Sunday, 20 July 2014

Out now: the first of my series of participatory bicycle artworks, 'For the Love of Urban Bikes'

If you follow my blog, you know that I did the first shooting for my series of art projects around bikes and participatory urbanism last November. (You can read up on the open call here, if you are visiting my blog for the first time.)

I'm excited to say that the artwork is out now as a limited edition of 100 giclee fine art prints (594mm x 840mm)that are all signed by me and are available exclusively on my website.

So here's a bit of background on the making:

On an empty parking lot off Broadway Market in Bethnal Green, my sister and I set up a white backdrop for everyone to ride onto and pose for me. Can you tell from the picture below that the day started bright and was nice and cold? It was freezing.

Lots of lovely people came, and just to give you a taster, I show you a few close-ups from the day below, starting with the fabulous Della Tinsley of ELDS.

The gorgeous lady below had come across my open call flyer and when she read up on the project on my blog, she noticed that I had photographed her 'lone' bike, so that enticed her to come along to be photographed with it ... aren't they a match?

 Fancy helmet ...

... a bike for good measure ...

Bonny and Clyde on bikes?


The day made for much laughter and joy and I enjoyed focusing on the connection between the owners and their two wheels - in most cases, as we also had a uni cycle and a three wheel scooter. 

The most noticeable aspect for me as the photographer was how the bicycle worked as a  prop that brought out everyone's unique smiles and happy attitudes. That's why I decided to align all the portraits on one large sheet ... it was lots of work to clean up every shot, so the whites are all equal. 

And here it is: 'For the Love of Urban Bikes'!

To purchase a print or to check it out in more detail please visit my website.

Thank you to all who came along and a special thank you to ELDS for helping to spread the word, and make us cups of tea all day to keep me smiling and warm inside :-)

Bye for now


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Open call for photography-savvy Hackney residents to participate in Ella Doran’s collaborative photographic art project

'Tour de France 2014 through Hackney Eyes'

What it is about:

To celebrate photography, shared excitement, participatory urbanism, the love of bikes and the creative Borough of Hackney within the context of the Tour de France coming through Hackney on Monday 7th July 2014 artist/designer Ella Doran is curating a participatory photographic art project.

The aim behind using different photographic eyes and vantage points is to emphasize the hybrid nature of an event being shared as a community, but experienced by everyone within their individual space. Accordingly, a staged set up of 14 photographers (referencing the year, ’14) will be positioned in front of the crowds across the short stretch of the Borough of Hackney that the Tour de France passes through.

Once the photographers have captured the images according to Ella’s brief, all the material will be collected and Ella will curate artwork from it that will form part of an exhibition. More details to follow later.

If you would like to participate:

Please send an email to by Friday 6th June 2014, explaining your own involvement with photography and why you would like to participate in Ella’s project. If you have a link to your own work or think a few of your own images would be worth including, please feel free to do so. 

Because of the nature of ‘The Tour de France seen through Hackney Eyes’ we can only consider applications from Hackney residents.

Please note that because of the technical background of what Ella plans to do with the imagery, you will need to have access to an iphone for the event. Also, you will need to be available for a set-up meeting at the end of June. Please state your availability on Saturday 28th June and/or Sunday 29th June, indicating preferences for am or pm in your application. If possible, keep both days free, as the idea is to do a test run on location with the whole group. (We obviously can’t afford to run into difficulties on the day, as it is a live event.) Of course, you will need to be able to take Monday 7th July off for the big event.

What’s in it for you:

Any money made from the project will go to a Hackney-based charity, but you will get a fabulous photography-related gift and will be mentioned as a participant photographer.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Ella Doran

Friday, 2 May 2014

Behind the scenes - photo shooting wallpaper

We are about to launch our first ever wallpaper book. Getting together the in situ images was hard work, but also a lot of fun, some of which I'd like to share with you, for your entertainment and inspiration. As you may remember if you've subscribed to our newsletter, we said a while ago that we wanted to get into the habit of doing more interactive stuff on our facebook page. So I'd like to invite you to tell us which design from the ones featured in this post you like best and why, for a chance to win a 'Sevens' cushion in taupe or red, displayed at the bottom of this post. 

Please post your answers on facebook. We will announce the winner on Friday the 9th May!

So here's the first design: Sunlight through Leaves

photograph by Rita Platts

Doesn't this look innocently enough like a shelf mounted on a wallpapered wall?

... and this one: a proper hallway, decorated with Bikes of Hackney, wouldn't you think?

 photograph by Rita Platts.

