[Styling the Seasons] January

MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_JAN-main I can’t believe I’ve left this to the very last-minute with literally a day and a half left of this month but not much I could do with a busy start to the year… so I guess it’s better late than never! :) Well, January, is kind of like September for me;  you get another chance to start fresh with new goals, perspectives and projects, not to mention a newfound desire to get super organised, spruce up and de-clutter everything around you….I’m sure many of you will relate to this too!  However, this year is particularly new and huge one for me with all the recent changes that’s taken place in the last few months. If you remember this post of mine from back in November, you’ll know I wasn’t exactly in a good place with all the distress that came with ‘change’, ‘uncertainty’ and the inability to see clearly. The much-needed recuperation over Christmas holidays was just the thing I needed to pull myself together and….excuse my french…actually make s**t happen. MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_JAN-12One of the main things we decided to do (I say we, because, while this was predominantly for my benefit, this decision was for both myself and my husband, with his support of course!) was invest in a studio/work space. We had talked about this a few times before but with most studio spaces in East London being outrageously expensive I continued working from home. So little did we expect to find something actually affordable, just a few blocks from the flat! Granted, it’s not as fancy as the ones you find in Shoreditch or Hackney, nor do we have the entire place exclusively to ourselves but it does the job perfectly and the best bit is that I don’t have to worry about travel fares being so close to home! I honestly can’t tell you how much a difference it’s already made just having that designated place to go to and work. While it may not be as warm and cosy as our flat, or is a far cry from the all-white, industrial, Scandi-style studio I’ve dreamt of (more Wes Anderson-esque!), I’m just SO incredibly grateful to find somewhere I can call my own. It’s my little space I go to every morning where there isn’t a bed, couch or any housework in sight to distract me! It keeps work separate from home which has already proven to be beneficial to us both, and there’s other people to talk to as oppose to speaking to myself or the wall at home. ;) I’ve had a great productive start to the year in my new space, working flat-out on a couple of projects…..so all in all, it’s been the best move and I cannot thank my husband enough for that. Just need to get the work (and the money) rolling in now! :D
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So anyway, for this month’s Styling the Seasons it felt right to share my new workspace seeing as it symbolises a brand new start for me this year. I’ve still a bit to do, injecting my style and personality to the space but that’s something that will happen over time. Aside from our table tops (that were made by friends) the rest of the furniture were all Gumtree and eBay hauls to keep costs down. I then accessorised the space with bits and pieces I’ve bought, made and collected over the last year or two. The quote “she’s a dreamer, a doer, a thinker. She sees possibilities everywhere” was something I knew from the start, I wanted to add to the space as it could not be a better description of me and my outlook in life. As you can see from the main image, I hand-painted the text onto some scrap MDF board I found at a local DIY store and whitewashed….and yep, it did take a lot of patience doing that but I loved every minute of it!! With my growing love for typography and hand-lettering, this is something I plan to do more of as part of my creative services and obviously wanted this piece to represent that.

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I love that the table is big enough to accommodate both digital and traditional work without having to pack up one or the other to make room….unless of course it a big piece which I’ll no doubt have to take over hubby’s desk or perhaps even use a bit of floor space. But the main things is all the work is happening in the one place and not in various corners of the room like I used to! And I don’t have to worry about making a mess, spilling ink or paint, etc which is soooooo liberating and helps get the creative juices flowing! I’m hoping over time, the wall space becomes a big mood board of various pieces of inspiration…..partly because I’m desperately trying to cover up the horrid green walls! Maybe if I’m there long enough I could suggest painting the walls white or a neutral colour of some sort…..it would make taking photographs a lot easier!! hmm, lets see! ;) MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_JAN-11 MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_JAN-15 So there you have it! I’m finally excited for the future and I there’s no denying how much this space has helped me feel like I can move forward. Let the adventures begin! ;) If you’d like to partake on the styling fun, all you have to do is style a surface area in your home or studio and post a photo or two on any social media or blogging platform you’re on. Simply add the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons (preferably even tag Katy and Charlotte) with your entries so that it’s easily found. You honestly don’t have to be a pro at styling or photography (as you can clearly see here) to join in. It’s just a great way to get you motivated, inspired and embrace each month. In fact, there’s some great tips from Charlotte here if you need a bit of a nudge. Happy styling folks and I hope you all have a fab weekend ahead! xxx

MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_JAN-16 The two prints above pretty much sum up me and my new beginnings. The modern calligraphy card is by the lovely Imogen Owen who I took calligraphy classes with last year courtesy of Quill London and the ‘craft is in my blood‘ illustration is by my good friend and creative genius Viktorija of And Smile Studio.

