Who knew vegetables could be so exciting!

Dutch designers Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach’s project ‘Raw Color’ is an exploration of the pigments which arise from vegetables and their state before there are used on textiles or paper. They researched vegetables and their powerful colour, dismantled and purified them to their visual essence ‘Raw Colour’.

“The harvested color is captured by a new process preserving their intensity on color cards. Categorized by shades and families a new map is created which shows their beautiful diversity. This projects reinterprets the vegetable and puts it into new context.”

I came across an image of the colour cards on Pinterest which linked me to the collection of interesting experiments being carried out by the design team. I felt inspired by the power of nature to create such vibrant and varied shades of colour. I’ll never look at a vegetable in the same way again!

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For more information on ‘Raw Color’ visit their website here:

http://www.rawcolor.nl/welcome/

Paper flowers by Haruka Misawa

Haruka Misawa graduated from the Interior Design Course at Musashino Art University, Tokyo in 2005. Haruka noticed how when shaving a pencil the shavings resemble petals. She reproduced this using layers of paper, so that a flower blossoms when a pencil-shaped cylindrical scroll of paper is sharpened. Haruka printed paper with a colour gradation, applied paste to the surface, wrapped it around a core into a pencil-like form, and shaved it. And these were the results…

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http://misawa.ndc.co.jp/

https://www.instagram.com/misawadesigninstitute/

The enchanting worlds of Verdantica

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Isobel Cortese is the fascinating person behind Verdantica. She creates bespoke and miniature terraniums and miniature scenes in curious objects. Her little worlds capture a moment in time and leave the viewer with a sense of enchantment and wonder.

I first came across Isobel’s Verdantica when visiting Leeds Craft and Design Centre earlier this Spring where she was exhibiting and I’ve followed her work since. I am delighted that she has taken some time from her miniature worlds to tell me all about her business.

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Isobel works from her attic space at home,

“It is a very bright room and I can hear the river when I have the window open, it is a lovely space to work in. I make all my creations at a table, which is usually full of jars in various stages of progress, long tools, tubs of tiny people, grass and trees. I always have my radio playing too. “

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Her morning schedule is a mixture of balancing family life and business organisation,

“After taking my kids to school, I have a cup of tea and some toast. During this quiet time, I plan what needs to be done for the day by making a list, then I am ready to start.”

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I asked Isobel about the more difficult aspects of setting up her business and some experiences which have given her confidence,

“There were many different challenges, such as learning how to make my own website and how to photograph my work, which was difficult as the light reflects off the glass. So I invested in a great photographer, Sarah Mason, who gave me some really useful tips. I still find the social media side of it a difficult one to be consistent with!”

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“It was a great confidence boost when Alison from the Heart Gallery, asked to stock my work during the very early stages of starting up. This was before I had started trading, so it was a real boost. Since then I have had my work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it is now at Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery. Also doing art fairs have been great, as it is so nice to get a chance to chat with people about my work.”

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Isobel’s personal and business values centre around love and she believes if you love what you do it will show through your work. Balance in all aspects of life is also important to her, as well as respect and appreciation for nature, evident through a love of gardening.

“ Being disciplined can sometimes be hard, especially if it a beautiful day as I love being in the garden and allotment! But setting myself goals helps keep me disciplined. There is nothing better than a deadline to get me motivated! Also new ideas and sunshine motivate me.”

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“ I get ideas from many different ways, as I find inspiration in many forms. But when I find some little people that I love, I will find a way to make them part of a story. Or sometimes a particular vessel will be the inspiration as to what belongs inside it, especially the vintage pieces.”

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I asked Isobel for some advice for new startups and students and this is what she had to say,

“Whatever you do, try to find your USP (unique selling point), it helps to stand out and be different. But I think it is important to do something which is true to you, so you are creating from the heart. Believe in yourself and what you are doing. Don’t give up!”

Find out more about Verdantica here:

http://www.verdantica.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/isobel.cortese

https://twitter.com/IsobelCortese

https://www.instagram.com/verdantica/

 

Anna Maria Garthwaite

Born in 1690, Anna Maria Garthwaite was an independent textile designer working in Spitalfields, London. She was one of the leading pattern drawers for the English silk industry. I love patterns and prints and think my own pieces are just lots of little porcelain pieces which make up patterns on my desk. Imagine my delight when I came across these images of her watercolour designs and finished silk fabrics in the V&A museum archives. Her surviving floral designs are now held at the V&A and I would love to see them in person one day but for now these images will give me plenty of inspiration..

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A chat with Kirsty Elson…

Imagine a job hunting for treasure on beautiful Cornwall beaches… Well thats the reality of a day in the life of artist Kirsty Elson. And these pieces of treasure often in the form of driftwood, become the most intriguing sculptures desired by her big following across the globe.

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Things really took off for Kirsty when she was accepted to exhibit at the Contemporary Craft Festival in 2012. Her work was on the cover of the brochure and the show was very successful. This teamed with a large and growing social media following has lead to her pieces becoming extremely sought after.

“I was thrilled even to be accepted, but then my work was on the cover of the brochure and sales were amazing! It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.”

This was when I first came across Kirsty’s creations and I remember everyone talking about her house sculptures. They are so detailed and invoke such nostalgia I was hooked and have followed her work with awe ever since.

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I asked Kirsty a little about her working day and workspace,

“I swim every morning at the local pool, see the children off to school then have breakfast whilst responding to emails and so on. I’m always a bit conscious of making too much noise with power tools too early in the morning so I rarely start making before 10am. I’m very lucky to have 2 workspaces! All of the cutting, sawing, drilling etc takes place in the shed, and the painting and all the more decorative bits happen in my little studio indoors. Both are equally untidy. It drives my partner up the wall!”

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Kirsty told me a little about her creativity at home,

“I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pretty lousy cook, but I think the interior of our home is definitely an extension of me. We like the pared down, coastal look. Steve has built quite a bit of furniture here, mostly from driftwood. I love that no-one else in the world has the same cupboards or dresser as me!”

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I asked Kirsty a little about her businesses future, how she is motivated and where she finds her inspiration,

“I think the number one answer is that I love what I do. I’m so lucky that I don’t get that awful Monday morning feeling (as I have with past jobs). Sometimes when it’s cold and wet outside I’m not particularly keen to go out to my shed but it doesn’t last long. I get pretty tetchy when I’ve been away from work for too long! I’m completely inspired by the materials I find, which helps keep my work fresh, and means that every piece is unique. Also I’m extremely fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful counties in Britain so inspiration is never far away!”

“At the moment I am super busy which is brilliant, but I’m not sure it will last! I have no plans to take on employees or anything, though it would be lovely to have someone to do my posting and packing for me. That is a real drag!”

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Kirsty’s business and personal values are simply ‘integrity’ and she has some sound advice for other creative startups and students,

“Just to be unique and original. It’s hard getting established when there are so many others trying to do the same. You need something that sets you apart from everyone else. And be prepared to work more than full-time hours! If you want it badly enough, it will happen!”

Thank-you Kirsty for being part of my blog. If you’d like to know more about Kirsty’s work here are a few links:

http://www.kirstyelson.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kirsty-Elson-Designs/120370888012928?fref=ts

https://mobile.twitter.com/KirstyElson

https://www.instagram.com/kirstyelson/?hl=en