festive fair finds! is the first saturday in about a month where i'm not either at a Christmas fair or planning for my next one! i'm still in bed and it's delightful (except for the fact i have a nasty cough and cold). i enjoyed all of my markets (for different reasons!) and wanted to share some of the work of the amazing designers i met whilst exhibiting across the last 3 weeks.

i was located in the basement but i was surrounded by 10 other fantastic designer-makers with a great selection of goods. 

i have a soft spot for ceramics and instantly fell in love with Sally McGill's new collection - bold blue and coral on white...right up my street!

another great selection of ceramics were on offer from my show neighbour Jane Sarre - i'm always a sucker for that olive colour, and putting it on beautiful vases...well, i'm not sure how i resisted! 

and of course Katie Victoria was my very lovely and very Welsh neighbour for the show. gorgeously bright and bold knitted scarves, cushions and a rather lovely bobble hat i had my eye on all show!

hosted for the second year at the Truman Brewery there were over 100 stands selling homewares, jewellery, prints, furniture pong games!

the stand to catch my eye the most was from the lovely Winter's Moon, a combination of mid-century finds and new retro inspired prints on an array of homewares - my ultimate weakness!

i caught up with Sophie Home who i first met at the Wimbledon Art & Design Fair earlier this year, once gain selling her yummy geo knits

winner of the Best Stand was Reclectic, a company that sources vintage furniture to hand paint with imagery inspired by that era. we happened to be opposite so could gaze at it all day!

i'll be honest - this was by far my favourite market - the atmosphere was just amazing and the dj's and live Voodoo Love Orchestra were bloody fantastic! the first time it has been held at Spitalfields but it went down a treat.

now unfortunately i was so caught up in the dancing that i didn't actually take any photos! but probably a good thing otherwise i'll end up giving away some of the Christmas presents i have bought people!

November - round up!

november - the month of market preparation! 3 christmas fairs lined up. 3 stands to plan for. and lots of stock to package. 

i have 3 very different style shows to cater for - first up (and which is currently on) is Made In Clerkenwell, a 4 day fair at Craft Central's open studios. second i have a shared exhibition space to fill at East London Design Show. and lastly an outside night market with StockMKT at Spitalfields. it's always tricky to know what products or designs to take to which market as you never know what will grab someones attention. all i know is that there will be sparkly fairy lights at them all!

i signed up to Print & Pattern's 'designers for hire' directory. i really want to get more licensing and commissioned work next year, so hope this directory will open up some opportunities for me. you can get so caught up doing your own projects and the designs that YOU want to it's great when you get set a brief by someone else, especially when it has an enforced deadline...keeps up the challenge!

and on the topic of licensing deals...i finalised another 3 designs for Muckboots this month. these will form part of the 2016 range. as always these will be top secret until their release, but i have also produced designs for the kids range, Puddletons. mini wellies for mini people! i'm hoping to share the earlier designs with you soon as they are due for release next year.

i had my first 1-2-1 with Patricia van den Akker of the Design Trust. this was through the New Creative Markets mentoring scheme which i was lucky enough to be welcomed onto. we discussed my plans for next year and where i want to take my business. lots discussed and my homework has been set! i'll be checked up on in January at our next session so best get cracking!

'tis the season to SHOP!

hello hello! so sorry for the lack of blog posts recently, my to-do list has exploded and time has shrivelled away from me. but i am here to you today to show you what has been taking up my precious moments...

christmas fairs!

yes folks, it's that time of year to get shop-shop-shopping! and of course i will be encouraging every one of you to shop local and to buy from designer-makers. there are SO MANY markets on this year i can't keep up and i really hope i get the chance to walk around the 3 fairs i will be selling at and buy all my pressies.

and that is what is one the agenda fairs. i am very excited to be showing off my brand new tableware products, designs from my 'Travel Bug' collection, starting with 'Morocco'. i know i've been going on about these for a while now but that's just how excited i am! i have wanted to have my own kitchen products for aaaages now and it's finally happened!

and not only 'Morocco' but my special surprise location that i mentioned on facebook this week... 'LONDON TOWN'! something for the locals and visitors alike, i have designed a print for greetings cards, mugs, coasters and cheeseboards...

so lots of new things to be snapped up in the next few weeks as well as my bright and jolly christmas cards, and a special 'stocking fillers' bargain bin! i can't wait to see what the other designer-makers bring along and get some unique presents!

