I managed to catch the end of Sophie Smallhorn’s show Notes on colour at Westbourne Studios in Notting Hill recently. I am a huge fan of Sophie’s work and I love her colour use, graphic style and how she experiments with their relationships in her screenprints and 3D artworks. I wake up to one of her images every morning as it sits on a shelf in my bedroom (see my previous post here) and it was a joy to see so many of her prints together. I also saw some of her work earlier this year as part of a collaboration at the Craft Council’s Collect, the international art fair for contemporary objects, at the Saatchi Gallery.
Notes on colour
Having been involved in a number of long-term projects recently, I wanted to work with a process that would allow me to move through ideas quickly and instinctively. ‘Notes on colour’ started some months ago as two hundred sheets of paper, a basic screen printing set-up and a desire to play. The project has been a fascinating time and for me, an essential back-to-basics way to sketch out thoughts on colour, form and composition without becoming preoccupied by ideas of perfection. Mistakes were made and then made something of, one print informed the next and no single print has taken longer than a day to complete. ‘Notes on colour’ is in a sense a thought process illustrated over one hundred screen prints. Collectively it is a story, a story about colour.
To see more of her work visit Sophie’s website
The day after we went for another big dose of artistic inspiration…
With a young family it’s all about finding a balance at the weekend and doing something we all love, and luckily my children love art. So we made a family trip to Tate Modern on Bankside. A quick walk around the amazing turbine hall and then first stop was the fab Tate shop for some Moleskine note pads and Tate pencils to keep the children occupied, drawing their favourite paintings and sculptures.
A trip to any of the Tates is a wonderful day out, enjoyable and educational and if you are able to visit regularly then the annual membership is brilliant, allowing access to the paying exhibitions too. The current Gerhard Richter exhibition was a fantastic show, enjoyed by us all. One of the other benefits of membership is is the view from the members’ rooms balcony on the 6th floor, I snapped the view across the river in the reflection of the famous glass windows.
We also took a browse around a couple of the permanent collections and my daughter loved the fact that by coincidence her outfit matched one of my favourite paintings there, an abstract from 1914 by Vanessa Bell – one of the Bloomsbury group and Virginia Woolf’s sister.
There’s no doubt we’ll be popping back soon for more artistic inspiration!
I thought I would post a little update to tell you about my new book today. It popped up on Amazon recently and my lovely friend Holly Becker mentioned it in a very sweet post about my work over on decor8.
It is a follow up to The Homemade Home and the working title is “The Homemade Home for Children: 50 thrifty and chic projects for creative parents“. It features in-depth handmade projects with full step-by-step, illustrated projects as well as quick ideas – all with beautiful colour photography.
If you liked my previous book and have young children, are planning a family, have nieces or nephews or even grandchildren then I hope you will like this one too. And although I’ve made the projects for adults to do for and with children, I’ve made them stylish rather than overtly childish so you can create things you can cherish forever and pass on to new generations.
There are plenty of projects that would look great in a house without children and many ideas can be translated or used as inspiration for more grown up versions.
I’m afraid I can’t show you anything from it yet apart from the draft cover, so I photographed it above, along with a few other things that were lying on my craft table.
But if you liked the child-orientated projects in The Homemade Home, such as the China Transfers, Cowboy-collage Chest of Drawers, Creepy Crawly Lamp, Stitched Portraits, Sock Toys and Ribboned Skirt then this book will appeal.
If you don’t have a copy of The Homemade Home then here is a flick-through video we made on my son’s little Flip video camera when the book came out (a year before I started this blog) to give you an idea of what my last book is like (select the 720pHD setting for better quality):
I had a meeting with my publisher Cico Books last week and saw the proper proofs for the first time and it is looking really lovely. I’ll try not to go on too much about it as I know it’s a while until it is released but after five months hard work it’s very exciting to see it all coming to fruition.
It will be published on 8th April next year retailing at £16.99/$24.95 but you can pre-order it on Amazon now (thrifty tip – it’s already less than retail!)
I will share more as and when I can. Happy making!
I don’t normally like to use the C word before December as it feels like I’m wishing the year away, but if you want to make things for Christmas, whether it’s decorations or gifts, then it’s a good idea to plan and start early.
By coincidence the lovely team at Brigitte, Germany’s biggest women’s magazine, asked if I would be one of their Christmas ‘Bloggerei’, their list of the most creative bloggers! It’s quite an honour as I still feel very new to the blog world. It seemed the perfect opportunity to have some fun with clay and make some tree decorations.
These stylish and simple Christmas decorations are easy to make, cost very little and will look great hanging against the dark green of your Christmas tree or on a branch sprayed white.
The decorations are made with air-drying clay and are a variation of a project in my book. If you would like to know how to make them see page 14 of The Homemade Home which has step-by-step instructions. As they are handmade each one is individual and unique and they can be personalized with festive messages and family names.
I found the little branch in a pile of cuttings on the floor of my local park whilst on a walk with my family. I chose one from the pile with an interesting shape and simply sprayed it white when I got home along with some dried Oak leaves we had also collected from the floor of the wood.
I used snowflake stamps to press into the clay when it was wet (I bought my stamps from Muji). I stamped words in black ink onto some when they had dried, others I left plain. Use thin scraps of fabric, ribbon or string in festive colours to make the loops to hang them on the tree. I used strips of Liberty print fabric, red and white baker’s twine and ribbon from VV Rouleaux.
A 500g block of air-drying clay like Das will make approximately 50 decorations (depending on size, mine are about 9cms x 3cms).
I made a whole batch that I’m donating to my children’s primary school to sell at the school’s Christmas fair.
I help with the gifts stall every year and last night some of the other mums from my son’s class came over to my house for a ‘making night’ to make things to sell on the stall – an evening of crafting and chatting over nibbles and a glass of wine. It’s a lot of fun, a great way to build friendships, get involved in the local community and raise money for the school.
Are you planning to make anything for Christmas?
November 2, 2011 in news
After finishing writing my new book I jumped straight back into some commercial advertising work for Harrods of London. Styling the children’s fashion on this studio shoot was fun and it was great to work with the lovely team there.
The images are for the front cover and chapter openers of the Harrods Christmas 2011 toy catalogue that’s in the store now.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.