[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[Styling the Seasons] October

MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_OCT_MAINBack in August, when the lovely Katy of Apartment Apothecary asked me to partake in a new creative series called ‘Styling the Seasons‘ that she and fellow blogger Charlotte of Lotts and Lots. had come up with, I couldn’t be more delighted and without any hesitation, said YES! With the month of August being completely taken up with final prep work for my friend’s wedding, the launch of this series in September, I thought, would be the perfect post-wedding project to help wind down and ease back into normality; embracing and appreciating the start of a new season! Besides, I’m always tidying up, decluttering, and sprucing up the flat so documenting a newly styled surface wasn’t much of a tall order….  .

…..or so I thought! Little did I foresee I’d be watching the seasons fly by instead! :(

I know I mentioned it in my last post about life running away with you (which you may have noticed by now from my absence on here) but honestly, it’s like I’ve been sitting on an insanely packed, high-speed train heading off in the one direction, so fast that you find yourself whizzing past everything and everyone with no stops along the way to take a break from what seems like an endlessly long journey! (more on that later)

Anyway,  it’s October….well nearly the end of it….but more importantly, I’ve stopped to take a moment from all the mayhem to do my bit for this series with this month’s contribution. It’s not my finest work but it’s definitely a staring point! MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_OCT-4

So what does this month/season mean to me? Well, like spring, I LOVE how autumn represents the change in seasons; a transformation so beautiful that despite the drop in temperatures and the warmer layers of clothing, it has this incredible force that pulls you out into the nature to explore and forage about in all the autumnal delights. It’s these staggering changes in nature that stop you in your tracks to realise how beautiful this world really is and how easy it is loose sight of the bigger picture. Granted, that I haven’t really done much of that this year but since my last post about taking time to “sit still and watch the leaves turn“, for me, October it’s all about discovery and appreciation  something I’ve been reflecting on lately from a personal point of view……as well as scavenging for leaves in ever shade of red possible, which you’ll see I’ve used to adorn a couple of surfaces in our lounge! ;)

I must admit, having seen so many different shades of red and gold leaves carpet streets, paths and pavements, it was the ones that I found floating on puddles that caught my attention and fuelled me into recreating the concept n the form of a centrepiece for the coffee table (or dining table). I filled up an old vintage enamel bowl with water and then placed the leaves gently on top. I couldn’t find the floating candles I know I have kicking about in this house but when I do find them I’ll pop a few in there for a more calming spa-like feel to our evenings at home! MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_OCT-2

MbM_STYLINGTHESEASONS_OCT-6I know it’s not much but I’ve a few ideas brewing for the next two remaining months of the year so hopefully as things get calmer this end and this flat feels less cluttered, I’ll have more thought out styled surfaces to share with you.

If you’d like to join in on this fun monthly challenge and get those creative juices of yours going then all you have to do is style any surface at home to reflect each month; be it your workspace, coffee table, window sill, mantelpiece, bookshelf….(you get the gist) and then share your photograph/s on your blog,  Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Just remember to use the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons when you do!! You can also use this yourself to look up lots of other beautiful entries and inspiration.

Here’s to beautiful autumnal months! Enjoy xx

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Oh and don’t you just love the vintage-book invitation Katy made for their first ‘styling the seasons’ bloggers meet up? Obviously I had to have some leaves strewn across it (obviously!) Sorry, I will stop with all the leaves…..but you really can’t blame me with its luscious colours. :D

 

[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[Behind the Scenes] Louise Wright Illustrations

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‘Afternoon folks! I hope you’re having a lovely start to the week.

Well, I’m delighted to start my comeback series of posts for this month with my ‘Behind the Scenes‘ interviews and this month we have the lovely illustrator Louise Wright; the amazing talent behind all the super cute animal-inspired illustrations you will find on anything from tea towels to mugs. I first stumbled across Louise’s work (as well as meet the lovely lady herself who I chatted to for a while intrigued about the story behind that print!) at the Crafty Fox Autumn markets last year in Brixton….as you can see from that link, I did also fall in love with her ‘Elephant and Penguin’ print which now takes pride on my little gallery wall in our bedroom. There’s a sense of warmth and innocence in her work that almost makes you go back to those nostalgic happy childhood days…..I’m not exactly sure how best to describe it but all I know is it puts a huge smile on my face every time I look at her print hanging on my wall. It makes me feel warm, fuzzy and happy! :)

Anyway, without further adieu, let me introduce you to this delightful Derbyshire-based illustrator who has been such a pleasure to interview! Here’s what she has to say….

