Archive for Flickr
There are days when I long for something a little more whimsical, more light-hearted, more comforting than terrible twosome tantrums and online bank statements. This is when owl cushions such as these come into their own.
Little Blue Elephant is the brainchild of Nina Mistry-Rhoades and as the company name might suggest, has a more dominant line in four-legged elephantine friends. However, Nina’s owls are equally covetable: as she explains in her own words: “my elephants are very graphic and simple and the owl shapes are the same, very stylised.”
This back-to-basic line of design is just what I need amidst the maelstrom of colour and pattern that seems to adorn most owl-related items in the shops at the moment. Nina instead focuses on ”textile design, from florals to repeat patterns. But my work really leans towards a childrens palette of geometric patterns and bold colours.
I like the simplicity.”
Nina is inspired by “modern fabric designers and colours. I love Cloud9 fabrics, Lecien dots and little ditsy floral designs. In fact I like most things that are bright and colourful.” Yet the patterns and colourways featured in the owls illustrated here reflect her interest in current design, and also hint at a deep appreciation of more retro/vintage combinations of fabrics and motifs.
I was not surprised to learn that Nina honed her creative skills studying textile design at university before pursuing a career at a leading UK card company. However, her frustration with briefing designers rather than getting stuck into the actual work herself, followed by the arrival of children, meant that it was evening classes in dressmaking that finally unlocked her artistic confidence.
Quite frankly, I know I can harp on about owl eyes, but anyone who can make the most of an owl’s derriere in such a stylish manner deserves much applause and acclaim. And here’s hoping that Nina’s plans to design her own “nursery range, from bedding to wallpapers and not forgetting, cuddly toys” comes to fruition quickly and successfully.
I’ll keep you posted with any Little Blue Elephant updates here and on Twitter. But in the meantime, you can seek out Nina’s creations via her Folksy shop here, and her Facebook page here. And don’t forget to check out her latest designs on Flickr, follow her on Twitter or read her blog for more background information on how she sources her materials and where she draws her inspiration from.
The first time I saw the photo above, on Sakura Blythe’s owl-themed Flickrstream, I was literally in awe. The colourway, the composition, the delicacy and the obvious love of owls struck a chord and I just had to get in touch with the photographer to find out what inspired her.
It is perhaps no surprise that Jo is passionate about “photography, karate, owls and dolls (particularly Blythe dolls)”. Her love of owls extends as far back as she can remember: aged 3, and living in New Zealand, a family friend made her a tiny pottery owl, standing only 1.5cm but bursting with all the hallmarks of a vintage classic…
From childhood through to motherhood, Jo has treasured, coveted and collected all things owl-related. The felted owlies you can see in the top photo are part of a project she started about a year ago: “I wanted an owl in the 1/6 scale of my dolls, and this seemed to be the best way to get one,” she explains.
Avalon is photographed here wearing the Cath Kidston brooch Jo was given for her 30th birthday, and a necklace gifted from another friend. I can’t get enough of her mixture of vintage aesthetics, kooky colours and retro chic jewelry, combined with those large-eyed, wondrous Blythe dolls. It’s all so intimate. Speaking of which, take a peek at a selection of Jo’s owls below – a glimpse into a life pin-pointed with fond memories of travel, fashion, family and life-long (feathered) friends.
As you can see, photography is an important part of Jo’s creative life: ”I am particularly interested in extreme depth of field and bokeh effects,” she told me. “Tiny owls work really well with my style of photography and complement the dolls which I often photograph. When I get the chance I love to photograph real owls and other birds of prey. I love their grace, strength and beauty. Unfortunately, I don’t often get the chance to do so, so make do with the owlies.” And thank goodness for that, is all I can say.
You can see more of Jo’s work on Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter and Etsy (where she sometimes lists owl-related crafts and Blythe-sized necklaces and friendship bracelets). Here’s hoping for some of those owlies on Etsy soon – no self-respecting owl devotee could possibly be without one.
Now then. Owls on t-shirts can be a tricky thing to get right. But they are an essential addition to every wardrobe, male and female, and Fluffyco have ticked all the boxes here. To start with, I like the company name. FluffyCo. Lovely. Secondly, they are a small, independent business that is sweatshop free. They use eco-friendly materials from sustainable sources, and even organic and fair trade bits and bobs too. Moreover, they do a terrific range in owl printed t-shirts.
I first spotted the example above in one of my fave London haunts, SMUG – a truly lovely shop run by interior and graphic designer Lizzie Evans – which stocks an eclectic range of retro owl and pear-related products throughout the year. Definitely worth a visit (or a follow @ifeelsmug).
It stands to reason that owls on t-shirts are going to appeal to a certain type of person, and they are not usually male. But I reckon that FluffyCo have come up trumps with this print: it’s not over twee, and it’s going to look pretty good with khaki shorts or jeans on a bloke.
But just in case you’ve got a thing about printed t-shirts, and you’re male, and you’d prefer an owl on something more manly, then check out this owl heads eco wallet instead…
If you like what you’ve seen, you can preview the latest designs from FluffyCo at their website, via their Flickr photostream, or on twitter too (@fluffycosf). They do balloon prints too, just in case you don’t like owls.