From concept to final design, the Creative Studio comprising of top designers, typographers, art workers and illustrators, combine their knowledge and skills to create beautiful products for you.
This blog will give you a little bit of insight into how our studio operates, what influences and inspires us at The Great British Card Company and sneak peeks into my illustration during different stages from concept to realisation.
This year the students really outdid themselves. The show was overall very diverse and consistently strong. Sadly I've had to narrow down my favourites, but there were so many great pieces of work that it really is worth checking out the Switching On blog where you can see photographs of the show and links to each students' work.
The students whose work I have decided to post stood out to me because, not only were they really talented illustrators, but they also demonstrated a curiosity and willingness to experiment with the application of their designs. Genevieve Clarke, Jordanne Lee James, Ashleigh Mithan and Matthew Otten really blurred the boundaries of what illustration is generally conceived to be, by creating 3D visual pieces or applying their work to products. Their work demonstrated a keen knowledge of their target market and the end purpose of their designs.
I wish everyone all the very best in the next few months, and hopefully I shall see a few familiar faces at New Designers!
Illumination Twenty Thirteen is the collective exhibition of the third year illustration students from Swansea Metropolitan University. The exhibition runs from 1st May until 8th May in the Swansea Grand Theatre with the private view being held between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday 4th May. It'll be a pleasure to catch up with old friends and my wonderful tutors and to see how well the final year students have done!
I'm especially looking forward to seeing the work of Jordanne Lee James who's work I have had my eye on for a while!
Ohh Deer was founded by Jamie Mitchell and Mark Callaby and was launched in November 2011. The two have backgrounds in creative industries, Jamie in Architecture, and Mark in Illustration. During the lead up they figured out which direction they wanted to take the brand, and hand picked the Illustrators they wanted on board to create it with them.
Above all things, the brand aims to be fresh. There are increasing number of companies who produce the same recipe of ‘ordinary’. Ohh Deer wanted to take the work of exceptional illustrators and create something extraordinary, objects that everyone can adorn their houses with, or pop in the post for a friend’s birthday.
I love almost everything on Ohhdeer.com. I fear that if my funds were unlimited I'd be at risk of buying EVERYTHING!
Below are a selection of my favourite illustrators, (not just on the site, but in the industry) featured on the website and links to their work. Please have a little look at how absolutely AMAZING they are! x
It was a pleasure working with Josie during her four days here. She blossomed very quickly over the course of the week and I was very pleased with the work she had produced by the end of her time in the studio. Josie developed an understanding of the industry and of working with a more commercial purpose in mind. She was bright and attentive and dealt well with the feedback that we gave her. She was a lovely addition to our studio...especially when she brought in chocolates on her last day!
See more of her work here!
Sarah Maycock's work contains the loose, scrawly quality of Quentin Blake's line work and the bold, brush strokes and washes of Catherine Rayner (two of my favourite children's book illustrators.) So naturally, I became an instant fan of her work! She embraces tactile methods of working that bring character and energy to her animal and building studies.
See more of her work here!
Based in Minnesota, Zoe Keller is a designer and illustrator whose work I have fallen in love with! Go have a look for yourself here!
It's St David's Day today, so as a special treat I brought in home made welsh cakes for the studio to enjoy!
Above: The Great British Card Company's Stand
"The Great British Card Company enjoyed a very successful 2013 International Spring Fair at the Birmingham NEC in early February. Spread over five days, we were delighted to welcome many existing customers and new contacts, and everybody's hard work paid off as we posted a 70% increase on last year's show business, with a marked improvement in new leads too.
GBCC show highlights included the Bebunni www.bebunni.com illustrator, Simon Taylor-Kielty preparing Bebunni pastels for our customers to take away; the show debut of The Almanac Collection's wonderful ranges under the GBCC group banner; an unrivalled Christmas 2013 product collection featuring Paper House, Medici Cards and Almanac; further strengthening of an already powerful humour offering from DCI Studios; and a preview of two stunning new ranges from Paper House, 'Peony Rose by Nicola Evans' and 'The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady."
Nick Adsett, Creative Director at GBCC.
