Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Etsy shop find...a chat with Eloise Renouf

I'm really excited to share the very beautiful work of Eloise Renouf with you today.
I'm sure you're familiar with her work, and her distinctive style, but maybe you don't know an awful lot about Eloise?
Well, I'm here to solve that problem!
Grab a cuppa and settle down for a few minutes and read all about this very talented lady...

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background...
I did a degree in Printed Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was lucky enough to be "spotted" by a studio when I exhibited at New Designers. 
So I went straight from university to a job in London working for the Timney Fowler Design Studio. 
It was very creative and I learnt an awful lot in a very short space of time about the "real world" of art and design. 
After two years there, some of my colleagues and I talked about the idea of going to New York to work. 
I loved the notion, so booked a weeks holiday, put together a portfolio and went! 
I made appointments with studios, showed them my work, and one of them offered me a job.

I lived and worked in Manhattan for a year, designing prints for fashion. 
Undoubtedly one of the best years of my life. 
This was followed by six months in Toronto, Canada, where I lived with my then boyfriend (now long-term partner) and freelanced for a New York studio. 
We decided we wanted to live back in the UK, so moved to London, where I took more freelance work before eventually deciding that I wanted to have my own business. 
At the time I was very interested in stationery and, unlike today, the ranges available weren't terribly interesting. 
So my partner and I started to design and publish our own greeting cards as Eloise R Designs. 
It took a while to get going, but at the peak of our business we were distributing cards to the US and Canada, Australia, and many European countries, as well as supplying UK stores such as John Lewis, Liberty, Heals, Fortnum and Mason and Fenwicks. 
We did this for about eight years, but eventually lost interest; the market became a lot more competitive, and a growing family was demanding too much of our time.

I took a career break for a couple of years to reassess. 
Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I opened an Etsy shop just to experiment with work, and have an audience for the things I had started to create. 
I began selling limited edition prints in November 2010. 
My work began to sell, and I was also approached by a number of companies who were interested in commissioning me to create work for them, which wasn't something I had anticipated. 
A little over four years later, I am still producing my own artwork, and also spend a good chunk of my time designing for other people. 

2. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?A new Lucienne Day book by Andrew Casey, Print and Pattern Geometrics, and there will be the latest edition of Uppercase magazine 
(once the local stockist has received it's copies!).

3. Who is your design hero and what keeps you inspired?It's rather a cliche to say it these days, but it has to be Lucienne Day. 
Her work is immensely satisfying - commercial yet edgy. 
I've yet to find an example of it that I don't like. 
What keeps me inspired is seeing so much creative work out there, and wanting to contribute! 
I draw and paint because I love it and need to do it for my happiness. 
I get grumpy if I don't have a creative outlet.

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

A typical day for me is a big juggling act as I have three young boys, and one who is still at home during the day. 
My partner and I split the childcare, so I usually have three days that are "mine" to work. Early mornings are taken up with school preparations, and then once the big boys are off, I usually start with some desk work; answering emails, doing admin, and packing orders ready for the post office. 
The rest of the morning and afternoon depends greatly on what I have on. 
It may be commission work, it may be designing for myself, it may be photographing and listing items in my shop. 
No two days are the same. 
I usually stop work at about five to have some family time, and then start again at about eight in the evening. 
A lot of my work is done at night, partly to cope with the volume, but also because it is free of interruptions!

5. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?Everything I do starts with drawings, or mark-making, or painting. 
I may have a theme in mind, for example trees, which is one of my favourites. 
I then start drawing and painting lots of different versions, using lots of different media to see what happens. 
For every few that I like, I'll reject a whole stack. 
I then scan my images and play around on my Mac. 
Sometimes a design will come together very quickly, other times I have to go away and come back. I tend to work in cycles. 
If I do a lot of computer work, I always find I crave doing some hands-on painting or collage. 
After a spell of doing that, I feel drawn back to the computer.

6. How would you describe your style?

I guess it's a mix between mid century and contemporary styles. It's usually quite colourful, and largely based on pattern and mark-making. 

7. Any big plans for 2015 that you can share with us?

I'm determined to make 2015 a year when things really happen. I have so many ideas, and intend to make this a year when at least some of them come to fruition. Larger scale art and more fabric-based products are definitely on the agenda.

8. What are your top three blogs?
If I'm honest, I don't follow a single blog(!). 
I know there are MANY fine ones out there, but I have no idea where I'd find the time to actually read any. 
The only blog I've ever really found myself dipping into over the last few years is Print and Pattern, mostly due to the kindness of Bowie Style featuring my work on it. 

9. Why do you like being an illustrator/designer? (in 10 words or less)

Because it is what I wanted to be when I grew up. 
(Sorry, that's twelve!)

10. I particularly love your lollipop trees design and also your limited edition grey birds and blue fish. 
Do you have a favourite item for sale in your shop? 
And what’s the most popular? 

Thank you! My favourite item is usually one of the most recent pieces I've created, so at the moment it is my Treetops print. I'm liking the colours. It's hard to say what the most popular is, as people buy quite broadly, but Blue Bouquet, a floral, is doing well at the moment. 

Thank you so much to Eloise for taking some time out to share a bit of her world with us.
You can keep up with her goings on here...

(all above images are copyright of eloise renouf)

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