Wednesday 28 May 2014

Etsy shop find... a chat with Ellen Giggenbach!

I'm very excited to share this with you today... a designer whose work and career I've followed for many years and absolutely love! 
 Ellen Giggenbach is this months etsy shop owner and I'm sure you're all familiar with her work. She creates the most beautiful hand crafted paper cut artwork in the most stunning of happy colour palettes, so read on and enjoy getting to know her a little better.

Here goes...
Get that cuppa!

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background... 

Although I am originally from Germany, I have been blessed to live in New Zealand most of my life. I grew up in an environment that was very crafty, my Mum and Dad loved to wood work, sew and paint. There was a definite European folk art influence in our home. My sister and I loved to sew our own clothes too, our creations stood out as we where sent the latest "Burda" sewing patterns from Germany and at that time New Zealand was still somewhat behind when it came to fashion!
During my teens, my father, who was a volcanologist was invited to work for the United Nations in Vienna for 3 years. it was there that I began my studies in graphic design. On returning back to New Zealand I completed a 3 year Graphic Design course and was awarded a Diploma with Distinction.
I worked for one year as a graphic designer at an advertising agency but preferred the freedom and limitless possibilities that come from being self employed. After several years freelancing for ad agencies I formed my own clothing business which I ran successfully with my husband for some years. I down sized my career while my children where very young, and for the last few years I have steadily built up my business, thanks to the wonders of the internet.

2. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?
 I am very visual so rather than words, I love to look at images in my favourite interior magazines such as Elle Decoration, Inside Out Magazine and Living Etc.  

3. Do you have a particular design hero/heroes, and what inspires you to create your art?

I remember at school, we where given an art assignment, whereby we had to study a famous artist, it was then that I discovered Matisse and his wonderful paper cuts, I never looked back!
Now a days, my love of mid century design and illustration feeds my creativity. I really like the way it doesn't take itself so seriously! 

4. Tell us about a typical day for you...

Being self employed and a mum, I have to compartmentalise my day.
As soon as the kids have left for school I wizz about and do my house work chores,
I also go walking on the beach or in the bush most mornings with girl friends.
I then spend an hour or so on the computer answering emails etc. I then work on my paper cuts till 4 pm when the kids return,
The rest of the day is spent being a mum again!

5. Your beautiful art works are created by hand cutting painted papers and then assembled...can you give us an insight into this creative process?

I regularly spend a day painting sheet after sheet of paper in an endless variety of colour shades.
I keep adding paint to the pot each time changing the colour slightly, finally ending up with sludgy brown, that's when I stop! (don't get me wrong, dull colours look great next to bright!)
I then cut out simple shapes using a scalpel, I assemble these , glue them down and finally scan them in to my computer where I add detail.

6. What is your favourite item for sale in your etsy shop? And your most popular item?

My favourite item is probably my hot air balloon, it took quite a while to figure out! However my most popular item is my pretty heart paper craft featuring 2 little love birds.

7. What are your top three blogs?

Print & Pattern, to see what others are up to,
Bloesem, for its fresh, clean European style
The Design files, an Australian blog featuring quirky interiors.

8. What art do you have on your walls?

I have to admit it's mainly my own work. We have a 1950's house so my style fits well. I can also change the art regularly. Sometimes it helps to see it on the wall, not just on the screen!

9. Some of your pieces use elements of vintage fabrics..and in your styling shots you use an array of beautiful ceramic you have a love of vintage generally, and a particular period?

Hunting through second hand shops is one of my favourite past times, I'm finding it harder and harder to find mid century treasures, which is probably a good thing, as our house is filling up fast!

10. Complete the following sentence...
    'My happy place is...'around the dinner table with my 2 boys and husband, they are growing up so fast, who knows how longer we will share this treasured time together......... 

11. Whats next for you? Any exciting plans you can share with us?

I am always contemplating going down the retail path, I opened a one week pop up shop last week, it was so successful that I am planning another one later in the year. I will add bags to the range this time.

You can follow Ellen here...

(all of the images used in this post are taken from Ellens etsy shop and all copyright belongs to Ellen Giggenbach)

Thank you Ellen for taking some time out to be part of the etsy interviews!

x x x
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