Designer Interviews

Designer Interview – Scout Editions

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Bold shapes, clean lines, minimalistic colours and quirky designs!

Bold shapes, clean lines, minimalistic colours and quirky designs are the hallmarks of the Scout Editions collection! The creation of sister and brother team Pui and Wai, this East London based art and design collective is known for their fun range of illustrated cards, prints and enamel pins. Their designs are inspired by travel and storytelling, and at Hannah Zakari we always look forward to seeing what new ideas they explore in each new collection.

In this Designer Interview, we spoke to Pui from Scout Editions about her influences, her design process and the merits of collaborating with other designers (and with a sibling!).

Scout Editions Print and Poster Image
What does an average working day in the Scout Editions studio look like?

Each day varies, no one is the same which is nice and keeps things interesting. I usually start from about 9 am and grab some breakfast and eat as I check my emails. Then I would maybe continue illustrating and developing the new collection, which we’re hoping to launch in May. As we’re developing the new range at the moment I like to take time to research sampling and materials, so this may involve visiting suppliers.

If I find I’m not feeling so productive, I try to nip out for some inspiration and catch up on an exhibition or see friends for a catch up, it usually does the trick, some fresh air and a change of scenery. I also work on freelance commissioned design projects; this may be a packaging design, branding project or illustration brief.

Wai is based in Hertfordshire, so we’re not in the same space. He organises all our online and trade orders. His day would involve sorting through and packing orders and making sure they are posted out. Also checking on stock etc.

If we have a trade show coming up, we both have tasks to do to prepare for the show. I would be getting the designs and products finished and ready whilst Wai would be gathering fixtures etc for the stand, like shelves, paint etc and thinking about display.

Hannah Zakari Interview Scout Editions Office Photograph

Do you listen to music while you work? What kind?

I do listen to music while I work. I love music! It varies from acoustic and folk to current music.

It also depends on my mood and what I’m doing in the studio. So if I have a tight deadline, I may put on something more upbeat and fun to keep me going. Generally I put on Spotify and listen to a lot of melancholic tunes, as its easy listening and relaxing.

Lately I’ve been getting into a lot podcasts too like ‘Femme’ by Daisy Lowe. Its really chatty and laid-back, if feels like you’re eavesdropping someones conversation which is fun to listen to.

Hannah Zakari Interview Scout Editions Photo of Greetings Card Range

A lot of people would balk at the idea of working with their siblings! How is it working as a brother and sister duo? Do you think there are more Scout Editions arguements than unrelated creative teams?

Ha! Yes I know what you mean. I think a few years back we wouldn’t have dreamt of working together, but somehow it works now. I think also as we work from two separate spaces, it helps as we both get to have our own space to create and come together when we need to chat through ideas etc.We’re both quite calm and patient so I think that helps.

Hannah Zakari Interview Scout Editions Pigeon Mug Image

You often collaborate with other designers and companies to create new work. How do these collaborations come about, and is there anything you particularly enjoy about working with other brands?

We first set up this brand and platform as we wanted to work with other independent brands and designers. We wanted it to be a melting pot of experimentation and play. Throughout the years we’ve had the privilege to work with some fun and talented people, some of whom have become great friends. Some collaborations just came naturally, like when we met Plain Pins, we knew them from doing Christmas markets a few years back. And Anna Wiscombe, we met at Renegade Craft Fair and we got talking and became friends and did a collaboration. Then there are some brands like Anthropologie, Tobias & The Bear who got in contact with us to do something, which is always really nice and they had seen us on Instagram.

We love working with all sorts of brands and designers. As it usually is in the realm of something we’re not experienced in, for example wood, clothing etc. So we get an insight into how people do things which is a challenge and always good fun.

Scout Editions enamel pins are super popular here at HZ! How do you decide on a new pin design?

Thank you! Yes our pins are probably one of our best sellers in our collection. We usually decide on a theme for the overall collection first and start designing the mini cards, prints etc. It’s then that we decide which illustration would look good small as our new pin. It might mean reducing our illustrations down to the size of a pin and seeing what works, as sometimes an illustration on a big print might not work small for a pin. So there’s a lot of reducing and cutting and pasting to see what works best.

If there are too many designs we want to make, which sometimes is the case, we tend to show our nieces and nephew and ask their opinion. They are very honest, there’s no holding back!

