Scheltens Abbenes

We love these wonderful pieces from Amsterdam-based still life photographer Maurice Scheltens and visual artist/stylist Liesbeth Abbenes. The couple began a professional collaboration after working closely on a variety of projects.

Using their overlapping fields of expertise Scheltens & Abbenes have produced commissioned pieces for a variety of clients including Nike, Hermes, Viktor & Rolf and Wallpaper Magazine.

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Colour Pop #Pantone 805 C

Yes it’s ridiculously geeky but good grief I love Pantone 805 C! Can I get a witness?! We were all slightly obsessed with it when I was doing my MA at Central St Martins… so here are a few examples of this most punchy of hues. I think we all loved the fact it was neither orange, nor red and just that little bit fluoro – so added a contemporary edge to anything it was put on.

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Howkapow’s Spring 2014 Photo Shoot

We had loads of new products in our Spring Collection so our shoot for that season was pretty diverse! We kicked off with a Valentines Day scroller we wanted to create (see above) inspired by the excellent blog, Things Organised Neatly. We wanted to showcase some of the products in our Valentines Category which we had made especially for Vee Day – and with a tall ladder, some strong lighting and many pairs of extra hands we were able to create something we were really proud of…

We followed with a shoot the week after showcasing a new range of Dotty ceramics by Fenella Smith (see below). We wanted to pick up on the flashes of colour on the ceramics, but also the creamy white of the material itself so kept the shoot white with splashes of colour making up the shadows of the milk jugs and slim jugs.

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Our new range of Japanese Furoshiki Scarves in Blue and Red (see below) were great fun to shoot! We learnt how to make origami boats (with a little help from some online YouTube tutorials!) and arranged the scarves to look like rippling waves in the sea. We liked how origami tied in with the Japanese origin of the scarves themselves, and the idea of using the scarves as something different to what they are commonly used for – a concept central to the idea of Furoshiki, which is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used for a diverse variety things – from gift wrapping, to carrying groceries and as wall art or clothing.

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Our next shoot featured Aussie designer Emily Green’s hand-made polymer clay earrings (see below). The art direction and shoot sort-of happened by accident – when Emily’s jewellery arrived beautifully packaged all the way from Melbourne, we poured them out onto the packing and sorting table and were struck by how all the colours somehow worked together really well – with the little shimmers of hand-applied mica (a mineral) tying everything in. It was then just a question of shooting them and adding some copy and boom!

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The week after we wanted to feature our range of hand-blown ‘Bubble Glasses‘ from Amsterdam (see below). They are so colourful and wonky they look like sweets! Each one is unique. Again we wanted to keep things simple and so felt the best way to showcase them was by stacking them – press play on the first video below to see them in all their stackable glory!

We applied the same concept to our Square Bears shoot – featuring a selection of Bear Cushions from Bristol-based illustrator and designer, Paul Farrell. They are strong and stylised and so we thought they’d look good in a video too. Siobhan and our intern, Hannah, had a play around and again we thought the results were pretty fun!

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Dorset Cereals Tea Towel Giveaway!

We’ve teamed up with one of our favourite breakfast brands – Dorset Cereals – and given them a stack of our Great British Roast Tea Towels (designed exclusively for us by Stuart Gardiner) to giveaway.

The competition runs until the 30th April 2014 so get spinning and you could be in with a chance to win! Enter the competition here.

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Stuart Gardiner

“My radio alarm goes off at 7am (BBC 6Music), and I stumble out of bed in search of caffeine. It’s espresso for me, and tea for my wife, Sam. I’ll check in on our 2.5 year old daughter and if she’s awake, she’ll come downstairs and ‘help’ me with said task, offering words of wisdom. If not I’ll leave her be, make the drinks and then get showered and dressed.

“I get to work for 8am. My studio is just 3 minutes from home, so I’ll walk or hop on my skateboard if weather permits. The council have just resurfaced all the roads locally, so they’re very skate-friendly. I spent most of my formative years on a skateboard, and this is the only chance I get now. I’m past being able to do any tricks – last time I tried my board ended up under a car and I was mocked by some van men!

“When I get to my studio I choose some music to put on, a decision which can take an age. I then eat breakfast whilst checking emails and looking at the web. Breakfast consists of muesli and more coffee. My Guzzini espresso machine has just packed in, so I’ve got an Aeropress as a replacement, which I swapped for some coffee tea towels. I’ll then sort any urgent orders ready for the courier to pick up at lunchtime.

