of Art. After several years working in the commercial textiles and furniture industry I was keen to get back to doing something handmade.

The Bombus story ?

It started in 2003, when I découpaged vintage cowboys and Indian comic strips to a 1950s coffee table. I used it for a shop window display as a prop and it sold within hours. This technique was applied onto chairs and a range of home-ware products. Customers were keen to commission special pieces using their own choice of comics and vintage papers. The light-bulb moment came when I stumbled across a box of old maps. The concept of applying maps to the products, took my designs to a whole new world of eager customers. I now had a waiting list of people wanting their own choice of map location applied to the products.

Nine years later…

We are now a team of seven and working out of our dedicated studio space in a converted stable block on a farm in Kent.

Do you have a Signature product ?

The Bespoke Map Heart. Everyone loves maps and certain places hold special memories. The beauty of our bespoke map collection is that the customer can choose their own map location. You can be as detailed as a street name, as broad as a whole country or anywhere in between.

What was your inspiration ?

In 2007, when my partner and I moved house, I made a Valentines card using a vintage map of the area we were moving to. It was a simple idea but I realised that it could potentially be a good commercial product.

Any advice for a designer thinking of setting up in business ?

Get your pricing right. We time each part of the making process against a stopwatch, so we know the exact cost of labour. There are the obvious costs of materials of course but it’s also critical to remember stuff like VAT and the commission percentage if you are selling via a third party. Keep checking your price against your competitors and contemporaries. We always try to aim for a profit margin of at least 45%. You can’t be sentimental about a product that isn’t going to make you any money.

What does 2012 hold for your brand ?

We’ve had a great year so far. We exhibited at a trade fair in January and now sell via more than 30 independent retailers across the country, including Liberty of London who stock some of our greetings cards. We sell via our own website of course and have two storefronts on Notonthehighstreet.com We are exhibiting at another trade fair, Pulse London in June, where we will be launching new collections and developments of our current range. We’re in early stages of developing a textile collection, which we’re very excited about. And following frequent customer enquiries we’re also currently designing a wedding stationery collection. We’re hoping to ‘soft launch’ the wedding stationery in autumn this year with a full launch in the spring of 2013. We just wish there were more hours in the day!

A big thanks to Amelia and her company – I have much admiration for her. 

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INSPIRE ME – with Beauvamp.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.00.19I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really like this brilliant company. My Beauvamp lampshade gets more attention than me, which is fine :) because it’s a real feature and I love it.

Alice, owner of Beauvamp specialises in making one off and limited edition pieces and everyone is unique because they are handmade. Her designs have featured on BBC2 and she has been working on some other really interesting projects recently too… I find her work very inspirational. p00pk9cp

Alice, I think you have a great eye for colour, is this something you’ve always had?

Well, I’ve always loved colour and as much of it as possible. I like a real mish mash and don’t shy away from a good clash! Big splashes of colour can brighten up your day and are great to have dotted around the home. I tend to keep my walls and furniture in pale colours such as white, greys and creams, this helps to really make your colours jump out from the crowd.

Did you study textiles or design?

Not straight away. I used to work in the events industry putting proposals forward for corporate client events, such as set and stage design, team building activities and theming ideas, which was fun but only ideas on paper. I actually decided that I wanted to design and make for myself and see the finished product. I have been interested in interiors since before I can remember and was forever changing my bedroom furniture around as a kid and decorating my walls with all sorts of nik naks. Design was always my favourite subject at school but then ventured off into marketing and events later realising I was destined to come full circle. I eventually set off on a furniture renovation course learning all the tricks of the trade and two years later, BeauVamp was born in 2007. It’s been great to be able to set up my own business working from my home in Derbyshire whilst having enough time to also spend with my 2 boys. I have 2 workshops and a fab sun room in the house from which to create my designs.

Where do you get the inspiration for your wonderful pattern and colour combinations?

All sorts of places. Travelling through India and across South East Asia was a real eye opener with amazing fabric patterns and colour combinations in the local markets. Catwalk fashion from the 40’s right through to the present day along with interior and craft magazines are another great source for seeing what’s evolving and new out there and then creating your own take on things.

How long does it take to create each lampshade?

It really depends on the design, but I usually spend over 2 days preparing and making a standard lampshade with just one fabric and trim. Lampshades with more fabrics and fringing can take longer.

Working in a patchwork method I mainly apply a range of fabrics over the top of a sound base fabric, this allows all sorts of light weight fabrics to cover the shade that would not normally be suitable if using the old and traditional method of stretching. Working in this way means I can really play around with the fabric patterns for example when working with stripes, each panel can be cut to a different angle, i.e. horizontally, diagonally, vertically and so on. Or a number of different patterned fabrics can be applied to just one shade. There are an abundance of fringing options available from hand sewing my own ruffle trim in fabric to applying glass beading, tassels, feathers, pom poms, the choice is never ending, a real wonderland mix! BV2
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I’d love to know more about the vintage lampstands that you revamp?

Yeah, I have been working on these more recently and have attached a few pictures for you to see. I salvage original vintage stands and recondition them. I have them professionally re-wired if needed and then prepare them for paints and fabrics. Paints used are usually from the Farrow & Ball or Little Greene collections and then the fabrics are applied again in a patchwork manner using a fabric adhesive. The fabric is then coated in a special matt sealant that makes the fabric hardwearing.

Do you have lots of interesting commissions coming up?

Well, I’ve just finished some exciting projects, one of them being the new Zizzi restaurant in Victoria, London, where I got to work with B3 Designers on providing the lighting ( pictures attached). I’ve been told they are submitting the restaurant into the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, so that’s all very exciting and I wish them the best of luck. http://www.restaurantandbardesignawards.com/

I’ve also been busy producing lampshades for the recently featured Ann Robinson Show on BB2, My Life In Books. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01czf06

I also have a few more potential projects in the pipeline for a pub chain and hope to be launching my new online shop shortly www.beauvamp.com …… watch this space! Please note in the mean time all my current stock can be viewed on the following link www.notonthehighstreet.com/beauvamp

If anyone has any question or ideas they would like to discuss just drop me line at alice@beauvamp.com and I will be glad to assist.

Thanks Alice. A very clever woman ! :)

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Another great artist to add to the kitsch mix…

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I must have art on the brain today. Another great  website called EyeCandy by freelance Lisa Ashcroft is on my radar.

Lisa is a versatile artist and also works with tattoo artists by designing artwork for them.

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Do you ever get that tummy flip when you see a painting with all the colours that you love ? Her work does that to me.

Paintings that you can study for hours are my favourite.

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Lisa Ashcroft uses textiles and lots of hand stitching so it’s a blend of textures and wow, the colours are gorgeously bright and intense. Inspired by her own tattoo work and kitsch, street art..

What do you think of her work ?

Lucy x