Hannah Zakari Interview Scout Editions Enamel Pins on Denim Jacket Photograph

You say on the Scout Editions website that you like to experiment with new formats and techniques. Do you have anything in mind that you’d like to try next?

Yes we love to experiment with formats and layouts, although not so much at the moment. When we first started out, we were creating cards in different formats, like concertina fold out tall cards etc. Although it was loved by shops, the feedback was that it was tricky to display on shop shelves. So we took on the feedback, and created products that are easier and more practical to display. We also created origami folded shirt cards. They sold so well, but we realised that in the long run, it probably wasn’t economical with our time if we had a huge order as each one is folded by hand and would take too long to make just one card. We love playing with scale too, creating mini cards and then super size screen prints and love the contrast in sizes.

Our work is mainly in paper, however would love to work with wood or ceramics. This may take a bit more time as we’re not experienced in these materials, so will need to do a bit more research and seek specialists in these areas.

Would you say there are any other designers, illustrators or artists who have particularly inspired you?

We get inspired everyday. However we do always go back to our all time favourites like Saul Bass, Charley Harper. And artists like Jean Michel Basquait and Andy Warhol.

As I’m a Graphic Designer as well as an Illustrator so I tend to get drawn to simple, graphic illustrations. There are a lot of inspiring and interesting designers and makers out there at the moment, I think I would find it too tricky to choose just one.

Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

I would say stay focused and try to develop your own style. Try your best not get too influenced by current trends. Its good to take time to develop and grow your own direction, as this will lead to longevity and will make your work more memorable. However I do sometimes get influenced by the seasons colour palette etc, but I try to tailor it so it fits within what I do.

We think its also good to keep an open mind too, and see what everyone else is doing, so that you can see the bigger picture and where you sit amongst it.

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A big thank you to Pui for talking to us and giving us such a great insight into the workings of Scout Editions! We can’t wait to see the new collection when it comes out.

In the mean time, here are a few of our favourite Scout Editions designs in the HZ shoppe:

Four Leaf Clover Enamel Pin Hannah Zakari Scout Editions

4 Leaf Clover Enamel Pin £8.00

Lucky Clover Enamel Pin

 

Blue Tit Greetings Card Hannah Zakari Scout Editions

Blue Tit Mini Card £2.50

Blue Tit Mini Card

Robin Enamel Pin Badge Hannah Zakari Scout Editions

Robin Enamel Pin £8.00

Robin Enamel Pin

 

You can find our whole range of Scout Editions products on the Hannah Zakari webshoppe!

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Designer Interview – Kate Rowland

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Aimee talks to Kate about her life, her work and her favourite stationery.

Kate Rowland’s jewellery is a big hit here at Hannah Zakari! Her laser cut wooden brooches and earrings with hand painted details are quirky, cute, and extremely wearable. And as well as making some of our favourite jewellery, as an illustrator Kate also produces beautiful, delicate watercolour paintings: we’re in awe!

In this Designer Interview, Aimee talked to Kate about her life, her work and her favourite stationery.

Kate Rowland in Dungarees Designer Photograph at Hannah Zakari

Kate Rowland

You recently moved across the world to Japan! What do you like best about living in Tokyo? And has it been easy settling in?

I’m so lucky! It’s an overwhelming place, everyday I see something bizarre. It’s definitely not easy moving away from home, especially in a country where the language is so difficult (not to mention earthquakes!). But the history, landscape and culture here is so inspiring. We are trying to see and experience as much as possible before we move home in autumn.

Have you discovered any great Japanese stationery or art materials since you’ve been in Tokyo?

I have! To the detriment of my bank account. I love to use brush pens, ink and watercolours, and the choice here is overwhelming. My favourite watercolours are made by a Japanese brand, Kuratake, so I’ve been stocking up on different colours. Even the 100 yen shops here stock decent brushes and pens! I’m also a huge loser, and love visiting DIY shops, I’ve bought some lovely, unusual wood and plastics to laser cut into jewellery…

Kate Rowland Painter's Palette Brooch at Hannah Zakari

Kate Rowland Painter’s Palette Brooch

Our customers love your laser cut jewellery, with the Paint Palette and Feminist Heart brooches being particular favourites. Do you have a favourite piece in your collection?

The greenhouse necklace has been a favourite of mine for years! It was the first piece where I really started thinking about my designs as three dimensional objects, rather than flat images to be laser cut. I still love hand painting them too, even though I’ve made hundreds! Each one is different and organic, and there’s something lovely about that.

