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How to: Handmade and Screen Printed Products

What exactly are handmade & screen printed products?

Handmade and Screen Printed Nebulae Linen Coasters
Handmade and Screen Printed Nebulae Linen Coasters

The video at the end of this post is a behind the scenes look at our screen print and handmade process, from preparation to the finished product of our Nebulae linen placemats and coasters.

We have had so many people asking us about what it is we do in the studio. People want to know how our beautiful designs are made and produced. Firstly, they are designed in our Edinburgh studio, by myself, and then screen printed onto either a wallpaper or fabric of the client’s choice or ones in already in our collection. It is then handmade or hand-finished resulting in an end-product that we are very proud of.

However, I still often get a puzzled look from them.

Designing

Designing can take time, as it involves researching the subject or theme of your choice.

There’s then a bit exploration to do after that. This tends to be in the form of drawings, sketches, cutting, pasting in the sketchbook, or on various sheets of paper, card.. or whatever appeals to me at the time.

I might do a separate post from this in the future – just for the designing – several posts perhaps?

Screen Print & Handmade: Eliza in the designing and drawing process
Screen Print & Handmade: Eliza in the designing and drawing process

Preparation

Then there’s the preparation stage, which is 90% of where the production perspiration lies.

We first prepare the fabric or paper that we are going to print on. Then we prepare to translate the designs onto the screens, so that it’s ready for printing.

Screen Print & Handmade: Eliza in the screen preparation process
Screen Print & Handmade: Eliza in the screen preparation process

And then there’s the ink preparation.

Firstly, one must match ones ink to the design or colour swatches one has in mind with lots of mixing and ratio calculations, etc. These inks are then tested in small samples to ensure that they come out in the finish and shade that was planned.

Also, testing for wash-fastness (for fabric) is definitely a must!

Screen Print & Handmade: Ink mixing and testing
Screen Print & Handmade: Ink mixing and testing

Each of the above stages could probably take several blog posts or videos to explain on their own. They are all very time and labour intensive in reality.

But today, we are focusing on a summary only. This will give you a taste of what it looks like in the studio while the making process happens.

How does handmade and screen printing work?

Many have requested how to and behind the scenes videos to explain this process a little better. It is only recently that I have managed to get things going on the video front. So I have decided to make one to demonstrate of how we make our handmade and screen printed coasters as a starting point.

I have been making an effort to remember to record some footage when I am at work in the studio. Footage showing me making and working on the products we have on offer. This has proven to be a great challenge to do. Especially, when you’re so focused on practicing your craft and trying to do a great job, video-ing your process is the last thing your think of.

And now that I have had a stab at video editing, I can say that the footage I have taken from last year has finally made it out to see the light of day!

Here’s one for the curious minds..

I hope this helps in explaining further about what we do and how we do it.

I look forward to all of your constructive feedback. Please let me know what you think so we can come up with more and better videos.

Have a great week everyone!

Eliza

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Interior Showroom Launch, July 2017

A (big) room for show

We are delighted to announce that after a few years of working together with Holster upholsterers, collaborating with them on a number of projects, they have now launch their first interior showroom House of Holster in Edinburgh.

Photo from the showroom launch: Eliza (of Moody Monday) & Jane (of Jane Nelson Interiors)
Showroom launch: Eliza (of Moody Monday) & Jane (of Jane Nelson Interiors), Photo by: House of Holster, 2017

And the best part of this? Moody Monday is a part of that showroom!

Showroom launch: Nebulae Velvet armchair. Photo by: House Of Holster, 2017
Showroom launch: Nebulae Velvet armchair. Photo by: House Of Holster, 2017

You can now browse through our fabric and wallpaper collection in this new showroom, where our complete collection sample books are there at your disposal.

Our soft furnishings from the new fabric collection, i.e. armchair, cushions, foot stool is now available for you to try out and have a feel for them in the flesh. When being bowled by the beautiful pictures just isn’t enough anymore!

