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Redirect

3 Mar

I’m really bad at blogging. I’m better at painting and making gifts, so please hop on over to my website HERE.

If Instagram is your thing, I keep mine updated with watercolour sketches and random bits & bobs.

 

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Touchee Feelee at Design indbaba

5 Mar

I had a very close neighbour this year at the Design Indaba expo, talented industrial designer & woodworker, Louw Roets (some of you already know that he is also my other half!)

We decided to merge our two stands and treat it as one, which proved very interesting (more about that later).

I had 6 cushion ranges on show but the Nautical & Monochromatic ranges were definitely the most popular! And of course the Doll Portraits always attracts very passionate people.

Thank you to everyone who’s made this the best Design Indaba yet!

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Hello Weylandts

13 Jun

I think by now everyone’s heard about the drama I had with Woolworths in 2013. It discouraged me to work with any other large retailers out of fear of being ripped off again.
However, I was approached by Weylandts in March this year and after much thought decided to grab hold of this opportunity with both hands!
And I can say, so far it’s been wonderful. I’m very happy to have found a retailer that better understands design and supporting local artists and designers.
Visiting their Green Point showroom in Cape Town is a must. Make a day out of it – you do not want to rush through it. The ambiance and textures drive me crazy (in a good way :)).

For those outside of Cape Town, go here:

South Africa:

Johannesburg: Fourways & Kramerville
Knysna
Pretoria: Brooklyn
Umhlanga

Australia:

Melbourne

Below are the cushions you can find in stores for this season:

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Kokedama tutorial

19 May

Some of you might know that my husband, Louw Roets, is a furniture/ industrial designer. He recently took part in the Decorex show in Cape Town and we wanted to bring some plant life into his stand, but shelving was a bit of a problem, so we naturally thought of ‘hanging plants’ aka kokedamas.
We’re very handy people so if we’re able to make something ourselves we almost always do.

Kokedama is a Japanese word that means ‘moss ball’ and some call it poor man’s bonsai. Here’s how to make your own kokedama (it’s extremely easy by the way, so don’t be daunted):

DIY Kokedama tutorial:

You’ll need:

* A Fern, succulent or any other plant that will happily live indoors
* Potting soil or bonsai soil
* Moss, green moss, peat moss or sphagnum
* Twine
* Fishing line
* Scissors
* Bucket
* Jug of water
* Spray bottle

 

1) Put your potting soil or bonsai soil in a bucket. Mix in 10% moss and enough water so that you can make a ball without it falling apart. So you’ll have 90% potting soil and 10% moss. Set aside.

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2) Prepare a jug of water. Carefully remove your plant from the pot. Shake the roots gently to remove most of the soil. Dip it in the jug of water to get more soil off.

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3) Cover the roots in a small amount of moss (it helps if your hands are wet at this stage). Very gently tie natural twine around the roots to keep the moss in place.

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4) Back to the soil. Make a ball (the size would be relevant to the size of your plant). Squeeze any excess water out and make a hole with two fingers. Place the roots of the plant inside the hole.

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*I found that larger mud balls will crack open sometimes, this is fine, just place the plants’ roots inside the crack and close and form the ball again._DSC0333

5) Prepare the moss by pulling it apart slightly. Again, it’s good to have wet hands at this stage – cover your mud ball with a layer of moss.

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6) Start wrapping twine around your plant until it’s tight. Please note that the plant we did in the picture is not wrapped tightly enough, it was our 1st try. Make a knot at the top.

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7) Spray/mist with water.

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8) Tie fishing line to the top of the ball and hang! (please do not use twine to hang your plant, it will spin and spin and spin until it breaks off – been there done that).

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9) Either spray your kokedama every morning or remove it and dip it in a bucket of water once a week (I find the dipping works better with ferns).

 

*Look out for my kokedamas on my ‘Kamers Vol Geskenke‘ stand.

Show date: 6 – 8 June, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town.

I’ll be the one with all the cushions & eye pillows on the first floor 🙂

 

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Stand One-O-Three: Design Indaba 2014

24 Feb

One O Three. The number of my stand at the 2014 Design Indaba in Cape Town. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to exhibit at the Design Indaba for almost 6 years.

I will be the most thankful person exhibiting and not only because I booked the second last stand available 🙂
I hope every person reading this will make an effort to come to the expo and introduce themselves to me.

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Image credit: Design indaba (http://www.designindaba.com/)

al.die.kussingsklein

 
Place: Cape Town International Convention Centre (The CTICC is within easy reach of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, major hotels and the rest of the city centre)
Date: 28 Feb – 2 March 2014
Times: 10:00 – 20:00
Entrance fee: R80 p/p
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My new cushion range

3 Dec

It’s always so exciting to see a painting go from an image in my head, to a watercolour painting on paper to an object you can touch.

