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!

Monday, 9 December 2013

A recent commission: an example of fusing art and design ...

I'm often asked about my way of working and so I thought I share the process around a private commission for a roller blind 'mural' (2.20m x 4.5m) I've just finished and feel very happy about with you here. 

Below is the final artwork that has gone off to the printers. As you will see, the creative process was a long and happy journey in close collaboration with my clients, an art and design loving family of five (two young boys and a teenage boy).

Their East London ground floor living room is open plan and faces a walled patio yard. The side of the room that faces the yard has floor to ceiling windows and includes a patio door. 

When we started talking about the commission the couple loved the idea of me creating a narrative across a 'wall' of roller blinds that would in effect be a functional artwork. They gave me a loose brief to be creative and playful around the idea of reversing the perspective of outside and inside so that the blinds would create the illusion of the viewer being outdoors. 

The backyard is at the moment a construction site, as the family is in the midst of building a wonderful (and quite elaborate) 'tree house' on one of the walls. It's very much an urban space and I took it as my starting point when I put together a series of images from my portfolio that were intended for the clients to give me some feedback on what they liked. 

In dividing the blinds I was guided by the thought that I wanted  to create a series of images that linked with each other, but also stood alone - should the family move, they could potentially take them with them and use them independently. We discussed a few options and finally settled on four blinds that match the structure of the facade - window sections and patio door. Three of the blinds are equally wide, the fourth, the patio door element, is a little narrower.

Above is my first sketch, which includes my large signature Femme flower, but we decided that was too overpowering in the context of the living room, despite the double exposure of the landscape behind.

Then I brought in a bicycle (with my love of bikes and theirs as a family) but that was too real and not what they wanted, as their bikes are actually sitting in the yard. The idea of a door in front of the patio door worked for all of us. But while my clients loved the look of the door, to me it felt too closed (a full stop); it needed a different personality that resonated with them as a family. 

Things started to come together with the image of the open door (below) that I had taken on one of my travels. The chicken that is hovering around the entrance and the ladder leading up into a tree as a playful reference to the family's affinity to tree houses resonated with the family's sense of humour. I liked the French window to the left of the door and my clients liked the idea of mixing some kind of wall with greenery - but they felt uncomfortable with the French window, which, they said, looked too stern for them. 

The cut out pot plant between door and ladder above was a suggestion, as I experimented with pot plants to connect the images, but this one lost its energy once it was meticulously cut out from its background. So I decided instead to include this wonderful money tree in all its splendour (below)... everyone needs one of these in their space right? But it wouldn't sit well right next to the door. I felt I needed to place it in the grass so that it became part of the image not just a photo-shopped add on!

Whilst I was visiting the client one summer day, as I was still looking for images that would take the emerging story to the left, I kept having my eye diverted a beautiful yellow wagtail that had made a nest in the backyard. I instantly knew we had to feature her as the family bird hidden in the shrubbery. On that day I didn't bring my camera so I asked my clients to catch the yellow wagtail for me and when they sent me the images I browsed my portfolio for sunny garden walls that fit the purpose and became the two left blinds. Below is a close up of the section where I have made her perch on some leaves keeping an eye out for the chicken near the doorway :-)

This kind of digital 'stitching' together of images can give great results if it is well done, but as my little story about the chicken in the doorway illustrates, it is actually a lot of work. So, take a look at the chicken below ...

 ... it's actually a rooster ... looking strong and healthy, wouldn't you say? 

But since I originally photographed him standing in a meadow, his feet were hidden, and so I went on a mission to get the right feet for him ... which was no easy task, as they had to look right and sit well on the floor too ... (we experimented with other chicken images but discarded all of them - no other chicken had quite the right 'expression') ... and of course, it needed a new shadow too that matched the lighting of the background and its size. Then, once the feet and the shadow were in place, I still felt something was not quite right: the belly was tinged slightly green as a reflection of the grass!

Finally, all that was to be done was to clean up the edges of the four images and to adjust the colours so the blinds would sit nicely together and each have a finished look to them. 

