Sunday, 31 July 2011

Golden bedouin bed

Sunday morning is for bedding in.....given the time and inclination.......

I fell in love with the sleeping arrangement of painters Sofia De Aguiar and Tomás Colaço in their Lisbon apartment, featured in The World of Interiors.  Being a big fan of the Bedouin Bed by Sibella Court.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Online Selling: Product Photography Guide

Highlight Product Imagery and instantly impact online sales.

 OOAK set of two 

As the volume of online shopping increases - so does the need to stand out.  I think good photographs can be the key and fastest way to unlocking sales when you are an independent creator - people need to be able to see that you have a super-duper product.  I wanted to share some tips that I have learned along the way, which has helped with the success I have had selling online so far, and in spreading interest in my work through Etsy blog and craft/ lifestyle blogs, retailers and editorial prospectors (and a few immitators too!) 

I hope you will find these points useful in applying it to your online product photography.
NB This is not a technical guide - I am a self-taught photographer with an artists eye and swear-by only using natural lighting along with a digital SLR camera.  It is more about describing and engaging through image - "a picture is worth a thousand words" as the adage goes.   Please feel free to leave your comments and any links to useful sites you have found.  Here is my product photography in 5 shots.

Shot 1 - Love every stitch and knot

Also called the macro - extreme close up shots need decent bright sunlight and a steady or fast hand.  Nobody knows your product and what goes into making it better than you do, so show off the details.  As a buyer, I love a well angled close up shot.

You can always see the love through an image and I am obsessed with our pillows.  I started out taking about 500+ shots for every cushion and sifting through and fine tuning the editing would take ages.  Thankfully, now I have this down with a 5 shot method.

Shot 2 - Signature shots

This may sound abit David Bailey, but it just means play and develop a style - this becomes recognised as part of your USP (Unique Selling Point) and buyer experience.  It simplifies the process too by giving you defined shots you must take, but also means that you fine tune getting those shots right in as few a snaps as possible.  The simplest thing can be the most perfect thing, if it is executed well.  The photo at the very top of this post, was a seminal moment (hold off on the Stendhal syndrome) I mean it sincerely  - it made me realise the power of capturing desirability for a simple thing as a pillow - at the same time as making me think how crisp and sharp that cotton corner looks.

Shot 3 - Be Brave with an idea

Every editorial is based on an idea and the Nomad Trio was what came out of marrying an aesthetic idea with my pillows for a photo.  Whether Man Ray monochromatic or David LaChapelle pop-kitsch, or Avedon monumental - it says something about your vision.  I find light play or shadow casting an inexpensive, creative and atmospheric technique of drawing in the viewer, even though shadows are usually frowned on in product photography.

These photos married the idea of the Moroccan slipper with our little Boho bags - here, finding the right angles to shoot from were key, these were picked up by Living Etc India.

Shot 3 - Don't be Etsy front page obsessed 

A common how-to I see is "Etsy friendly photography".  Better to take photos that you think best show off your product and the rest will follow - so Confucius say.  And the above image of our bright and bold pillows (not exactly Etsy FP) was what got me found by a lovely Etsy blogger who featured us as part of her home decor post on Etsy, which drove lots of relevant traffic to us.   I'm not saying it wouldn't still be nice one day to be on the front page as we go our merry way......(update - I made the Front page just before Christmas and sold out of the Teal Peacock pillow which was featured).

Shots 4 & 5 - Full Frontal

Not as rude as it suggests - it simply means a crisp clear shot of the front (and back if this is relevant).  Or for us, sometimes this would be a zip shot - how tantalising : )

Mostly relax, have fun and play! And thanks for reading!  For photography service ideal for the on-line environment, please contact

NB  This "guide writing" job is much harder than it looks, kudos to those who do it well.  I am off to have a cuppa and read this: Groupon Therapy

And Not all prodcut shoots have to be boring shoot

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Wayward Birds Duo - Promotion

Promotion - Wayward Birds Duo - set of two pillow covers, using our popular Wayward Birds crisp Dutch Wax print cotton on the front and heavy weight grey wool mix "burlap" back.  This promotion is available now on Etsy: WayWard Birds Duo Pillow Covers

Update: The 12 x 18 was just bought seperately, so the promotion above is no longer valid.

