Meet the Maker - Gemma Hampton

Friday, May 08, 2015
We are looking forward to another fun filled weekend at Bristol 2015 Lab - we hope to see you there! We'll be looking at different ways to up-cycle furniture with lots of demonstrations plus free kids workshops all weekend. If you are seeking affordable and sustainable ways to give your home a fresh look for Spring come along to find out how to transform tired furniture with chalk paint (no sanding needed) with Angela from Harper & Harper.
Meanwhile over in Lab Shop we have had the joyful opportunity to once again work with Gemma Hampton (she is a Paper Scissors Stone veteran) who designs a unique range of stationary right here in Bristol. We caught up Gemma to find out more....
Firstly please can you introduce yourself…
Hello! I’m Gemma Hampton, an illustrator based in Bristol. I design a range of stationery as Gemimalou and offer a vibrant range of paper goods. All items are designed in my home studio and printed using environmentally responsible printers.
How would you describe your creative process?
My playful designs explore the use of colour and negative space. Illustrations are often created using multiple methods. I enjoy combining the traditional with the contemporary; drawing, experimenting in watercolour and working digitally.
Where do you find inspiration?
Spending time in nature, gardening and growing my own produce are hugely important to me and have a great influence on my artwork. In recent years I have begun foraging and learning more about wild food. Bristol is a a wonderfully inspiring city with an abundance of green space, a great place to discover all sorts of tasty treats
Apart from being a creative whizz what do you do?
Aside from drawing and painting I have ventured into the world of preserving, wine making and home brewing. I find it very satisfying turning foraged produce into jams, chutneys and wines. Although it doesn’t always turn out quite as planned!

Describe your studio or workspace?
I work from my home studio, which is a desk in the corner of my lounge next to a nice bright window. I tend to do most of my admin and designing here and will occasionally move to the larger dining table for packaging up stock and working on bigger pieces of design. I am fond of simplicity and like to keep the workspace fairly minimal with a few of my beloved house plants dotted around. 
What do you find challenging & rewarding about working from home?
Working from home gives me flexibility and freedom which is great. My partner also works from home so we keep each other company but have our own separate workspaces. It’s a good set up as we are able to occasionally work from cafes and go out for walks together. Sometimes I do find myself getting distracted by household chores but am getting used to managing my time better.
Which Bristol green space are you currently enjoying?
I particularly love taking a long stroll or cycle along the Bristol to Bath railway path, especially in the summer months when the hedgerows are heavily laden with fruits.
Which neighbourhood do you call home?
Easton is currently my home. It’s a really vibrant area with some fantastic independent shops, cafes and restaurants. I am lucky to live near two beautiful parks - St George and Eastville - which I regularly visit.
How do you try to make greener, sustainable choices in your work?
I use an environmentally responsible printing company and designs are printed onto FSC certified paper stocks.

You can find Gemma's work, in our new shop, Lab Shop, part of the Bristol 2015 Lab. You can find the European Green Capital Lab on Bristol's historic Harbourside. Enjoy!

Lab Shop
10 - 6 
Everyday in the school holidays 
Fri - Sun in term time

Read More »
Blogger Tricks

Meet the Maker- Katharina Nyilas

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
From painting, to drawing, to printmaking; there's no limit to Drawn in Bristol's Katharina Nyilas' artistic abilities! Here, Kati gives us an insight into how she works and what inspires her.

Firstly please can you introduce yourself…. 
Hi, I am Kati and I work in Bristol as a freelance illustrator. I also sell my own handmade products in local shops, like Made in Bristol's Lab Shop, as well as pass on creative skills in the form of workshops to people of all age groups. I mainly create detailed and intricate drawings, mainly inspired by environmental concerns. I utilise traditional techniques such as painting, drawing and printmaking. 
How would you describe your creative process?
All my work stems from an idea. This may be a message I want to convey or a piece of research I have carried out on a certain topic. I love researching and learning new things so I do spend a lot of time getting to know my subject first. After I know what I want to create I will sketch out the image so that I know that I can translate what is in my head into a meaningful composition. I will then either work up my image in pencils, paint or a black and white positive for screen-printing. I tend to spend a lot of time on the final outcome as my work in very intricate and I really love to get stuck into the detail. Although all my work is produced by hand I do scan in my image into Photoshop. I do this so that the image has a clean background and the colours stand out to their best advantage. The artwork is then ready for printing!
Where do you find inspiration?
Issues relating to the natural environment, nature and urban wildlife mainly inspire my artwork. Bristol as an urban setting has inspired artwork around urban wildlife and how animals thrive and adapt to the changing environment. This has also inspired the materials I have used including reclaimed wood and billboard paper littering the ground. 