The artwork has now been printed and looks fabulous ...

... but it may take a while before the images are made into blinds and get up on the windows, as the couple doesn't want them to get damaged from the ins and outs of the construction work in their backyard. So I will post some images later, once the blinds are installed and the tree house is built ;-) 

In summary, the project was a lot of work but I have very much enjoyed it and thumbs up to my clients for their openness and enthusiasm!

Best wishes and have a lovely week!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

An invitation for YOU to particpate in my 'Love of Bikes' Art Project -

Following on from my last blog post I have been reflecting on my Bikes of Hackney series and have decided that I would like to shift the focus from the solitary rather 'handsome' bikes that I have photographed in and around Hackney to exploring the relationship of bike owners with their bikes .... 

 .... so I am inviting you and your friends to come along on your bikes and allow me to photograph you in all your regalia - be it your weekend 'Best' or your swimming costume (please note it  probably will be cold!) - my aim is to simply capture you and your trusty 2 wheels with my camera as and how you like to pose. 

Thanks to the folks at East London Design Store who are showcasing my new collection Pop Art goes Design from the 7th of November I will be setting up my camera, with tripod and backdrop to photograph as many of you who are willing to come along - so Spread the Word - the weekend of the 16th and 17th November between 12 and 3pm at 6a Ada Street, London Fields, London E8 4QU - just off Broadway Market!  

I look forward to seeing you there :-)

with love


Monday, 21 October 2013

Participatory Urbanism and my love of BIKES!

A beautiful thing has been unfolding over these past few months thanks to the connectivity of Instagram. I have made contact with the owner of one of the bikes that I photographed to create the Bikes of Hackney range, because of the lovely @bobbinbicycles who put me in touch with Eloise Moody from Moody and Farrel, after spotting her bike in my repeat design on the notebook. She is up for being part of my next project which I am planning and I would love as many of you to get involved as possible, so read on!

Here is her bike that I photographed - it has the most beautiful pea green colour - which is what caught my eye ... if you like the look of it and want to buy and customize your own, be sure to check out Bobbin Bicycles.

Now I am excited to announce that the lovely folk at East London Design Store (just off Broadway market E8) are preparing to launch my brand new Pop Art goes Design collection of products on the 7th of November. We are going to link up with Lucy Mortimer from Galapagus Designs to create some one-off upholstered chairs (which I am super excited about) and there will be new lampshades and all of my Bikes of Hackney collection available too. 

This bike belongs to Guido who works at East London Design Store - many of you may recognise it - as he is well known for riding the streets of London - the gold wheels on his bike are like works of Art!

I will kick start my new project during my installation at the store and want you to spread the word that I will be set up with my tripod and camera on the Saturday and Sunday of the 16th and 17th November outside East London Design Store at 6a Ada Street  London E8 4QU photographing you and your bike - come dressed to the nines or in your cycling pants, it doesn't matter, I want your individual characters to shine out along with your bicycles.

We are still planning all the details, so come back to the Blog and follow me on Instagram if you like.

Happy Monday everyone.

Design Festival Part II

Below are a few of my pics from this year's London Design Festival ....

... starting with my 'Geo Carved' rug on WovenGround's stand at The Design Junction 2013.

Detail of Fenella Elms's porcelain petaled wall panel @ Design Junction 2013

My Favorite Pop up shop at Design Junction was Falcon Store... I want a cardboard till like theirs!

In Shoreditch, Donna Wilson staged a very special installation,  'celebrating 10 years of happily making hand made products in the UK'. Everyone had the opportunity to be photographed with these life size foxes that Freddie Robins is having a cuddle with here.

some more Donna Wilson ...

Ally Capellino's Bums on Seats in her East End store on Calvert Avenue - Donald Christie made an animation about them that you can watch here.

Pics from the exhibition of WORKS, the collective of designer graduates from the RCA, in Clerkenwell ...

... bags ...
... one of Lola Lely's Pot Luck Stools ...

... vases ...

At Tent London I saw lots of beautiful things: I fell in love with all of these beautiful porcelain pieces of art by Tortus - their colour combinations are exquisite!