Below: Peony Rose by Nicola Evans
Karl Mountford is a fellow graduate from Swansea Metropolitan University. Since graduating he has been super busy juggling his MA in Illustration with freelance work, as well as being this year's artist in residence at SMU. His work is very painterly, brought to life with vivid colours and his keen eye for form. He's venturing more and more into the digital painting realm but deep down I think he'll always be most comfortable with a good old blob of acrylic and a paint brush!
Her work features gorgeous pastels, uplifting quotes and adorable illustrations that bring a smile to my face. It's only fair that I share her lovely, lovely work! See more in her 'Etsy Shop Here.'
There were some lovely stands this year, but the work that stood out most for me were the new talent. My favorites from the show came from 'Stormy Knight;' simple, quirky designs printed using eco friendly materials. Sarah Ray; humorous and cute illustrations that made me chuckle at the stand! And Imogen Owen; adorable hand drawn designs.
Lots of fresh talent to look out for in future!
The Christmas Sales Launch went brilliantly, I found it to be a very useful resource in understanding how the sales operations are conducted and how we can improve our product. Afterwards, we celebrated a fantastic year with the annual Christmas Party.
I had a wonderful Christmas break, but it's back to business now! Here's wishing that 2013 is an amazing year for all!
It's been a crazy few weeks in the studio but now all the brochures, artworking and mocking up have been done. The Christmas launch is tomorrow with the Christmas Party to follow. After the launch is complete, all the hard work will be paid off when we are tucking into our Christmas dinner and partying our socks off! I cannot wait!
I won't be back in the studio until the new year, so what better time than now to wish everybody a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I've been busy creating all the mock ups for the launch next Friday. Luckily I've had some 'Little Helpers' here in the studio with me getting covered in flitter and sticky tape. Simon Taylor-Kielty and Zoe Damoulakis have been getting stuck in with the mocking up with me as we approach the final week.
I've also spent the past few weeks getting into the festive spirit by creating home made Christmas decorations and Christmas Hampers in my spare time. I've made peanut butter fudge, beetroot and orange chutney, Christmas chutney and tomato and chilli jam. Yummy treats to give out to some lucky friends and family!
So it's official, I've been with The Great British Card Company for a year now. It's been an absolute pleasure, the move from Wales was definitely worth it! I thoroughly enjoy what I do and am so grateful to Peter and Nick for giving me such a wonderful opportunity!
I brought in a mini feast for the studio last week to celebrate. Hopefully I have many more years to come! Here are a few of my favorite designs that I have created inhouse this year.
I visited Milan for a much needed break in October. I had a really great time eating lots of Italian food and exploring the city with my friend Rachael. My highlights were probably visiting the rooftop of the Duomo Cathedral, seeing the Picasso exhibition as well as artwork and sculptures by Mondigliani, Boccioni, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo...and of course the many hours that I spent in cafes drinking lots of coffee! The trip has certainly got me excited for my next trip away...now I just have to decide where I would like to go!
BB Cupcakes! Wow!!! Look at these incredible BB cupcakes! These bespoke cupcakes were baked by the extremely talented Rachel Chick, the daughter of a GBCC employee. Such a kind contribution from Janet and her daughter that I felt really should be shared. Generous and selfless acts just like this one make such an enormous difference, especially to those who have been affected in some way by cancer. The cakes really were as scrummy as they looked!
Thank you so much! x
(Also, great news! We raised £115 on Wear it Pink Day at The Great British Card Company. A big thank you to everyone who donated!)
Wow!!! Look at these incredible BB cupcakes!
These bespoke cupcakes were baked by the extremely talented Rachel Chick, the daughter of a GBCC employee. Such a kind contribution from Janet and her daughter that I felt really should be shared. Generous and selfless acts just like this one make such an enormous difference, especially to those who have been affected in some way by cancer. The cakes really were as scrummy as they looked!
close to your heart
We are celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing pink today at GBCC headquarters, so what better time to introduce the latest addition to The Great British Card Company?
Paper House recently launched 13 beautiful soft new Birthday designs and 34 new Occasion and Relations cards. We are also selling a very cute 12cm high, limited edition boxed plush Brabunny. Please help us to reach our target donation figure of £50,000 in the first year. 10% of the RRP from each card will be donated to Cancer Research UK.
