Yo Illo Talk

Hiya, as promised here's some photos of me giving a talk last week for Yo Illo at UsTwo in Shoreditch. The lovely Vic Lee and me were asked to speak about our large scale installation work, and it was a great night full of new and old friends and lots of free beer and giant pizzas from Voodoo Rays! I'm always looking for more opportunities like this, so do shout out if you're after someone to witter on about illustration! Huge thanks to Rob Cartwright for taking this shot, he really is the most relaxed and lovely guy and I HIGHLY recommend him if you need to document any of your work or events.

I'm off to The Chelsea Physic Garden later today, it's the most beautiful and peaceful oasis in the centre of London, and I'm going for a meeting about a new illustration project I'm working on with them. Tomorrow I'm heading off to Wolverhampton to visit David Austin Roses to discuss my residency project with their team. I am so excited about the colours and scents of the roses on mass, and so I am massively overdosing on my hayfever stuff today so that I will be able to see them!

Have a great weekend, mine will be spent with friends in London on Saturday and Cardiff on Sunday, so I'm hoping this gorgeous weather stays for a few more days! x


Holland & Barrett

Morning, I've had THE MOST AMAZING week,, there's so much to share with you! Last weekend I went to Oxford for the day to meet up with the lovely Rachel Coopey and Jeni Hewlett two fantastic women that I met at Squam USA earlier this month. We went to the Oxford Botanic Garden which I HIGHLY recommend, it looks REALY beautiful at this time of year, and then popped into Modern Art Oxford and The Ashmolean.

On Monday I went to Cambridge University to the Haseloff Lab which explores synthetic biology with a focus on plants. I was visiting as part of my Artist in Residence activities (more info on that  here) and the team were incredibly helpful in helping me to understand the current research related to my activities. I squeezed in a quick visit to ARU where I studied illustration with the lovely Martin Salisbury, a zip around the Cambridge Botanic Gardens and a lovely meal with Mandy (a wonderful illustrator and friend from my days at ARU)

On Tuesday I was off to the Olympic Park, and then vegan afternoon tea at The Secret Tea Room in Soho. Wednesday saw me speaking about my large scale installation work at an event organised by Yo Illo and hosted by Ustwo. (The talented Rob Cartwright was taking photos so I'll show you some images from the event soon!) Yesterday I was back in the studio working on a new commission for The Chelsea Physic Garden and today Ted Baker (the funder for my residency project) are coming to film me in my studio (hence last nights manic tidy up session!) 

Next week has lots more exciting things on the way, I'm spending Wednesday at the Chelsea Physic Garden learning about the old technique of Nature Printing, and on Friday I'm going to visit David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton to learn more about their breeding programmes. I think the sight and smell of their BEAUTIFUL roses on mass will be completely intoxicating!

Image above is of the Baobab fruit for Holland & Barrett, I've got really behind in sharing all my work for them so expect a deluge over the next few weeks!

Have a great weekend xxx


Warehaus lift panel

Hello! I've spent this week gradually getting over my jet lag from teaching at Squam, and creating lots of food and nature illustrations for Holland & Barrett and Square Meal (= a great week of drawing + naps!) I also managed to squeeze in visits to The RA Summer Show (glorious) and Carsten Höller at The Haywood (brilliant fun - go with a group of friends). I'm spending tomorrow preparing for a talk about my installation work for Yo Illo more info here - (this event is fully booked, but I know that they're planning future talks, so get on their mailing list to be kept informed.)

Today I'm excited to share the artwork for the lift panel at Warehaus (a new mixed use retail and residential development in East London.) So far I've shared the 18x6m wall piece here, and the 30 doors created for each of the flats here. I have devised and created all the artwork for the development, and I was inspired by the rooftop swimming pool and wildflower garden at the top of the building. All the artwork is created in brass, and illustrates UK botanicals which are found in natural water sources. For the lift panel I created a frieze of water lilies, to reflect the door and wall designs, and this piece is engraved onto the brass. The development is VERY nearly finished and as soon as it is I'll be able to share you the photos of the real thing. For now here's the lift artwork...

... and a detail so you can really get a sense of what it will look like at a larger scale...

Have a lovely week and I'll be back next time to share new drawings for Holland & Barrett x


Squam 2015

Back home after THE BEST week teaching at Squam Art Workshops in America where I'm feeling very happy and jet-lagged. Too tired to really focus on work and still keen to cling on to my time there, so here's the blogpost all about my adventure...

Squam is a creative retreat set on Squam lake in New Hampshire. We stay in wooden cabins with porches, private docks and huge open fires - here's the view from our dock...

and this was the view from my bedroom...

This is our cabin (called Eldorado)...

Our classrooms are also wooden cabins with giant open fires and magical views over the lake (here's mine!)...