 New Promotion:    Wayward Birds Duo - set of two square pillow covers 16" x 16", using my popular Wayward Birds crisp Dutch Wax print cotton on the front and heavy weight grey wool mix "burlap" back.  This promotion is available now on Etsy: Wayward Birds Duo Pillow Covers

Join  Quick and easy registration opens up a world market of handmade from discerning independent creators.

Learn more about Etsy via their blog

Young Rebel Set @ Monto Water Rats

 Image from Monto Water rats

Looks like an Old man's pub on the outside, but old-fashioned theatre bar on the inside.

I like folk music, and being a long time admirer of the late John Lennon - also a big fan of the northern working class vocal.  Thursday, saw the Young Rebel Set fit right in.  They have the sound of quite a few English bands with their blue -collar rasp that teeters on (heart)breaking, and folk lyrics that aspire to their troubadour influences such as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.   They like to hit the road alot, and as the Beatles before a many, have gigged the clubs of the Reeperbahn, Hamburg and come back: "So here's my Hea --- a--a -a- a-a- art........"

If I was....
Measure of a Man

You may have heard of UK-exports, the misty-eyed and dolent - "The harvest left no food for you to eat" Mumford & Sons quartet who earlier this year won a Grammy (ies), but here are a couple of folk artists I also like to support:

Trevor and Hannah-Lou Moss - This is England and Allotment Song
Treecreepers - Myspace  (A large tumbler of whisky to stare into, on a long November night a pre-requisite)
Caitlin Rose (US folk songstress, some of her songs she wrote when she was 16) - Sinful Wishing Well and Shanghai Cigarettes

The ultimate 60s Californian troubadour sound that emerged around Laurel Canyon and Newport Folk Festival - Mr Jackson Browne (he wrote this when he was 16) These days and their Earth mother Joni Mitchell California

I like Bob Dylan Positively 4th Street

Have a good-listening Sunday!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

OOAK Burlap Pillows

This SisterBatik Lifestyle Trio is available as a set - batik patchwork in crisp Dutch Wax print cotton (from 10 different reams of fabric) on the front and heavy weight grey wool mix "burlap" back.  Truely OOAK - available on Etsy: SisterBatik Lifestyle Trio

You might like to read about our OOAK process: You are OOAK

Hot Cakes!  Sold the same day - thank you!

I have been abit busy this week, so expect a small deluge of blog posts today.

I have been looking into printing my own textiles (inspired by a recent visit to Collier Campbell).  I have visited London based print facilities but also online services such as Spoonflower (who are US based).  Their website looks really good and I ordered their swatch book.  After waiting patiently for over 4 weeks (as per their advice in case of delay but I hadn't really expected to happen) which I was abit miffed about, I finally chased them and they were super helpful and straight forward and  Fed-Exed it to me to arrive the next I am all-appeased now : )  Their Silk crepe de chine and Linen-Cotton canvas look particularly good.

Just wondering if you have printed your own textile designs/ artwork?  Or can share suggestions, thoughts and stories?  I would love to hear - thank you : )

Pretty Young Thing

I had an appointment this week at the HQ of a health charity, and in the same grand art deco building in N1 were the HQs of Revlon and ASOS (an online trend-conscious fashion retail brand).  As I walked through the entrance, minding my own business, as expected, I was swamped by what appeared to be a galactic world of the PYT interns and staffers; chain-smoking and communing outside the building, bringing back pizzas while chatting about Ibiza, glowing manes and gazelle strides, catching each other's eyes and checking on outfits......crushing on the PYT style : )

Images courtesy of my favourite style blog:  StochholmStreetStyle

You might like to read about my trip to Stockholm and style-spying :Stockholm Stadsmission and Stockholm Postcard

Also a fan of stylebubble.