I regularly see this talented lady's work at the trade shows (Top Drawer, Home etc) that I get sent to so I've been a fan for some time. It's only fair that I share her beautiful work. I love the tactile quality of her illustration, where each tiny imperfection and wobbly line is embraced to emphasize the hand rendered process of drawing and printing that so many digital designs lack.
Since 1996, Eric the Penguin has seen over one million card sales, developing an ongoing, devoted cult following along the way from retailers and consumers alike. Chris Masters has managed to keep his Eric designs relevant and humorous year in year out so it's delightful news for the Great British Card Company that the Eric The Penguin Range was awarded the Henry Cole Classic Award at this years Henries Awards.
A very pleasant surprise to see my work on the PG website for the first time. It's titled 'Focus on words and sentiments in the October issue...' which I very much look forward to reading!
Katie Daisy hand paints a combination of typography and floral patterns to create beautifully versatile illustrations. Her work has been adapted for a range of liscenced products including phone covers and tshirts. Her designs are also applied to book illustration, tshirt design, prints, homewares and so on. It's not surprising that her work is so popular. The punchy colours, tactile hand rendered quality and the subject matter all have a whimsical, dream like aesthetic that is warm and captivating.
Take a look at her website...and enjoy!
Lianne Harrison has worked for the likes of GQ magazine and House & Garden magazine, as well as being chosen by the AOI to exhibit at the London Transport Museum in 2011 and being shortlisted for The Penguin Design Award 2009... This is just a small selection of her many achievements since graduating. Please take a look at her website to see more.
She creates two-dimensional illustrations and three-dimesional paper constructions for a wide range of subject matters using collage with mixed media and photomontage from her extensive collection of patterned papers and postcards. Her style is fun and feminine or quirky and abstract depending on the subject matter. Definitely one to look out for in the future.
As I mentioned back in May, I had designed my own juvenile age range of cards here at The Great British Card Company. They are finally in production so I can safely share my colorful animal range for 1 to 5 year olds with everybody! I created playful characters and fun typography that I hoped would suit such a young age group. The cards have received a positive response so far and I'm really thrilled with the overall look of the final product!
I hope you like them too! x
It was sad to say goodbye to Elly, as she is part of the GBCC family. I feel like I owe her so much because I definitely would not be here if she had not spotted me back in New Designers 2011. She made the huge move to Gloucester a great deal easier by looking after me for the first month while I got to grips with the job. But after receiving the news that her visa for New Zealand is FINALLY through, I'm absolutely thrilled for her and wish her all the best on her travels!
Bye Bye Elly, you will be missed! x
...I went all out and brought in a vegetarian buffet to be proud of. Barely a scrap of food went to waste! Cheese and pineapple was a big hit as always and I made a yummy Strawberry and Cherry cake for everybody to share. It's hopefully the first of many birthdays to come at the Great British Card Company!
Hip Hip Hooray! x
The entire creative studio have been absolutely hooked on the London Olympic Games this past week. The success for the Brits has been unbelievable, causing a wave of pride and patriotism throughout Great Britain. I feel extremely proud to be British right now, here's an illustration I created to celebrate our wonderful Olympians and their incredible achievements!
Come on Team GB!!! x
Rossana Novella, one of the photographers that supplies some of our Darkroom images has shared her story with us, it gives a lot of insight into the amount of effort and thought that goes into producing beautiful images for our cards. For the full story of how the marvelously talented Rossana Novella produced some of our jubilee and Olympic themed photographic designs, please read her blog here.
Last weekend, me and my sister headed off to local music festival 2000 Trees. Typical of the British summer, the rain had been non stop all week. Luckily for us, the day we arrived at the festival in Withington, the sun decided to make an appearance. Sadly, the damage was already done, and the mud had already been created. We had a fantastic rain free day and even bumped into some fellow GBCC employees! However, during the last band, the heavens opened and turned the muddy field into a muddy pool! Still, a little mud never hurt anybody!!!
My favourite illustrator of the show I think had to be Laura Hopewell. Her portfolio is so vast and diverse, not to mention wonderfully executed. She dabbles in anything from paper cut, collage, paper construction, cross stitch, typography, repeat pattern... phew! She won the Hallmark award so I'm sure she has much success ahead of her!
