Hello decor8 readers! My name is Ishtar Olivera and I’m an illustrator and crafter from Spain. Two years ago I moved with my family to the UK and I can tell you it’s been a very exciting adventure so far! I’m so happy to live just two hours away from London. I can visit whenever I need a fresh dose of inspiration, feel like taking the kids to the museums or attend unique events like the Renegade Craft Fair!
This was the second year that the event was held in London, at The Old Truman Brewery on September 15th and 16th. I had the date reserved on my calendar as soon as I learned about it and so, off I went, early on a Sunday morning and this is what I found waiting for me, oh my!
There’s nothing that I love more than flea markets and craft fairs! Handmade crafted objects are real treasures to me. I feel happy just walking along the booths and talking to people and admiring their work. I think they even have a special energy! You can feel it as soon as you walk in.
There’s something welcoming about these events don’t you think?
I loved how spacious and luminous The Old Trueman Brewery was, and how all the booths were displayed, the bunting along the ceiling, the cheerful colors of the tables, the variety of crafts, the music playing in the background and the friendly folks at the door greeting you! See? How can you not feel welcome ; )
Oh, but where to start? So many lovely things to see! Jewelry, dolls, tea cups and pins, tea towels and prints! Here are a few of my favorite things…
First, cute pin cushion houses…
And even ice cream and hedgehog badges! These were made by the sweet illustrator Debbie Greenaway.
Embroidered words to stop by, read and laugh at made by Stephanie Tillman from What Party.
So hilarious and original!
I was surprised to find artists I have followed and admired for years like Stella Baggott from Atelier Stella. I really find her ceramics to be one of a kind. Little succulent pots, doves, clouds with raindrops and even spoons! All with their cute faces which make them irresistible!
Next was the booth of talented doll maker Lucy Brasher from The Cat in the Shoe – you could spot her whimsical creatures from afar!
Really something special, don’t you think?
And then there the Sweet Trash booth filled with wonderful quirky colors and curiosities made of recycled garments and objects.
A bit of kitsch here and there topped up with retro style marvels! Sweet!
The booth of Butterscotch and Beesting had the loveliest circus themed housewares; cushions, lampshades, teacups…
Their booth was beautifully decorated as well. It’s something I enjoy very much about these events: the creativity artists show while setting up their booths in order to make them stand out and be attractive to customers. The theme and colors they choose, different props, it was so inspiring.
Then there are booths that really don’t need to do much, because the artists’ crafts and creations stand out all by themselves. Such is the case of Jess Quinn and her rag dolls.
Jess was definitely one of my favorite artists of the fair. Her inspiration come from her childhood memories and the dolls her mum used to make.
Each doll had so much personality! The fabrics she uses are mostly vintage. They each come with fun accessories like sunglasses, scarfs, pom pom hair bands necklaces and more.
And last but not least the world of jimbobart and his hand-drawn ceramics. Bears, mice and badgers… Woodland creatures that have a special love for cakes (as he says himself ).
I very much enjoyed going through all his work!
And so, there you have it! A brief visit through London’s Renegade Craft Fair and some of my favorite artists. I left with a smile and a spoon! And hoping to come back next year. :) I hope that you enjoyed my favorite things at the Renegade Craft Fair – thank you decor8 readers for having me as your guest today!
(photographs: Ishtar Olivera)
My long time artist friend, Samantha Hahn, is a talented Brooklyn-based illustrator who did the floor plans for my upcoming book and the gorgeous illustrations on my blog (see the birds on the branch in the upper right corner on decor8? That’s wonderful Sam).
Samantha has a ton of interesting work going on in her life from art shows in which she is the star to books and products and even notebooks that sold at Anthropologie and beyond. She is even the lady behind the gorgeous Daily Candy illustrations! To say she is a pretty big rock star is an understatement. She has accomplished so much and I’m very product of her. Her most recent creative accomplishment was to produce watercolor illustrations from NY Fashion Week and she did, and they are beyond gorgeous. Working with The Cut/NY Mag, Sam went backstage and then illustrated her take on beauty and fashion from some of her favorite shows – 85 total in only a single week!