Far from it: What you can't see is the hand holding the coat hanger in place, just out of frame to the right. (I was holding it so I don't have a picture to show you.) Special thanks to our local Hackney friends @ Hoxton Mini press and Ally Capellino for their bags on the coat hooks!

  photograph by Rita Platts

Paris Marble above, the newest design of my Concrete Inspirations collection. I love the colour accents the objects bring to this shot, styled by Louie Waller. The table is one of my limited edition tables, with a printed Formica top in the Opal design.


This design will launch this month, it's called Parquet Inspired by Andrew Stafford, so no link available just yet.

As the name suggests, there's a backstory to this design: 
Over the past few years my friend, furniture designer Andrew Stafford, has worked with me on designing my trade show stands. Prompted by his suggestion, I originally created the artwork for 'Parquet' for our stand at the Home Show 2013 (read the full story in an earlier blogpost here

To make up this design I took lots of images of the parquet floor in Andrew's kitchen, and then I have re-pieced each piece of wood  together from my photographs to form a chevron that repeats. It was a lot of work and I'm very happy with the outcome. To give the wood space to 'breathe' I have kept the repeat wider, so this design comes as a double-width 110cm wide, 5m long roll, which I think is very special.

However, if you have looked back on my previous post, you will notice how much bigger the scale was on the one-off artwork for the trade show stand. For my ready-to-buy wallpaper I have altered the scale to make it fit most residential or commercial uses, but as you can see, modern technology gives us a lot of flexibility for scales and sizes.

So if you are interested in having an unusual wall pasted with this design, do get in touch, we can produce it in many different ways to fit your desired specifications. 

 Above is a 'behind the scenes' image of Sevens Taupe wallpaper (no link available yet) that I posted on instagram. I always find it fun to imagine what happens off the frame of a cropped image.

It was harder than it looks, though, to keep the guitar in place and for Rita Platts to get this shot!

By the way, Sevens Taupe is new to launch in wallpaper. I have scaled the 45's so they are as close to a 7" record as I could get them for the repeat.

I really look forward to seeing how our customers pick up on this design and how they will use it in their homes ;-)

Below, Fretwork, imagined in a conservatory setting of flowers and vases. 

Lastly, I thought I would add this amusing video on how to put wallpaper/accent murals on your wall. It's by Surface View, whom I work with on many projects and showcases Geo.

Now don't forget to roll on over to our facebook page and tell us your favourite/s from the ones listed above. Here's a picture of the cushion you could win (either red or taupe).

Now don't forget to roll on over to our facebook page and tell us 
your favourite/s from the ones listed above. Here's a picture of the cushion you could win (either red or taupe).

Enjoy your bank holiday everyone,

Ella x

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

'Artist's Tools for the Tate'

I am very excited that the collection I have been tweeting and instagramming about in the last couple of weeks has now been launched by TATE!

Read on for a bit of background and some close-up shots of the range.

Photograph by Rita Platts

The overarching idea was to design a collection that would appeal to and create enthusiasm for the artistic process across the diverse community of the Tate visitors – the young and old, men and women, the professional creatives and the less artistically educated, who all have different tastes, but are united in their passion for art.

Photograph by Rita Platts
Colour, as we encounter it in its material form at the beginning of an artistic project, in paints, chalks, inks and pencils, was the starting point for 'Artist's Tools for the Tate'. To introduce a feeling of authenticity into the images, I explored my own creative process, photographing my personal artistic tools in my own studio (with my main creative tool, which is my camera, remaining backstage this time).

Photograph by Rita Platts

The material that carries an image and the printing technique that is used have a profound effect on the feel of an image. I wanted to highlight this aspect through the different production methods used across the product range of 'Artist's Tools for the Tate'. (The collection consists of notebooks, mugs, cushions, tea towels, a tray, a bag and a laptop case.) The tea towels, the bag (below) and the laptop cases, for instance, are screen printed, while the cushions like the one above are digitally printed.  

In contrast to the gritty texture of the screen printing on the tea towels or the bag in the image above, the print quality of the tray below is super real. The mugs are special because of their screen printed decals, made by a transfer company in Stoke on Trent (whom I consider to be absolute masters of their trade). I designed the decal to come right up to the edge of the cup and am so pleased that they came out as I intended.

Photograph by Rita Platts
The packaging for all the collection uses my signature cardboard
with a glossy sticker :-)

Overall, my aim was to create a playful, yet sophisticated collection that will enthuse others to pursue their own artistic ideas, perhaps make them go out and start 'that painting' or 'that collage' they have been dreaming about doing, after their visit to the Tate. 

You can now buy the collection in the Tate Gallery Shops and in the TATE Online Shop (they are still adding products as we speak). I hope you find a piece to suit you - as always we're happy to hear from you on our facebook page.

Here's to a creative spring everyone!