Tell us a little bit about your design process; how is a piece of Kate Rowland jewellery made?

My ideas start out as scribbles or notes in the margin of my sketchbook, and often they will stay there for months, if not years! Then I’ll work on them until I’m happy, draw up and ink the final designs. Once the drawings are vectorised, I engrave and laser cut them. This often involves a lot of trial and error, especially if I am making a particularly detailed, complex design, or using a new material. Then the wood is sanded, sometimes painted, and assembled into a piece of jewellery!

As well as designing super cute jewellery, you do some illustration work for clients; which side of your business do you prefer (if either) and why?

That’s a hard question. I absolutely love designing jewellery, and making things with my hands, seeing something physical and tangible emerge from an idea. To know that people want to wear my work is an amazing feeling. But I’ll always want to draw and paint, and to make a living from that is something I aspire to!

A Self Portrait of Kate Rowland at work

Self Portrait at Work

Do you have any advice you can share with aspiring illustrators and designers?

Always look outside of your discipline, don’t stop creating, and don’t compare yourself to others!

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Enormous thanks to Kate for talking to us! You can see our range of awesome Kate Rowland jewellery on the Hannah Zakari webshoppe. Here are a few of our favourite pieces:Damn Fine Coffee Brooch

 

Book Worm Brooch

 

Paint Palette Brooch

Check out more of Kate’s work on her website here!

 

 

 

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Designer Interview – King Sophie’s World

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It’s designer interview time! This week we’re featuring Sophie King, a British textile artist and the feminist mastermind behind King Sophie’s World.

The colourful aesthetic and powerful message of King Sophie’s World really hits the spot at Hannah Zakari. Her meticulously hand embroidered pieces in bright sequins and thread are a labour of love from start to finish and we were thrilled that we could bring a selection of her work to the HZ Shoppe over the summer.

Emma spoke to Sophie about her work and practice…

How long have you been practising as an artist? How did you get started?

I started ‘King Sophie’s World’ in late 2011, I just started embroidering and haven’t stopped since.

 

If you were to explain your practice to someone who hasn’t seen your work before, how would you sum it up?

I hand embroider from start to finish statements and images on textiles. I explore the issues women face in modern life that undermine their self-esteem, self-confidence and well being.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I wake up and I pack orders, go to the post office, then I check emails, which usually entails organising custom commissions and so on.

It’s usually about 4ish by this point, then I spend the rest of the day doing creative tasks, like embroidering orders, commissions and new pieces. I love listening to music whilst I work, I listen to all types of music but right now I have Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ on repeat.

 

Time seems to be an important part of your practice, from the medium you choose to work in, its historical significance and the experience of being a young woman. How do you relate to the women before you that have used embroidery as an art form?

In all honesty I relate more to women who have used textiles in a broader sense, as an art form. Like the designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who used embroidery with her fashion designs. Reading her autobiography was so affirming because it was like someone understood my aspirations in life for the first time.

 

What is your favourite item in your current collection and why?

I have really enjoyed embroidering on roses recently, just thoughts I’ve had in my head over the last few years. They’re more expressive and personal than anything I’ve made before. So it felt like more of a release.

Thanks to Sophie and Emma for the interview, first published in our 2017 Hannah Zakari zine (which is available to read in full here).

As well as the stunning original pieces displayed here and in our Edinburgh shoppe, Sophie King makes a range of inspirational iron on patches, button badges and stickers which have become immensely popular here at HZ!

Boys Are Mean Iron-On Patch

You’re Not A Bad Boy, You’re Just a Bad Person Button Badge

Your First Love Sticker

The King Sophie’s World range is spreading a positive message of self-love, feminism and determination and we love it. Check out the rest of this fantastic collection in the Hannah Zakari webshoppe!

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A new zine!

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We were so excited to take delivery of our latest zine last week, our 5th time self publishing a compliation of interviews, tutorials and other fun stuff from our designers and friends!

hannah zakari hz zine 2017

This time we used exclusive images from our Naoshi window display on the front and back covers which looked amazing! Inside we interviewed Naoshi, along with old friends Meomi (creator of CBeebies Octonauts) and Sophie King who is doing a mini exhibition in the Hannah Zakari Shoppe over August.

