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Behind the Wallpaper - Beetle Posse November 09 2017

It's finally here! 
This one has been a real labour of love but I'm proud to introduce my first magnetic wallpaper design. 
I kept the background fairly simple. Which as you can imagine, was not easy for me.
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The luxury beetles were incredibly hard to find but I finally tracked down ones that exceeded my expectations. These beetles are cast from real insects at the end of their natural life cycles. They are bred for pets and sales support insect farmers in developing countries. So although they are as close to real taxidermy as you can get, no insects died for this art. 
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When I opened the first batch of these and held one I was amazed at how real they looked, even with the intense metallic colours. Each tiny detail is captured and they are incredibly intricate. As close to the real thing as possible.
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I also sourced some fantastic brass bugs which can be used separately or together with the metallic beetles. 
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I will be putting this up in my cabin office as I can have a whole wall to stick my inspiration to rather than just a corkboard. It also means all my fabric samples and pretty postcards won't have pin holes in them. 
I would also love to see this design on a pillar as think it would work really well. You can buy just a section of magnetic wallpaper and paper the rest of the wall in normal wallpaper if you plan on focusing the bugs in just one area. 
I also made some little bug boxes which make excellent gifts. 
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I have more magnetic designs in the pipeline so watch this space! 

100% Design October 18 2017

I had my tradeshow debut this year in the esteemed Design London section of 100% Design. Not a bad start! 
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100% Design
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Here I am camouflaged in my Victory Parade dress collaboration. 
I had an an absolute blast meeting people face to face. It definitely made a nice change from working alone in my cabin. 
I was really pleased to show off my brand new cushions which are now live on the website. The colossal floor cushion is a particular favourite. I think this first one will be staying at my house permanently... Full of bouncy British wool, these are just so comfortable. (I have to fight the cats and kids to get a perch)  I was really excited to find a gorgeous soft touch breathable fabric for my outdoor cushions. I was originally going to use oilcloth but I so much prefer this tactile material. 
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Floor cushion
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I was most excited to reveal my Swarovski crystal, glow in the dark and magnetic wallpapers. It was amusing to watch everyone have a play with the realistic bugs and look in the 'Peeping Box' to see the fish glow and come to life. I really want to install the crystal wallpaper in a boutique hotel somewhere, it really is so opulent and you have to see it to believe how pretty it is. 
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Design London
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Here is my laser etched oak table top which will be on sale soon! Also on display are my tiles and a little cabinet I decorated with the magnetic wallpaper and beetles. 
The chocolate certainly went down well and I'm currently exploring licensing these designs. The salted caramel was a firm favourite, I've had to hide the remaining bars from my cheeky husband.
How amazing is this vintage cabinet my Grandma gave me? It was a display cupboard from the department store she used to work in over 50 years ago and was the perfect size for my chocolate. 
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artisan chocolate
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I'm currently considering my next tradeshow and will announce it as soon as I have settled on one. 
I have lots on the pipeline after 100% Design and will post here with details of new collaborations and products soon. 
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Furniture Upcycling - With Bugs! July 21 2017

I am so excited to reveal my collaboration with the very talented Kata from Studio Twenty Seven. 
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bug furniture
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As you can see she did a stellar job of refinishing this chest of drawers with my Froghoppers Reflection wallpaper. Now I know you're not supposed to have favourites when it comes to your creative children but this one has a special place in my heart so I'm always really happy to see it in use. (I actually have this one in my own bedroom) 
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decoupage drawers
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Take a look at the lovely details she has included such as the brass feet and darling gold bee handles. 
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gold bee handle
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If you would like to discuss commissioning a piece in this or any of my other designs do get in touch for a chat. 

Victorian Insect Charms July 11 2017

Insects are so beautiful and intriguing. I can completely understand why they have become so popular in homewares recently. 
They also look fantastic in jewellery as the Victorians knew. Here are a few of my favourite places to find insect jewellery from antique charms. 
Annina Vogel is the queen of Victorian charms. She repurposes stunning old pieces into even more gorgeous necklaces, earring and rings. These are at the pricey end of the spectrum. However if you are ever in Liberty London, do pop in and take a peek. The display there is glorious. 
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Now of course there are much more affordable options if you want to adorn yourself in beetles.
I adore Leola Revives. Not only does she have a constantly revolving stock of the sweetest gems, she also recreates some of the most popular ones! 
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fly ring
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There are lots more on Etsy, here's one I've had my eye on for a while from The Caravan Collection.
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victorian charm .
I'd love to add some of these beauties to my collection! 

Flexographic Wallpaper Printing. May 18 2017

It's been a while since I did a behind the scenes on wallpaper printing so here a few pictures to show you what happens after the wallpaper rollers are engraved. 
The first step is to mix the paint for the pad or background colour. 
This is the rich purple for Beetlenut. Looks a bit messy doesn't it? 
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ink mixing
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The background colour is then applied with a blank roller. The image below is the gorgeous teal green which is one of my all time favourite colours. 
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wallpaper printing
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Then, the exciting bit! The engraved roller is used to apply the design. In this case, glorious metallic gold.
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metallic bug wallpaper
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I'm so in awe of this wonderful traditional process. The detail is absolutely phenomenal. Due to the nature of my work and the tiny dots I was concerned some of the finer parts would be lost or smudged or blurred in some way. I am pleased to say the outcome was just as I had hoped. 
As much as I love digital printing for the scope it gives me (far more colours, shorter print runs and smaller minimum orders etc) flexographic printing will always be very special to me.
It's a little bit magic. 
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Behind the wallpaper - Gallinule March 31 2017

I thought it might be nice to show how the finished wallpaper designs come about. 
This week I'm going to show you a few images from the preparation of the Gallinule wallpaper. 
First I sketch the animals that I'm interested in before adding ink and detail. You can see below I had a bit of help from the Pickle with a few extra dots...
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bird sketch
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After I have scanned and printed the images I add watercolour. I usually plan for one or two drafts but in practice there can be many, many more until I am satisfied. 
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gallinule bird watercolour
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I arrange all the pieces together on the computer and then play with colour options. This can be the most fun, or frustrating part!
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Bird wallpaper design
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Here are a few colour backgrounds that didn't make the final cut, although they might pop up when I expand the range. 
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You can see the final wallpaper design here.