Have you any exciting plans for 2015?
I very much want to grow my product range to sell ethical and handmade products on a larger scale. I also want to carry on developing my workshops to reach more of the community.
Describe your studio or workspace?
I rent a small studio space within co-exist in Stokes Croft, alongside other members of the Drawn in Bristol illustration collective. In my studio space is a drawing table facing the window. Behind me is a heavy duty shelf which is home to frames of all shapes and sizes and storage boxes filled with art materials, products and workshop tools. It is certainly more functional than pretty but I find it so useful to have a space away from home to store my tools and equipment. I find it inspiring working in a space along side other creative people and it helps me to manage my work life and home life balance.
What graces the walls of your workspace?
In my studio space I have a small shelf that I use to keep all my pens, pencils, paint brushes and tubes of paint organised. If I am working on a something that involves more than one piece of paper I blue tack some of my work up on the wall to see my progression in the project.
Which neighbourhood do you call home & why do you enjoy about living there?
I live in the Redland neighbourhood. As I walk everywhere it is lovely to live in such a pretty area. There are so many beautiful buildings and gardens with wildlife to spot in them. The smell of the flowers in the early evening in late spring is beautiful. I also particularly enjoy living there as I get the best of two areas, one being the area around Whiteladies Road and the other being Stokes Croft where I work everyday. 
If you could change one thing for the better in they city what would it be?
I love the city but there is one thing that could greatly be improved. Many places I go seem to have litter strewn at the sides of the streets. It highlights the careless attitude people have for their environment. Litter and pollution is a big issue in the city and does create problems. Some of the problems relate to how animals are thriving in the city, some which are thriving too well and are labelled as pests, whilst others suffer by getting trapped and hurt by it. It is one and the same issue relating how people dispose of rubbish. I think if people were educated on the negative effects it can have people would start to take more pride in their immediate environment. 
How do you try to make greener choices in your work?
I try to use only environmentally aware materials, such as FSC and recycled paper and biodegradable plastic packaging. I also use reclaimed materials and found papers within my work. Although I am using environmentally aware materials I am aware that everything needs to be reviewed, such as other companies I work with to produce my work and how far they are based. I am looking into using up all the materials I currently have and slowly replacing them with more environmentally friendly ones. Using environmentally friendly materials can be a little more expensive but I believe that by using them I am investing in our environment and setting a legacy for others to do the same.

You can find Kati's work, in our new shop, Lab Shop, part of Bristol 2015's Lab. You can find the European Green Capital Lab on Bordeaux Quay on Bristol's historic Harbourside. See you soon! 

Lab Shop
10 - 6 
Everyday in the school holidays 
Fri - Sun in term time

Read More »

Meet the Maker - SowHow

Sunday, April 05, 2015
Happy Easter! We hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend eating your fare share of chocolate Easter eggs (invented right here in Bristol!) The warmer days have turned our attention to the garden and our growing plans for 2015. In our new venture Lab Shop we are now selling SowHow's beautifully designed packets organic seed packets. Full of advice, inspiration and recipe ideas these will help you grow every step of the way. Paul, aka SowHow, told us more about his Bristol based business....Firstly please can you introduce yourself.... 
My name is Paul and I’ve lived in Bristol for 18 years and have worked as a designer for most of that time. In 2008 I was lucky enough to get an allotment plot and that’s where my interest in gardening began. The idea behind SowHow originated from looking around garden centres and thinking about redesigning the seed packets on display.

Where do you find inspiration? 
There’s a thriving creative scene of designers, artists and craft-people in Bristol which means that inspiration is always close-at-hand. The numerous excellent Arts Trails in the city are usually worth exploring. I find going back to the classic examples of early 20th-century design often helps – discovering new things from old books!