November 27-30th - Made In Clerkenwell, 33-35 St Johns Square, EC1M 4DS

December 4-7th - East London Design Show, Truman Brewery off Brick Lane, E1 6QL

December 13th - The StockMKT, Spitalfields Market

TRADE : if you are interested in stocking any of the above products please get in touch at 

September to October - round up!

2 for the price of 1 this week guys! i didn't do a September round up because, well, i didn't have much to say whilst i was off gallivanting around Peru!

now most people go on holiday as a break from work. but not me, oh no. as you will have seen from previous blog posts on Peru and it's gorgeous graphics and textiles my brain was very much activated and running full pelt whilst i was away! not only that but it was just before a tour to Islas Ballestas that i took a skype call and was accepted onto the New Creative Markets scheme. totally made my day i can tell you! (the islands were pretty too cool though!). i had my first meet up this month to meet the other designers and am signed up for a few workshops next month. there are so many amazing mentors involved i am so thrilled to have been picked and i'm really excited about what this could do for me and my business!!

i had a second proposal whilst i was away and another that i gladly accepted - i was contacted by Laura Olivia about working on some projects together for high street companies...more excitement just before going on a trek!

the new Muckboots collection for Spring '16 was started - loving the briefs and loving the palette- just all round loving the collaboration!

i was packing up some goodies for 2 lovely new stockists. i now have products on their way to The Gifted Magpie in Oxon, and Boka in Devon. it's so nice to chat to retailers and these are 2 particularly lovely ladies so i am very pleased to be working with them :)

also on the shop front i am back in We Make London! i took the summer off to concentrate on other projects but am now back with a selection of goodies ready for the christmas season. and new stock will be coming this space!

i learnt Illustrator!!!! nuff said.

i've had 4 press features - 2 in national greetings magazines (Progressive Greetings and Greetings Today), 1 as part of a christmas gift list (Jess Jean), and 1 as part of a competition for the Jacqueline Wilson Fan Club mag.

the samples for me new products came through and my kickstarter project was successfully funded which means i can now place an actual full side order for said new products! so soon i shall be selling a collection of coasters, cheese boards and mugs. so pleased to have finally entered the kitchen, have been dreaming of this for ages and really hope that i can soon venture to plates and picnic sets as well...ooh the possibilities!

Peru - Part 2 . . . the graphics!

bit of a delay in getting this second round of images to you, apologies. but it's all because of good, exciting things! you can keep up to date with all the latest news as it happens on my facebook and twitter pages. 

but now let's go back to Peru. apart from the gorgeous textiles that adorned every table top, every bed, every neck, one other thing really stood out - and that was their use of graphics for their elections.  everywhere. 

walls were painted with the name and logo of those they supported, and it was like this in most towns. they even painted parts of the mountain! i've never seen such enthusiasm for elections. turns out they get fined if they don't vote. sounds like a good system to me. i asked what happens when the elections over - do they paint over it until the next round? but no, it all stays there, just the same. some of the locals hate it, i guess i would too if i could understand it and it wasn't just hold lettering!

and it wasn't just elections they were painting about - general signage was just painted on whatever surface they had...menus, company names, directions...

ah, i just love it. all of it! need to do some kind of text range methinks...

blog hop

it's always nice to hear from the brilliant Jess Hogarth, and this week was no exception. Jess has been such an enormous help to me the past 2 years, i really can't stress that enough, so was delighted to be asked to follow on from her in a blog hop this week. 

and following after me in the blog hop will my very good friend and amazing illustrator Liz Smith of Elle Jane Designs. Liz has been such a huge support to me the past couple of years - she has helped plan my stands (even helped man the stands!), provided critiques of my work, and just been there as all round go-to person when i needed help. 

now enough of the soppiness and onto the hop...

What have you been making at your desk this week?

well this week has been a bit of a mixed bag. i have mostly been concentrating on new work for Muckboots. i have a couple of briefs to complete for the new season, a good mix so really fun to work on. unfortunately i can't share these with you though, sorry!

i have also been chatting to some shops about stocking my current products - a box of christmas cards was sent off last week and i have another box of button accessories, notebooks and cards being packaged up as we speak! i really enjoy packaging up the products - i think it's that pretty final package i like to see, all the loose ends tied up and the thought of it being displayed on a shelf in beautiful independent store somewhere. love it!

most excitingly i think though was getting some of my new product samples through, i LOVE seeing my latest designs on new products, get such a buzz from it! and it's even more amazing when they get such good reception like my new moroccan mugs have.  it's always great to see that and know that your designs are being well received - gives you such a boost!