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Seasonal Garden Flowers Tea Towel (£10)

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Seasonal Wild Food Tea Towel (£10)

“Ideally a perfect day would consist of me designing all morning when I’m at my most productive, ignoring calls or emails with the aim of  responding to them later in the day. In reality I’m constantly interrupted by the usual day- to-day mundanity of running a business. Packing orders, book-keeping, bill chasing are all the chores that I hope to be able to pass on to someone else soon.

“If I’ve had a day where I’ve made progress on a new design or project, then I’ll feel content. If it’s been a day of frustration with aforementioned business durge, then I’ll need to go for a run. My time actually designing is probably about a quarter of my day if I’m lucky. I often come back to the studio in the evening if I have any pressing design work to do, as there’ll be no interruptions after 7.30pm.

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Sustainable Seafood Tea Towel (£10)

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Seasonal Fruit & Vegetable Tea Towel (£10)

“Lunch involves going home (in 3 mins) to see wife and child, and usually consists of a sandwich and some fruit.On the days that Sam & I work together we occasionally treat ourselves to a pub lunch in one of the local pubs. I’m very lucky to see so much of my daughter while she’s so young. If I was still working for a design agency in town, I would hardly see her at all in the week.

“I work until 6.00 then commute home, getting back around 6.03pm. I then hang out with my daughter, usually having to watch Cbeebies until her bath time. I then get her ready for bed and read her a story.  Depending on her form, this may an hour of fun and laughter, or one of tears and tantrums. There’s a reason why they’re called the terrible twos.

“After that I’ll either go for a run, go back to work, or have a beer and eat some food. There was a time when I had musical hobbies, but running a business and having a daughter has sapped away any time for such frivolities! Sam or I might make an effort and cook something interesting, ortherwise we’ll have something simple, like pasta. We’re generally eat pretty healthily..

“If we’re in the midst of a decent TV series, and depending on fatigue levels bed-time can be as late as 11.30 (so rock ‘n roll). One of us will usually venture out one evening in the week, while the other babysits. A night out together is a rare treat.”

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The Tea Towel & The Coffee Towel & Save Our Bees Tea Towel (£10)

Stuart Gardiner Design is a brand & studio creating homeware products from East London. The studio prides itself on keeping production UK-based and commits to minimising environmental impact by using organically produced materials wherever possible.

Stuart graduated from Falmouth College of Arts with a degree in Graphic Information Design, and went on to work as a designer and art director within the music industry. After 10 years as an employee he decided to go it alone and start up his own studio. Inspired by his information design education he applied an ‘infographic’ to a tea towel and the brand was born.  The first product launched in 2009 – the ‘Seasonal Guide to British Fruit & Vegetables’ tea towel. A unique style soon emerged celebrating the power of knowledge with the occasional indulgence of humour. The collection continues to grow and stockists now include landmark stores, galleries, boutiques and various independents across the UK.

After 3 years flying solo, Stuart has now been joined by a new Co-Director – Sam Gardiner – formerly Design Manager for home ware at Laura Ashley. Sam just so happens to be Stuart’s wife.

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Classic Cocktails Tea Towel (£10)

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Red Wine Pairing Tea Towel (£10)

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White Wine Pairing Tea Towel (£10)

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Great British Roast Tea Towel £10 (designed exclusively for Howkapow by Stuart)

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Some new Wine & Beer Tea Towels Stuart is launching in 2014 – find Beers Of The World Tea Towel (£10) here.

Howkapow’s Winter 2013 Art Direction & Photo Shoot

We worked with photographer Luke Albert on our Winter 2013 shoot where we wanted to showcase some of the products we thought would be popular over Christmas. We fell in love with our Pantone Coffee Makers as soon as we saw them at a design fair in London – we love coffee, colour and anything geekily graphic design-orientated like Pantone meant they ticked a lot of boxes! We came up with the idea of hanging them to give them a sense of scale to each other, and Luke suspended them beautifully, taking some great shots. We tweaked the ‘coffee’ flowing from them to fit with our brand colours and then added some ‘snowflakes’ to them in Photoshop to give them a more Christmassy feel.

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Howkapow co-founder, Creative Director (and my wife!) Cat How, also tried her hand at designing a range of birchwood trays for Christmas. They are all hand-made in Sweden from sustainably sourced birch and were based around a confectionary or sweet / candy theme and so have names like Pick & Pop Tray, Sherbert Fizz Tray, Sugar Shoelace Tray and Jelly Bon Bon Tray. The latter was featured in The Guardian Christmas Gift Guide and proved a great success. Cat was very happy! In the shoot we wanted to keep it simple as the trays already had a lot of colour and detail so it was just a question of choosing some nice pastels and getting some height on them to add interest.