I came across a very talented individual's work at New Designers Part 2, but was unprepared for how impressive Rosy Higgins' online portfolio was going to be. Not only does she write her own material, but she also has a keen sense of colour, a great understanding of anatomy and a pretty flawless drawing ability. I'm sure she will have much success in character design, story boarding and/or graphic novels! Definitely one to watch!
Fellow Swansea Met graduate Tom Corlett wowed New Designers Part 2 London 2012 with his stand out exhibition space. He received interest from Universal and was part of the winning team of Thursday nights Secret Wars Battle. Pretty impressive stuff!!
Some snaps just to illustrate the diversity and talent showcased at New Designers Part 2 this year!
Some snaps just to illustrate the diversity and talent showcased at New Designers Part 1 this year!
Best In Show!
Lisa Martin was by far the best in show for me (from a greetings card perspective.) She is a surface pattern designer whose designs for juvenile interiors, stationery and clothing were current, commercial and on trend. Her work is already of such a high standard that it is extremely easy to visualise her product in stores right now. I’m sure she will have much success in greetings card design, interior design or even picture book design!
I was really impressed with Natalia Kukiel's work. She had painstakingly created beautiful Native American-esque illustrations of bears and deers by hand stitching them onto fabric! Really lovely stuff! Photos really don’t do her work justice!
Linear floral patterns and repeat print dominated the show, but it was fellow Swansea met graduate Nicole de Havilland whose stood out most to me. Her botanical studies were precise and well executed with great use of colour.
I will post photographs of the show shortly!
It's been a long time coming and we couldn't be happier that Dave Capper our long serving creative studio member has made an honest woman of Stephanie Parker. We wish them all the best :)
Each member of the creative studio chipped in to produce a collaborative piece of illustration for the wedding card, below is the contribution from Simon Taylor-Kielty.
Everybody chipped in and contributed something, in order to create a monster buffet in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee. There were a lot of traditionally British contributions including Victoria sponge, cucumber sandwiches, scones and dandelion and burdock! With plenty to go around, everybody has been left with full tummies!
'A great couple of days catching up with our current customers and meeting plenty of potential new ones. The star of the show was the humour ranges, receiving great comments from across the board, closely followed by the Darkroom Jubilee range. Selling is always so much easier when the product is so strong, but don't tell Peter!!'
...and with him he brought American chocolate treats for the studio to enjoy!
"A visit to the National Stationery Show in New York provides an invaluable creative networking opportunity and an insight into the hearts and minds of some of the most talented designers, illustrators and artists in North America and beyond. In addition to the established publishers these young entrepeneurs bring a vitality and an excitement to the show. Letterpress remains the dominant theme in the design-led aisles, but the variety of lettering, imagery and colour palette is simply breathtaking and improves each year.
Personal highlights included the beautiful creations of Melissa Foster at Elum; the snappily entitled Lisa Krowinski, Chief Rocka at Sapling Press; the modern humour of Nikki Bordignon at HugandKiss Designs; the stunning fine fashion lines of Simply Divine, where Liz Glasgow was showing the vintage fashion illustrations created by her mother for American Vogue amongst others, at The White Cabinet; delicate work from Rifle Paper Co; and the very different and consummately executed wildlife watercolours from Deborah Ross at Wildlife Greetings. It was interesting also to see Avanti Press exhibiting as a licensing house within Surtex for the first time, in addition to their usual presence within the greetings arena.
A welcome review of the call for entries for the 24th Annual Louie Awards saw an improvement in the quality of finalists over previous years, evidenced by the comprehensive brochure allowing review at a glance."
Below are some examples of the gorgeous results you can expect from using letterpress, these are personal favorites of mine from Elum Designs and Rifle Paper Co.
As mentioned previously, I've been working on my own juvenile range, as well as that, this week I have contributed to the Mother's Day and Valentines ranges ready to be launched shortly. It has been a very busy week in the studio in preparation for Nick Adsett, creative director's absence as he's jetting off to New York today on a business trip. Let's hope he comes back with lots of goodies from the Big Apple for the creative studio!
This week I have been working on the development of my own children's juvenile age range of cards. Discussing ideas for my designs in the studio led fellow creative members to bring in animated films for me to watch. Thanks to Jade and Dave, I borrowed Totoro and Despicable Me this week. They were both great (the unicorn from Despicable Me being especially relevant!) but my favourite was Totoro. It's hard to believe that this film was created way back in 1988 with no special effects. Absolutely gorgeous scenery and adorable characters. Let's hope my card range is equally as lovable!