Tonwen Jones - Mapmaker Illustrator April 19 2016

I wanted to share the work of a gifted mapmaker with you all.
Tonwen Jones is a cartographer who designs beautiful illustrated maps of all kinds of different places. Most recently she created this marvel especially for London Zoo’s ‘Land Of The Lions’ exhibit, what a dream commission!
   
bespoke map

    

I also adore her Reykjavik map as it’s somewhere I have always wanted to go. Tonwen makes it looks like a land from a fairytale which only provokes my wanderlust further. These geographical masterpieces are just part of what this talented topographer can do.
  
illustrated map
   
She has worked with a lot of prestigious clients and had artwork published in The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, Marie Claire and a host of other magazines, newspapers and books. She is available for bespoke commissions for wedding artwork, which make great quirky invitations or gifts.
   
wedding artwork
   
Her bespoke maps have such glorious colour schemes too, I would love to have one on my wall one day. There is so much to see in each piece they would look gorgeous in big frame.
   
illustrated world map
   
Check out some of her graphic maps for yourself.

Beetle House Project March 07 2016

There is so much more you can do with wallpaper than cover your walls.
I decorated this cute little £3 plywood box I found at Tiger and use it as somewhere to throw my keys and wallet when I get in the door.
 
I used gorgeous VOC free Lakeland paints in Feng Shui Tiffany which matches so perfectly with my purple Beetlenut design.
 
First I used their wood primer and let it dry overnight. Then I added a layer of undercoat, again leaving overnight before applying the first layer of Tiffany. One layer would possibly have been OK but I decided to do one more to make it really durable.
  
Finally I traced around the house, making adjustments for the fact it would be slightly smaller on the inside, and cut out my section of wallpaper. I added this to the back using wallpaper paste.
 
It was a quick and easy project, I might try something more substantial next time!
 

My Thoughts on Interior Trends. February 29 2016

I find the subject of trends so interesting, especially interior trends.

The fact that colours come in and out of fashion is very strange to me, considering how most people have favourite colours and shades, which surely remain in the midst of whatever is in Vogue. It’s a mysterious process, almost like osmosis. Subliminal messaging in advertising is very real, and very effective, working through repetition.

Trends are predicted by forecasters who gather tons of information, images and research of things that are floating in the ether.

Of course it’s in part a self fulfilling prophecy because once something is announced as up and coming everyone wants to be a part of it. The collective consciousness is a weird thing, and it snowballs. There are always people who can style a room so beautifully that you want to live there yourself, it’s unsurprising that the rest of the world takes their cue from those who make interior design look so effortless. (Of course it usually isn’t!)

We are all looking at the same images on the internet, magazines, television and shops. It drives me mad if there is a huge trend I’m not keen on as you see it everywhere, and it’s that much harder to find what you really want. On the other side of the coin is getting over exposed to something you used to like before every other person in the world seemed to have it.

Fads do always come to an end at some point, even if they are reborn in another decade. There usually comes a saturation point where the style becomes passe. At this point the backlash starts and suddenly people that thought an abundance of teak furniture and a dark olive kitchen were incredibly stylish can start feeling embarrassed with their decorating choices, especially when the cutting remarks start and you realise you’re living in the middle of what is now deeply unfashionable. As long as you still like your home it shouldn’t matter if it’s no longer the in thing. (If you wait long enough it will be again!)

The constant updating of what is desirable appeals to modern humans rather short attention spans, but it is also a good way to get people to keep spending.

It’s a bit like Christmas every year. All through November and December (and before) we are bombarded with ‘eat this!’ ‘drink that!’ sugar, alcohol, extravagant dinners and spend spend spend! Only to be told in January we’re too fat and everyone needs to stop drinking immediately and hit the gym whilst also saving money (after the sales, naturally)

We’re blasted with particular images, colours and styles and a few months later a bunch of smug ‘in the know’ people are laughing at you for being stupid enough to fall for the fad.

If you want to escape this trap the key is to make sure you are choosing items you really love, and not ones that are just fashionable at the moment.

Nothing dates a room more than going all in on a certain theme. It’s not to say this can’t look bold and stunning, but it’s easier to live with a variety of style choices that can be kept or updated according to your preference. Overall I’m not really one for decorating or fashion rules, go with what makes you happy.

I wish I could say I was immune to trends, but of course I’m not. It’s hard to track your inspiration as an artist but none of us live in a vacuum and influences are everywhere. This is where you have to make sure that something about your designs is unique. It also means adapting and evolving, which is actually very good motivation to push yourself creatively and get better at what you do.


Sale! January 15 2016

To celebrate my birthday this month I'm doing a last minute sale of 50% off ALL WALLPAPER!

The sale will run until the 5th February to give everyone a chance to get some, even after the much anticipated January pay day. 

moth wallpaper skull

January birthdays can be a bit miserable, everyone is poor, cold and partied out. But that suits me fine this year as a mug of tea and a good book without the toddler for a couple of hours is what I'm looking forward to.

Happy January everyone.