Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Wonderful work of Molly Ellis (Ewe Sir)


Ewe sir is an Irish paper goods and textile range by Cork based artist Molly Ellis. This unique wildlife art is designed with the individual character and personality of each animal in mind and animal lover Molly aims to awaken nature in the hearts and homes of the owner.

Molly has a unique method of creating her artworks- the process includes stitching together materials such as raw wool fibers, Irish moss, and vintage fabrics. She then captures the image and prints it in 2D onto paper and card. The result is something that is beautiful and delicate and it appears to be so textured and tactile that you just have to try and touch it!

These endearing and unusual and collectibles are the perfect gift for an art and animal lover, dreamer and nature enthusiast.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

Molly = art + animals. That’s just how I was made. I need both of these things to be me. I was teaching art for a few years which sparked an interest in the craft side of things. I loved the buzz around fairs and experimenting with materials. It seemed like lots more fun than exhibitions and galleries and parent teacher meetings.


Images © Ewe Sir

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

Each piece has a process. I usually study the animal through sketches, photos and generally interaction. I want to capture its essence not just its likeness. I sketch out the outline on pre-felt and then pop it under the sewing machine. I completely free hand it from there. Often I work on several pieces at once and come back to it a few weeks later. I like to work on all the stitching at once or all the felting or dying at the same time. I think I get better work that way.
I turn a lot of my originals into prints and notebooks. I have to photograph each piece really carefully to get the texture and detail just right. I am always looking for the print to fool the buyer. They should go to touch it, even though they know it’s just paper. I am as precise about my pocket notebooks as I am about my originals.


Images © Ewe Sir




3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)? 

If I can’t say time as that’s non-existent, I would say space! I work from home so trying to squeeze it all in is just mind boggling. Last time people visited I spent three days perilously stacking boxes of paper, ink, and wool so they had a bed to sleep in. 


Images © Ewe Sir

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I am always buzzing with ideas. Its because I love nature and have filled my life with it. I live 3 minutes from an amazing beach. I have surrounded myself with chickens, dogs, horses, wild rabbits and donkeys. I built a life that inspires me.

Motivation is different. That’s tough, there are aspects of the business I am just pure stubborn about. It takes a lot of chocolate to get me through that.



Images © Ewe Sir

5. Describe your creative space

At present it's in my head! The actual space is in my kitchen as it has the best light. If I looked around I might have to tidy or cook or something and I wouldn’t get much done. I have a lovely old table and a tree branch over my head to hang my ideas from.

Image © Ewe Sir

6. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

To say “I” rather than “we”. I used to say stuff like “sure we all think that..” now I say “I think that”. It's empowering, and confidence building. I own my own opinions, dreams and thoughts. I do not need to validate it.



Images © Ewe Sir

You can see more of Molly's beautiful work on her Facebook page and buy her original artworks, art prints and stationery in her Etsy Store

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New Greeting Card Collection


I spent last week taking photos of my new collection of greeting cards. West Cork in the sunshine is such an amazing place to be! I wanted to inject a bit of my own personality into the shoot so I picked flowers from my garden and arranged them in an assortment of glass jars and vases.


I had asked my Mother to hold on to any vintage jars she could find so when we moved back home in March there was a lovely little collection waiting for me! She also held on to these vintage lace tablecloths which are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. I have quite a large collection of paper doilies now so I wrapped some around the jars for that extra bit of texture and detail.


The collection consists of three greeting cards, with digitally printed images of my original hand-drawn artworks. The cards are left blank inside so they are suitable for many different occasions. They are A6/ 105 x 148mm, printed on high quality strong card with a smooth silk finish and come individually wrapped with a quality white envelope.

This image is titled 'Let's Grow Together' and is suitable for a number of different occasions including:-
  • To send some love! 
  • Engagement 
  • Wedding 
  • Anniversary 
  • Valentine's Day 



'Blossom'- suitable for a number of different occasions, including:-
  • Pregnancy
  • New Mother
  • New Baby


'Lucky'- suitable for a number of different occasions, including:-
  • Hello from Ireland
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Good Luck
  • Exams
  • Travel


I am happy to supply stockists worldwide. For wholesale enquiries please contact me at petaltopetal@gmail.com

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Monday, 21 July 2014

The Wonderful work of Daria Hlazatova


Daria Hlazatova creates surreal and beautiful dreamscapes peppered with inspiration from a combination of creative influences- medieval art, the Baroque, and Art Nouveau. The Ukraine based artist's love of fairy tales, theatre and music is evident in her work which combines breathtaking detail with otherworldly and theatrical elements.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I started drawing at an early age. I don't have a business. All I do is draw from morn till dawn. My nature completely lacks any necessary qualities of a businessman. Business to me is associated with money. And art is an antidote to it... or to the lack of it. I just draw. 

 Image © Daria Hlazatova

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I have millions of ideas all the time, brilliant, mediocre and bad ones. I usually write them down in a notebook (then, as a rule, I lose it). A lot of times I catch the wave of inspiration from something I saw or heard and I draw my impression of it. I don't have a method really. I use every opportunity, rarely plan and have as few rules and regulations as I can.
My drawing process at all times involves paper, drawing materials (I use different media, from collage to pencil and very rarely acrylics but I always stick to Faber Castell artist pens), a table, music or an audiobook and my temporary unavailability to the rest of the world.