Where am I currently finding my inspiration?

my travels. my new range which is about to launch is moroccan themed but something a little different to the current style that is out there. next up will be some prints based on my recent trip to peru - lots of lovely geometrics! can't wait to get cracking on that one but have lots of other exciting things to do before i can started. you can see some of the textiles in last weeks blog post, and i have some fantastic graphics yet to share with this space!

i have my little library of design books that i delve into at the start of a new project, and i use these alongside pinterest. the Print & Pattern blog is obviously an amazing source of the latest prints that are out there but i can't resist looking backwards as well - i have a real love for old 1920's-1950's prints and illustrations and now have many boards featuring vintage style designs.

How important is being creative to you and how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

hmmm...'blend'...not sure i'm very good at that! i'll be honest, the design part of my life has a tendency to take over. a lot! it's too big a part of me to lock away, even if it's just doing some of the admin - it's very rare that i don't do something design related each day. i have waves of busy periods where the work/life balance becomes more of a work/work balance (oops) but this calms down and i sink back into my normal routine. 

it is tricky when you still work 4 days at another job (i haven't been lucky enough to quit the day job just yet!) because it's your evenings and weekends that are eaten into. but i love it, it's my passion and it will become my day job one day soon. and it does i will be able to embrace all my free evenings that i'll get back!!

Peru - part 1 . . . the textiles!

i'm ba-aaack!!! i've been off travelling about Peru for 3 weeks but i'm back on London soil now...and fully inspired!! it was an amazing 3 weeks and i will be sharing lots of photos with you in the next couple of weeks.

Peru is an amazing place and the trip i took was probably one of the most cultural holidays i have ever had. i went with my flatmate, Rebekka, and we ventured from capital city Lima through sand dunes, the 'poor mans Galapagos', the Nazca Lines, a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, stayed with two families to experience traditional Peruvian life, and of course completed a 3 day hike to get to the jaw dropping Machu Picchu. 

but even through all that i can't forgot my true passion - the textiles. hand woven and hand stitched textiles were everywhere, in the form of scarfs, shawls, blankets, rugs...even trainers!! So much to choose from and some absolutely beautiful designs.

the main wool was alpaca or llama (and OMGoodness they are the cutest things!) and it was oh-so soft. baby alpaca is the softest but by far the most expensive. 

we were lucky enough to visit the Woman's Weaving Project in a small village called Ccaccaccollo. we were shown how they naturally dye the wool using plants, and how they hand weave their garments.

needless to say i bought a lot! but i resisted far more!! i am now the proud owner of my Mamas scarf, a rug, a set of llama hat and gloves, a small purse. and of course a llama magnet to add to my selection.

new release!

well, summer is all over now. and as fas as i'm concerned, when that happens it's now count down to christmas! in which case i want to share with you my new range of Christmas cards. i have 6 designs featuring chirpy robins, decorated deer, beautiful wreaths and the best dressed Christmas trees. oh yeah, and a few penguins. mustn't forget the penguins ;)

all designs are printed on A6 card from sustainable sources and come with crisp white envelopes. they will be added to my online shop very soon so pop back when it's time to get the shopping started!

TRADE : if you are interested in stocking my cards please get in touch at

lots of lovely newness!

i'm finally ready to share my new ranges with you! up until now i have just been sharing some sneaky peaks into what i've been working on but it is... 

Mel Smith Designs' take on the wonderful Moroccan life!

you may have guessed i was working on something along these lines from all of my recent pinning! i visited Marrakech in 2010  and it was amazing! an absolutely amazing if not bonkers place and i (as you can imagine) got quite snap happy with the camera! i would highly recommend a visit to anyone and would love to go back one day.

an obvious starting point for the project was looking at the tiles and architectural mosaics ('zellige') and i had a LOT of photos to work from! i read up a little on the history of zellige and it get a wee bit complex when you get into stars with 96 points! i'm not quite that skilled to tackle a pattern of such complexity...not yet anyway!

you may recall the 2 Moroccan prints i did for last seasons collection. blue and orange with an off white. i decided to keep these prints and have a play around with the palette so they could fit in with my new look . and i'm so glad i did...look how they came out:  

as mentioned in the blog last week i have been working on illustrations as well as good old repeats. i have a thing about 'scenes' (again you may have seen my pinterest boards already) and wanted to pursue this route. much like with my christmas card range. 

i couldn't resist a camel.

