[Behind the scenes]: Holly Francesca

DSC_0071 webI stumbled across Holly Francesca while checking out my first Designer-Makers market event back in December that was held at the Hackney Down Studios. It was a cold winters evening and I spotted Holly’s work just as I entered the Warehouse – actually I’m not sure if it was the work that initially caught my eye or the very cold and well wrapped up Holly standing by her stall! :P Anyhoo, we got chatting a lot (she’s such a warm and delightful person!) and I soon learnt that she had only recently emerged onto the craft and design scene…..and successfully too! Like many artists and designers out there, she was clearly passionate about her work (even weathering two evenings in the cold!) which I found very admirable so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for Made by Molu! I really do think she is inspirational to all creative folk out there including myself, going to show that you need to have a lot of determination, hard work, patience and faith in your work to get yourself noticed in what is such a competitive field! Here’s what Holly has to say:

  1. What five words best describe you and your style of work?  Colourful, Quirky, Londoner, Fun, and Creative!
  2. What is the main source of inspiration for your artwork? Mainly what surrounds me, for example the local area I live in. I would then go onto create a map of a specific area. For instance, I went to the zoo  and then went on to make the A-Z of animals at the London Zoo.
  3. How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? Firstly I make my drawings and from these I form my paper cuts (see below)…. then it’s on to the fun part!  I scan in my white papers and colour them in digitally. It’s this colouring process and creating the final product that I enjoy the most!DSC_0495 webDSC_0135 web
  4. Is there a craft/art medium you haven’t tried but want to? And why? I have bought a Gocco printer from Japan and I have never got round to using it. It looks like a fun way to print and an easy version of screen printing!
  5. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer-maker? And what made you choose that path? I have always wanted to be in the creative industry – I knew this from quite a young age. Art was always my best subject. I went on the study BA Applied Arts and once I left I went on to work part-time as well as creating many different types of products in my spare time until I found the right thing, which has allowed me to go full-time and turn it from a hobby to a business!
  6. There has been a huge boom in the craft and design field in the last few years – would you say its been difficult breaking into this competitive world? It is really hard – you need to get quite a few things in place first. From the beginning you need to work out your figures making sure your price is right and that you actually make money from this new venture. Then you need a unique product which sells well and from this product you start to form a brand. Once you have done this you can sell, sell, sell!
  7. DSC_0079 webDSC_0114 webWhat do you like most about your business? The creative side – but unfortunately most of the business is about the finance, marketing etc but that beings said once I get my work printed and I get it out of the box for the first time it really is the most satisfying moment seeing the finished product!
  8. When you are not in designer-maker mode, what else do you enjoy doing? I play the guitar and sing, I love to read and watch films, but the key thing which I am learning is to make more time to have breaks from the business!
  9. Have you any tips for like-minded creative individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this field? First make sure this is 100% what you want to do and if it is, then start creating! Do what comes naturally to you and just make it. Develop your ideas until you start to get lots of positive feedback then you know you are on the right steps to having a successful business. My top tips is to pace yourself and stay focused!
  10. HOLLY FRANCESCA quoteOf your current work, what piece would you say is your favourite? For me it is always the last piece of work that I make is always my favourite. 
  11. Are there any designer-makers out there you find inspirational – if so, who? I admire a lot of designers at the moment I’m loving, Maxine Sutton, Zeena Shah,  Anna Wiscombe and Elena Deshmukh
  12. What would we expect from Holly Francesca in the future? Many new designs and more maps of cities so keep an eye out for your area!
  13. Finally, where can we find more of your wonderful creations? Can we find you at any craft + design events this year? My next events are: The Start Up Showcase which runs on both Saturday 23 March: 10 – 6pm and Sunday 24 March: 11 – 5pm.  I will be at Pulse London too so do come visit me at Stand LP29A on 12th – 14th May! For more details about my work or to buy them online, please do visit my website http://www.hollyfrancesca.co.uk DSC_0507 web DSC_0509 web

A massive thank you to the lovely Holly Francesca for her time out to answer all my questions and for the lovely photos! I wish you all the best Holly and i’ll no doubt see you at the Start up Showcase event and Pulse! So folks, I’m a big fan of her work and I urge you all to go have a nosey through her beautiful illustrative work and show her your support! Maybe you cuold find something in time for Mother’s Day? xx

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[Saturday Snapshot] ‘East London Design Show’

So we went along to the East London Design Show held at the Shoreditch Town Hall which not only gave us the opportunity to explore that part of London but gave us an excuse to check out more of London’s finest designer-makers and their work (possibly even some last-minute Christmas shopping!)…..and boy did they exceeded our expectations! Here’s a wee look at five fabulous designers we met that day who I must thank for letting me take photos of their fabulous work! :)  There’s some SERIOUS amount of work, detail and commitment behind a lot of their work and I must applaud them all for that!!