There was champagne all round for the workers of GBCC last Thursday to celebrate the momentous occasion that was Peter's 70th birthday. Peter started The Great British Card Company 32 years ago on this same site so obviously knows a thing or two about the industry. He is a hugely respected figure, and so a lot of effort went into the planning of Peter's gifts. An impressive cake, a 'This is your Life' style card, a rather expensive looking salmon fishing reel and a hand painted James Bond style caricature by our very talented inhouse illustrator, Simon Taylor Kielty. I think it is safe to say that Peter was very pleased with the amount of thought and effort that went into his gifts!
HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY PETER!
From everyone at The Great British Card Company x
"Celebrating fashion and the beauty of the women that are immersed in it, Maxwell created an exhibition that exploded with colour, style and glamour. "Fashion is my passion" says Maxwell and that is unmistakeable throughout every piece that adorns the walls.
We here at the Great British Card Company have had the pleasure of working with Maxwell, turning his beautiful illustrations into a new range of fashion greetings cards we have called 'Fabulous'.
View more of his beautiful work here maxwellndj.co.uk.
Our finest sales men and women travelled to the GBCC Head Quarters on Friday to see what the studio had produced for the new launch. There were new humour, cute, typography, traditional, photographic and fashion ranges amongst others. What the sales team think is very important to the company, because it is those lovely people that get out on the road to get our cards in the shops. The new designs were well received thankfully, so the studio can rest at ease...for now!
Last year, I entered the Cheltenham Illustration Awards with my 'Deforestation' piece. The awards consistently produce beautiful and innovative illustrations. This year's competition was judged by illustration hero, Shaun Tan.
I didn't hear anything so assumed that my entry was unsuccessful. It was not until last weekend when I was casually flicking through the 2012 catalogue that I came across my work in the final 30 shortlisted entries in the student category. Needless to say, I was over the moon! See my piece below.
The overall winner of the competition was Sandra Dieckmann with this beautiful illustration.
Next year's theme is 'Tales of Magical Objects', the closing date is the 1st of June. For any interested in entering, go to the Cheltenham Illustration Awards website for more details.
Rhi Pardoe is a fellow graduate from Swansea Metropolitan University. Since graduating she has been a very busy bee including being featured on Sublime Stitching, and Ballad Of's websites, as well as completing a 4 week hands on internship with Tatty Devine. Her work features a mixture of mediums and techniques including stitch, pyrography and fine liner doodling.
Originally I intended for the design to be painted with watercolour, but I found that the scan didn't do the colours justice. As you can see, the final concepts that I ended up favouring were coloured digitally. The flowers and text were hand drawn, scanned and then I played around with different colour themes, eventually deciding that a powder blue combined with a bit of foiling was my favourite and worthy of sending to my wonderful mother back in Welsh Land!
She got stuck right in with a hefty brief on Monday. The studio was extremely busy that week so we delegated work to suit Zoe’s strengths. Zoe found herself designing cards for Christening, Baby Boy, Baby Girl and Engagement, all occasions that suit her delicate, feminine, hand drawn style.
Zoe impressed the creative director so much that he commissioned her to complete her designs for them to be taken to print. So watch this space!
Even after such a short period, we were sad to see her go, but look forward to potentially working with her again in the future. Below are some of her doodles from the week, cannot wait to see the final designs!
Here I'm showing you how I get from concept to completion of a greetings card design to give more of an insight into the way I work.
The following images show each stage including the original doodles and conception of ideas, the original scan, the first draft, the text before and after being traced in illustrator, the addition of colour to the design and eventually, the final product including flitter and tip in.
The brief was to design a wedding card that was loving but light hearted. I completed all stages including the first meeting with the person setting the brief right the way up to printing, cutting and flittering in half a day.
I hope these images demonstrate my method of working relatively clearly (again, you have poor quality photos to contend with!)
Hope you like,
The Spring Fair is a great way to reach potential customers and partners...and to check out what we're up against. The fair is an exhibition of the best in the industry as well as a great place for newcomers to make their mark. Although very tiring, this year's show went extremely well, everybody came back feeling very proud of the company!
Apologies for the poor quality photo!
