Spring blooms for the first day of Spring!

I thought I'd attach some colourful floral illustrations to celebrate the first day of spring!
These are all watercolour interpretations. Here I have worked by building up very soft layers of paint allowing the colours to bleed together and then dropping the detail over the top once the paint has dried.

Carnations and Anemones (top) and detail (below)
Watercolours help to give the flowers a great translucency with papery thin petals - but also a great depth of colour without appearing too heavy.
Lilies and Crocus

Quality Control.... Jolly style!

A very important part of any production process is quality control.

Jolly casting a watchful eye over the hand-sanded and finished pieces and checking all is OK to proceed.

Constructing jewellery from found plates is no exception - and my trusty sidekick Jolly is always on hand to ensure the qc process is closly monitored.....
Hmmm a closer inspection of the compositions is clearly needed here.

I spend a lot of time making sure the pieces of plates are nicely finished, removing rough edges and hand sanding each individual piece. I then carefully lay out all the pieces to start to explore different compositions and arrangements......
Nope! Didn't like the look of these ones.

..... and then Jolly comes along and has other ideas!
I'll just make sure everything is messed-up so you can start the process again!

Thanks for your help Jolly!

Nicholas Building – open studios

Last night I went to the fantastic Open Studio event at The Nichols Building! The invite read ‘experience a behind the scenes look at Melbourne’s Art and Craft culture during an intimate twilight event’. And what an event it was!

The decorative entrance to the Nicholas Building with her tiled floor and stained lead-light ceiling. Stunning!

The grand building with its superb Victorian-style arcade complete with stained lead-light vaulted ceiling, opened it’s rather secretive studio doors to reveal a host of retailers, artists and designer-makers working over 8 floors.

The beautiful array of kimono fabrics and Japanese textiles at Kimono House

The creative melting-pot included amongst others; jewellers, painters, printmakers, Japanese textiles (as above) a milliner, a shoe-maker and a store totally dedicated to buttons!

One of the large shared studio spaces at the Nicholas Building

I love having a look into the lives of other creative people. A studio or the space you surround yourself with as an artistic person communicates so much about your interests, habits and creative passions. Everyone works in such different ways – in chaos, clinical order or with specific colours and inspirations – and it’s quite revealing and honest to open up a creative space to the public. I would imagine it can be quite daunting to some people – even putting yourself on display as the face behind the work. I think this is perhaps where the fascination is for many people, to see the inner often private workings of an artist or designer revealed.

I love the bird stencil found on one of the tiled interior hallway walls

What a great opportunity it was last night to meet friends and get a sneak-peek into the creative-studios of so many diverse talented artistic people. I can’t wait to go again next year!.....
For more information on the history of the Nicholas Building you can visit the Nicholas Building Arts News blog here
And also you can visit the Nicholas Building blog here

View from Tim Flemings FLATLAND OK studio on level 7 overlooking flinders street station.

Welcome to my studio

I thought I'd give a little insight into my studio space where most of my work is created. I have transformed a spare room into the studio - it's great having a dedicated room to work in, especially now I have left my design job and I am working from home full-time.
Most of the furniture and bits and pieces are second-hand and salvage yard finds. The large desk (top left) is an ex-design studio desk from a salvage yard - so it is perect for storing paper and artwork on the shelf underneath (It is actually rather large and was a feat of engineering to get it in the house and in the room!) The smaller desk at the front is also a second-hand purchase - I bought it off a shop when they were renovating and it's a perfect size for working on the computer. You can also see my stack of second-hand plates waiting to be transformed into something new.
The metal trolley on wheels (above left) was picked up at a building reclamation yard and the shelving is ideal for housing paper, envelopes and all sorts of bits and pieces that find their way into this room.
The old message board (above right) which I use for my collection of flyers and brochures was from the same reclamation yard - it actually belonged in the guys office and he didn't use it - I think he thought I was mad when I said I wanted to buy it!!

One of my walls is a giant pin-up board, where I stick up magazine tears, artwork and anything that inspires me. It's great having a constant reminder of things I want to do and seeing amazing clever people and their work.

"Thank You"....

I wanted to say a very big THANK YOU to the lovely Lucy over at The Design Files for including a post about me and my work yesterday.
I was very honoured to be included on the blog (it is one of my very-best favourites) and thanks for those who commented or popped over here for a look. It's nice to know there are people 'out there'! :-)
You can see the blog post with my work here: http://www.thedesignfiles.net/2009/08/lucy-king.html
I'm sure you all know of The Design Files - but do make sure you check it out as there is a wonderful selection of creative designers, spaces and events for a daily dose of inspiration.
Visit: http://www.thedesignfiles.net/
Thanks Lucy!

Cute kids designs

For ages all the work I was commissioned to produce was hand-painted florals and more adult-based designs. I have had the opportunity recently to work on some childrens designs, and I have really enjoyed designing for this younger market.

Creating children's designs allows for a little more creative expression - quirky hand-sketched motifs, filling images with colourful patterns and imperfect drawings make good design features!

With these designs I have used a combination of hand-drawn or painted motifs, followed by CAD to create the layout, add pattern fills, explore colour and put into a full repeat.

