OC&K Curates – Spring Time

Fresh green leaves and spring bulbs are starting to appear around us. The days are lengthening and blue skies shine above. Spring is such a lovely time of year and what with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday 22 March there are plenty of reasons to bring a spring feel into your home, or give a gift with some springtime inspiration.

Spring is the time of year colour returns to our life. Slowly at first with gentle pastel tones, until the riot of hot summer takes over. It’s fresh and has a hint of warmth that banishes the memory of cold frosty mornings. Flowers begin to poke their heads out of the earth and there is an energy in nature. Freya Cumming’s work speaks of spring; her eye for gentle colour complimenting the season. This screen print titled Village Politics with its ‘best in bloom’ is finished with gold and silver leaf and is a great way of adding a bit of bright country style to any room.

Village Politics by Freya Cumming – £250

Polka dots still seem to be a firm fashion favourite and could be seen in the spring collections of some of the most well know fashion designers like Dries Van Noten’s collaboration with Christian Lacroix and Carolina Herrera. Your favourite spotty outfit needs a spotty accessory. These Form Circle Earrings from Tom Pigeon in Blush add a cool edition of colour to your outfit. A combination of Formica and brass they are perfect for any time of day or night.

Form Circle Earrings in Blush by Tom Pigeon – £30

You can’t have spring without fresh leaves appearing on the trees. This clock features a hanging willow branch pattern, evoking the dappled shade of sitting under a tree. Made from laser-cut, powder-coated steel, it features a quiet quartz mechanism and stamped aluminium hands. A minimal yet stylish way to celebrate nature.

Grass Green Willow Clock by Max Cairns – £100

Speaking of leaves, these leaf bookmarks by Another Studio just had to be included. They make the perfect little gift for a plant lover and feature the leaves of Maranta Leuconeuraia, Peperomia Argyreia, Caladium Bicolour and the Begonia Maculata. Celebrate the season of growth.

Leaf Bookmark Set – Steel by Another Studio – £9.50

It’s the time of year we start thinking about our gardens, (or any little space we may have set aside for growing things). If you are conscious of all the plastic used in the garden then this is the perfect way to go. Giving you the ability to produce recyclable and biodegradable newspaper pots for starting seedlings. These pots can be planted straight into the ground minimising damage to the roots of young plants. To read more about how they are made check out our ‘How to make Paper Pots using the Paper Pot Press’ Blog Post.

Paper Pot Press by Creamore Mill – £12.50

Spring colours are alive in this fun combination of Collage Studs from Wolf & Moon. This set of four mix and match earrings combine brass, painted wood, acrylic and mother of pearl. A versatile set in shades of green offset with some sparkle that will add spring vibes to any outfit.

Collage Studs by Wolf & Moon – £38

I had to end with this fun screen print by Tiff Howick of a yellow duck. Tiff Howick captures its fluffy feathery body with an expressive use of marks. Bold and bright in strong yellow colours, this is the perfect print to waddle into your home. A little duckling is an iconic image of spring and makes you think of new life.

Yellow Duck by Tiff Howick – £40

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Q&A with Tiff Howick

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition will be with Tiff Howick. It will run from Thursday February 4th, with an opening preview on Wednesday February 3rd from 6:30-9pm.

Tiff’s artwork features striking portraits of animals, focusing on dogs and British wildlife. They are done with a loose, expressive style in black ink, printed over a strong colour on crisp white paper.

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What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
It is very hard to choose, I would say overall it’s a paintbrush, I really enjoy experimenting with brushmarks to create different textures.  

Your art features striking portraits of animals. Have you always been drawn to animals?
I have, I grew up with pets – Jack Russells, rabbits and guinea pigs. I also spent my summer holidays in Norway where there were sheep grazing in the forests and we’d see squirrels, deer and elk.  

Your animals are very expressive, like they each have their own personality. Is that something that evolves as each animal is drawn?
Mostly the expression is intentional, I’ll have a reference image with an animal in a pose that I think represents a particular behaviour or emotion such as the spirited French Bulldog or the thoughtful Greyhound.  Sometimes the expressions evolve and either reflect the mood I’m in when I’m drawing or I make subtle changes to the eyes to create an overall feeling that works for the drawing. 

Reading the expressions in my screen prints is subjective, people commenting on my work have seen a variety of different emotions. 

Your art is inspired by your Scandinavian heritage, vintage children’s illustrations, and contemporary fashion illustration. On the surface these styles are quite different, what is it within them that you think draws them all together so successfully?
Over time I have incorporated in to my work the elements of each style that I most admire.  Limited colour palettes from Scandinavian design and the creation of striking images with just one or two colours.  The bold colours are from Scandinavia and my childhood picture books, two of my all-time favourite illustrators are Carl Larsson and Richard Scarry.  The loose, textured brush marks and sketchy lines are inspired by fashion illustration, I am a huge fan of David Downton’s work. 

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One of your most popular prints has been the Yellow Hare, which features a bright splash of yellow. Some of your prints feature colours that are not traditionally associated with the animal depicted. Do you feel that the colour can change the mood of the animal?
I’ve used bright primary colours to represent extreme versions of the animal’s natural colour, using one vibrant colour to simplify the final image. This sometimes ties in with the mood of the piece, the bright red fox staring assertively over it’s shoulder.  The hare is resting but alert, the bright yellow also representing a hot day in a cornfield.  

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How long have you been printing?
I first printed a long time ago on an art foundation course.  I rediscovered screenprinting fairly recently and have been using it to create most of my work for just over three years. Tiff-Howick-screenprinting-work-images

What is your favourite takeaway?
Since starting to work for myself I’ve researched and read a lot about how to make it work.  I would say the best advice, and the hardest for me to stick to, is to focus. Being creative my head is always full of new ideas, there are so many things I want to do and experiment with.  To make a living out of work that I really enjoy I’ve had to pick one idea and work really hard to make my screenprints as good as they can be. 

Or if you mean food it would have to be Indian :o) 

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