Hannah Zakari zine 2017 intro page meomi quachi illustrations hannah zakari zine 2017 naoshi interview page Hannah Zakari zine 2017 sophie king embroidery interview page

Our pals, collaborators and inspirationists (it’s a word!) I Am Acrylic made us a very special fun holiday decision maker with all roads leading to Edinburgh (where else would you go?!).

hz zine 7 i am acrylic decision maker

The zine also featured illustrations and poetry from some of our favourite artists, but you’ll need to get your hands on one to see what they are! Here’s one last sneak peek…

hz zine 5 out of office aimee lockwood illustration

It’s always brilliant fun putting together a zine and getting to know our designers even better. I think this is a good one one, colourful, happy and interesting!

If you live outside Edinburgh and would like a copy of the zine, email us at hannahzakari@gmail.com using the title ‘HZ Zine 2017’ with your name and address and we’ll post one to you free of charge!

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Designer Interviews – Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes

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We’re in awe of Sally Mcadam: as well as being a full time doctor, she manages to find time to make the beautiful jewellery and accessories in her Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes range! We’ve just received a delivery of new HOYFC pin badges, so Aimee interviewed Sally to find out more about the process and inspiration behind them.

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How long have you been designing jewellery and accessories? And what got you started?

I started making jewellery at university, initially just charm bracelets and necklaces using beads I bought from ebay. I began to get frustrated as I couldn’t make items look the way I wanted them to so I looked into other methods of jewellery making and came across laser cutting. I taught myself to use a vector program called Inkscape (which you can download for free!) and with a lot of trial and error and furious googling I made my first laser cut necklace. I was so excited about it that I continued to design and make increasingly complex pieces and I’ve now been making jewellery for around 10 years.

More recently, I decided to design some enamel pin badges as I felt the blocks of colour and clear lines would fit in well with my brand and give customers the opportunity to buy smaller and more affordable pieces from my online store. They have been a massive hit and I now sell more pin badges than anything else in my shop! I’ve also branched out into designing patches, tote bags, snapback caps, notebooks, stickers and even washi tape. I love drawing new things so I’ve always got new products popping up.

img_0393What does an average working day look like for you?

As well as running HOYFC I have a full time job working as a doctor in a hospital. This means I don’t really have an “average” working day as I work a lot of long days, weekends and night shifts – I work hard to manage my time. If I’m working a normal 9-5 day I’ll get up and go to work at my day job and when I come home in the evening I’ll pack up my orders, answer my emails, work on new designs, make jewellery, do my accounts, etc. I usually go to the post office once a week looking like Santa with a giant bag of mail.

You draw a lot from pop culture, like television and gaming, for your work. What’s been the best thing you’ve seen or played lately?

I don’t have as much time as I would like to for gaming any more as I dedicate most of my spare time to HOYFC, but I did manage to watch Stranger Things on Netflix and it was incredible! I loved it so much that I designed a range of pins, patches, badges and stickers based around it and my customers seem to be enjoying them which is super great.

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Would you describe yourself as a bit of a geek?

I’d like to think I’m really cool, but in reality I probably am a bit of a geek. I’d rather stay in and watch sci fi films than go out dancing and I’d rather go roller skating than to the pub – I think this is reflected in some of my products, especially the “Too Tired To Party” pin badge and balloon packs I designed recently.

Do you have any favourite pieces in your collection right now?

I really like the rainbow screen printed t-shirts and tote bags I have in right now that say “I’m Not Sorry About Your Fragile Masculinity“. The sentiment rings true for most of my customers and the pastel coloured rainbow screen printing looks beautiful!

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Are there any other designers or artists who are inspiring you at the moment?

I’m in love with Big Bud Press’  new retro style collection and the awesome clothing range they’ve introduced recently. Designosaur have just brought out some amazing dinosaur socks and I have some major sock envy!

Do you have any advice for designers just starting out?

Organise your time, do your tax return as early as possible, (or even better, get an accountant to do it) and most importantly have fun!

What’s your favourite dinosaur?

I love a stegosaurus, I think they’re underrated. Team Steg!

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Our thanks to Sally for talking to us – you can buy our full Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes range on the Hannah Zakari webshoppe now!

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Designer Interviews – Robbie Porter

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Robbie Porter‘s unique brand of humorous, thoughtful illustration always brings a smile to our faces here in the shoppe. Here he talks to Aimee about his life as an illustrator, his inspirations, and his quest for the ultimate hangover cure!

robbie-porter-about_670

You describe your work as “ideas led” – what does that mean for you? And where do your ideas come from?

I hope it means that there is a somewhat thoughtful concept behind the illustrations. I’m usually trying to communicate something, whether it’s silly or serious my aim is to make work that’s both playful and meaningful.

