Sights and sounds
I have been blessed with a consistent stream of projects since becoming Freelance in 2001. However being based on home turf, its important and refreshing to pepper my time with external inspirations.
Therefore, since my last blog in May, I have visited some local Open Studio exhibitions including the artists’ studios at chocolatefactoryn16.com. My daughter Ella and I handstitched little sketch books…
…and visited the With Relish graphic design studios who were running Random Project 2012 postcard making sessions!
The sun was out that day so, homeward bound, we meandered along the South Bank and saw Rainbow Park – a multicoloured urban beach designed by Polish artist Adam Kalinowski. The installation is part of the South Bank’s Festival of the World celebrations.
The London Olympics were also highly evident everywhere. As a family, we are really looking forward to the games and have tickets for the womens 10m Platform Semifinal at the Aquatic Centre.
Back in the office and tying nicely into the occasion, TV sound guru Stevie Haywood, who has been assigned to work for the full three weeks of 2012 Olympics, asked me to develop an identity for his established audio business renamed, ‘Sounds Simple’.
With the expertise of Dawn Mitchell and Steve Carson at thinkmonkeys.com, we have also put together a web presence for him, in a very short space of time, for soft launch, mid July.
Phase 2 of the website will be far more comprehensive, showcasing the studio’s work in online videos, sound clips and galleries of beautiful imagery from Stevie’s worldwide travels with the crew.
Although the Summer holidays are coming up, I will be working on my stationery ranges and sketching. I will be creating 12 Wedding related items for goody bags – still haven’t decided what yet - and developing some design ideas in readiness for an Autumn stint working with SAUK (The Scoliosis Association) www.sauk.org.uk
What’s In A Name?
Graphic Design and Illustration is my day job but on the side, I’ve always sketched, painted and personalised cards for friends. I love making things and often reinvent old jars, boxes and picture frames.
As people seemed to like what I did, I uploaded some photographs of my work to an online shop on @bigcartel under the ‘suki-design’ banner. I wanted to gauge the reactions of a wider audience and see whether I could spark some new commissions.
I have continued to upload these personal projects, some of which I have developed into unique stationery ranges.
Now, after a few months of monitoring sales and visitors to the site, I thought it was time to streamline the most popular products and give the shop an identity by developing a brand for it.
The shop needed a proper name so I started with mine, Suki, because it is not a typically English name. It has Asian origins but linked with Hubbard (married name) I assumed that the combination would be less common. How wrong was I? Where have all these OTHER Suki Hubbard’s come from who are also designers and they all own the ‘suki’ domains in every format that I could think of.
In the mid 1990’s, I worked in Vogue House on the very first websites for CondeNast. These were the beginnings of the Internet as we use it today. Hindsight is a wonderful thing because when I bought the domain, suki-design.com in 2001, I should have continued to purchase other variations of the domain as they became available. However at the time, I didn’t see the need.
My next idea was to brainstorm ‘Sooks’ - my nickname for years. I wondered if there a way of combining it with relative words such as stock, stuff or stationery but after reading that Sooks means ‘… a weak timid person; a crybaby…’ or the urban dictionary, even less appropriately, defines Sooks as a ‘…brown-noser’ I decided that this was not a good route to go down.
I looked at my products again and went through buzz words that might describe my work. I came up with quirky, natty, kooky, lemon dash (cockney rhyming for flash) but nothing was quite right.
My kids started coming up anagrams which were way too ‘out there’ so we revisited the short, catchy words which would be relevant openers to the strap line “From suki-design.com”. I liked Natch (meaning Naturally) but that was too ‘LOL’ apparently.
We were ‘Mad for It’, ‘Never Stationary’ and even ‘Arty Farty’ (cringe) until we we hit upon the letter Z and the word Huzzar. I liked that word. It was short, sounded like Bazaar/Bizarre. Meant cheer, hurrah. It’s a bit Prince Regent (Blackadder) but that’s OK.
The Blackadder series was cool and lets face it, most names can be associated with other things or misread or mean something rude in another language so unless I have missed something glaring, I am going with it!
Digging That Vintage Glass
My passion for glass has grown over the years. I have always collected perfume bottles because I like their shape or cut pattern. It’s not about their financial worth. My collection consists of both old and modern styles.
We moved house recently and at the end of our garden, there was an un-developed plot of land and whilst chatting over the garden fence, I noticed broken glass and ceramic pieces lying about on the earth’s surface.
Knowing the landowner, I sought permission to dig to see if there were any more beauties beneath the surface – and only a few feet down, I started to uncover them.
After a bit of research at Richmond Library, I discovered that the land had been used as a Victorian bottle dump. That knowledge made sense of the variety and sheer number of containers I found there!
Not all bottles were complete and undamaged but I rescued what I could. I’ve dug up ink wells and perfume bottles, wine, beer, milk and even a jar which contained ‘Embrocation for Horses’.
I have a large green glass water bottle from Budapest; a beer bottle embossed with New York on the base; a milky glass Victorian night light holder (see below) and a tall Essolube container from 1950’s used for filling your car with oil.
All my finds date from between 1850-1950.
As the collection built up, I became loathed to sell or give them away so I cleaned them all, as best I could, and displayed them. Occasionally I use them as vases for flowers and bought custom sized corks so that I could fill some with bath oils.
The millinery company, Hatastic! (www.hatastic.co.uk) took 12 bottles to Milan Fashion Week 2012 to use as props to display their handmade vintage headbands. I loved the originality of that idea and decided to look into hiring them out for other events such as garden parties and vintage Weddings.
Bottles filled to capacity with flowers; draped with pearls/beads or filled with coloured water or tiny glass nuggets add extra originality to any table centre or display.
I am a Graphic Designer so could easily design and implement suggestions that you may have. I could make labels to compliment the Wedding theme using colour/custom patterns, styles or an original logo for the couple. I have made bespoke stoppers using old broken candelabras (see below) and feathers so that’s another idea to elaborate on.
Working with other Creatives like Stylists and Photographers, is part of my everyday work. I enjoy bouncing ideas around and never miss a deadline!
Have a think. Come and see what I have.