Have you any exciting plans for 2015?
Spring is going to be busy! As well as promoting the product range online at, I’m planning to get involved with initiatives to inspire more people to grow-their-own veg. (If you’ve any suggestions please get in touch!)
How would you describe your aesthetic?
The SowHow look is directly inspired by modernist design posters and classic book covers. I decided on a minimalist, colourful graphic style as alternative to the standard packaging approach used for most gardening products. And I feel it’s important that the information inside the packets is carefully-crafted too.

What do you find challenging and rewarding about working from home?
SowHow is run from a tiny studio at home so space is the biggest challenge. I try to be very organised to keep on top of orders and stock. Fortunately, seed packets are small and light so they don’t take up too much room.
Which Bristol green space are you currently enjoying and why?
My allotment plot in South Bristol is an urban escape to the country. Digging over soil in the fresh air is great exercise & a welcome relief from working in front of screens all week.

Which Bristol neighbourhood do you call home?
I've lived in Bedminster for over 10 years now. It's a great area, especially for young families, with plenty of things to do on and around North Street.

How do you try to make greener choices in your business?
All SowHow seeds are fully organic and are sourced from an independent UK supplier. Also, the packets are printed on sustainable FSC paper stock.
Our Bristol 2015 tagline is "initforgood". What are you "initfor" in 2015?
My hope is that SowHow can inspire more people to get growing, whatever shape or size of garden they have. As Bristol is the European Green Capital of 2015, this is the perfect place and time to give it a go!

Thank you Paul!

You can find Paul's individual seed packets - bursting with potential - plus his 3 gift packs, perfect for those with smaller spaces, in our new shop. Lab Shop is part of Bristol 2015 Lab and you can find the Lab, opened to celebrate Bristol's year as European Green Capital, on Bordeaux Quay on Bristol's historic Harbourside. See you soon!

Lab Shop
10 - 6 
Everyday in the school holidays 
Fri - Sun in term time

Read More »

Meet the Maker - Laurie Stansfield

Friday, March 27, 2015
Hello Everyone, we've had the pleasure of working with Laurie Stansfield from Drawn in Bristol on a series of new prints celebrating some of the unique plants found in Bristol's Avon Gorge. The Gorge is home to over 30 different kinds of rare plant – making it one of the most important botanical sites in the UK. Some species of tree, such as the Bristol Whitebeam, with its green and white leaves and clusters of orange berries, are found nowhere else in the world.

Laurie's new Bristol Botanical Safari prints aim to introduce four of these rare plants to a younger audience by creating a playful safari animal/plant hybrid. We are hoping to demonstrate that all plants and animals are important to our environment from the biggest animal to the tiniest plant and lots of species need our help to survive. No matter how small a plant or big an animal they exist in a delicate ecosystem that needs to be kept in balance for other species to flourish.

Our Bristol Whitebeam Elephant has magnificent ears inspired the Bristol whitebeam. This special tree is unique to the gorge and in early summer it produces clusters of creamy white, sweet scented flowers that are loved by bees. These are followed by speckled orange berries in the autumn that are soon devoured by birds.

Our Dwarf Sedge Monkey has a very rare tail and tufted hair do. The dwarf sedge is a rare- plant with tiny flowering spikes found on the impressive limestone cliffs of Bristol’s Avon Gorge. Larger trees and shrubs shade out and threaten smaller plants, like the dwarf sedge, growing beneath them so like the honewort they rely on the six Kashmir goats that have been introduced to act as a natural and sustainable means of controlling the growth of bramble and shrubs. So, just like a monkeys, the dwarf sedge gets a good groom to keep it healthy!
Our Honewort Giraffe spots a beautiful flowery coat made up of the delicate honewort blossom. The rare honewort plant is found growing amongst the rocks of the Avon Gorge and like carrots, parsley and celery it belongs to the umbellifer family as its flowers look like umbrellas. In the past it has suffered particularly badly from habitat loss due to larger scrub stealing the light and limited soil available but in the Avon Gorge a team of brave billy goats scramble up the steep sloped sides of the gorge eating the invasive shrubs that get too close to the honewort.