My favorite is the illo she did for J.Crew. They need to hire her to do a line or something, imagine her watercolors on t-shirts, cosmetic cases, fabric belts or scarves? Oh my goodness. Anyway… Check these out…
You may view more of her lovely work here.
When I look at these paintings, I wonder how much of a challenge it was for her to do this work and what it involved because I cannot imagine nailing details like this in such a chaotic environment that goes by at such a startling speed. Well, however you mastered it Ms. Hahn, you rocked it! Great job!
(images: samantha hahn)
I love a good story, especially when told expertly combining both words and imagery. I’m highly visual and seek to place images with words whenever possible because if I cannot see a story I cannot feel it in my heart and then there is nothing about it that I can relate to. If someone cannot write in a way that is very visual, they lose me. If a stylist cannot pull together a story or room in a way that elicits some emotion, I turn the page and their work is easily forgotten. I need to feel a story in that way, to make an emotional connection. I need a certain relatable reality to be introduced – either highly inspirational and uplifting or melancholy and dark (or something beautifully placed in between). Are you following me here?
Let me show you through a series of images that I came across just this past Monday that are from a wonderful Danish production company called VK Stock. I discovered them from my friend, Charlotte Gueniau, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. I love that each image tells a story yet all of the stories are not the same… Each vignette, room, piece of fruit is styled from the heart and in some cases, left a bit messy which really appeals to me.
I’m so ‘over’ perfect interiors that look staged but then again, I don’t recall ever being into them, I just saw so many over the course of many years in magazines, books and catalogs that I became a bit bored by matchy matchy this and perfectly perfect that. I do not wish to live in a museum and I certainly do not have the time to polish, curate, dust and organize my home in the way that it would take to live the way that most high-end designers deem the ultimate lifestyle. Give me from the heart, eclectic, rooms built over time, loads of love, a little wonky, a little wrong, something ugly but really loved, a few things that were handed down and well, that’s enough for me.
VK Stock produces editorial lifestyle, interiors, food and DIY stories for magazines and other media worldwide, each story includes text, styling and photography that are produced together as a concept, or story, and sold in to mainly magazines. These images are but a tiny glimpse into their world and are meant to point you to their website and portfolio in case you would like to learn more. It looks as though most of these shoots where created by stylist Nicoline Olsen in Copenhagen, and are simply divine!
(images: vk stock)
I am wobbly kneed yet deliriously delighted to show you a sneak peek of a very special project that I began working on earlier this year that JUST arrived in my mailbox… but first, this is what my workroom looked like for 6 months of my life…
After months of planning, traveling, writing, editing… Copies of my upcoming decorating book, Decorate Workshop, which will be available in the UK, North America and Australia/New Zealand in October/November of this year and then in late winter, in German! Woweeeee! I nearly fainted as I opened my mailbox today because it’s such a big task to do a book, you wrap up totally exhausted from it, and then you are waiting for what feels like an eternity to see it in print. Cracking it open for the first time was a real high… Would you like to see it? Here is the American version from Chronicle Books on my bookshelf…
We just finished Decorate Workshop in July so I’ve not had tooooo long of a time to wait yet it felt like forever because the anticipation that an author and team feel to see their “child” delivered is undeniably off the charts – I’ve been happy, crabby, emotional, just a whole load of hormones as I waited by my mailbox for this book to arrive. It’s like a newborn child, getting the keys to a new apartment, buying a home, bringing in that newly upholstered sofa, landing on the soil of your dream destination, seeing your blind date after weeks of wondering whether he’ll be cute (and he shows up looking delish, oh my!)… The waiting period that went into realizing the dream is a rainbow of delicious, stressful, raw, draining, magical, crazy and hope-filled emotions. You’re pretty much a crazy person from the time you start writing until the day your book releases. (Here is a shot below of Decorate and Decorate Workshop. I love how Chronicle Books designed the spines to coordinate nicely when displayed together on a shelf. They are so committed to detail.)
