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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Floral inspiration

 

Last week I brought you a review of the wonderful temporary exhibition currently at The National Museum & Art Gallery in Cardiff: ‘Nature’s Song; Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings‘. Feeling inspired by the experience I decided to have a rummage around the internet to find other appreciators of this delicate art genre, who have created work reminiscent of the traditional style. I unearthed some superb examples (please visit artist online gallery for full-size images) here are my top 3…

1‘Chinese Hibiscus’ by Nikole Lowe of Nikole Lowe Paintings on Etsy.

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I love the delicacy of this piece, something which was really evident in the original 16th century work on display at the exhibition. What makes this piece really special is the fact that Nikole has used Chinese paints on rice paper, in a nod to tradition. Her Etsy shop is full of must-see original paintings, mostly dedicated to this particular style. You’ll even find an adult colouring book and an interesting video of Nikole at work.

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2I came across Claudia Hahn’s work on Deviantart and was mesmerised by her bright and soulful depictions of nature. Her gallery is bursting with inspiring artwork, including this Peony painting done entirely with beetroot juice and tea!

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3I love how Etsy shop owner Vartus Varadian has utilised her talent as a form of meditation (she describes how she took up Chinese brush painting in response to illness) as well as making this art form accessible to all. Her work is available in card form, is affordable, and is a joy to look at.

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Recently I joined an art group run by Mind,  and decided it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with my own Chinese art-inspired piece. I often use photographs as a reference, but with such a limited slot of time this proved to be an exercise in improvisation as well as observation. Having completed the base drawing and graphite sections during the session, I applied colour from memory later on, using Inktense watercolour pencils. In my initial review of these pencils I was impressed with the delivery of the promised colour intensity, but it took this small painting to really make me realise that these pencils really come into their own when diluted.

 

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With Mother’s day around the corner, I thought it would be a nice idea to turn my little drawing/painting into a card, and here’s what I came up with…

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Welcome to my world

From the a tiny Boat House favoured by Dylan Thomas, to JK Rowling’s favourite cafe – we find our creative juices flowing in surroundings unique to our personalities. In this post I’m inviting you to come on a tour of my own work space, and take a peek into a space which has become an extension of myself.

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My work space essentials:

  • Spacious desk
  • DAB radio
  • daylight magnifying lamp
  • tissues
  • A clock
  • My tools

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I find inspiration in the most unusual places, above you’ll see some beautifully illustrated, colourful boxes. These contained coffee, and were just too beautiful to throw away. I love the colour contrasts used and how art can merge with the ‘everyday’. My postcard wall has been building over the years, and is a visual diary of the places I’ve visited and the exhibitions I’ve seen. I also collect quotes and poetry that remind me to be thankful and keep creating when I’m lacking inspiration. The most unusual thing on my wall are authentic 1970’s party invitations (top row) which I found in a junk shop in Cardigan, West Wales; the colours are garish, and I felt they really reflected the aesthetic style of the time.

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I used to store my artwork away in folders but realised they were pointless if I left them hiding away, so over the past year I’ve started to fill my walls with work from the past few years that I’ve been happy with. I think reminding yourself of what you’re capable of can be a boost when you’re feeling frustrated and not achieving the results you want with a piece you’re working on. I also have my degree on display for the same reason – to zap any feelings of uselessness and belief that ‘I can’t do it’.

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Spring/summer 2017 collection sneak peek

For the past few months, in between my illustration work, I’ve been working on my  spring/summer 2017 collection of bespoke, hand-sewn children’s clothing, made using upcycled and recycled materials.

A great place to start with any creative work is to get ideas out by creating a mood board. I envisioned bright colours, loose floaty fabrics, and took inspiration from nature, including feathers, leaves and flowers.

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I wanted a pattern that was versatile – pretty, yet practical – which is why I opted for shoulder ties. Each top/dress is breathable, light, and can be adjusted by changing the length of the ties.

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Girl’s shoulder-tie dress. Age 6-7

 

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Girl’s shoulder-tie top, age 7
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Girl’s shoulder-tie top, age 8

The full collection will appear in my shop next spring, but are available now on request. Commissions/suggestions are also always welcome.

First glimpse of my Eco wear and some photographic inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of Heidi Adnum’s book ‘Taking great photos’ and have been experimenting with putting the techniques to the test. After owning my digital camera for a few years now, I’ve finally (on Heidi’s instruction) actually read the manual! Such an obvious tip, yet one that’s so often over-looked.

I was amazed at just what my camera could do, so decided to play around with the settings to take photos of my handmade clothing for the ‘Eco wear‘ section of my website. Oddly enough, I found myself drawn to the accidental ‘romantic’ effect that occurred when I set my camera to shoot in cloudy conditions. I liked the soft, sepia feel.

 

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Before doing my own shoot I decided to browse the web to get some inspiration from other designers and see how they go about displaying their items. I came across some really creative examples that also showed their work clearly. Here are some of my favourites:

augblog1 Leiladelle – I love the simple but endearing use of paintbrushes here. It adds a sort of playfulness to the image without taking too much attention from the skirt. In her shop she uses models, intriguing backgrounds, and cute props.

 

 

 

 

augblog2 Indigenous Revival – I was drawn to this image because of the use of lighting. The flare adds a sensual softness to the image. In her shop you’ll find natural and neutral backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

augblog3 Piel De Lobo – Aside from the fact that this Folksy shop contains real works of art (such as unique prints) I love the way the photographer has made use of a more ‘industrial’ style background to add a certain ‘feel’ that compliments the style of clothing.

 

 

 

 

augblog4 Rooby Lane – The use of a neutral background in the majority of the images in this shop gives it a professional edge, and importantly allows the clothing to speak for itself (something which is so important with the amazing and often detailed patterns you’ll find in this shop)

 

 

 

augblog5 Ellie Ellie ltd – This is just one example of the clever use of props to add just enough interest to a photo. All of the photographs in this shop look professional, with clever use of minimalistic elements.

 

 

 

 

augblog6 Ninety5Prints – I included this shop as it perfectly demonstrated something mentioned in Heidi Adnum’s book – making use of natural, neutral backgrounds and opting for wooden coat hangers. Small details that make a huge difference. The fact that the majority of tops in this shop are displayed in this similar way also demonstrates another thing mentioned by Adnum : consistency. This can help people to identify your brand.

 

augblog7 From Rags To Bags – The odd one out! Yes, not clothing, but I couldn’t not include this one. I love the feel this rustic-looking chair adds to the image. A wonderful example of how carefully chosen props can communicate and give a certain undertone.

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