 

[1] Hi Louise, tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer? Hello, I’m a freelance illustrator based in Derby. I didn’t always want to be an illustrator, when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, but as time went on I became less and less academic and much more drawn to the art side of learning. I still very much would love to write for children but something in my brain has switched onto drawing only at the moment and the stories don’t flow as easily, so I’m not forcing it, it’ll come back on its own :)

[2] How did you come about setting up Louise Wright Design? What is the story behind your business? Well, after graduating university with a first class honors in illustration I came out into the world full of hope, which was quickly crushed. After lots of rejections I found myself in an office job crying at lunchtime because I was so unhappy and I pretty much stopped drawing altogether…I gave myself a bit of a kick up the bum eventually and joined a local studio to do some screen printing; no pressure, just a little bit of fun, and a way to get messy and interact with other arty folks again. This turned out to be a step in the right direction and I began to enjoy my artwork again and got excited about printing onto various surfaces – tea towels and tote bags. People at the studio began to take an interest and started asking if they could buy them from me! From there I’ve spent a lot of time building my business and my brand, I started out selling at small craft fairs, and supplying shops on a Sale or Return basis after getting a grant from Prince’s Trust.  It hasn’t been easy but it’s been an incredible journey so far.

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_1 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[3] What five words best describe you and your style of work? Quirky, fun, busy, cute, foxy!

[4] The ‘elephant and penguin’ print I bought off you at the Crafty Fox autumn markets last year is still one of my favourites. What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work?  Ah I’m so glad to hear!! :) When I’m working on pieces like that I like to create a narrative in my head, and often I don’t share this with customers because everyone interprets them in different ways and I think it’s so beautiful that something I created can bring so much imagination and joy to people. I love animals and being outdoors, and I find that heavily comes through into my work. I basically draw things that make me happy and hope they make other people happy to :)

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_quote_[5] How would you describe your design process and/or technique used, and what part of it do you like the most? My process has changed SO MUCH over just the last year, I now work much more digitally and although I create the sketches by hand I do lots of the work from there in Photoshop, there is nothing more pleasing then getting my paints out and making a mess though!!!

[6] How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It varies, sometimes it can take me days to get an idea to surface and then I’ll faff around with it and we might not see a product for months. That being said, for the spring fair,  I designed 5 mugs and got them printed up super quick…..I think we had about a week and a half from start to finish on those!

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 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[7] Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? If so, do tell us why?There are loads! I would love to be better at sewing and try to sew some of my own clothes! I could then just pick out amazing fabrics and it would be so much fun stitching it all up into all kinds of clothes. And  I’d look amazing all the time….right? ;)

[8] As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d?This is a tough one, I think what I’ve found harder and much more prominent was starting my business in the recession. People haven’t had the money to splurge on treats so I figure if I can do okay through that what harm is a little healthy competition?

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[9] What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? hmm, I guess first of all….

  • totally check and see if you can get any help from the Prince’s Trust, they are absolutely fab and can help you hit the ground running with your business.
  • Don’t listen to that little voice in your head screaming ‘ butttt it’s not ready yet!!’ and miss out on opportunities, bite the bullet and just go with what you have, because you can work on something forever and still feel like it’s not ready yet!
  • Start small and grow naturally. Only do what you are comfortable with – you are in charge now, and if you don’t feel happy about something you don’t have to do it :)

[10] What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side? The best part of my business is the fact that I get to work on things that I want to work on; if I want to draw a fox, then gosh darn it, I’ll draw a fox! I can take lunch whenever I want, and I can plan things the way that I want too, which is really amazing! My business is full-time now. I wish I could say it were 9-5 but really it’s much more like 24/7 as there are things I don’t do out of office hours but I really do work my bum off for my business. Part of my new years resolutions this year was to take more short breaks during the year so I don’t burn out – which I’m pleased to say I am doing.

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_5MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_10  [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[11] Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? Ohh, this is hard!! I REALLY like my octopus mug, he makes me so happy, I’ve been doodling this octopus for years so it’s nice to finally have him alive and on a product!

[12] When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? Hehe, well I love playing video games, reading and getting myself outside into the countryside somewhere where there are no other people around for miles! And nothing gets better than meeting friends for a good natter over some cake (and wine!)