Finally making up our safari crew our Bristol Onion Lion has a magnificent purple Bristol onion mane. This lollipop-shaped flower is very special because it grows in the Avon Gorge and nowhere else in the UK. The Bristol onion is also called the rounded -headed leek and the gorge provides a sheltered microclimate of sun-baked nooks and crannies perfect for this happy plant. Its pinky purple flowers are smaller than a fifty pence piece and, just like a lion, it loves to sun itself on a sunny ledge but, just like the big cat, unfortunately there is a serious threat to its survival from bigger trees and shrubs. Help is at hand though - brave conservation workers (human and goat) scale the gorge’s cliffs to keep the invading plants in check.

We caught up with Laurie to find out more about her & how she likes to work....

Hi Laurie, please tell us a little bit about yourself....
Hello, Im Laurie Stansfield, a freelance illustrator with a studio space in BV Studios, Bedminster. I came to Bristol in 2006 to study UWEs art & design foundation course & continued onto an Illustration degree & achieved a first. I met Ben Goodman, who’s now a printmaker, in 2006 & we still make a brilliant team, setting goals & critiquing each others work.
Can you talk us through the process of creating a piece of of your work?
When I start a new piece of work I always begin with pencil, paper & a brief. I will have an image or style in mind, however, the final result is completely different. I enjoy the process of taking the project through a journey & developing it’s character. The process usually involves repetitive trial & error, while I translate the images into a necessary style. Then I manipulate what Ive created again for the colour artwork, sometimes using black ink or pencils, acrylic or gouache paints & a scanner, or a mix of everything! The style & materials are selected depending on what the image requires. I think of it like choosing clothes for specific occasions. With time & practice, I find that more & more, Im drawn towards the advantages of working digitally. Id like to say that my process & style are adaptive, it actually feels messy & sporadic! I refer to my work as a schizophrenic chameleon.
Im very visual & wonky minded, as people like to point out. My inspiration comes from visual ideas & metaphors that pop into my head. These ideas are actually less likely to visit when Im in my studio & more likely to say hello when Im going for a jog or working behind a bar. Im addicted to running & particularly like the route under BristolsSuspension Bridge, through the Avon Gorge. Its quiet & beautiful & stenches of fresh seasons. I try very hard to make time for it. I also find that Im happiest behind a bar (either side) for social reasons & to help pay the bills. Bristol has introduced me to so many amazing, talented & inspiring people who add richness to my life & work.
Please describe workspace?
My work space is great & I love it. I rent a space in BV Studios which is close to home. The best thing is the people who I share a room with as they are all phenomenal. We have good chats, share ideas & varied perspectives, we giggle & work hard. The walk down East street neighbourhood is particularly enjoyable, another source of inspiration. If I were to work from home, Id get lost between the boundaries of work & play, which can be hard to separate as it is. Having a studio space is priceless for me. (Although, if I could afford to expand my space, Id be living the dream.)
Which part of Bristol do you call home?
Bristol very quickly became my home. If you dont mind the hills, exploring it by bike is the best. Ive been living south of the river since 2nd year uni for the convenience of being close the Bower Ashton Campus. North street has transformed in this time, the area is very admirable, recognised for its creativity & local shops. The route that I run along has deepened my love for the area. The chocolate path, past Spike Island, past Bunker Bikes, across the iron bridge, past all the cyclists & dog walkers & under the suspension bridge, by the woods… I currently work at the Tobacco Factory cafe/bar with a great team of people, most of whom live locally- or even have spaces in BV Studios as well. It seems that Ive become a prapar' local. I really hope the path I run along doesnt become a bus route! I love the green spaces of Bristol.
The Bristol 2015 tagline is 'initforgood' - we'd like to know, what are you 'initfor'?
I suppose Im in this for life; drawing & making images as its what Im best at. I think its good to do what makes you happy, theres obviously a balance between selfishness & sustainability. My focus is to be a strong & happy person & working freelance provides me with challenges to build myself upon. It can be tough & I’m constantly developing both my business & illustration skills. Ive recently learnt how much other people actually gain insight from looking at my drawings, since doing more work as a live scribe. If I’m in this for life, then Ill aim to play my part & help others to do so too.
Thank you Laurie!