In terms of where the ideas come from I don’t think there is a big secret really, I wish great ideas just popped into my head but usually it’s just about painful perseverance. Waiting for a great idea is the best way to get nothing done – or at least that’s my excuse for all the terrible work I’ve made over the years.

What does an average working day look like for you?

Sadly I’m not a morning person, I’ve developed quite a bad habit of watching a half hour comedy show every morning when I wake up, it’s the only way I can stop myself from falling back to sleep.

I’m usually at my desk by around 10ish, I’ll start by answering all the emails that I forgot about the day before and try to clear any boring stuff out of the way as quickly as possible. By midday I’d hope to be getting down to some drawing, that’s when I’ll start ignoring emails and just try to get my head down.

I used to work late into the night but recently I’ve tried to adhere to a more traditional routine, I’ll stop working around 6:30 to cook dinner, I love cooking and find it a great way to separate the day from the evening. Afterwards it’s time for movies & reading or friends & drinking.

non stop enamel pin

Do you listen to music while you work? What kind?

Definitely, sometimes I think that’s the main reason why I became an illustrator – I get to spend all my time in the company of my favourite musicians. When I have to concentrate I’ll listen to stuff like; Nils Frahm, Bon Iver, Fever Ray, Beach Boys… and when I’m done concentrating I’ll listen to something a bit more upbeat, I’m always partial to a bit of Kanye.

Also, like all illustrators, I listen to a lot of podcasts, recently I’ve been enjoying the Adam Buxton Podcast, I think he’s the person who most easily puts a smile on my face. I also listen to Radio 4 which deeply offends my teenage self, but because I work from home it’s nice to listen to talking as well as music sometimes.

Are there any other designers or illustrators you’d say you’ve been
particularly inspired by?

When I was really little I was completely obsessed with the comic Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson, I think I related to Calvin and how much he lived inside his own head, I got wrapped up in his world and found it so imaginative, smart & funny. When I got a bit older and my mum would drag me around art galleries I was always attracted to Surrealism and in particular Magritte, something about the simplicity and absurdity fascinated me. Later, when I was at art school and the idea of being an illustrator started percolating, I discovered the work of Craig Frazier, the way he conceptualises complex subjects into strong, simple images blew me away. I often remind myself of a quote by him that says “good illustration should go from the eye to the mind then the heart.”

Get A Move On Card

You moved from Scotland to London – how’s life in the city? Is there anything you miss about living up north?

I really love London, it’s the first place that’s felt like home other than Edinburgh. I think there’s a bit of a myth that London is an unfriendly & foreboding place but I find it incredibly sociable, open and fun. The only obvious problem is the cost of living.

The thing I miss most about Edinburgh is being able to walk anywhere in 30 minutes, it’s so rare for me to travel anywhere now without hopping on a bus or tube.

One of our favourite designs by you features a man walking a dinosaur – have you ever had any exotic pets?

Nothing exotic sadly, but a countless number of poor wee hamsters.

As well as designing cards and accessories, you’ve worked for some pretty prestigious clients as an illustrator. Which side of your business do you enjoy more, if either?

I really like both, and they sort of compliment one another. With client work the challenge is visually interpreting someone else’s words and sometimes the subject matter can be quite dry, it’s up to you to find a way of making it interesting or fun. The goal for me is to make something that not only fits the brief but also has some personality in it too. When designing products you have a lot more freedom in what you create and it’s easier to be experimental and silly. In the end though, both processes are about trying to make something personal that hopefully relates to an audience.

Do you have any tips for aspiring illustrators?

Make a lot of work. I really think that’s the most important thing.

rplumberWhat’s next on the horizon for you? Are you working on anything at the
moment?

I’m doing some client work for Esquire, it’s about what to do before & after a boozy night to reduce the likelihood of a hangover – I have terrible hangovers so it’s nice to work on something that I could actually benefit from.

I’m also thinking about trying out some new products like wrapping paper, mugs and possibly plant pots – if I can figure out how to make them.

Thanks to Robbie for giving us this glimpse into his working life! His range of illustrated cards, pins and patches is available now on the Hannah Zakari Webshoppe.

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Designer Interviews – Custom Made

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Custom Made’s eclectic range of jewellery is always a customer favourite in the HZ shoppe, so its designer Anna Butler was a natural choice for our next Designer Interview!