My class was called 'Drawn Together' and was a collaborative workshop exploring colour, mark making and a wide range of materials. Each person was given a concertina A5 sketchbook, and there were 12 colours and 12 participants. The colours and sketchbooks were passed on after each exercise, so by the time each person received their original book back to embellish and complete, each person in the class had contributed to it. Lots of the exercises we did were taken from my book Fearless Drawing and we used a range of techniques including oil pastel monoprinting, collage, watercolour and wax resist. Working in this way allowed the class to become less precious about the final piece and to focus on the process of creating. 

I had THE BEST students and THE BEST time teaching the class, here's some of their sketchbooks at the end of the day...

And here's some of their work in progress...

When not teaching there's so much to do, you can hike, kayak, swim (and my favourites, hang out on the dock eating snacks!)

It's such a peaceful and inspiring place and you get to make so many new friends from all over the world...

Squam is the land of chipmunks, bears, red squirrels and fireflies and this year I was DESPERATE to see a raccoon. Everyone I met warned me that they're not very nice and can be vicious, but in the UK I used to watch a cartoon about them and I REALLY wanted to see a real one. By the last night I still hadn't seen one, but Elizabeth Duvivier (Squam Founder and Director) made my wish come true by giving me this beautiful cushion with 2 raccoons, she really is the nicest person on earth...

So now I'm back home in my studio, tired, happy and so pleased I went to Squam again. I think it might just be my favourite place on earth. Here's my name tag now hung proudly in my studio ready to remind me of new and old friends and a huge amount of creativity and fun.

Back to work properly tomorrow cooking up new projects for The Chelsea Physic Garden, Holland & Barrett and Square Meal Magazine, until then sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz x


Warehaus Wallpiece

Hello! I am soooooooo excited about heading off to teach at Squam Art USA next week, it really is the MOST beautiful place and I'm itching to get on the plane...

Before I go, I just wanted to give you another glimpse of the Warehaus project, it's a mixed use development of 30 flats and 5 commercial units in East London. I was commissioned to devise and create all the artwork for the development, and I was inspired by the rooftop swimming pool and wildflower garden at the top of the building. All the artwork is cut from brass, and reflects UK botanicals which are found in natural water sources.

For the large Atrium I've created a 6m x 18m wall piece from brass (you can see the design below - wherever you can see black is brass, and the white is cut away). It is a series of linked water lilies which travel up the wall across all the floors. The roof top swimming pool has a glass bottom, so the light floods the atrium and is diffused through the water creating the most beautiful shapes and shadows across the brass. I also created a lift frieze and bespoke panels for all the doors (you can find more info about the doors here) The development is VERY nearly finished and as soon as it is I'll be able to share you the photos of the real thing.

Keep an eye on my Instagram account to see what I get up to teaching drawing in New England, and I'll write all about my adventure when I get home x

Here's a closer detail so you get more of a sense of the intricacy of the design...

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

I'm so excited to share this installation for Jo Malone as part of the Chelsea in Bloom celebrations in London. Each year the stores in Chelsea celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show with BEAUTIFUL floral installations lasting for one week. I was commissioned to create hand painted fairies by Jo Malone to be hidden throughout their floral installation. It was such a lovely project to be part of, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. If you can get to London do go and see all the fantastic shops, it ends this Sunday and you can find more info here

(All photos by the very clever Steven Peskett and floral installation created by Emma Coleman. Emma worked with a team of gardeners from St Mungo's Broadway supporting people who are homeless to learn new skills and find employment. Keep scrolling down to see a short film documenting the making of the garden by Jo Malone x)

Warehaus doors


I've been working on this project since mid 2013, creating bespoke artwork for a new mixed use development comprised of 32 flats and 5 commercial units in East London. It's called Warehaus and was developed by Union Developers with Lynas Architecture and I can finally start to show you what I've been up to all this time!

It really was the best project as they allowed me complete freedom of subject and location within the building. I was really inspired by the glass bottomed rooftop swimming pool surrounded by wildflowers in the architects plans, and so wanted to create work based on the types of plants that grow around natural water sources in the UK. I elected to create work for the residential doors, the lift and a huge piece for the atrium. As the development used a lot of brass fittings I chose to echo this in the artwork and worked with Cut-Tec to have all the work created in brass.

I was on site yesterday (it was glorious weather and the view from the rooftop swimming pool is INCREDIBLE!). All the doors are installed and the wall piece is very nearly there, so I wanted to share the designs for the doors with you today. There are seven designs that are repeated across the 32 flats. Each front door has a full size glass panel to one side containing my cut brass design. It is a sandwich with clear glass on the exterior, then my brass panel, then frosted glass in the interior to maintain privacy for the residents. The latin and common names of the plants and the flat numbers are all drawn by hand and this is reflected in the brass really well. 

I cannot wait to show you the photos of the actual development, but for now here's the door designs. You'll need to use your imagination, as wherever you see black is actually brass, and the white areas are cut out negative space.

Have a great week and next week I'll be back with a new installation for Jo Malone! x