You can find Laurie's gorge-ous Bristol Botanical Safari prints in our new shop, Lab Shop, part of Bristol 2015 Lab. You can find the Lab, opened to celebrate Bristol's year as European Green Capital on Bordeaux Quay on Bristol's historic Harbourside. Enjoy....

Lab Shop
10 - 6 
Everyday in the school holidays 
Fri - Sun in term time

Read More »

Meet the Maker - Rebecca Prior

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Wow what a lovely first week we have had at Lab Shop. Thank you everyone! One of our lovely new makers is Rebecca Prior, aka Priormade. Becky upcycles some unusual materials to create two ranges of beautiful jewellery. We asked Becky to tell us more....

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
Hi! I’m Becky Prior and I have been making reclaimed jewellery for three years now under the name Priormade. People seem to like what I make and I feel like I am starting to have a presence in Bristol’s Jewellery scene. It’s all a bit surreal! I have been in Bristol for 11 years, never left after an Art Degree and am more than happy to still be here.
I make two ranges of Jewellery; for one range I make colourful and feather like earrings from used bicycle inner tubes and the other, geometric earrings and necklaces from reclaimed wooden pieces. I only use stamped 925 Sterling Silver as the findings as it contrasts the inner tube/wood that would’ve been thrown away, making something that is essentially rubbish become something really precious! I like the story of the reclaimed materials so I include their story on the back. For example 'Viv – tube popped on unknown sharp object on route home from work. Somewhere between the Watershed and Easton, Bristol' and 'Teak – reclaimed from Weston Super Mare’s Grand pier, after the fire.'
Can you talk us through the process of creating a piece of your work?
To start with I cut open the tubes and give them a wash in soapy water. I then cut them to various lengths and shapes using the seam part for feathers and the left overs for the coloured parts. I then cut really fast along the edge, trying to get the lines as close together as possible. I then snip back into it removing parts to give the appearance of a real feather. I add the colour using paint pens and theatre scenic paint. I attach the silver findings, write the story of the tube on the back of the card and then store them in their individual bags. The wooden range is a far longer process as it involves sourcing the interesting wood from reclamation yards and carpenters, not to mention lots of sanding. They start off as larger pieces that I then cut into small thin sheets using a bandsaw. I then sand and saw them into shape and drill holes for the silver. They then go through the same final process as the tubes: colour, silver, packaging and then stored.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
A lot of recycled and reclaimed products look recycled and reclaimed! Although I am using recycled materials, I try to avoid this and aim for an aesthetic that is always really crisp, clean and fresh. I love screen-printing as the angles and definition is so perfect; I think I’m trying to recreate that.
What do you do when you are stuck in a creative rut?
I have the biggest 'to make' list you’ve ever seen. There are so many things I’d love to build, create and learn about. When I’m online, in shops and even sleeping – I think about designs and have endless ideas to make exciting things. I would love a pit stop in a little creative rut every now and then….
Apart from being a creative whizz what do you do?
I also design and fabricate artwork on commission; this can range from 3D signs, wall murals, props and puppets. I’m really in to processes and materials so I am always taking on random projects just to learn how to do it!! I also run workshops for adults and young people as I find it really fulfilling to share creative skills. I’ve worked for a variety of fantastic arts organisations in Bristol and I’m currently working at Young Bristol in their community clubs, helping to establish a new Creative Programme. It’s a fantastic charity to work for.
What graces the walls of your workspace?
Too much to list! Mainly loads of inner tubes, 'to make' lists, tools, sketches of designs plus marks where I’ve used the wall to wipe paint and glue off my hands! 
If your workspace walls could talk, what would they say?
Please tidy me!
Which Bristol neighbourhood do you call home?
My boyfriend and I have just bought a house in Redfield. It’s very exciting! The new processes and materials I’m learning about while doing it up is blowing my mind (and taking over my brain!). My heart is in Easton so we got the closest we could get!
If you could change one thing for the better in the city what would it be?
It’s a common thing to declare but I do LOVE Bristol. Bristol has so many great independent organisations but there will always be room for more, so it’s a shame to see so many new flats, supermarkets & large chain shops taking over historic and interesting locations! I also wish there was more patience between people especially cyclists, drivers and pedestrians! However, with my job(s) I get to work with lots of great people, be involved in some fantastic events and really appreciate everything we all do to make our city brilliant! I’m proud that Bristol people see the importance of art & culture.
How do you try to make greener choices in your work?
I’m always left with left over materials from projects. I started using my wooden off cuts to make jewellery and then experimented with inner tubes. I wasn’t really trying to make something that I could tag ‘green’; I just don’t like things being wasted. Did you know that inner tubes can’t be recycled and they end up on landfill? I’m chuffed that artists are finding new uses for them. When it came to buying packaging and business cards I make sure everything is recycled and always use local, independent printers. I’ve just discovered these cool biodegradable plastic bags to store them in too -  the only thing that isn’t recycled is the silver!