Nebulae Velvet Armchair and Footstool
Nebulae Velvet Armchair and Footstool, Photo by: Daniel Dabrowski, 2016

They have been such a great partner to Moody Monday over the years. They have been fully responsible for our Nebulae velvet armchair turn out. The armchair+footstool has been such a hit with the New York design crowd. They have been a hit in every location wherever these stunning pair had landed on really.

You should visit them when you get the chance to. They also provide curtain making service and have worked with high profile clients like the G&V Hotel Edinburgh and Harvey Nichols to name a few.

House of Holster

31 Albion Road
Edinburgh
EH7 3QJ

+44 (0)131 652 1415
info@holsterdesign.co.uk

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DECOR Kitchens and Interiors, Feb-Mar 2017

DECOR Kitchens and Interiors, Feb-Mar 2017

I would like to thank DECOR Kitchens and Interiors for featuring our new star Aquila Hand-printed Wallpaper in their February/ March 2017 issue. It’s lovely to see that Irish interiors appreciates a little bit of contemporary too, this just makes me all warm inside!

Press - DECOR Kitchens and Interiors, Ireland, Feb-Mar 2017 - Featuring Aquila hand-printed wallpaper from our most recent studio collection in contemporary design.
Press – DECOR Kitchens and Interiors, Ireland, Feb-Mar 2017 – Featuring Aquila hand-printed wallpaper from our most recent studio collection in contemporary design.

It is the highlight to my day. Also, not forgetting to mention that Camerons in Ballymena kindly made such an effort to post this magazine over to the studio, due to not being able to find this magazine stocked anywhere in Edinburgh. I have excitedly received this in the studio today – I can’t find a website for them, so the hyperlink leads to their Facebook page instead. Thank you so much!

 

 

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Colour Advice, Episode 1: The Dynamic Coral

Colour Advice, Episode 1: The Dynamic Coral

Here in the studio, we appreciate what a fine art it can be dealing with colours (I mean, we should know this right? As we hand-blend our own especially for our designs). To make your life easier and in unleashing your creative juices, here we have collaborated with a colour specialist Karen Finlayson of Colour Elements in providing you with some specialist colour advice. In this first colour instalment, we have a special colour in the spotlight called Coral.

Coral Colour
In a similar way to a parent not recognising a favourite child it would be unthinkable for me to name a favourite colour. Yet I hold coral very dear to my heart simply because it is constantly giving and demands very little in return. It is one of the few colours that can go well with most interiors, instantly adding a dynamic energy to any room. The depth and brightness of coral will make it more, or less, appropriate for interiors depending on their own features and added in small amounts, through pattern or an accessory, coral has an uplifting effect on any interior.

Add a coral accessory or drop a soft coral cushion into a summer room decorated with washed out, dreamy pale colours and feel the energy brighten immediately. Coral is not a bright colour that pushes itself into your consciousness but once you’re aware of its presence you will never want to be without it.

– Karen Finlayson, Colour Specialist at Colour Elements –

 coral swatch

 

There is always that repressed stylist and designer in all of us; you know what you like and not sure quite how you can incorporate that in your interiors or how it would turn out if combined with other colours. I certainly hope that it’s been a worthwhile read for you. Let us know what you think by posting your comments through our facebook or twitter!

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Founder Focus – Topic 4: Eliza’s General Advices

Founder Focus: Meet Eliza

Topic 4: Eliza’s General Advices

 

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What types of training do you need to enter this field?

Training at a reputable university or college for your preferred subject seems a good start, where they try to cover most aspect of the technical side, so you’re equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to start you off.

During my training, I had my grounds covered pretty well in the sense of technical knowledge. I was taught about the construction of textiles, from its raw form to the yarn process, then other technical side like dyeing fabrics and screen and digital printing, all to industrial standards. I was taught the basics for all the textile design disciplines like knit, weave and print prior to selecting my speciality and focusing on that until graduating. Then I topped up and polished those skills through work-placements, by getting hands-on experience, learning from people I admire and respect, even if I did start off just observing and doing mundane tasks.

Although professional training with a reputable college or university seems the obvious route to a very skilled subject such as textile design, I don’t think it is the one and only training route there is.