[13] What are your favorite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I’m loving reading Moyo Magazine on my tablet while I’m in bed, but that doesn’t replace a real book! II thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green recently, so much so that I’m working my way through his other books now….so yea, I’m currently reading the fabulous ‘Paper Towns’.

[14] Name three things you just could not live without? Tea, music, cake!

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_4 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[15] Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? Oh so many! I love the work of Holly Betton who runs ‘Death By Tea‘ – I have quite a few of her mugs already and they are my favorites….. plus she is lovely too! I’ve also been having an attack from the brilliance of Emma Yarlett’s illustrations for picture books, I had to buy all the ones she had done…obviously.

[16] And finally, what do you have in store for Louise Wright Design this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Well I’ve done my first two trade fairs early on the year (Spring Fair & BCTF) so they were my biggies really. From here on in I’ll be at local events around the Derbyshire area which you can keep up with via my Events page on my website :) I do have loads of other things I want to achieve this year; new products up my sleeve and developing my illustration work further being the big two. This year is just going by so fast!! So, the best thing is to stay tuned via my Facebook page or Twitter for all the latest news and gossip!

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Got to love that last quote!

Okay, so now do you feel that warm, fuzzy and happy feeling I’m talking about?? I mean, aren’t they simply the cutest little drawings? :)

Well, if you like her work just as much as I do……then here’s a treat I have in store for you! I’m sooooooooooooooo excited to tell you that Louise and I have decided to offer, exclusively to all you lovely readers/followers, 20% off ANY of her work that you find on her Etsy store.To redeem your discount, simple enter MADEBYMOLU at checkout where it says ‘Apply shop coupon code‘ and then proceed with the next stage.

This special offer is only valid for the month (ends 30th of June) so if you’d like to treat yourself then now is your chance to get your paws on any of her goodies!!

Thank you, once again, Louise for giving me a huge chunk out of your busy time to share with us your story and for the amazing offer to all my readers. There’s been some really inspiring and insightful things for us all to take note of and I know we’ll all be looking forward to seeing all the wonderful new creations you have coming up! Good luck and all the very best, lovely!

Have a wonderful and fun month of June, folks!! xxx

[For the Home] Donna Wilson and then some

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_10-WEBSo springtime is finally descending on us and after a month or so of horrible cold and wet weather I’m delighted to see rays of sunshine across the country over the last few weeks even with the occasional downpours! Not to mention the lighter evenings! I must admit however, that I’ve also been making a conscious effort in trying to bring more elements to our home that brought in a little springtime cheer. We’ve done quite a bit of home improvements and massive clear outs since the new year so I used those as an opportunity to brighten up the place either by redecorating or adding pops of colours or fresh flowers.

Well, you wouldn’t believe my joy when I heard about the Donna Wilson ‘sample sale’ that was held two weeks back. I’ve always been a big fan of her work but like many pretty things out there, most of them remained on my wish list. So although I wasn’t in any position to be splashing out on ‘luxuries’ (we’re saving up for our Big American Roadtrip this summer) I really couldn’t quite shake of the temptation of going especially knowing that you’d get at least 50-70% RRP. So I went with Viktorija and Sabine to make an evening out of it – and boy, did we do that! ;) I was so good on the Friday night (the first night of the sale) only spending £30 on bits and bobs like her plates, tea towels, make up pouch bag, plus some other little things by other artists…but it was later that night, especially when I got home, that I was starting to really regret not purchasing her lovely cushions! They were always my favourites aside from her crockery range…and it was her knitted cushions that got me all stewing at night! Well, you can guess what I did then, right? I actually got up the next morning and made my way for when they opened at 11am to pick up the knitted cushion I had my eye on…..uh-huh, that’s exactly what I did! Oh and as I was going over to the till, I then looked at the bright summer cotton cushions and thought….heck i’ll pick one of those up too. Compulsive I know but my gawd this was the ONE time I walked away without any buyer’s remorse! :D I was soooooo glad I went back as I know for a fact that I probably would not have bought them in a long while. And to top it all off, I actually got to meet her in person on the second day, and I told her how I couldn’t sleep knowing I never got the cushions which she thought was hilarious (or bonkers, who knows!) ;)  MbM_ForTheHome_DW_WEB

Anyway, here’s a few shots of my purchases taking pride of place in our home. I’ve been adding a lot of yellows, pinks and greens to the flat so the colours from the cushions and the other pieces all lend beautifully to the springtime colour palette. What do you think? Do you think I did well with these buys for the home? ;) xx

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_4-WEB MbM_ForTheHome_DW_11-WEBMbM_ForTheHome_DW_5-WEB MbM_ForTheHome_DW_9-WEBMbM_ForTheHome_DW_6-WEBThe clock, butter dish and the miniature white ceramic houses were also purchased from the sample sale although by different designers. Again, I felt these totally summed us design junkies so simply had to pick them up too while I was there! And at £10, £5 and £1 – they were a bargain!

