Thursday, 24 January 2013

Paperfolk Inspiration

Paperfolk is ten months old! I can't believe its almost been a year since I bought a domain name and set up my website and Etsy store. The past year has been a huge learning curve and all of the experimentation with products, marketing and designs has made me want to be more focused with this next year. I am currently 4 days away from the due date of my first baby so I know that my time spent on the business is going to be limited.

One of the main things that I struggle with is pricing my work. I sell jewellery, stationary and prints but i'm not a trained jeweller, graphic designer or print-maker. I thought it would be useful for me and my customers to explain my process so that they understand where the products come from and why they are priced accordingly.

Whenever i'm ready to start a new piece or collection I begin by completing rough sketches. These allow me to determine if I want to make it into a final piece- not every drawing makes the cut! If i'm using plastic I transfer the drawing by hand and complete the design in ink before sealing with varnish. On average a plastic brooch takes over an hour to complete at the drawing stage. I never print onto plastic- each piece is drawn by hand.
If i'm using wood I usually determine what shapes/sizes I would like the brooches to be and cut the wood accordingly. I then determine a colour palette in my sketchbook along with a geometric design. I usually just go with the flow in terms of the shape design as I've found this works well for me. The design is then transferred by hand to the piece of wood. I apply a base colour and then paint the colours by hand allowing for time to apply several coats. The piece is then sealed with varnish.

My packaging for the products is currently designed and created by me. I print the backing cards for all products by hand and ensure that online sales are accompanied with personal notes/email responses. I hope this is something I can continue to do as the business hopefully grows.

 I'm also determined to use my blog more effectively  to keep everyone up to date with research and designs for new products so that my customers can help shape the business with their valued feedback. I've had so many great conversations in person and via email which has definitely helped a lot.

This year i'll be launching some new products so watch this space!

Daily Drawings: TV Girl

A new character sketch- exploring some new ideas for the Paperfolk spring/summer collection. Still loving the watercolours as you can see!

Daily Drawings: Birthday Girl

Another quick research drawing I finished today. I'm not too sure about leaving the triangles in the background with just the dots in them but I'll probably leave for a few days and update later.
I used a 0.1 nib black pen and watercolours. I haven't used watercolours for a long time and i'm quite enjoying just playing around with the medium.

Daily Drawings: Legs and Balloons

This is one of my latest research drawings. I'm quite interested in using patterns to create texture and energy in a drawing instead of colour. I used a black 0.05 nib pen and a little touch of watercolour in the background. I bizarrely enjoy drawing lots of repetitive patterns and details- maybe it's because I can watch TV while i'm doing it!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Daily Drawings: Ninja Bunny

Just a quick drawing from today- thinking of embroidering a series around A5 in size so Ii could maybe make into cards. I tried to keep the lines quite simple so that it could transfer easily to a quick linear embroidery. As usual I used a 0.05 nib black pen on A3 size watercolour paper. Not sure if I'll go with the polka dot bunny ears- its not the best disguise for a ninja!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Daily Drawings: On Top of a Mountain

A quick snap of a research drawing I finished this morning. Again its graph paper and 0.05 nib black pen. This will probably end up being a bit of an epic embroidery to complete because of the variations in patterns around the sides but I think I could be up for the challenge!

Daily Drawings: Ears for Sale

This is a quick drawing on graph paper using 0.05 nib black pen. Hopefully it would work well on plain white cotton unless anyone knows where I can get cotton printed with graph paper? Might have to soften the ears and liquid a little- they're a bit dense just now.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Daily Drawings: Gold Girl with Cat Ears


Okay so I'm quite bad at keeping up to date with my research drawings. Its something I have always found really difficult because I tend to approach drawing in the same way as my embroideries (lots of detail and work) so they end up becoming a bit of intensive labour rather than just being a place to sketch out ideas.

In a bid to put a stop to this bad habit I will be trying to complete a drawing every other day and try to spend no longer than an hour on it. All of the drawings will hopefully at some point be turned into an embroidery. I can't promise I'll stick to the schedule but I'll definitely do my best! 

The girl with the cat ears (above) was finished in gold pen. I chose this particular medium because I would have to work quickly with it and it wouldn't offer me the option of doing lots of detail and shading. Plus I wanted to have a think about doing an embroidered piece with gold thread on white cotton. I may change some of the pattern when it comes to the embroidered piece but its definitely given me a starting point to work from.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Embroiderer's Delight: Six of the Best... Hand Creams

I don't know about you guys but as a person who embroiders for several hours at a time there's a few little things that can make a big difference to my comfort levels. Copious amounts of tea is one of them but the other is hand cream. If I'm honest I didn't start using hand cream until I realised that the hard skin on my right hand was getting out of control.