so what made me choose Morocco as a theme? well, it's not just Morocco, this is all part of a much bigger project, an ongoing collection that will be added to each and every year. i am documenting all of my travels and sharing my experiences through pattern and illustration. Morocco seemed like an good place to begin as i had already created those couple of Moroccan prints last season and it is on trend. 

you might also be wondering where i got my palette from. well, this is also part of my documenting - i am choosing palettes that link to either a place or event in that location. for Marrakech i absolutely loved the YSL Gardens. so peaceful yet full of colour and life. plus they were a nice little escape from the mental souks!

so where to next?

well, there will be a post on my facebook and twitter pages on Monday explaining the next stages and i need you to be involved. i hope you can join me there :)

August - round up!

oh my golly gosh. i know i say it every month but where on earth is this year going?! It's September in 2 days time! but that's ok. cos that means it's HOLIDAAAAY! oh yes, i am off for 3 weeks in peru. so excited about so much of it. not to mention the llamas. 

so as you can imagine, me being me, i have been frantically trying to get everything prepped and ready before i leave. and believe you me it's been manic! my to do lists for each evening have been chocka, but i have managed to get through all as wished. but there's still a few days left so i won't jinx it just yet...hehe!

so this has really been the month of finalising my designs for my new collection. i'm really enjoying this new series of prints and patterns. i'm working more on illustration as well as repeat patterns as well so a bit of a new challenge. you got a sneak peak on facebook earlier this week so here's another to whet your appetite until the next post...

alongside actually doing the designs i have been thinking hard about where to take my next product range. some products i would like to continue doing - the lampshades for example - but i want something new. and the kitchen is where it's at! as you may have seen i have been asking for input on some market research questions, and thank you to all that commented, you've been a great help!

i am in the process of getting my sample templates prepared and sent off so they can be made whilst i am away...something lovely to be greeted with when i return!

also new on the design front are my first line of christmas cards. they are a set of 6 cards printed on FSC sourced card stock.  i'm really pleased with how these look and i've already been showing these off to a few shops, to which i have had interest ... which is always a boost! 

i have also submitted these to a couple of mags and have received great feedback so keep your eyes peeled on that front too!

bowie style of the Print & Pattern 'bible' gave me wonderful feature this month, showcasing my cushions, shades, books tea towels...pretty much everything! and it was quite refreshing to see your work presented differently - bowie selected both images of my products but also the original prints from my portfolio on my website, so it was really nice to see how they had translated. of course i have seen all this but it's been a while since i looked back on this range so was nice to see it all again, and how my first collection all came together. made me even more excited for this next collection! 

it's always amazing to be selected and have your work shared on such a fabulous site. it's such an amazing source of inspiration...and i've been lucky enough to be featured a few times - this is my 10th outing there! thanks bowie!

there won't really be a September round up as i'll be off gallivanting around peru with alpacas and the like, climbing up rather steep steps, falling off steep edges and generally seeing jaw droppingly amazing sites. sorry, sorry...not trying to make you all jealous. well, maybe a little... ;)

out and about in central

i have seem to have switched to a fortnightly post rather than weekly recently, apologies for that, but it is all for good reason! i am working hard on my new collection - lots of lovely new prints and a few new products thrown in for good measure too.

i've had a few outing to central london recently all of which i wish to share with you today.

festival of love, southbank
stumbled across this one a couple of weeks back, and although i've recently seen in on another couple of blogs i'm going to show my pics anyway as it's very very cool. the festival celebrates the Same Sex Couple Act and has a whole host of events - talks poetry, themed weekends...i only saw the decoration along southbank and these illustrations form the website

holi colour festival, wembley park
originally a traditional Hindu festival it is now celebrated around the globe amongst anyone. numerous dj's took to the stage whilst the rest of us ran around throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other. we all looked like pollock paintings by the end! was great fun, can't wait for next year! 

secret cinema, Back To The Future edition
now i can't give too much away because, well, it's secret. but basically hundreds of  people are gathering together throughout august to visit hill valley. the set has been rebuilt and the movie is being screened in a secret location in london. everyone goes dressed in their 1950's gear to visit the set and do a bit of rock n' roll. no phones were allowed but hopefully when i get my old-skool disposable camera developed i can share more with you!

wall, southbank
ok ok, this wasn't an 'event' but t was a pretty cool wall. just enjoy ok. what made it even cooler were kids wee measuring themselves against each one to see which person represented them. kinda cute.