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_8-WEBAnd don’t you just LOOOOOVE tulips? On its own it’s enough to brighten up any day or room! And as you can see below, I’ve been playing around with the placement of each piece both in the lounge and the bedroom. The bedroom, including my little workspace corner, gets decluttered every 3 months just so that it remains visually pleasing to the eye, especially when I have to work here most of the time. I revamped my pin board by painting it all white and having less stuff on there which makes it much cleaner looking. Anyway, there’s a lot more to share with you on our home improvements series so do keep an eye out for them! :)
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[Behind the Scenes]: Meet Pauline of BENU Jewellery

MBM_PAULINE-BENU_MainHey hey hey! How’s it going folks? I’m sorry I’ve been quiet all week last week but I’m back with a bang with this month’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ Interview. I’m really REALLY pleased to introduce to you this talented lady and her awesome work. Pauline Hagan, a London-based designer, is the face behind BENU who creates these funky, electric and colourful leather jewellery. I first came across her geometric necklaces at the We Make London pop-up shop last summer and it was only later that year was I finally able to put a face to these amazing designs when I was introduced to Pauline by both Viktorija and Sabine at one of our rendezvous over sushi, bento boxes and plum wine! ;) It’s comes as no surprise to you all at how much I LOVE my statement necklaces particularly with a soft spot for leather and geometry, so her jewellery are right up my street……and her strikingly beautiful pieces are all designed, hand cut and put together by Pauline herself! Anyway, I shall quit rambling and let you in on the interview I had with Pauline so that you get to see how fabulous she is yourself!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, and what made you decide into wanting to become a designer? I’m Pauline, I’m half French, half British and currently living in London. I started designing leather jewellery about two years ago, when I realised that my day job wasn’t exciting or creative enough. I knew I wanted to start a project of my own – so began experimenting with different crafts, materials and techniques
  2. How did you come about setting up? What made you take up jewellery making, specialising in leather jewellery and accessories? And is there a story behind the name? I happened to spot a few leather jewellery tutorials online and came across a market trader selling beautiful, thick leather offcuts in all possible colours (including a lovely gold with a perfect shine). I brought a bag full of offcuts home and it all stems from there. Leather is very easy to manipulate and perfect for those who are particularly impatient – a little idea can go a long way and is easy and quick to materialise.The name BENU is a product of my other half’s imagination. He’s from Prague, and Czechs are renowned for coming up with diminutives and little nicknames for their family and friends. It won’t mean much to the outside world, but it’s short, simple and, hopefully, memorable!MBM_PAULINE-BENU_11
  3. What five words best describe you and your style of work? Eye-catching, fun, bright, creative, colourful.
  4. It was your geometric bib necklace in blue and gold that first caught my eye at the We Make London Pop Up Boutique. In fact, I absolutely love your geometric range (I cannot wait to purchase!) What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work? Thanks for your kind words! I find my inspiration all over the place – the colour of a flower or the shape of a building might spark an idea. I try to observe and inspect what surrounds me and think about what I can repurpose, how I can recycle an idea – could I use the way bricks slot together as a pattern? Could I cut petals out of leather? The ideas come to me when I’m walking around, just about to go to sleep, when I’m at work or whilst I’m in the midst of creating another piece of jewellery. 885699_476343669081930_1517067540_o
  5. How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? It’s difficult for me to imagine a finished necklace or pair of earrings, so I’ll start with a focus, something that’s inspired me and will then take it from there. It could be a particular shape (triangles for example), two colours that marry well (gold & electric blue) or a particular material or shape (yarn or embroidery thread). I do a lot of experimenting and embark on a mini creative journey – the results of which usually pleasantly surprise me! The part I enjoy the most is the satisfaction, once I’ve finished the journey, of having a finished piece – and seeing how I can develop it further. For example this multicoloured petals necklace lead me to create this tiny pink petals necklace and this colourful drops necklace. One little idea can go a long way!
  6. How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It would really depend on the piece. At times the process can be very fast, if I’m particularly excited about an idea of have something quite specific in mind – a couple of hours perhaps. Sometimes ideas take a lot longer to evolve and I’ll work on them for hours or days. Although I have noticed that the longer I spend on a piece, the less likely I am to be happy with it. In terms of actually making a necklace or pair of earrings once they’ve already been designed, it’ll usually take me 1-2 hours. MBM_PAULINE-BENU_4 MBM_PAULINE-BENU_3 MBM_PAULINE-BENU_2