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Designer-makers that caught our attention:

Katy & June – if you have a thing for stationery, like i do, then you’re bound to feel like you’ve stepped into stationery heaven when you come across these beautifully designed stationery and gift products which have been carefully sourced (as they are all about quality!) all the way from Korea. Set up back in 2007, this lovely duo have been doing exceptionally well selling fun and practical products that include notebooks, cool sticky memo pads, cards, calendars, badges, gift wrap, decorations, totebags……you name it, they’ve got it! And they are all pretty darn reasonably priced too…so be warned, you may actually struggle to restrain yourself from buying EVERYTHING off them!  Nevertheless, do have a look at their online store and see what tickles your fancy! ;) ELDS_katy+june low res

Ros Shiers is a London-based illustrator (with an impressive portfolio of clients!) who creates some fantastic prints and homeware that incorporate inspirational quotes and lyrics using a mix of beautiful typology as well as her detailed hand-drawn illustrations which were my personal favourites. She had ones with a series ‘afternoon-tea’ delights, vintage cameras, perfume bottles, lipsticks etc. Being a keen photographer, I couldn’t resist buying a print of the vintage cameras which I’m now looking for a suitable frame to put into! So if you would like to check any of her work yourself, then visit her website or follow her facebook pageELDS_ros shiers low res

Noodoll – well where do I even begin with these lot?! Lets begin with a little about them before I start raving about how much I LOVE their stuff! (I was even impressed by their business card that was 10times the size of a standard one! :P) Created by designer YiYing Wang from Taiwan, Noodoll was born from what was once her Masters project at Central St. Martins that came about from wanting to fuse both eastern and western cultures into a truly unique medium…….and this she delivered ever so successfully! Not only has she made a lucrative business out of her cute, fun and charismatic characters, she is also an established author with a few published books…..not a bad CV, eh? So as for her products – well, they range from stationery and toys, to  gadget holders and books…and there really is plenty more!! She’s even collaborated with other like-minded designers and illustrators here in London to create her ‘Noodoll’s Friends’ range. So there you have it! You can see why I (like so many other folk) have fallen in love with these fun and fuzzy creatures! I highly recommend you checking out her website and if you fancy buying something you will be pleased to know that they deliver pretty much anywhere around the world or you can find them stocked at a few different places on this planet – click here to see whats nearest to you. If you would like to read a bit more about her here’s an interview featured in Life.style.etc or simply follow her on either facebook or twitter. Enjoy! ELDS_Noodoll low res

Snowden Flood is a interiors accessories designer (who by the way, now has a studio and shop at the OXO Tower in London) with a range of wonderful homeware products that depict rural scenes and urban landscapes not to mention the idea of souvenirs and keepsakes being the main source of inspiration. You may have seen some of her lovely products, mainly the fine bone china mugs, cups and plates with iconic london landmarks (the Battersea Station is a popular one i’ve been told!), stocked in places like Paperchase, British Museum in London and The Lighthouse Shop in Glasgow. So if you want to browse through some of her products visit her website, or follow her on facebook , twitter or even pop along to her new riverside shop if you’re in London! ELDS_snowdon flood lowres

Zeena Shah is a lovely, charming and talented textiles designer based in the East End of London who, after working in the fashion and interior design industries, decided to launch her brand ‘Zeena’ that specialise in hand-printed textiles and homeware. As you can see in the photos I took below, a lot of her products have a lovely warm, homely and Scandinavian folklore vibe to them. Her products range from cushion covers and home accessories to gift wrap and tape bearing a lot of her delightful designs! All her work are designed and handmade with love from her East London Studio (and home) where I’ve been told she holds workshops to encourage the art of making lovely things to all like-minded creative folk. Have a look at her stuff on her online store or follow all her antics on her blog. ELDS_Zeena Shah low resWell I hope that’s given you all a good glimpse into the world of awesome designer-makers. Enjoy browsing through their websites, blogs, what not and hopefully you’ll find something or two to spruce up your homes or even find some last-minute christmas pressies. xx

Weekend Encounters: ‘Made in Clerkenwell’

Last Friday we popped along to Craft Central to check out their biannual design show ‘Made in Clerkenwell’ where designers and makers showcased a lot of their bespoke and beautifully crafted designs….just in time for the Christmas shopping spree! Here’s a brief review on what we saw and the designers that caught our attention.

Designers that caught our attention:

Tobyboo is a textiles illustrator known for her ‘thread drawn illustrations’ that has been seen on many homeware products such as cushion covers, tea towels, ceramic teaware, children’s toys, and even cellotape! Her fabulous and unique products, namely her signature range called ‘Oranges & Lemons’, which I learnt from Tina (the lovely designer-maker behind all this fabulous stuff) are stocked at the Museum of London, Mary Portas shop in House of Frasers, Somerset House and online stores Not-on-the-HighStreet including her Etsy store. Im still stewing over what to buy from her – whether its the fabric figurines or her teaware. Anyway….do check her stuff out by which can be done by following her blog or her facebook page!

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Maxine Sutton is another textiles designer-maker who incorporates machine embroidery, screen printing, appliqué and needle-punch techniques into a variety of artwork and homeware products. She uses sustainable and ethical materials such as organic cotton and natural linen creating products that range from lampshades to cushion covers. I personally love the way she ties in gorgeous colours with abstract prints, perfect for a neutral backdrop! To find out more on her work visit her website or you can directly buy her products off her online shop.