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Aimee talked to Anna about her process and her inspirations, and received some wise words for aspiring designers.

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How did you get Custom Made started, and do you have any advice for other people who want to start their own business?

I started Custom Made when I decided to leave my job as a Menswear Designer. I had always wanted to work for myself so decided to make the leap. I was lucky because I worked freelance as a designer for a couple of years also so I could balance that with growing the business.

There comes a time when you need to make the leap to just the business though if you want it to grow. I think that pretty much becomes apparent when the time comes. It did for me, and talking to pal that also run small businesses I think it’s pretty common. Advice? Well, you need to really believe in and have a passion for what you are making/selling. Believe me its bloody hard work. There will be times when you feel like giving up BUT you just have to keep on going. NEVER GIVE UP!

Also now there are so many good resources for info on selling, wholesale, making social media work. So much more information than when I started Custom Made. At the end of the day though working things out for yourself are very gratifying.

Oh and I cannot stress enough KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR ACCOUNTS. If you are discovering at the end of the year you haven’t made any money its too late to do anything about it. Know what’s gone into your bank account and out on a daily basis. As soon as I started doing that by business flourished.

Also cost your products correctly. Never ever be a busy fool.

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Can you tell us a bit about your manufacturing process?

All Custom Made products are made/assembled in the studio. I have an industrial sewing machine and overlocker. All our purses and clutches are designed, pattern cut, cut, made and finished in the studio. With the jewellery, lots of our items are constructed using laser cut acrylic and metals stampings. I design all the jewellery pieces, they are cut by a laser cutter and then assembled in the studio. I have just added a new big long assembly desk. It’s great to work at and my cat has her bed at one end so when I’m alone in the studio I still have company! Spending time making jewellery is a great way to spend the day.

How do you come up with ideas for new designs?

I always find this question really hard to answer as it’s different for each product and collection. With the laser cut acrylic jewellery I spend a lot of time making shapes in illustrator and playing with colour. As I said I use cut acrylic shapes and metal stampings. I usually print out sheets of shapes I have drawn and lay metal pieces over them. I am very inspired by colour and shape and spend lots of time playing with both.

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Are there any other designers or artists you find particularly inspiring?

I really love Scout Editions. Everything about their work is beautiful. Beautiful colours, and beautiful artwork and products.

Do you have a favourite item in the Custom Made collection?

My current favourite is the Curve Necklace. They are so simple but the contrasting colours in each makes them. They are also very satisfying to make! They have also been super popular so I’m very happy. I still, after all this time love that fact that I make products and people buy them and wear them. It still blows my mind and makes me happy.

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What does the future hold for you and Custom Made? Do you have any exciting plans lined up?

I’m always on the look out for exciting projects and events. There are a few things in the pipeline that I cant really talk about at the moment. But I just want to keep doing what I do and just keep making Custom Made better. Every day is a school day.

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Our thanks to Anna for sharing an insight into her beautiful designs!

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Designer Interviews – Laura Berger

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Laura Berger is definitely one of our most loved designers. Girls walk around the HZ Shoppe looking at the jewellery while their boyfriends stand and chuckle at the cards occasionally running up to them with a silly grin on their face to show what cheeky nugget of Laura’s imagination they’ve found!

In this latest of our designer interviews, Vicky talks to Laura about what makes her tick and if she really uses her bottom as a drum…

Laura Berger

Describe a typical day…

Most days I get up around 9 and coffee is first and foremost.  I like to drink a first cup sitting in my little meditation / plant space in my living room because there’s good sun in there if the sun is out and I associate that space with good feelings, so it feels like a nice start.  Then I usually plod through some tasks that coffee is helpful with, like emailing and such.  After that, for the last year or so it’s been anywhere between 10-15 hours working most days.  That could include painting, animating, designing paper goods, packaging paper goods, packaging online orders, ordering supplies, updating sites and social media, googling tech forums to try to fix something that’s broken, weeping gently, making little ceramics… a whole slew of options there. Painting and designing is really time consuming, but it’s also what I like the best of course, so the hours fly by when I’m working.  Lately I’m really into the George Michael station on Pandora.  I try to get some yoga or a walk snuck in there somewhere.  And a late dinner with my man pal or a friend sometimes.  I usually have an adult reward when I’m done working so I can delineate the end of my day — like a glass of wine or something — on my back porch if it’s warm enough.  I have a beautiful alley view.  So basically my day is structured around beverage enjoyment, I guess.  I do fun things too, I swear.  And I always take Sundays off.