  7. Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? And why? One of my resolutions this year is to try out new crafts, techniques and mediums – you never really know what you’re capable of so I think it’s always important to continue digging and exploring. If there’s a craft out that’s going to make me happy (and they usually do!), I want to discover it! I’ve started calligraphy and have been experimenting with watercolours – which has been very exciting and has pushed me to think out of the box. Next on the list are testing watery silk paints, painting on glass, screen-printing and linocut.
  8. As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d? It can’t say I found it difficult to break into the creative industry, but I think the toughest part was the build up to the launch of BENU (Etsy shop and social media) – and not knowing what the response might be. When you’ve been preparing something for so long and have no clue how it’s likely to be received, it can be worrying. However it was all a lot easier than I’d anticipated. Hard work really pays off and shines through – and I got so much support at the beginning from family and friends, which gave me a wonderful boost. The craft community is also extremely friendly and supportive and it really helps to bump into people who are going through similar experiences and challenges.
  9. What would be your ‘top three tips‘ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? Firstly, if you haven’t yet found your ‘niche’, experiment. Get inspiration via Pinterest, craft blogs and tutorials, and give it a shot. In my case, I very rarely get a light bulb moment, it’s always a process I go through, starting with just one focus point (technique, material, colour, shape). The best bit is that it can go so many ways – you never know where your creativity will take you. Secondly, just go for it. It’s all tremendously daunting but try to bounce your ideas off friends/ family, build up your confidence and determination and get it out there.You won’t regret it! Lastly, do a lot of research and always keep an eye on other successful creatives and designers: how they’re making their products, how they’re photographing them, expanding their range of products, through what mediums or channels they’re selling them, how they’re doing their own marketing, etc.
  10. MBM_PAULINE-BENU_6MBM_PAULINE-BENU_5MBM_PAULINE-BENU_8MBM_PAULINE-BENU_9What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side?I work full-time in a design agency as a project manager and run BENU on the side, in my spare time. The very best bit of it is the sheer personal satisfaction you get out of it – it’s my own little project, I make all the decisions, I can take it wherever I want to take it, and it makes me very excited about the future. The other side of it is the lovely feedback I get from my customers. 
  11. Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? I think that my favourite pieces will always be the first set I designed, with the very first gold & electric blue leather offcuts I bought – this necklace, this other necklace and these earrings. These designs are what triggered everything else.
  12. When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? When I’m not designing jewellery I love experimenting with other crafts and techniques. Other than that, I love the theatre and music, and am planning to get back to my guitar & singing (which I left to one side to get all dusty & rusty whilst I concentrated on my jewellery!). MBM_PAULINE-BENU_cover
  13. What are your favourite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I always have a few books on the go at the one time, which is frustrating but I can’t seem to discipline myself – Catch 22 (Joseph Heller) and If nobody speaks of remarkable things (Jon McGregor) at the moment. My favourite blogs are designlovefest and A Pair and a Spare, both run by incredibly creative, crafty and business-minded women. I get a lot of inspiration from both.
  14. Name three things you just could not live without? Definitely the people in my life, the place(s) I call home & all of my craft supplies and materials.  MBM_PAULINE-BENU_quote_2WEB
  15. Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? As always – the lovely Viktorija from And Smile and Sabine from S-Gerth Design – who are both so creative, determined and brilliant at what they do. A few other creatives I admire: Jonna Saarinen, Floti, DDSLL, SketchInc, leahgoren, Butterscotch Beesting, An Astrid Endeavor, amongst many others!
  16. And finally, what do you have in store for BENU this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Last year was very intense as I’d decided to try out as many things as possible – online selling, markets, new stockists, cooperating with bloggers, etc. As fun as it was, it was a little too stressful with a busy full-time job to go to as well. I’ve decided this year that I’ll focus on the made to order side of things (online selling) as well as exploring and designing new pieces (hopefully in a more organised and collection-based way than previously). That means no events or markets this year (yet!) but stay tuned for some exciting new designs! MBM_PAULINE-BENU_13MBM_PAULINE-BENU_packaging

Thank you ever so much Pauline for taking the time out to be interviewed and for the amazing photos you provided too! I’m sure all my readers will now see what all the rage is about and agree with me when I say that I can’t wait to see what else is in store for BENU. But firstly, I must get round to treating myself to one of your necklaces soon! :D All the best and I look forward to catching up real soon…..hopefully sushi and plum wine again! ;)

So there you have it folks……if you’d like to follow all of Pauline’s beautiful creations, you can find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram….and of course, if you’re looking to purchase any of her pieces you can find them on her Etsy store. Happy window shopping!!! :D xx

 

[Image credit: ©Benu Jewellery]

[Made by Molu Special] Blog Birthday Giveaway!