If you can demonstrate a genuine interest and passion in your chosen subject, you can get your training through other means; this applies to any subject, not exclusive to design. You can teach yourself through lots of reading on the subject and then get training through apprenticeships and work experience with your admired skilled crafts-person or design studio and get your hands-on training. Skills are learned and perfected through constant practice and dedication to the chosen subject. This is why you need to have a genuine interest and true passion for the subject, or else you won’t have the energy and drive to push yourself and be better. Also, you need to have an open mind, so you don’t limit yourself too much in the sense of ideas, although you need to be more selective at the more progressive stage.

Working as a creative practitioner is a way of life, not just an occupation. It’s who you are.

 

What advice would you give to young people who might be thinking of starting such type of business?

  1. First and foremost, ALWAYS treat others with respect, no matter who they are.
    Starting a business is very challenging and takes a lot of hard work, so you will need as much support as you can get. Therefore, you want people to be rooting for you, NOT against you. Helping each other is also a habit I highly encourage to get into.
  2. Get advice as soon as you’re thinking about starting a business.
    There are a lot of organisations that can help in giving support and advice or at least point you at the right direction. Speak to people and communicate, people can’t offer advice or help you if they don’t know you need it.
  3. Be patient yet persevere, armed with steely determination.
    Creative business can be a slow process. You will probably have more bad days then you do good days; but one really good day tends to over-write the 10 bad days you have and makes it all seem worthwhile. This is why if you don’t love what you do with all your heart, you should probably reconsider your options. You’re in it for the long haul.

 

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Founder Focus – Topic 3: About Eliza’s Work

Founder Focus: Meet Eliza

Topic 3: About Eliza’s Work

 

concrete wardrobe wp1-0018 (2)

 

Where do you generate your ideas for new designs?

I take inspiration from practically anything that’s around me. As there are so many visual clues around you and you just need to be tuned in to what you see and how you feel about them. If something peaks my interest, I either start doodling or then start to photograph a series of shots to then draw from. Many drawings later, I then start having ideas of the design direction it’s heading. Sometimes I might even discover that there’s no chemistry there and I should just bin it and start over!

I mostly decide on an idea that either challenges me or challenges people’s common perception of them, that’s why a lot of them end up being quite subversive. Because it’s design, it needs to fulfil a purpose; surface pattern design tends to be about beautiful looking patterns, as it is meant to decorate a surface. So I make sure that the designs are beautiful and people can appreciate them even at the most superficial level. I don’t expect people to think too hard to work out their wallpaper or soft furnishings, I appreciate that it is difficult enough deciding on a colour scheme for a room. But, you do have the option of appreciating it beyond the pretty surface, if you want to. Hey, it can even be a conversation starter at a dinner party!

 

Who has been your greatest inspiration in choosing to orient yourself in contemporary design?

There are many inspiring contemporary designers and artists that I admire and am inspired by. I find that I am always learning and inspired by my fellow peers; from my more senior contemporaries and from the most unlikely people I meet along the way.

Two (or three even!) particular figures that I find resonates with me most throughout my creative journey though have to be Tim Burton and Timorous Beasties. I admire them for embracing the fact that they are different, that is who they are and they’re comfortable with that. They don’t try to be different, they just are.

Like everything else in life, being different or doing things differently will almost immediately attract objections at the beginning. But they persevered and look at them today; they are the leaders of their field.

I read once that Tim Burton’s drawing style was criticized as being ‘incorrect’ by one of his teachers in his much younger days, until another teacher came along at a later stage and advised the young frustrated Burton that he can draw however he likes to and that there isn’t a right or wrong way to draw. Today, he is known for his distinct style of drawing and his surreal animations and film work.

 

What is the next step in your career?

I aim for world domination – to cover the world with beauty and design!

Just kidding! Although covering the world with beauty isn’t such a bad goal.

Next step is to come up with a new collection of wallpaper and our first fabric collection; attend trade fairs and shows more regularly and to do more collaborative projects.

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Founder Focus – Topic 2: Eliza’s Background

Founder Focus: Meet Eliza

Topic 2: Eliza’s Background

 

Printing_SM_PC_16

 

What is your background in terms of education and work experience?