Do you have any rituals to help you get inspired when facing a creative block?

The best way for me to clear a creative block is to put it all down and walk away and stop thinking about any of it.  Travel is the ultimate best way.  But even something as simple as going for a walk or just taking a shower can help.  Grasping and stress kills all ideas.  Stress is bad and dumb.  I get the most ideas when I’m doing something completely unrelated to working or something sort of meditative — like long-distance driving, or looking out a plane window, or just sitting and staring at the ceiling and not thinking.  If I let go, everything comes.  Easier said than done, of course.

Work In Progress Laura Berger

 

How much of your work is based on your real life … Have you actually used a butt to play the drums and thrown a pyjama party?

Ha!  um… who hasn’t? Right?  Well, I certainly hope we are all drumming some butts anyway.  They have excellent acoustics.

I mean I guess it’s all from my life in a sense — thoughts that pop up or maybe experiences I have had or want to have.  I really like to be ridiculous.  It is a very lucky thing that I found a person who will put up with my insanity.

Laura Berger Workspace

Do you have any advice for people wanting to start their own business in the creative world?

Make work obsessively because it’s all practice and it will help not only to improve technically, but I think making lots of work also helps to psychologically work through our experiences, influences, and ideas and really get clear on who we are.  Which then means our own voice can gain clarity and a personal style can start to develop and find its way.   I think if you’re being honest in your work — if you’re really being you —  people will connect with it because it will inherently be unique.  And we’re so fortunate right now with the ability to share our work with people all over the world via social media and the web, so of course you have to make sure to hustle that stuff a little too.

What has been your favourite adventure so far?

Our trip to Japan a couple of years ago was pretty awesome.  I love it there.  

You have such a great sense of humour in your work! Has it ever gotten you into trouble?

Thank you! And yes!  I always got in trouble in school for talking too much.  I was a pro prank phone caller among my friends, back in the prehistoric times before Caller ID was invented.  This is why this solitary work life is super challenging for me.  I’m a talker.

Work In Progress Laura Berger

If you were reincarnated, what do you think you’d come back as and why?

I hope I will come back as a small fluffy animal.  I don’t care what kind.  It just seems really nice to be small and fluffy and sleep a lot and get petted. And if I’m an animal then I don’t have to go through gym class again.  I was awful at it.

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Thank you so much to Laura and Vicky and stay tuned for more designer interviews coming soon!

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Designer Interviews – One We Made Earlier

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Next up in our new series of designer interviews are husband and wife duo Emma and Rob Orchardson of One We Made Earlier.

The couple design and create bold and beautiful statement jewellery with strong clean lines and a playful geometric theme. Their necklaces are striking art pieces and always gather lots of attention in the HZ shoppe.

Anna spoke to Emma from One We Made Earlier to find out more about the duo’s makings and inspirations behind the brand.

Teo Necklace

What inspired you to start your own jewellery brand?

In a way we didn’t really make the decision to start a jewellery brand at all – it was just the direction that our experimentation ended up taking!

Having worked independently in the worlds of fine art and design, my husband Rob and I decided to pull together our common interests and collaborate on a project. We started to experiment with some different materials and shapes and then after making our first few necklaces for friends and receiving some positive feedback and support, we decided to make more necklaces using our signature rope and various other interesting materials, initially wooden shapes and balls.

Can you describe One We Made Earlier for us?

One We Made Earlier produce contemporary accessories. We work with a wide range of design stores and boutiques both in the UK and much further afield.

We love combining unusual and unexpected materials such as corian – a material mainly used for kitchen worktops with cork or shiny resin balls to compose balanced and minimal designs which have impact when worn or even hung on the wall.

Ad Necklace in Yellow

What is it like working as a creative duo?

It is good – but life is a juggle!

I work in One We Made Earlier full-time whilst also looking after our two young children who are at primary school. Rob also continues his work making sculptures in the world of contemporary art alongside cutting shapes for necklaces in the studio! We recently moved into a very local studio together which has helped our work/life balance a lot!

We tend to work unconventional hours to get everything done – I work school hours and then again in the evening. Somehow it works, but it can be crazy if we have a lot of orders on!

What are your main inspirations?

Inspiration stems from many sources and is often influenced by exhibitions we are visiting, books we are reading, things we have noticed in daily life in London or places we have been. Some of our foundational sources of inspiration include Memphis use of colour and pattern, the boldness of Constructivist design, Bauhaus simplicity and futurist stage set designs.