This week I was lucky enough to be shipped off to London for the January 2012 Top Drawer Exhibition to gain more insight into how the industry works, keep a look out for fresh talent and to report back to the studio on all the latest trends in the greetings card industry. I met some lovely people and saw some very lovely designs, but there were definite stand out favorites of mine from the Gwendolen, NOI Publishing, Jenny Wiscombe and Penny Choo stands. Here are some samples of their work.
In the case of my new studio...that's very true indeed. On New Years Eve 2011, I packed my bags and moved out of Gloucester to return to the rolling hills of the Somerset countryside. I will still continue to create illustrations and design greetings cards for The Great British Card Company, but in my new (and still being built) studio.
It was created in a week and with some clever feat of planning and engineering (by my Father), and it seems to home my art equipment very well.
Also, as we have our young Graduate Illustrator - Carly Davies working with the Great British Card Company, I shall be handing the blog to her over the next week. It shall eventually be re-vamped as Carly's Corner and filled with exciting new finds, inspiration and illustrations.
I am taking myself along this Sunday to immerse myself in the skilled crafts of Illustrators, Fashion Designers, Milliners, Ceramicists and Jewellery Designers. My friend and Costumier Miss Rach McCabe, will be showcasing and selling her very own handmade vintage styled clothing range 'RaRa Handmade'. She will be also be showing many other beautifully made handmade accessories that would be perfect as Christmas treats for someone special, or simply to keep (because they're too nice to give away!).
I shall be back on Monday with bags full of lovely handmade goodies to share with you.
Ian Kennedy produces work that inevitably questions the emotion or thoughts of the artist when he created his paintings, due to the complexity of the brush strokes, the hard nondescript marks and intensity of colour.
Working on a variety of scales, Ian's work would suit a small intimate space or look equally as beautiful on a large white wall all by itself. Me and Carly each had our favourites and would love to see his work on a number of products that we create here in the studio.
It was a pleasure to meet and talk to the man himself, and we look forward to potentially working with him in the future.
The exhibition continues until the 30th December at the Guildhall, Gloucester.
A superbly talented graduate from Swansea Metropolitan University - Carly is now our new Junior Studio Artist. She has already been 'thrown in at the deep end' by joining us at our busiest time of year, but has already embraced the hectic work load by covering herself in flitter and participating in eating multiple mince pies that have been appearing and rapidly disappearing in the studio.
"I am delighted for the opportunity and am looking forward into putting into lots of hard work, as well as becoming part of the family" Carly Davies
[asset type=IMAGE code=CARLY1]
It can be viewed on our very own YouTube channel here: Elly White - Painting in Pastel.
Click here to see the final product!
We celebrated with cake, many gorgeous presents and will soon be off to lunch to send her off properly. We will miss her dearly as she has been 'Mummy Sara' to everyone in the studio over the years...and is quite good on the mac too!!!
We approached the day as if we were undercover covert operatives and 'stealth' was the key in our plan of attack. My large un-stealth like camera kind of ruined the plan, and the frequent squeals of excitement as I grabbed handfuls of beautiful product didn't really help either. But being the professionals that we are...we couldn't resist a picture with our product in Harrods that each of us had designed. The window displays were stunning, opulant and wondrous- they were everything that Harrods stands for.
We then walked up to Fortnum and Mason, where the whole store was scented with cinnamon and cloves and 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' was playing over the tannoy - it couldn't have been more festive! To our dismay there wasn't a lot from their Christmas card range that really stood out, and we felt that some of own our cards could have added an injection of colour to their offer.
We spent what felt like an eternity looking for Cards Galore on Oxford Street only to find out that the building had been completely demolished. Selfridges had a beautiful collection of cards in their store. They have even tapped into the very desirable USA market of letterpress and typography, featuring work by 'Rifle Paper Co' and 'Oh So Beautiful Paper.
At the end of the day, we left London with an array of inspiration taken from all over the city, including some very nice pictures of 'Bob' (we named him that) the squirrel.
Our new team of archivists - Liz and Martin, have the responsibility of implementing a digital filing system to accomodate the vast collection of work we have stored away. We have such a rich resource at our fingertips, and now we can finally make our collection of long lost artworks easily accessable to everyone in the company.