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Emily Sidwell‘s jewellery was not only fun and highly whimsical (inspired by what is quintessentially English, vintage and eccentric) but after talking to her for some time (and what a delightful person to talk to!) I soon realised the extent of workmanship that went behind these beautiful pieces where no two pieces are the same! Working from her studio at home, she moulds the wax that makes each individual piece, by hand (a method called lost wax casting process) which is then sent off to be cast in silver or brass. This is then polished up or tarnished further by hand to form the final products that are simply unique!  I had my eye on a beautiful Robin brooch which I now regret not buying so I will keep my eyes peeled for more of her lovely bespoke jewellery such as her Alice in Wonderland collection which can be also purchased off her online store.

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Selina Rose (image 1 below) is an award-winning designer that specialises in bespoke felt surfaces and homeware. I loved the vibrancy in the colours and the intricately cut patterns of her products. Her felt cushions from the ‘Flutterby’ range (seen below) have been extremely popular and understandably why as they are so beautifully cut where the folded butterfly wings to reveal a contrasting felt lining behind and create the most stunning three-dimensional cushions I’ve seen! You can purchase her products through her online shop,follow her on Facebook, or even contact her for bespoke commissioned work. PS. I must say how much I loved her packaging too which was so elegantly designed!

Kate Clarke London (image 2 below) designs some of the most cool and contemporary hand screenprinted homeware that is most definitely ‘fresh, bold, and colourful with a retro twist’. To buy any of her awesome products (which are reasonably priced!) visit her online shop here or follow her on Facebook.

Ane Christensen  (image 3 below) and her metal sculptures are definitely eye-catching. Her ‘crumbling’ silver bowls from her ‘Negative’ Series was my favourite which explores the concept of negative spaces cut out of a surface. If you would like to know where to find her products, here’s a list of London shops and galleries that stock her, or alternatively, you can just drop her a line!

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Hope this has given you a good but brief insight to some of the designer-makers we saw that night. Unfortunately there are FAR too many we liked to mention in this one post so I may just feature a couple of others in a separate post!  For more visual treats however, please visit Craft Central’s photo album on their Facebook page. Enjoy!! xx

Saturday Snapshot: ‘Handmade in Britain’

So as you all know, we had bought tickets for the ‘Handmade in Britain‘ craft and design fair which we attended this Saturday. It was held at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on Kings Road in the Royal Borough of Che…..and what a stunning building too in all its late Victorian glory! The vaulted ceilings, the oil paintings, the marble columns, mahogany panels and ornate chandeliers make this one impressive venue…and on this weekend it hosted Britain’s finest designers and crafters, many of who we had the pleasure to meet and chat with. So here’s a snapshot of day and a few designers that particularly caught our attention.

Clementine + Bloom are a mother-daughter team who have launched a series of beautifully crafted home ware, ranging from cushion and quilts to lampshades and tea towels, by putting together their skills and experience in textiles and screen printing. What caught my eye at the fair was their Entomology collection of cushion covers (in particular the orange cushion below) that combine a choice of stunning materials (mostly silk) with a remarkable eye for detail and delicate embroidery…..this duo team are one to watch!

Anya Keeley and her range of whimsical works of art are definitely worth checking out. She does a beautiful job in marrying intricate wire-work with a collage of images and text she collects from old books and magazines to produce some unique and quirky pieces of art – ranging from Christmas decorations to jewellery and sculptured creatures that feel as though they have popped out of Alice and Wonderland! Aren’t they fantastic!? I had to buy something and opted for the cute Christmas decoration in the shape of a pudding which I quickly photographed to show on here! :)

Other designers we came across and ones to check out are:

  • Barbara Wiggins who is an established London-based designer (and sooo lovely in person!) that specialises in beautiful and unique leather products such as her statement satchels (I had my eye on her on a fabulous red one!) and journals adding a touch of personal and contemporary touch to the much-loved traditional items. You probably have seem some of her products at places like Harrods, National Gallery and Liberty. We bought a lovely leather-bound photo album which we hope to put our wedding photos in and are quite interested in buying a few more from her…….I’m even contemplating on whether to treat myself to that gorgeous red satchel someday depending on whether my bank balance permits me to do so! :P
  • Colin Irvine of Decorative Craftwork‘ was not only a charming gentleman but a woodwork extraordinaire that designs and produces (using traditional techniques from his studio in Camden) some of the most beautiful wooden furniture, cabinets and boxes I’ve seen! He does of course do commissioned work so if you have something in mind you can drop him a line or pop along to his workshop in Camden!
  • Tabitha Frost – a young contemporary metalsmith who focuses on some unique tableware pieces influenced by industrial aesthetics – well worth checking out!
  • Namiko Murakoshi of Namnam Ceramics is another young designer to follow who creates some of the cutest ceramic tableware, plant pots and sculptures that clearly has a touch of elegant japanese craftmanship.