 Images © Daria Hlazatova

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

My obsessive compulsory drawing addiction, which is a curse and a blessing. 


 Images © Daria Hlazatova

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I listen to Nick Cave on repeat in hope to become as cool as he is. But actually, there's no need to stay motivated if you have drawing addiction, like me. Many things inspire me, like the ocean, things I see in my sleep, exciting encounters, theatre, travelling, paradoxes, and secrets.
 Image © Daria Hlazatova

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?

I love creating album art, and taking part in Secret7s exhibitions for 3 consequtive years, where my sleeves were on display with some artists I admire, like Anthony Gormley - is definitely delectable icing. Of course, feedback is even better than the icing on the cake... it's a macaroon! And meeting other artists and like-minded people is definitely an eclair. 


 Images © Daria Hlazatova

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

My family, friends, Jacques Yves Cousteau.. Michael Palin.. David Lynch...Lewis Carroll and Tolkien. As to arts, I love the work of David Hockney, William Blake, Stanley Spencer, Stella Vine, Mary Jane Ansell, Stuart Pearson Wright... I work in PRISMA Artist Collective and admire every single artist in it.. It's hard to say who or what my influence is. Probably it is everything and everyone, even things and people I don't find interesting - these are certainly my motivation to rebel and overcome boredom. 


 Images © Daria Hlazatova

7. Describe your creative space

It's a light room with very few pictures and many lamps that need new bulbs. 

 Image © Daria Hlazatova
 
8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

I'll use a quote to impress everyone with my knowledge of the English literature:
"I give myself very good advice but very seldom follow it."

 Image © Daria Hlazatova

You can see more of Daria's work on her Website and keep up to date on her Facebook page and Twitter. Daria's beautiful artwork can be purchased through Society6 or directly from her via her Store.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Wonderful work of Gillian Corcoran (Lost Forest)


Through her brand, the beautifully named 'Lost Forest', Dublin based Gillian Corcoran creates stunning eco resin jewellery. Each piece is created entirely by hand with a labour intensive process. All inclusions such as flower petals, plant leaves and feathers, are sourced locally and Gillian even uses eco resin to ensure that the product is eco friendly. The result is a permanent yet delicate piece of art which you can wear and treasure.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I opened my first Etsy shop back in 2012 under the name Resin Road. I had started doing a lot of research into resin casting as I was eager to find a new craft to explore. It seemed like an interesting and intriguing medium to use so I began to do a lot of research into it, emphasis on a lot! It took several months as information is very scarce on the internet regarding techniques and advice. I decided to jump in and do my own research and experimented every day to perfect my new craft and learn as much as I could along the way. It took me the best part of a year to feel fully confident with using resin.

I then decided to take the plunge and completely re-brand myself as I was eager to start using eco resin. Eco resin appealed greatly to me as all my inclusions are sourced in nature, it felt imperative that I should preserve within a substance from nature too! So my research began again last year into eco resin. I read up everything I could find on it and perfected my technique once more. I'm delighted now with how my shop has a completely eco friendly ethos and that all my materials are sourced from my local surroundings.


2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

My process is a very organic one. I will gaze over my collections of dried flowers and feathers and let a design form naturally in my imagination. It usually happens very quickly as I have a very active imagination! I then choose a mold I think will work best for the arrangement and if gold/copper/silver leaf is needed or dyes/glitter should be incorporated into the design. Next step is to mix up the resin, de-gas, and pour. Eco resin has a long cure time- usually a week. I have to try and remain patient, which is tough as I'm always very eager to see how the design turned out. Next stage is de-molding, cutting, lots of sanding, re-coating then polishing. The process can take up to two weeks but it's one I love. I feel very proud of my process and technique as I've taught myself from the inception and I'm quite protective over it, so I never give away all the details! 

Image © Lost Forest

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

I find it disheartening to discover others being directly influenced by my shops concept and design and promoting it as their own idea. I'm always very flattered by people telling me that I have inspired them, it's something that makes me very happy to hear. However, as every artist/crafter knows it's a stab to the heart to see blatant plagiarism, especially when you've worked hard to create a unique idea and concept. It's imperative to me to be individual and it forms the basis of being a creative person, so when I do come across it I challenge myself and begin to work on new ideas to make my creations completely unique once more.

Image © Lost Forest

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

Nature always motivates and inspires me. It forms the basis of my work as all my flowers, leaves and feathers are collected from mother nature's supply closet! I always go on daily adventures into my local forests, parks and mountains to ignite my creativity. I'm constantly scanning my surroundings for that little bit of inspiration, such as a lost magpie feather nestled amongst the tall grass, or a carpet of lush shamrocks lining the floor of the woodlands. It immediately sparks an idea in my mind and the creative process has begun!

Image © Lost Forest

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?

For me it's creating custom pieces. I feel very honoured to be chosen to create unique mementos for people, such as wedding bouquet bangles. To be the guardian of a few sprigs of blooms from a bouquet, which is imbued with so many emotions and sentiment is very special. To then encapsulate all of those memories into resin is the greatest satisfaction for me as an artist, designer and crafts person. 