"We are looking forward to creating the archive from scratch because the opportunity doesn't come around very often. So far we have discovered so many beautiful artworks that our designers will eventually be able to restore to their full glory" Liz Campbell
- Martin Helliwell and Liz Campbell -
As you may have realised...I stil haven't posted the short movie of the 'Bunting' painting being created in pastels. This was due to a minor musical technical hitch on my part. In the meantime, I have produced another painting for the range featuring a whimsical bunch of poppies - 'Poppies in a Tea Tin'. It's not quite a movie, but more of a freeze frame adventure throught the process of the painting.
And it's not finished yet!!
I am currently getting stuck in to a collection of new paintings for an existing range called 'Thoughts of You'. This range features delicate pastel illustrations, which are enhanced at the formatting stage with Mike Burgin's typography and a good sprinkling of flitter!
I thought it would be nice for a change for you to be able to see a painting from start to finish, all in the space of a 10 minute movie (will be posted first thing Monday morning). The finished design represents a visual idea of one of the new cards for the range.
Not only did we get to see a stunning exhibition of the screen goddess that was Marilyn Monroe, but also got to see some beautiful work exhibited as part of the exhibition by fellow artist Matthew Jeanes. To see the dresses and the jewellery that she wore in the films, made you realise how tiny a lady and how sad the story of her life really was. The size of the exhibition space and the soft lightling made the experience a deeply intimate one. When you left..you felt that you understood a little bit more about the 'highs and the lows' of her short but adventurous life, and left you somewhat saddened by it all.
To complete the exhibition, either side of the archway leading you to the hall, hung two sumptuous paintings by Matthew Jeanes of the icon herself... what a perfect day!
We also like a bit of competition between the departments, so we each pulled a country out of the hat and set upon decorating and creating a feast for everyone to enjoy. We had Italy...so we decided pizza was the only way to go! As you can see - we had a jolly good time coming up with some rather tasty pizzas and yummy deserts. With all of our efforts and magical moustaches - we managed to win first place and a bottle of scotch...Bellissima!
Do we love them or hate them, condem them to the attic or cherish them fondly? With Christmas just around the corner (75 days to be exact), what a better time to re-invent the snow globe.
Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz have created minature worlds of unusual wonder and narrative inside of each of thier snow globes. Thomas Doyle is an artist who creates intricate worlds in glass domes of a 1:43 scale and smaller. Alternatively you could always have a go at making your very own snow globe for Christmas to give to someone special as a keepsake present.
We may even feature some snow globe illustrations in our new Christmas launch at the end of the year!
Our 'Wall of Inspiration' is jammed full of everything and anything Christmas (only the really good stuff of course). I couldn't help but notice how beautiful Christmas stockings can be, especially the hand knitted ones. It may be a little bit early to start hanging up your stockings, but if you are deciding to make your own - here's some inspiration for you courtesy of 'Little Cotton Rabbits Free Patterns' and 'Martha Stewart Christmas'.
Fortunately for many of the smaller creatures amongst us, they get to stay in bed all winter...and sleep. Some people call it hibernation, I call it a great excuse for a long needed nap! Just look at these adorably cute toy animals that have been handmade, and lovingly put to bed in their very own little boxes.
There is the 'Personalised Bunny in a Box' by Laura Long, as well as ' Baby Mouse in a Matchbox' by The Chic Country Home, both from Not on the Highstreet. There are also these very cute collection of owls by Moonstitches.
As Christmas comes closer, we all pull together more so than usual to create our 2012 Christmas ranges for the Great British Card Company. The studio is currently getting an overhaul to get us suitably prepared for 3 months of designing, illustrating, artworking and covering ourselves in flitter for Christmas!
Is it too early for festive decorations?
Dave wasn't here for the picture...but he'll have his own feature later in the blog.
All around us greens are turning to rusty umbers, and the mornings are getting decisively colder. So today I am embracing all things Autumnal whilst I can, before Winter arrives. We are already working hard in the Creative Studio on our Christmas launch, and my wellies, woolly hat and mittens are at the ready!
I have noticed more of, and am extremely fond of the use of fine line artwork to decorate the home. I met
Mole Brown - a young gradute designer who's monochrome pattern work is enviable. The intricate detail of her prints are beautiful, and I was lucky enough to be given one to take back to the Creative Studio with me.