And Kosmos had this unusual wall rug on their stand, alongside a striking collection of metal masks (below).

This imaginative light, by lighting designer Jess Shaw held its own in Tent's Super Brands area.

On my wish list for Christmas, beautifully crafted wooden keyboards by Oree.

Jake Phipps' amazing statement mirror and table, taking inspiration from the natural attributes of amethyst geodes; a delight for my eyes.

Finally, Decorex was the last event I visited for the Festival and here is a close up of Charlotte Wildsmith's rug, winner of the Good Weave Student Competition that I blogged about in June (Rugs Competition).

Bye for now.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Sit Less Play More - BoConcept charity auction for Kids Company LDF 2013

I was delighted to be asked to redesign BoConcept’s iconic Imola chair for their charity auction for the benefit of Kids Company at the London Design Festival 2013. When I received the Imola Chair and realized how sumptuous the grey wool felt to touch I instantly knew that I would not reupholster it. But while I wanted to retain the sophistication of the original chair, I also wanted to bring a playfulness to it that would resonate with BoConcept’s theme ‘Sit Less, Play More’.

My studio was, at the time, filled with samples for my new collection ‘Pop Art goes Design’ that I have just launched this month. I spontaneously took the neon piping that I used on one of my cushions and wound it around the Imola’s legs. The contrast of the bright orange and the dark grey was striking – so this was my starting point.

Another thing that surprised me about the Imola was its size. It invites you to climb on it and make yourself comfortable rather than just sit on it. This led me to the idea to make cushions for it that would encourage its owner to play. I used my new screen printed textile design ‘Pop Art Circles’ that is black and white and had screens created of the four letters that make up the word P L A Y.  

The letters are inspired by the graphic representation of words or letterpress type fonts in artworks by the great Joe Tilson and Peter Blake and we hand printed them in different colours on top of the cotton canvas ‘Pop Art Circles’ design. 

The back of the cushions are grey felt, like the Imola chair, and each cushion has a different shape – round, square, oblong and triangle – to match the shape of its letter.  

The auction was held on Thursday the 19th of September - below you can see my chair and a few of the other designers who helped raise £8000 for the charity.

Nina Campbell was inspired by The Owl and the Pussycat and made the chair into a boat on the sea....

Andrew Archer made his chair into a wonderful swinging chair - perfect for outdoor use on a verandah or garden. I was very impressed by the boldness of it.

On the night, Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh spoke about her charity - I was so moved by what she said on the night that I want to share some of it with you.

Kids Company helps thousands of vulnerable children in London and now Bristol too. Many of those children are sleeping on the floor or even don’t have a home at all. Many of them have experienced such bad abuse that they build a relationship with the charity’s building and furniture before they even start to open up to the staff. For that reason Camila puts a lot of thought into the textiles and the physical, tactile qualities of the centre (and I can relate to that from my work for the Royal London pediatric wards). Kids Company accompanies many children from childhood to their first employment but receives almost no public funding, so the generosity of private people is vital for them.

Although we raised £8000 on the night, I had hoped we could have raised more, and so I wanted to link my blog to how YOU can support her, by donating whatever you can to her charity here.
Have a good week everyone, and love to you all.

Best wishes 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Ella Doran stand at Maison September 2013

Here are a few pictures of my exhibition at trade show Maison et Objet in Paris - last week.

Vintage Bicycle rug produced by WovenGround - I have designed 2 rugs for this season to complement my Bikes of Hackney range of products 

Bikes of Hackney Collection
Camera: After Lichtenstein. 2013 Ella Doran.

'Camera Lenses' coasters available at the end of September in our online shop!

Screen printed 'Cameras Stack' cushion 100% cotton 45x45cm

The walk way past our stand @ Maison

The 'Portables' and 'Sevens' collections had a wonderful setting on the Ary Trays stand - the tables and stools will be available to order from our online shop by the beginning of October.

As always it was good to meet new and familiar faces - thank you to everyone who visited us!

Very best,