I graduated from Heriot Watt University – School of Textiles, Galashiels after studying ‘Design for Textiles’, specialising in print. I had some training in fashion prior to that, because I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer. I studied fashion business for a year when I first moved to Scotland and then applied to Heriot Watt University for their fashion and textiles course. After the first year, I decided that I loved textile design much more to be swayed into that direction and asked to be moved to their textile design course for the second year onwards.

I got asked to do the odd commission work during my studies at Galashiels, I also applied to a number of design studios for various design-related work placements and ended up working at a few of them, in London and Yorkshire. I then proceeded to do my placement with Timorous Beasties in Glasgow shortly after graduation, whilst working as a freelance designer for a design studio based in Northern Ireland. I had a stint of freelance work with Timorous Beasties shortly after doing my placement as well, where I helped out with some of the digital drawings and artwork editing during a busy time for them.

I then got accepted for a job with a major interior company as a part of their interior design and visual merchandising team, whilst still doing the very occasional designing of my own work in my spare time.

 

How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?

As great as the universities are in training you in the world of design or anything else, I would say that no matter how good of an academic education you get, nothing will ever quite prepare you for the harsh reality of the real world experience! Where you have to work with and around quite challenging situations and limitations. This is especially the case when it comes to running your own business.

So, the most helpful aspect of my background in preparing me for my career in this field, has to be the work experiences I have had with all these design studios and commission work I got while I was still studying; and after. I am forever grateful to these places, the people and the bosses I have had in my journey, because they are the ones who have informed the decisions I made along the way, to where I am at today.

 

What initiated the spark in you to start your own business?

There were limited opportunities for a textile design job out there during the time I finished my studies. For those instances I got interviewed for, feedback was often that my style and ideas were too niche for their typical customers.

Disheartened but not beaten, I dusted myself off and saw that there were many designers with distinctive styles out there in which I highly admire and respect that made it on their own. This is in spite of everyone else thinking that they were too ’niche’ when they first started.

This just shows that there is a gap in the market for distinctive designs it just takes a lot of time, hard work, dedication and perseverance. People like to be different, but yet there is also a lot of fear of being different – because people like to be unique, but they also want to fit in (such a contradiction, I know). So it takes time to convince people you’ve got something great for them and that being different is something to be embraced and celebrated rather than feared. I think having a genuine passion for what you do is also really important in keeping the focus on what you want and need to do, and in communicating that to others.

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Founder Focus – Topic 1: About Eliza’s Career Field

Founder Focus: Meet Eliza

Topic 1: About Eliza’s Career Field

 

Colour and inks hand-blending in the studio

 

How did you get started in this business?

I got started in this business shortly after I got made redundant from my full time job with one of a major interior company; that was at the height of redundancy happening everywhere.

I had always planned on starting my own design studio, but at the time that it happened, I did not think I was ready for it. After some soul searching, where I started designing on my own accord, along with some cold hard calculations looking at how long I would last with monies I’d saved up so far (my start-up pot) and redundancy pay, I thought I should take the plunge – “it was a now or never moment!” It was time for change, as they say “The Times They Are A-Changin”.

 

When did your interest in interior design first aroused?

My interest in interior design first aroused when I got my first house; I worked for a few years prior to starting university and then enrolled as a mature student. This is the first opportunity to do whatever I wanted to; a place of which I could call my own.

My interest in interior design then bloomed as I started doing my work placements at the many different design studios, ranging from fashion to interiors. This is when I discovered that although I still really love designing textiles for fashion and I am suitably able to do them both (fashion and interiors), my temperament and pace is much better suited to designing textiles for interiors. This went hand in hand with my increased interest in interior design as a whole.

 

What do you feel unique about your career field?

I feel that you can have a childlike curiosity and inquisitiveness and still be serious and taken seriously in what you do; and that they both actually work hand in hand, despite it seeming contradictory. Also, the people are much more fun and nicer to be around working with whilst still being professionals.

You don’t get that kind of luxury in many other career fields.