Me Old China - custom art

Recently I was contacted by a very lovely lady and commissioned to create a piece of art based on the recycled ceramic plate pendants I make.

She loved all of the different colours and patterns of the plates used in the jewellery items, and wanted a piece of art to frame capturing segments of the plates.

It was a great brief to work on and I was able to source a variety of found plates to create the finished piece of art (picture above). What a great excuse to go shopping in flea-markets and second-hand shops!

This detail shows some of the plates used in the piece - including retro plates by Ridgway, Royal Doulton and British Anchor, and also a vintage Mason's plate. The end result is a fabulous montage of pattern and colour - and who would have thought these were all once plates that were discarded and just left to gather dust.

This is the finished piece framed and hung on a very fitting coloured wall.

Children's book illustrations - Kate Greenaway

I have recently become interested in children’s illustrations and designs and have started to source and collect children’s books during my second-hand shopping jaunts. In particular I am drawn to older books featuring hand-drawn illustrations, and am much inspired by the original drawn imagery and styles.

I found this Kate Greenaway book recently and it instantly transported me back to my childhood. As a child I loved pouring over the pages of my Kate Greenaway book – I loved the illustrations and I was fascinated by how the little girls were dressed in their old-fashioned pinafore dresses and bonnets.

Marigold Garden - pictures and rhymes by kate Greenaway. First published in 1885.

Kate Greenaway was born in England in 1846 and became very successful writing rhymes and illustrating books for children. Her watercolour illustrations depict young children playing – often featuring gardens and floral posies as a recurring theme, and show life for children in the Victorian era (possibly reflecting her own idyllic childhood).

Left - 'Tip-A-Toe' Right - 'Mamas And Babies'

The children featured in her illustrations are always dressed in quaint clothing of yesteryear. She dressed children in her own versions of late 18th Century Empire fashions – and apparently Liberty’s of London adapted Kate Greenaway’s drawings and used them as designs for actual children’s clothes!

Left - 'When We Go Out With Grandma' Right - 'The Dancing Family'

Kate Greenaway died in 1901 aged only 55, but left a legacy of much loved and beautifully illustrated rhymes and poems for children (and adults!) to enjoy.

Left - 'The tea Party' Right - 'Under Rose Arches'

Making jewellery from recycled plates

My other work I am currently involved in is making jewellery out of second-hand and vintage plates! It sounds crazy I know.....
My background is as a surface-pattern designer for ceramic tableware (I used to design for Wedgwood) so over the years I have developed a love and fascination for all sorts of decorative patterned vintage china and 'kitchenalia'. With a magpie’s eye I am always rummaging through second-hand shops, salvage yards and antique shops for my next find - and this is where I generally find the plates to be transformed into jewellery.

Double 'Willow' featuring birds - SOLD

I carefully select the pre-loved plates for interesting composition and colour arrangements to transform into the jewellery pieces. The shapes and patterns are dictated by the plates themselves, with the finished pieces being a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beauty of the old plates and patterns.

Vintage Rose - SOLD

I like the idea of revitalising what many people would see as mundane discarded plate, and giving it a new lease of life by recycling it into new creations.

Vintage floral - SOLD


As you can see from my 'about me' I am originally from sunny Blighty, but now reside in Melbourne, Australia. I am an illustrator, a designer of textiles and ceramic tableware, jewellery maker (more on that another time!).....oh and I love collecting all-sorts of things! All of this keeps me pretty busy and I thought I'd use this blog as a way of sharing some of the things I make and collect...

My trusty travel paint-box
I'm starting with a few examples of my illustrations.... these are taken from my website and essentially show my love of painting in watercolours and inks. I love working in a quick washy-style - building up layers of colour and capturing the essence of the subject with a few quick flicks of the brush (although it can be surprisingly hard to create something that sounds very simple!)

Watercolour florals (Copyright Lucy King Design)

Cup-cakes (Copyright Lucy King Design)

Cup-cake detail (Copyright Lucy King Design)

The cup-cakes were commissioned for a range of tableware and servingware....and yes I did get to eat props!

A mix of printed and painted designs and patterns (Copyright Lucy King Design)

Making a start

Making a start is always the hardest part..... I have been wondering how or where to start this blog - and have decided perhaps the easiest way is with the artwork created for the blog itself!

This is the finished artwork. I often paint at my kitchen table - it is a great 1950's-ish table (just look at the fantastic surface pattern!) I have lots of natural light flooding in through the kitchen window and the table offers a great height for painting (it also helps enormously that I am inches away from the kettle and tea-bags!)

The artwork was painted in a quick washy style using black quink ink, and then bleaching back into the ink to create the subtle detail. I love the fluidity of painting with ink, especially the movement you get as the colour bleeds into the watery surface. There is something I like about the loss of control - and how the image slowly transforms whilst the ink continues to move and bleed until dried.

I also like working with black quink ink because unlike the name suggests there is actually a surprising amount of colour in it when allowed to bleed out - look at the above detail and along with the delicate washes of grey you can also see blues and orangy-yellows emerging.