Can you tell us a little about the design process behind the development of your collections?

Our design process is very playful and experimental. If we have found a new surface we like, Rob will cut it into various shapes and we will play around with different compositions of shapes until something works well for both of us. From one design, another often emerges organically.

Having worked with existing surfaces for a while such as corian, we are now interested in developing some of our own surfaces, casting and creating our own shapes for future collections.

Otto Necklace

What advice would you give someone interested in getting into the jewellery design business?

I guess it is easy to imagine you would be sitting at a bench making things all day every day. Of course there are many, many hours spent doing that (in our case cutting and sanding!) but there are so many other aspects to running a business to keep on top of in order to keep the business alive and build your brand.

Social media is key these days and also taking part in events where you can meet customers face to face, gather feedback on your work and see what else is happening in the design world around you.

Any collaborations with other creatives currently in the pipeline?

Potentially, yes…Watch this space!

And lastly, what’s next? What is your vision for the future of One We Made Earlier?

As I mentioned before, we are currently experimenting with making our own surfaces for new necklaces. We are also considering other product lines.

We will be taking part in Designjunction at London Design Festival again in September, so come and visit us there!

Thanks to both Anna and Emma from One We Made Earlier. It is fantastic to know more about what inspires our designers to make such beautiful jewellery!

Stay tuned for more designer interviews coming soon!

 

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Designer Interviews – Après Ski

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Next in line in our new series of Designer interviews is Lucía Vergara of Spanish brand Après Ski. Launched in 2009, Après Ski ties vintage and modern pieces together to create original and unique accessories. Her newest collection has just arrived here at the HZ shoppe and we absolutely love all of it, can we have one of everything please?!

Anna speaks to Lucía where she reveals a little of her creative process behind Après Ski and shares some advice for anyone thinking of starting their own jewellery line.

Hey Lucía, so what inspired you to start Après Ski?

The name Après Ski refers to the “après ski” (after skiing) aesthetic of the 1950s, which was the original source of inspiration for the brand. It also has a meaning in the sense of accomplishment that follows a completed task or after making an effort, in that way those precious moments of relax are a reward and a source of happiness, a bit like my accessories I hope.

Can you describe Après Ski for us?

Before starting my own brand I worked for three years developing Lydia Delgado’s accessories collections, after meeting her by chance in the store I was working at. During that time I also collaborated with other brands like Ailanto. But after that time I wanted to develop a more personal project where I would have complete freedom to create my own pieces. It was a very natural process because I had been making my own accessories for a while and also made some for my friends on request.

What would you say are your main inspirations?

I am inspired by pastel colours, geometric shapes, nature, avant-garde art movements and “poor” materials. Everything that inspires me is clearly reflected in my work.

Can you tell us a little about your design process behind the development of your collections?

My creative process is very organic. Since I don’t have an education in design I started with learning the basic principles of artistic education. I’m always on the lookout for materials everywhere I go so I have piles of materials, once I have a concept I want to develop I follow my instincts arranging pieces by textures and colours and making up shapes. I always have a lot of fun creating these compositions in such an intuitive way. It’s a bit like mixing painting and collage and it works great for me to put my ideas down, since I don’t sketch.

What advice would you give someone interested in getting into the jewellery design business?

The best anyone can do is to stay true to themselves and be who they really are, without letting other people’s opinions or judgements affect the way they feel or think. I believe it’s very important to find something you are good at and try to do it in your own personal way.

Are you currently working on any new collaborations with other creatives?

Right from the start of the Après Ski I always knew I wanted to collaborate with artists and to associate with all this creative people, so the idea of the collaborative packaging series was there right from the start. The last collaborations have been with Lolo y Sosaku, Charlotte Trounce and Robbie Whitehead.

And lastly, what’s next??

My plans so far are learning not to plan, haha! Make an effort to be able to live in the present. My goals for the brand are learning to manage it better and being able to have a permanent in-house team. I would love to be able to have the time to design and experiment more.

As for my dreams for the future, I have too many to list they range from being a ceramist to having a big house with a garden.

Thanks to Anna and Lucía for taking the time to chat to us about the wonderful Après Ski. You can shop their current collection on Hannah Zakari, right *here*!

We hope that you are enjoying this new series of designer interviews and maybe they will inspire you to start your own line of jewellery or creative venture!

Stay tuned for the next one coming soon!

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