Thank you Becky, it's great to discover the story behind the materials you magically transform into your unique jewellery range. Reusing unrecyclable bike inner tubes = genius!

You can find Becky's work in our new shop, Lab Shop, part of the Bristol 2015 Lab until March 22nd when our transport chapter comes to an end. You can find the European Green Capital Lab on Bordeaux Quay on Bristol's historic harbourside. Enjoy....

Lab Shop
10 - 6 
Friday - Sunday*

* we are open everyday in the school holidays

Read More »

Lab Shop - Opens 14th February

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Hello Campers! We are back & our new shop opens on Saturday 14 February.
Glorious Bristol has been crowned European Green Capital for 2015 and our new shop, Lab Shop, is part of an exciting new space on the harbourside called Bristol 2015 Lab. It will feature our innovative product range inspired by Bristol's history, people and places plus a selection of artwork that will change throughout the year to reflect the five Green Capital themes.
Vintage Racer print by Rebekah Marshall

Our first shop theme is transport so expect plenty of prints & gifts featuring balloon filled skies, fleets of ferries and beautiful bicycles, plus one pair of trusty trainers. We will also be the exclusive retailer for official ‘In it for Good’ sustainably produced merchandise.
The Greta in Winter screen print by Simon Tozer
Our shop will be run by a lovely bunch of local artists. Our talented transport team is made up of map whizz Anna Francis, colour crazed designer Hannah Broadway, collage illustrator Fiona Clabon, Jude from ethical t-shirt company Mild West Heroes & hammertastic leather jeweller Kay Morgan
Rush Hour print by Dawn Cooper
The Bristol 2015 Lab opens to the public on Saturday 14 February & throughout half-term you can pop-in and discover a programme packed with family friendly events designed to introduce the year’s green themes: nature, transport, food, resources and energy. 

NEW Mermaid T-Towel by Chris Dickason for Made in Bristol

The half-term Lab space schedule includes:

Saturday 14th  – Discover how to share the love & make welcoming habitats for the city’s wildlife 
Sunday 15th – Join the buzz and taste the honey with Bristol bee experts
Monday 16th – Pick up tips and tricks for two wheeled trips
Tuesday 17th – Buy your Pancake Day ingredients direct from local food co-ops and city farms
Wednesday 18th – Pop in to find out about Bristol 2015’s volunteering opportunities
Thursday 19th – Share creative ideas for upcycling, reusing and repairing
Friday 20th – Energy saving advice from Warm Up Bristol & Friends of the Earth
Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd – Take an early seaside break in British waters with TV celebrity    Blowfish, the heavy metal marine biologist, and friends
Bristol Blue Taxi Queue screen print by Lucie Sheridan
This initial half term taster week will showcase some of the fantastic projects that are already happening in every corner of Bristol – whether it’s bees, bikes, cladding or crustaceans! So pop in, find out more about our plans for the year and – most importantly – tell us what you think....
Bristol 2015 Lab is located on Bordeaux Quay on St Augustine's Reach, a couple of doors along from Watershed. 

The Lab and Lab Shop will be open 10am to 6pm daily throughout half-term. For more information (including our visiting hours after half-term) visit or follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook.

We can't wait to show you our new home!

*Ferry Boat print by Lucy Davey

Read More »