Image © Lost Forest

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I'm influenced mainly by crafts people. I consider what I do as more of a craft than anything else, as it's a skilled manual process from beginning to end. Craft people working with organic materials influence me a lot, such as the stunning wooden creations by Greg Klassen and the magical resin worlds created by Riusuke Fukahori.

Image © Lost Forest

7. Describe your creative space

My studio is small yet functional! I try to designate areas for certain tasks- a resin making desk, separate table for heavy duty work like sanding, cutting, polishing and degassing and then a packing table and display space. It's a lot to fit in to a small room but it definitely helps to be organised and makes for a more functional and less stressful working environment! I have a passion for interior design so I have made my mark on my studio! I've kept the walls and furnishings in neutral cream tones and combined it with objects such as lamps, painted mason jars etc in tones of aqua (my favourite colour!) to add subtle accents of colour. I also fill my studio with fresh flowers from the garden to add inspiration, colour and of course lovely aromas. It's a nice space to work in and it gets plenty of light and once I have my music on I can happily work away there for hours on end!

Image © Lost Forest

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Never give up! It's tough setting up your own business. You work all the hours you can get and you are responsible for every part of your business but if you have passion and believe in yourself and what you're doing then nothing is impossible!

Image © Lost Forest

You can see more of Gillian's beautiful pieces on her Website and buy her work direct from her through her Store or via Etsy. To keep up to date on Gillian's work and see her stunning photography, you can follow her Facebook page

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Monday, 14 July 2014

The Wonderful work of Dawn Sheedy O' Sullivan (Opal & Owl)


My friend Dawn Sheedy O' Sullivan set up Opal & Owl last year in Cork City. The venture started out as bespoke headpieces, but as Dawn's client base grew so did the demand for different pieces. The collection of Dawn's work has now grown to include footwear- how amazing are her beautiful beaded ballerina shoes!? Each piece is made entirely by Dawn, who lovingly handcrafts it from start to finish and uses the finest of materials to creating something entirely unique. You can be guaranteed that when you wear Opal & Owl, you will be wearing something original, unique and beautiful that was made with love.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

When I was twenty I moved to Leeds to study in Leeds College of Art & Design. It was during my first year there that I was introduced to Millinery for the first time. I instantly loved creating bespoke designs on paper but lacked the knowledge and skill to really produce the pieces. Over the years I have developed my hand beading and construction techniques which has led to the pieces that I am now creating and making. I never really thought about making a business out of it but I have to thank my good friend Pearl (from Pearl & Godiva) who gave me a push in the right direction and featured my pieces in some amazing photo shoots. Shortly after I took a studio space in Sample Studios (thank you Eimear and Ger) and that is where I continue to work on Opal & Owl bespoke creations.

Image © Opal & Owl

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

Many of the pieces I create are inspired by nature and have an organic feel. No two pieces will ever be the same, as they are created by hand. When I begin to design I often have a very specific brief/idea, but as I am making the piece I find that the materials naturally take shape and can change during the process. I really like when this happens and it keeps the whole process interesting and extremely engaging. One of my favourite aspects of the process is hand beading and adding the extra details that make the pieces unique to Opal & Owl.


Images © Opal & Owl

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

It took me a long time to feel confident in my ability to create pieces that people would love and believe in. I am always so happy when a bride emails me to say how much she loved her headpiece or shoes. That is what drives me everyday to continue what I am doing.

Images © Elizabeth Messina
4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

The positive feedback from people, whether they simply like something that I have created or have commissioned a piece. It might sound cliché but being out in nature, especially by the sea, always gives my a new perspective and helps me to get creative.


Images © Rylee Hitchner
5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as an artist/designer?

That's a very difficult question because so many amazing things have happened over the past year. One of the most amazing experiences I had was working with Pearl & Sheena (Pearl & Godiva) and the fantastic photographers (such as D'Arcy Benincosa) on their shoots. I especially loved the shoot with Thalia Heffernan, she was fantastic, so beautiful.

Images © Darcy Benincosa
6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

My mother has been a huge influence on my creativity. She introduced my to art as a toddler, before I had even learned how to speak. She is a very talented painter and has always inspired me to keep drawing, designing and making.

Image © Opal & Owl

7. Describe your creative space

My creative space can change depending on the type of piece that I am working on. However, most of the time I work in my studio space. The space is on the third floor of Sample Studios and I have a lovely view of St Fin Barre's Cathedral. I try to keep my space clean but I do love to hang some of my designs on the walls to keep me focused. My prized possession is an old playing card table that my grandparents owned. My grandmother was a very talented dressmaker and she used to create beautiful pieces for my mother to wear. I definitely still feel inspired by and connected to her when I work at that table.

Image © Opal & Owl

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Always do what you love. You will be successful but more importantly it will make you happy.

Image © Opal & Owl

You can keep up to date with Dawn's beautiful work on her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and if you are looking for a bespoke commissioned piece for a special occasion you can contact Dawn on studio@opalandowl.com

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