Ella x

Special thanks to Rita Platts who photographed me and the insitu products in my studio, and Louie Waller who helped style them, & the cut out product shots were kindly supplied by Tate.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Making of a Trade Show Stand - for Home Show 2014 in London

So we have returned from our first trade show of 2014, HOME London, and have been busy sorting out all our orders and new contacts from the show. The response to the new products has been beautiful and once again I got lots of compliments for my stand design. Since I always put a lot of thought into my stand, I feel like sharing a bit more about the process of making it ...

To begin with, we took polystyrene letters from polycraftsupplies and decorated them with newspaper and the best neon acrylic around, Daler Rowney number 544, so they would stand out from the back wall that we covered with black board paint. It's a wonderful mat black that makes every colour stand out against it. Below you can see the letters lined up, as we prepared to stick them onto the wall.

I have used the concept of vibrant colours on mat black background also in one of the designs of my Pop Art goes Design collection. It's called 'Pop Art Dots' and the original art work, which you can see below, is made up from hole punched magazine clippings. Thinking about the positioning of the products on the wall, I realised that I liked the randomness in the 'Pop Art Dots' a lot. So I decided to allow my gut feeling to guide me in distributing the products across my stand. But it wasn't supposed to look careless, so I wanted to hang everything with beautiful hooks, nails, zip ties and ribbons.

Below you can see what I found as I raided all my boxes ... and my friend Andrew Stafford who helped me with my stand planning and building gave me some crown silver light bulbs for the lampshades that added an extra special touch (you can see them in the picture of the whole stand at the bottom of this post)

Below, some of the products attached to the back wall. The cushion on the stool in front of the wall is a new addition to the range of Cameras designs of the 'Pop Art goes Design' collection. It's a digitally printed, 40x40cm linen cushion called Camera Play, and it's now available on our website. The design references Joe Tilson's photo collages of the 60s. If you're interested you can read more about my inspiration for 'Pop Art goes Design' in an earlier post I did on my blog. 

Below a close up - yes, I am rather pleased with how it turned out :-)

But to move on: I wanted to use a collection of chairs to offset all the different cushions and ranges, and to give the buyer a feel of how these products might sit in their stores, and indeed their customers' homes. The Thonet bentwood armchairs fabulously showed off my Bike wheel cushions ;-)
And who needs a carpet when you have gorgeous concrete to begin with?
Especially since the concrete made such an effective backdrop for my first 'Bicycle' rug, which you can now order from our website.

The chair to the left, above, is one of the pieces that Galapagos Designs have upholstered for us as part of our collaboration with them to illustrate to the buyer how my designs can be used on fabric for upholstery. And below I show you another one, of a different model, but with same fabric and neon accents. It's called 'Pop Art Circles Armchair'.

'Pop Art Circles' overall had a fantastic launch: I was very happy that KentLyons (the designers of the 3 shows Home, Top Drawer and Craft) asked to use my Pop Art Circles wallpaper to decorate the pillars at the entrance to the shows.

Here it is in close up: 

And we also make Pop Art Circles cushions, with extra special neon piping. They are available in 3 different shapes square, oblong and round.

Here with another Thonet chair accentuating all the circles..

And here is the full stand at the opening of the show - thanks for reading and I would love to have your comment if you can take the time - 

Ella x 

Friday, 3 January 2014

My Bicycle rugs in the making

I have just received these pictures from Paul Vowles of WovenGround. He has been at the factory in India where my first Bicycle rugs (from my Bikes of Hackney collection) are being made - in time for us to launch them to our trade buyers next week, at HOME London, Earls Court, 12-14th January.

The above image is from the back of the cloth as the bicycle begins to take shape.
These pictures give you an idea of how they stretch the cloth over a frame, with the design printed on as a guide for the craftsmen. They then hand tuft the different colours of wool into the cloth, following the background template of colours. It's like painting in numbers, which I always loved doing as a child! 

This is what it looks like once they have finished tufting, but before the surface is trimmed off so that it is all even, and soft to touch. 

Voila! Now it can be removed from the frame and be backed and finished!

I have not yet visited the artisans myself, but I hope to do it this year, so I can learn and share even more about what is involved in making these beautiful products. Once HOME London has ended I'll post more pictures of the finished rugs. 

In the meantime, have a wonderful first week of January and remember to set your goals high and enjoy the ride wherever it takes you this year.


Friday, 20 December 2013

Wishing Tree for 2014

To all our customers, colleagues, and friends. Thank you for all your business, support and encouragement this year. We wish everyone of you a restful, loving and happy time this Christmas, and very much look forward to an exciting prosperous 2014 and sharing it with you.

With love and a little 'nudge' to make at least one magic wish for your new year!



Please note: the Studio will be closed for the festivities, and we will be back from the 3rd of January..... Happy Holidays!