Christmas time…

I can’t believe it’s been about 3 months since I’ve written anything, where has the time gone?! I have been busy as always, though not as much with my own stuff as I would like. However I have been learning lots by starting an internship with a lovely textile designer called Imogen Heath (her website is here). She also went through the Prince’s Trust Entrepreneur course to launch her business, so it has been very enlightening to work with her in her studio and seeing where I could (hopefully) be in about five years down the track. It’s also certainly encouraging me to try more patterns with watercolours and hand-painted motif, which I have been wanting to use more anyway.

I also went to France to visit Mum and Dad with my boyfriend, James, which was lovely – I wish I had more than just a few days to relax and recuperate in the French countryside! Naturally lots of wine was drunk and food was eaten. Then back to Brighton for a series of Christmas fairs! I think I’ll try and talk about the fairs individually as, good or bad, there was lots to be learnt from being back in the craft market circuit.

For now let me say I want to be much more focussed on making Zoë Charlotte designs bigger and better next year! Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, I would have given up long ago if not for you.

I’m holding a Christmas sale on my Etsy store until 15th December – 20% off everything on purchases of over £10. I hope you can find some last minute stocking fillers and Christmas goodies! xxx

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Poppy Tea towel Designs

Hi everyone! I’ve been desperate to try out some new product ideas, but money is always a problem – investing some of my income into new products is always a risk, particularly when minimum spend is 100+ pieces! So I have been experimenting with some bold designs I can put on tea towels and perhaps other homewares, restricting myself to a monochromatic colour scheme as many places that print fabrics will charge you per colour. This poppy design is my first, and I’m pretty pleased with it! At the moment I’ve settled on three colourways: Mustard Yellow, Aqua and Flame Orange. Let me know what you think or if you have any other colour suggestions! 🙂

(Pssst, you can find these tea towel designs on the print-on-demand site, Spoonflower, here – available to buy soon! I had to change the aqua to a bright blue due to their print requirements but it’s still pretty!) xxx

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Paintly Patterns

Whew I’m glad February is over – although it went quickly this month felt like a slog. Getting sick with a horrible flu, super gloomy weather, work feeling like a grind…but I am determined that March is going to be full of bright and better things! Having spring flowers popping up all over the place is definitely helping my mood as well 🙂

So what have I been doing? Well I learnt to knit! So far I’ve completed one slightly wonky scarf and I’m halfway through creating some slightly wonkier fingerless gloves! Let the craft revolution commence!!

More importantly though, I’ve been thinking about how I can incorporate some more illustrative style into my pattern work. I really like drawing by hand, and although that’s how all of my patterns start, I feel like a lot of that unique, hand drawn style is lost once I put it into Illustrator. Not that there’s anything wrong with the patterns I’ve created, I still like them, but it would be nice to have a more painterly feel to my creations. So I challenged myself to create a complete pattern purely from hand-inked and/or watercoloured drawings alone.

I started with this pen drawing of bunches of hydrangeas using my navy Muji pen…

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I didn’t really have a clear direction of what I was going to do, I was kind of just trying things and seeing what happened. I decided to wash over the drawing with water and see if the pen would bleed a bit, adding some tone. TOTALLY WORKED!

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The lines stayed really clearly defined, but the water allowed just enough pigment to flow over the drawing and I was able to create some really nice highlights and shadows. WIN! Totally going and buying some more Muji pens next time I get the chance!

I then scanned my hydrangea doodles into Photoshop and started to play. Usually patterns are way easier to create in Illustrator as each motif is simpler to manipulate and move around inside a pattern block. However, I wanted to use my original line work and use some transperancy in order to build up my pattern, so Photoshop was my best option. For added texture and colour I also scanned in a watercolour wash of hydreagea-inspired colour which I could layer underneath some of the line-drawings.

And so…Voila!

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The finished pattern! I’m pretty pleased – it’s possibly not my most refined piece ever, but for a first experiment in Photoshop-created, hand-drawn-only, pattern creation, it’s not at all bad 😀

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

It’s September

I can’t believe I’m seeing the last days of summer and autumn is almost here. It’s too sooooooon!!

On the upside, after a year of slowing building up my business with the help of the Prince’s Trust, my business is finally launched! It’s felt like a slow uphill climb: redrafting my business plan, doing test trades, and learning to take control of my cash flow and branding, etc. etc. I still have a lot to learn and so much more space to grow, but having cleared the Prince’s Trust launch panel feels like I’ve overcome a major hurdle.

For those who don’t know the Prince’s Trust is a charitable organisation that helps young entrepeneurs set up their own business, offering a support network and advice. Now that I’ve passed the launch panel, I can be paired with a business mentor who can offer me advice.

Now the real journey begins!

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