Here is my selection of the best hand creams available at the moment for lots of budgets... Let me know your favourites, I'm always ready and willing to try a new one!

1. Burt's Bees Hand Repair Cream, £11.99

2. Clinique Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream, £17.00

3. Loccitane Hnad Cream Cocoa Flower, £8.00

4. Philosophy Hands of Hope, £9.00

5. Molton Brown, Intense Hand Rescue, £21.00
6. Body Shop Wild Rose Hand Cream, £5.00

Monday, 7 January 2013

Inspiring Reads: Pattern by Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely is an internationally renowned surface pattern designer from Ireland. Even if the name is not familiar, the prints definitely will be! Orla's designs are stocked across the world in large department stores, such as John Lewis, down to small independent gift shops in local towns as well as her own stores.
Pattern is Orla's first book that gives an overview of her design work to date. I've been a big fan of her work since my days at artschool. I have always admired the bold, rich colour palette and use of strong symbols/imagery in repeat patterns. Despite having a range of very popular prints, the design team still manage to offer a new take on an older print without losing the identity of the original design that was so popular in the first place- any designer will tell you this is not easy to do!
I have offered an overview of each chapter within the book along with my thoughts below.
The book is split into six chapters:
What I enjoyed about this format in comparison to other design books is that it allows the reader to dip in and out of each chapter and makes it easy to refer back to at a later date.
As well as discussions about the prints and design work there is also an insight into Orla's creative process and her views on running a business in such a cut throat industry.

"With my own label, I have always followed my instincts. I firmly believe that being true to yourself is a guarantee that quality and integrity will shine through"
The Life chapter offers childhood anecdotes along with the designer's pathway from artschool through to running her own label- great for aspiring designers and business owners in the creative industries.

The Inspiration chapter offers exactly what you would expect. Orla discusses surface pattern designers she was inspired by when starting out as well as film & TV programmes that have fed into the ethos of the brand.

"When you make your living in design as I do, you never stop absorbing ideas  
from the world around you, even if you aren't consciously aware of it at the time.

It can be the smallest thing- products on a supermarket shelf, wild flowers in a
park, a knife and fork. It's all about taking mental snapshots of everyday things, mundane or random, old or new"
The examples of favourite designers and artists show a clear link to Orla Kiely's designs and offer a further insight into the creative process of the designer moving from research through to development stages of designs.  
The Colour chapter is an interesting mix of research into colour palettes for collections and the discussion of people's fear when it comes to using bold colour in their homes especially during the nineties. As a designer-maker I found this particular chapter of great interest because it offers a glimpse into development of mood boards and colour charts which are the starting point of any print collection.
"Colour is vital to me. I can't work or live without colour around me and it is central to what I do. For me, it is where the process of design begins"
The Print chapter follows a similar format to the previous Colour chapter. Use of a range scale and colour within a pattern is discussed in detail. There is a good section of the chapter dedicated to Orla Kiely's famous stem print and how this has been developed since the first collection.
"To see pattern as simply an ornament, however, is to misunderstand it in a fundamental sense. Pattern exists in the world, it is part of the underlying mathematical structure or design of life"
The Collections chapter, for me personally, was of the least interest. Orla discusses the cycle of fashion and process of a design going from paper to the factory and finally the shelf. Budding fashion designers may find it useful but for me it was information that I already know and felt more generic to fashion companies overall than specific to this brand.  
The final chapter Home allows the book to end on a similar personal note in the same way as it began. We are given an insight into Orla's personal style in her own home and the influence of vintage/retro styles mixed with modern interior design brands to create a quirky, stylish home. A few tips are given for those who are looking to replicate this style in their own homes.
"Mixing old and new is also a good strategy for furnishing. You do have to
exercise a degree of control, however- a jumble of pieces from wildly different
periods will simply look as if someone has cleared out their attic and dumped it all in your front room"
Overall I have to say I enjoyed this book immensely and found it easy to get absorbed in the text along with the beautiful colour images. I purchased the hard-back, clothbound edition which will look great on your book shelf and is a reflection of the quality of the brand as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!