Pimientos de Padron

 Image from Gastroplod

A - ha!  Little green capsicums saturated and squelched from the heat of the pan and olive oil, so that your flesh intensifies and sweetens.  Once in the terracotta dish, I dive in with my hands, singling out a stalk and retrieve one, knowing already before it has hit my mouth how it promises to melt - first on my tongue are the coarse shards of saltiness, then the alchemy of dulcet pepper and demi-chilli flavours and it's slippery shape lends to sucking and biting off at the point of the stalk.....satisfaction.

I have been craving these more-ish Spanish peppers and by the end of the week they were mine : ) I love Spanish tapas and these are perfect appetisers with a cool drink.  Small green peppers from Padron, fried in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt.  Small Perfection!

For tapas in London - I liked Mar I Terra.  Not style conscious, all the effort goes into the homemade tapas - in fact you have to walk down an inconspicuous side street, next to the railway arches in Southwark.  But great for a bite after the Tate Modern or before seeing a play at the Globe.

You might like to read:  Granada
You might like to read another simple homemade suggestion: french-dressing

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bolster Pillow

Long and narrow, measuring 12" x 22", bolster/lumbar pillows are placed at the head of the bed or at the base of an armchair seat to wonderful decorative effect.

They are used to provide head and back support.  In some countries, the bolster is also used for hugging when sleeping and in many Asian countries given names to mean "hugging pillow" : )

All pillows available on Etsy - please click on links.

Monday, 18 July 2011

I interrupt my usual transmission......... bring a quick medical update which relates to a blog post I wrote back in February I've loved you so long...innovation of the "ghost heart" and beautiful science which blew my mind.

This is from the Guardian newspaper Cancer patient receives first synthetic organ transplant.

Thank you for reading.

Have you recently found poetry sewn into your clothing?  Poetry Bombing

Sunday, 17 July 2011

DayDreamers Guild - Patchwork, Hand Embroidery and Lilac Velvet Ribbon OOAK Pillow

 Available on Etsy:  DayDreamer

You may like to read about what goes into one of of our OOAK pillow covers: You are OOAK

Emperor Pillow

 Available on Etsy: Emperor OOAK Pillow

Suggested combination with some of our other OOAK pillows for an eclectic feature:

 Available on Etsy: DayDreamer and Shanghai Green&Pink

Join to enjoy buying handmade straight from independent creators around the world!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Jazz at Ronnie's

Nothing Gold can stay.
                                     Robert Frost

 Personalities can die an awful death.  Diminishing down pockets of gold coins.  This is a little reflective and.... I admit, abit indulgent.  Sitting behind the gold banister that seperates the well-behaved seating from the stage, which made you feel captive and far.  Not, I thought, how I remember Ronnie Scott's, when I watched Diana Krall, that first time, perform at this London institution.  Or the Brazilian Bossa Nova collective, that other time or some local jazzman on another night I watched my man.  Losing him to the music and I didn't mind, tapping his fingers on his knee, his heel rocking to the rhythm, swaying his head and eyes demonised by the easy night saxophone:

"The night time does funny things to a man, those Tomcat tendencies you don’t understand........." hissing from the bourbon tongue of Tom Waits.

It used to be extra dark, extra smoky and the floor kinda used to be that kind of joint.  Till Faust in his suit and with his briefcase came, to take the beat away.......

All related finds are from FAB Etsy sellers - Join !

You might like to read Sticky and Rich and Coachella Cloth

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Shanghai Green & Pink Bohemian Chic

 Available on Etsy: Shanghai Green & Pink

 Our latest pillow is in stunning Green with Pink border, ideal addition to an eclectic collection of pillows - perfect in a Shanghai Clubhouse.
 Image from Shopgirl Shanghai

 Images from Shanghai Tang