My hope with this second book, which I’ve decided to write in the voice of my blog decor8 and to author solo, is that you will read every single page, scribble in the margins, highlight stuff with your neon yellow marker and write in the spaces that I’ve designated throughout the book for you to jot down notes, ideas, dreams… This book is all about tapping in to your personal style and turning your ideas and inspiration into something real in just 8 steps. (Below is a shot of the UK version of the book. The US version is softcover with a different jacket but that is the only difference. The UK version is hardbound. I’m so happy that Jacqui Small put my blog address on the cover, I think that’s pretty amazing!)
Here are some spreads for you to peek at that follow. Decorate Workshop is filled with pretty photos that were shot by mostly Debi Treloar, the magical photographer and now a good friend who lives in London. Debi has shot around a million of the best looking books in the world so to work with her is always an absolute “pinch me is this really happening” moment. She is brilliant in every single way.
In Decorate Workshop, I had the pleasure of selecting the homes and styling the rooms. We shot locations in the US and in Europe. I also pulled together lots of mood boards and more creative, inspirational vignettes that my husband photographed for the book – around 30 photographs are his. As the project wrapped up, we realized we needed more images but couldn’t book Debi as she had started a new project and so my husband jumped in and took the final shots that we needed to wrap up. It feels good that he had a part in this book, it’s nice to get the family involved in a project so close to your heart but furthermore, and the really cool part is, that the cover of the book was shot by him and the image on the back of the US version is also his photo – it’s our home and I’m so proud to say that 4 rooms are in the book from our house along with a breakdown of how I planned several of them from A-Z. I thought that with my 2nd book you may like to see my home but also to learn more about how I think when I’m planning my own space so you’ll get that in Decorate Workshop.
The book design was done by the talented and patient Sarah Rock and is super colorful and pretty to flip through, there are lots to look at and to inspire. I’m really proud of my team and of this book and hope that you’ll pre-order it as it’s now being sold at a very special rate and will be shipped to all who pre-order it first before you start seeing it in stores.
It even comes with a very special gift – a French Fold book jacket that you can unfold, iron out and use as a poster – you can hang it on the wall to display. It’s an inspirational collage and is so very pretty with words, illustrated floor plans by my dear friend and rock star illustrator Samantha Hahn who did the beautiful floor plans in the book for us, and washi tape accents and pretty photos shot for this book. I just photographed it below after sticking it to the door of my cabinet so you can get a sense of scale, but it’s quite pretty and I’ve never seen this in a decorating book before so I’m hoping to start a trend because I think a book with a gift like this is very special and is what makes printed things so much nicer and more warm and fuzzy than only digital things.
This is very exciting for me to share this news and to show off a wee bit too as I’m not really trying to show off but talking about an accomplishment can certainly come across as such… But I’ve had a tough few months since I finished this book as most of you know so it feels good to be back in a good place again now that I see the book and feel like it’s a really, really good and big accomplishment. I simply wanted to share a happy moment in my life with you today so thank you so much for your love and support and for listening and looking. :)
By the way, I dedicated this book to all of you as you’ll see in the beginning near the table of contents because it’s so true – without loyal friends and fans where would an author be? Your support for Decorate, my first book that became an international bestseller and is now available in 12 languages, gave me the opportunity to write a second one so thank you for that because I truly love doing what I was meant to do for a living. It feels great to no longer be stuck in a cubicle at a corporate job as I once was before I made the leap, took a chance, started this blog and today, doing what I’ve been wanting to do since I was little. Thank you for giving me this, you guys!!!!!! And thank you to the homeowners and some of my blogger friends who are in this book too – so proud!
- Decorate Workshop – US – $15.98
- Decorate Workshop – UK – £12.50
- Decorate Workshop – Canada – CDN$20.13
Tell me, which one of the two covers do you like the most? I’m really curious!
(images: holly becker)