Okay I’m a week late but I had to push my blogging aside for a bit to focus on the PhD. This does also mean that my mighty great plans on making something special to for a birthday giveaway got stalled too, which is a real shame as I had been sketching out ideas for a nice new print! Well I guess I’ll have to do that another time….HOWEVER, to make up for that, I have hatched up another little plan………..

MbM_2ND-BIRTHDAY_OLD-ENG-CO-1MbM_2ND-BIRTHDAY_OLD-ENG-CO [Image credit: ©The Old English Co.]

So, seeing as I’m a huge (HUGE!) lover of all kinds of prints (an avid collector and occasional maker myself) I decided that I’d treat my readers to a lovely print for their home/workplace, as a little token of my gratitude and appreciation for the last two years! I’ve been recently eyeing up a few prints by the Old English Company on their Etsy store since last November. They are a London-based design company with amazing artwork that combine both illustration and typography (just my kind of thing!!) influenced by food, travel and everyday things. My absolute favourites are the ‘food’ and ‘kitchen’ range…..what that says about me, I haven’t a clue! ;) Seriously though, there’s so many on there that I’d love to get my paws on but with quite a few prints at home (new ones too!) still to make it onto the wall I’ve sadly had to refrain from any purchasing for the time being (boo!)

Anyway, while I may have to stick to window shopping, YOU actually have the chance of owning one of their fabulous prints!!!

So, the big BLOG-BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY is an unframed A4-size print (value of £16) of your choice!! Ta-da!! :)

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All you have to do is hop on over to their prints section of their website and pick out one that you’d like. Then come back to this blog post to tell me, in the comments section, which one that is and why you’d like it.

It’s as simple as that! :)

** Now, if you want bonus entries then you get one each time you share this giveaway on either Facebook or Twitter. To do that, copy and paste this statement along with the web link for this post: “@MadebyMolu is treating us to a fabulous @OldEnglishCo print of OUR choice for her BIG BLOG BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY. I just signed up!” Just remember to let me know about that too in the comments section for it to count!!! **

Competition is open to readers worldwide and will stay open till midnight (GMT) on Friday 24th of January!! So whatchya waiting for? Go Go Go……enjoy your window shopping!! It’s my treat ;) xx

A few recent purchases this Autumn…

The Autumn/Winter season brings with it many craft fairs, markets and events but I must admit the Crafty Fox Markets in Brixton and the most recent Renegade Craft Fair in Bricklane, have both exceeded my expectations. Every time I go to such events, I’m left hugely impressed (and overwhelmed, in a good way!) by the level of talent and craftsmanship out there. The hard graft, the perseverance, the determination and the creativity of all the designer-makers (many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet and get acquainted with) is both admirable and inspiring! Anyway, while I wish I was able to splash out on plenty more handmade goodies and bespoke pieces, here are a few of the recent purchases I’d like to share with you…… It’s good for the soul, I say! ;)

First up, is this adorable print from the lovely Louise of Louise Wright Illustrations that I bought from the Autumn Markets, hosted by Crafty Fox Markets at Dogstar, Brixton back in October.
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Secondly, we got this beautiful vintage map; J Bartholomewo’s Map of Ireland circa 1872 from Paul Vening at Spitalfields Markets, while galavanting around in Shoreditch for the Photo Hunt event we signed up to last month. Paul has a fantastic collection of authentic vintage maps and Fashion prints so his stall is definitely worth a visit if you’re there! Nothing like a owning a piece of history! :) MbM_BLOG_Spitalfields_Irish-Map-1 MbM_BLOG_Spitalfields_Irish-Map-2

And finally, from the Renegade Craft Fair held at the Old Truman Brewery in Bricklane last weekend, we bought a few pieces ranging from accessories to prints for the wall. Let me know what you think.