Ikea have taken the artwork style one step further an applied it to their 'EIVOR cushion'. This would look great on a bright block coloured background...even on an art card maybe?
I also spied two gorgeous 'Siirtolapuutarha' plates by Marimekko. They would have to adorn my wall instead of my dining room table - Mmmmmmmm YUMMY!
Paper House has created a new range of gift bags in four different sizes with matching gift tags, and a new range of gift wrap with each cello pack containing two sheets of wrap and two matching gift tags.
"First impressions are very important as they can attract, excite or disappoint recipients instantly. The packaging is important as it presents the good will, value, and emotions of the giver. Therefore, a high quality gift bag is just as important as the gift inside". Elisa's Custom Creations
When I go to visit, we often lounge on the bed and look through old memories of hers and mine from when I was little. The other day we came across two very old greetings cards that were sent to my Grandmother for Mother's Day and her Birthday some many many years ago. The detail on them is beautiful, including die-cuts and embossing and some very delicate illustrations. These are what greetings cards looked like before branding, and barcodes, price points and environmental statements were a requirement on the back of each card. These two cards were simply Printed in England.
I never expected that a chair that I had admired nearly 10 years ago (and persuaded my landlord at University to let me have), would be bang on trend for 2011. I spent the Summer after my Graduation stripping down the lime green paint work, and had the seats covered in a more modern fabric. Not only did a young designer called Amy Bedford use this style of chair at the New Designers Show in July, but I also noticed it amongst the pages of Coast magazine where Marks & Spencer have named it the Fjord Chair. There has been a huge come back in this Scandi-style - not just in furniture, but in design and accessories alike.
I'm just deciding what colour to change the cushion fabric to next!
To celebrate my husband getting another year older, I thought I would cheer him up with a scrummy 'Fruits of the Forest Victoria Sponge'. I think everyone enjoyed it...there was certainly enough to go round!
Rainbow coloured beach huts, stripey deckchairs, the classic '99' icecream, sandcastles on the beach, and fish and chips (wrapped in newspaper)...just watch out for those naughty seagulls.
Pastel paintings from our greetings card collection Thoughts Of You
I spent a weekend camping (in a VW camper van of course), at the very first Devon Dub Fest immersed in all things VW. Not only are the campers iconic of long weekends away and making the most of the beautiful English weather (it rained all weekend),but the vintage colours that adorn the campers are what caught my eye and inspired this blog entry.
Hidden amongst the awnings and tents, every now and again a beautiful vintage hue peeped through to brighten up the weekend. I managed to take a few pictures of my finds in between the rainy showers.
Nostalgia hits back again with acentric moustache mugs by the Peter Ibruegger Studio. These add a touch of humour to you morning cup of Rosie Lee.
Rifle Paper Co is producing some beautiful stationery of hand painted monochrome designs with featured foil finishes.
There is also a fun collection of screen prints by S and T Prints. I especially love the little golden bird in the birdcage.
It's sometimes the attention to the smaller details that complete the design. Full Circle have created a monochrome coffee-cup ring stain pattern for their tissue paper, which sits beautifully inside a matt black cardboard box...very classy!
Finally, here is Merchant and Mills who I found at a recent design show. There product (literally) does exactly what is says on the box. There minimal and nostalgic approach to their packaging design has attracted attention worldwide and is bang on trend. Even though I'm not the most accomplished seamstress, I wouldn't mind their Sewing Tools and Selected Notions box to cherish on a shelf somewhere.
More importantly for me, a handful of jewellery designers have started to produce some inspirational collections. Working with carefully considered colour ways and interesting shape combinations, they paint and create each piece to be quirky and unique.
Below are designs from Kristina Klarin
...and Uncommonly Beautiful
'With over 550 of the leading brands and designers across Gift, Bath & Body, Home and Fasion Acccessories', Pulse also showcases new creative talent through their 'Launchpad' stands who hope to make their mark in the industry of Design.
The designers are as lovely as the products they are promoting, and I even came away with a few freebies!
‘Apothecary’ seems to be a predominant theme. Pretty little birds perch on the side of glass jars, vintage jewellery keepsakes within them. Collections of brightly coloured buttons strewn amongst doilie patterned stationery, and large alphabet cushion covers.