Greetings from London! I have been here a week and feeling quite at home already. My first weekend was spent doing what I do best in cold countries, waddling around in a thick coat and stuffing my face. I figure hearty roast dinners are the best way to acclimatise myself.
Over the weekend we stumbled across Craft Central, a bi-annual open studio event. We were walking down Clerkenwell Road and I spotted this little goldfish in a window.
Turned out we were peering into the studio of Sarah Perry, an artist specialising in Trompe L’oeil, Fresco and Mural painting. Sarah’s studio was just one of a whole building of studios open to the public over the weekend. We paid a small entrance fee, picked up some mulled wine and spent the next hour wandering around the variety of craft studios in 21 Clerkenwell Green. I was really taken with Sarah’s intricate paintings. As you can see, they combine two of my favourite elements in illustration… teeny detail and natural fantasy.
Up one floor, I fell in love with jewellery maker Jessica de Lotz‘s studio. It was a world within itself. Outfitted like a curiosity shop, every surface was covered with bric-a-brac and Jessica’s antique inspired creations. I was too shy to take pictures but I’m sure Jessica’s jewellery below will give you an idea of the olde worldly opulence her creations evoke. Her signature is wax seal inspired jewellery with a steam-punk edge. I love how her pieces are at once romantic, humorous and feminine.
Sarah and Jessica’s work was just a small sample of what we saw. I loved getting a sneak peek at the processes behind such highly skilled work. I immediately felt invigorated to return to my own sketchbook and begin working on a print I had been procrastinating over. To witness that all art/craft/design is a labor of love no matter what level you are working at, is a humbling reminder to keep honing my craft.
My first weekend in London reinforced for me the best things about living here– That there is always something to do, that the weather may be harsh but is always beautiful, that art is so accessible.
It’s good to be back!
Hello! I write to you surrounded by a fortress built of books and clothes… yup, I’m packing again! A bit of news on the professional and personal front, I am relocating to London and bringing Book of Deer with me! Life has thrown me an exciting opportunity to live in London again after 3 years in Hong Kong. The distance may be far but I have been going between these 2 special cities for a chunk of my life so I am not too daunted by the thought of flying back and forth. Book of Deer has many roots in HK so I will still be coming back a few times a year during key moments of production.
So London, my second home, will become my primary home once again. Till when, I’m still not sure. However, I look forward to bringing my brand to more girls and shops in the UK. I’m sure that London, being the creative and inspiring city that it is, will add a new dimension to the Book of Deer brand.
Orders and posting will continue as normal, still completely free and efficient as always. And to mark my big move I’m offering 15% off anything from our AW13 collection with code IHEARTLONDON
Amelie Street is a little gem of a shop in one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts, Causeway Bay. We have been selling AW13 Selkie and Sea there for a few months and already they’ve opened us up to a whole new fanbase.
First of all they got us this lovely little write up in Milk Magazine (and styled that model better than I ever could):
And Cindy, Amelie Street’s super trendy founder has also been dressing some Hong Kong celebs in Book of Deer. Check out these pretty ladies we spotted on Instagram:
And one last reason I love selling at Amelie Street, the resident puppy…
They stock a whole range of trendy brands!
Stumped on what to get your Mum/sister/BFF/Granny for Christmas? We’ve got these new Book of Deer print scarves in the online shop! We did a very small production run on these so get yours before they’re all gone!
Many people have asked for the story behind one of this season’s bestsellers: The Seafarer Kilt.
Inspiration for this piece came during a visit to my Grandfather’s house in Scotland. My 90 year old Papa joined the Merchant Navy at 16 and spent his life at sea venturing to countless far flung and exotic places. His first ever voyage in 1939 was actually to Hong Kong all the way from the port of Leith. I find this little fact quite life-affirming; to know that no matter how vast the world may seem, generations before us have likely tread the same paths we walk today.
The inspiration for “Selkie and Sea” came from my many holidays spent up the East coast of Scotland where my Mother’s side is from. The landscape is undoubtedly beautiful and dramatic but the weather is freeeezing, the power of the vast North Sea immediately commands respect and awe. As with all coastal cultures, Scottish fishing villages tell centuries-old stories inspired by the majesty, mystery and danger of the sea. The story of the Selkie is found in Scottish, Irish, Faroe Island and Icelandic folklore. Selkies are said to be seals that shed their skin to become beautiful women on land. They fall in love with hapless fishermen but inevitably leave them heartbroken when they return to the ocean. This tragic, romantic tale is perfectly evocative of the wistful melancholy of Northern fishing villages on a cold, windy day.
I was already working on the prints for this collection while I was staying at my Papa’s house last October. I looked up at the painting he has hung above his telly and felt it captured the treacherous beauty of ocean journeys that I couldn’t quite illustrate with my dainty biro drawings. I had always known this painting was from a sailor on one of my Papa’s ships but it was wonderful to hear even more about it. Back in 1971, my Papa was sailing on the Queensgarth with a cargo of up to 10,608 tonnes of iron ore and steel products. My Papa was Chief Officer 2nd in Command and was doing a check of the cabins when he came upon William Mitchell’s cabin. William gave my Papa this painting that he had done in oils on an old pillow case. He said the stormy sky had been a mistake created from the ash of his cigarette. The detail and perspective of the painting are impressive even without considering the limitations of the materials or the fact William painted it from within his tiny cabin. I scanned the painting at my Papa’s local photo developers and edited it to fit the proportions of a kilt. I then digitally printed it on fabric to form the print panels of our Seafarer Kilt and Horizon Top.
So, that is the story of how an old painting of a ship came to be one of the key prints of Book of Deer’s AW13 collection. All we know about William Mitchell was that he hailed from Argyle. Wherever he is now, I hope William feels his work was used in a fitting tribute to all the brave voyages seamen such as himself and my Papa took.
Attention Chinese netizens, our AW13 collection is now available for purchase on Elleshop China. Free 48 hour delivery, sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
Click here to see the online shop: http://www.elleshop.com.cn/product/g-11999-1411.htm
I am so excited that our AW13 collection is available on Modcloth now. Modcloth’s signature cocktail of retro, cute and wit makes their shopping experience one of a kind. I love the way they have styled (and renamed) our Seafarer Kilt and Aran Sweater, they make even me see Book of Deer designs in a new light!
After an evening spent watching Hocus Pocus and The Witches, I am feeling rather nostalgic for the Halloweens of my 90′s childhood. Suddenly I’m in the mood for stuffing my face with sweeties.
I think you can tell, but I’m not one for serious spookiness. I’ve compiled this little collection of Halloween pics that have just the right dose of ghoulishness for a scardey cat like me to handle!
This print is by one of my current fave illustrators. The incredibly young and talented Manjit of A Thousand Daisies.
How cute are these ghostie eggs? And so easily done if you can’t be bothered to carve a pumpkin. From Wit and Whistle
Adorable digital painting ~ Maddie’s Monsters by Gwynne Simmons