[1] The ‘Architect’s Watch‘ by designers and watch-makers May28th. Okay, I know it’s very clichéd but what the heck – it had my name all over it and as soon as I spotted it, I knew I had to have it! Worked out well considering I had been looking to replace my ‘everyday’ watch that was starting to look rather worn out. Meant to be really! ;) Oh and FYI – why May 28th? Well, it based on the date that designer Agni Tilla, got engaged on….cute huh? :)

[2] This stunning bookmark or ‘Mark for Books‘ as it’s called, by Pink Tank Ltd, depicting the NYC street map, was a must-have. Whether it was the architects in us or just being design geeks in general, we were both immediately drawn to the fabulous collection of bookmarks, not to mention the geometrical-patterned pendents. All the products are etched out of thin sheets of stainless steel; it’s intricate, beautiful, industrial and architectural in many ways that we were glad we stopped by (like three times!). Totally impressed with the style of work, design ethos and little stories that go behind it, I’m happy to tell you that I’ll be featuring Chelsea in the New Year…..and I cannot wait!! :)

MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_14MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_15 MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_13[3] Hand-pulled screen prints by James Brown Prints and Telegramme. We’re both very much into all forms of art, graphics and typography especially vintage/vintage-inspired ones so we are delighted to add these awesome prints to our growing collection! Really chuffed with them actually. Just need to get them framed (along with a couple of other prints we bought in the year i.e. our wedding anniversary presents!) and get them up on the wall soon! Next DIY HOME project coming right up! :)

So that’s it folks. I do hope you like the little bits and bobs we picked up this autumn. There’s soooooo much out there its hard not to come back without a little something! And if you know exactly what I mean, and have bought a few things yourself, then please do share! Always great to come across more talented artists and designers!! ;)

Oh and if you’d like to nosey through more photos from these events go over to my Facebook Page!

Bye for now! xx

[Image Credit: ©Made by Molu, all photos taken using my DSLR and iPhone 4s]

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”

This is the last post on our 1st wedding anniversary gifts series and although we do not consider or claim to be creative writers such as William Wandsworth, I think I can safely say that we have still managed to put the “breathings of our hearts”  on to paper through illustrative methods! ;)

First up is the present I received from the hubby; a beautiful large geometric screen print, titled ‘BLUE TRIANGLE,‘ by UK Artist and Printmaker Emma Lawrenson. I was totally blown away and overwhelmed by this present for a number of reasons; firstly, for the sheer beauty of the work with its crisp lines, simple geometry and soft calming hues; secondly, knowing that he had clearly spent quite a bit on me by opting for this original and special edition piece… and lastly, for picking this print as it was seen on the set of Mad Men Season 6 in Peggy Olson’s Office!! You’re probably wondering why the latter is such a big deal but sooooo much thought and attention went behind this piece of art; knowing how much I love geometry, clean lines, colour, bold statements, a touch of retro, handmade, screen-printing, simplicity yet elegance and on top of all that the added bonus of having something that reminded us of the Mad Men marathon sessions we had, curled up on the sofa in the evenings, when we first moved to London last year! (It’s one of our favourite TV shows!) It really was perfect; not only summed me up down to a tee but it had a lovely touch of nostalgia too! How he manage to source that still baffles me…….so yeah, he did well right? ;) BLOG_STRIP_1st-anniversary-presents2-WEBThis next piece below is the one I presented to my husband. I know I had made a little something myself (see my earlier post here) but while that represented the ‘handmade’ and ‘inspirational’  elements this second piece was more about ‘memory’ and ‘sentiment’. So I got him a large graphic print by UK artist Nick Prints labelled ‘LONDON CALLING‘ where I too went for the touch of nostalgia by picking something that represented the city we moved to, to start our married life. What I love about this print is level of detail that went into it by placing all those iconic logos, symbols and illustrations in a perfect circle and representing the vibrant big city that is London! You can easily lose yourself going through the illustrations trying to identify the places and things you’ve explored! And, as I’ve mentioned before, the hubby is really big into his graphics and illustrations (and collecting art in general) so I’m pleased to say, that it was received well for both the sentimental value as well as the aesthetic! ;)
BLOG_STRIP_1st-anniversary-presents-WEBBoth these pieces need to be framed properly – what you see here are just temporary measures to get some images up on on the blog. We’re hoping to do a floating mount for the ‘Blue Triangle’ piece and the ‘London Calling’ piece nicely mounted. Anyway, I just wanted to share these as I thought both artists and their works were definitely worth mentioning. So, what do you reckon – have we done well for our 1st wedding anniversary presents? :) xx

(Image Credit: Made by Molu)