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Last but not least we wanted to showcase a scarf designed exclusively for us by Scottish designer Karen Mabon. Cat and Karen came up with the idea of Cocktails as a theme for the scarf – channeling Tom Cruise and some 1980s classics. The design was printed on a gold background and featured margaritas, lemon slices, bananas, pineapples and cocktail umbrellas. Luke cleverly constructed a Gin bottle out of paper and got the scarf to ‘pour’ out from it and we put ‘Howkapow, established 2010’ (the year we opened) just for giggles. We were really happy with the results!

WIN £100 to spend at Howkapow in our Easter Egg Hunt!

Happy Easter holidays and long weekend everyone! We’re planning some epic egg hunts of the chocolate variety at home with our families over the next few days; but this year we’ve decided to share another Easter egg hunt competition with all of you… on our colourful shop Howkapow!

We’ve hidden a little blue egg on one of our products on the shop – all you have to do is find it and you could WIN £100 to spend on anything you like on Howkapow!

Simply email the location of the egg to competitions@howkapow.com and you’ll be put in the draw to win the cash prize. Simple! The egg is already hidden and the hunt has started; entries close on Monday April 21st at midnight. Happy hunting and enjoy your weekend!

My Bookmark…

I love the fun work of Ukrainian artist Olena Mysnyk. She claims to make “the craziest bookmarks in the world!” and I might have to agree with her.

Based in Kyiv she hand-makes her one-off book marks from polymer clay, acrylic paint and metal and her off-kilter designs are inspired by pop culture, cinema, burlesque, fashion (check out her Alexander McQueen Lady Gaga blue glitter shoe version!) … even Star Wars.

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My particular favourites are her Wizard of Oz inspired Wicked Witch Bookmark – complete with red slippers (see above); as well as her C-3PO Robot Leg Bookmark, Blue Rainboot Bookmark and Sexy Legs Bookmark – with some super glam gold high heels and red knickers to boot. Ooo err! Reading just got a bit more fun!

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Howkapow’s Autumn 2013 Art Direction & Photo Shoot

For our Autumn shoot we wanted to showcase a load of new ceramics: Fenella Smith’s Fox and Labrador jugs, Esther Horncher’s risqué teapotcups and bowl set and our blinging gold mugs from Holland! Photographer Luke Albert took these pictures for us following our art direction, and after some brainstorming and back-and-forths with Luke, we came up with these…

In the cover photo above, we wanted to get an English country garden feel to go with the more traditional cream jugs by Fenella Smith, but still keeping true to playful Howkapowness! Luke made some cool paper cuts to achieve this and we changed the background blue to our favourite Howkapow blue to reinforce our brand values.

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In this shot (above) featuring all of Esther Horner’s Bathing Girls Ceramics that we stock, Luke did some fun line drawing in the background and Cat added some fills in our Howkapow colours of soft grey, cherry red and sky blue. We wanted to reinforce the outlines of the girls with the outline of the crockery in the background.

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Our Gold Mug shot was all about sparkle and glitz. Luke sourced some glitter confetti and did some snazzy things in Photoshop with a selection of our Gold Mugs. We wanted to reinforce the shine, glamour and frivolity of them and were very happy with the results!

Sabine Timm

“German artist and illustrator Sabine Timm is based in her studio in Dusseldorf, home of the Academy of Fine Arts where she completed her degree. Her work – which has been exhibited across Europe and in Tokyo – reinvents the vintage and found objects that she discovers on her strolls along the beach.

The strength of every inanimate object – from its size, colour and texture – is personified and played on to form narratives between them through witty compositions of combs, beads, plates, teapots… anything that can provide a spark of character.

Timm’s scenes capture objects in humorous moments as though caught on film. These objects live in a vibrant world of their own – sometimes they seem lost in conversation; other times about to burst into life, opening their mouths to speak.

‘Combersation’ (pictured above) is a perfect example of this where each of the combs is engaged in conversation with each other with the sideways glance of the blue comb looking at you. There is something to be said for feeling the need to apologise to a comb for interrupting his conversation! Buy the Combersation Print here.”

Hannah Makepeace is currently studying Illustration at the Cardiff School of Art & Design. She interned with Howkapow in March 2014 as part of her degree. Browse Hannah’s portfolio here.

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