I haven’t spared anything with this new luxury range of cushions. Everything from the fabric to the ink to the zip and back was chosen for a reason.

Coral-orange, turquoise & black are the colours I’ve been obsessing about lately.

vashou styled styled styled groen.vashouThe fabric is soft and cuddly, and won’t fade in the sun, because it’s a mixture of linen and cotton which makes it incredibly durable. The natural oatmeal colour, makes it practical and won’t show dirt marks as quickly as a white fabric will (parents will love me for this :)).

Then the print is made using natural inks that can be washed and ironed over – although I always suggest ironing on the revers. And the best part is that it’s soft to the touch, unlike screen printed fabric.

And guess what? Shipping in South Africa is still FREE.

If you need any more convincing, just look at the beautiful photographs of the cushions done by my husband, Louw: http://store.toucheefeelee.co.za/ranges/cushions   (click the image to see more of each cushion).

If you’re in Cape Town, come and say hi at The V & A Waterfront. I’m in a pop-up shop in the Red Shed until the end of December!

~Euodia

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How Woolworths really operates!

18 Oct

Fair warning: This isn’t going to be a happy post, because what’s happened has left me very, very sad.

It’s not easy being a designer, and even less easy being a small, independent designer. You’re constantly having to find a balance between paying your bills, and being true to your art. For most designers, being approached by a big retail chain would sound like a dream come true. Right?

Wrong.

I was approached by the buying head of homeware at Woolworths at the beginning of 2013. (For those of you outside SA, Woolworths is the equivalent of Marks & Spencer or Macy’s.)

A meeting was set up to meet the buying head and another homeware buyer, to discuss having some of my Touchee Feelee range form part of Woolworth’s new “artisan” range. I took samples of all my work to the meeting, and was asked if they could hold on to them to show certain samples to their manager. (When I agreed, they reminded me, however, that I would have to collect them later as they had limited space in their office. It’s been more than 7 months, and I’m still trying to get my samples back.)

I was asked my wholesale prices, and as soon as I mentioned the first number, the atmosphere went from friendly chat to hardball in a matter of seconds. I was told very bluntly that “they will never go for that.” OK, we’re negotiating. I can deal with it. After they attempted to butter me up by promising me a feature in Taste Magazine, I left behind a few items printed with my hummingbird painting.

hummingbird in acrylic

The hummingbird painting I did in 2012 painted from a photograph by R.W. Scott .

 

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Touchee Feelee’s Hummingbird cushion

A few days later, I received an email with an offer. They wanted me to provide printed panels of fabric for napkins and cushions, (which they would then make up themselves), both printed with my hummingbird, as they had a blue and green colourway coming up. The offer was…let’s just say that to call it ridiculous would be an insult to ridiculous things. The quantities weren’t even enough to justify wholesale pricing, and my profit per item would have been in the single digits. In a phone call shortly thereafter, the buyer tried to convince me that I was in fact making money if I looked at the figures a certain way. I may not be a mathematician, but I know how to work out my profits. This felt like another strong-arm tactic to me.

Ultimately, I decided to go through with it because of the exposure. We had one meeting after the other to decide on fabric samples (as if I made the items in pure linen like I usually do, I would basically be paying out of my own pocket); and about 5 meetings in the buyer very casually says “I’d prefer to drop the napkins.” Fine, just the cushions it is. I’m not really losing money, since I wasn’t really making any either.

At this point, the buyer became increasingly insistent on finding out my cost price. Anyone in any kind of business knows that that’s the kind of information you never, ever share. After I spent some time dancing around the question, the buyer was getting irritated at which point I was treated to a selection of horror stories about how other local designers had refused to share their cost price and had consequently had their ranges or designs cut.

The design community is small. I don’t know all of you personally, but I know enough of you by name; and yes, she mentioned you. I know now that I’m not the only person to have gone through this, and it makes me wonder why none of you ever shared your stories before. That’s why I’m doing this now. I’m not the first to be treated this way, and unless someone says something, I certainly won’t be the last.

Eventually, we agreed on two different fabrics and I was asked to provide six sample panels three of each fabric). I provided these panels within two weeks. And then?

Then, I was given the silent treatment for two months. None of my emails were answered and phone calls were denied. Then, out of the blue, an email that said they had made the cushions up. Two out of the six samples were returned to me. As for the other four cushions? Woolworths had “…retained the samples for consideration for input later in the year.”

A few days later, another email arrived: “I am afraid very unlikely we will be going ahead with any new designs.”

This was already upsetting news, after the amount of time and energy I’d poured into the project. It was, however, about to get worse.

Just over a week later, I was browsing through Woolworths in Cavendish Square, when I found this:

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After doing a rather violent double take, I had a closer look. Same size cushion (60cm x 40cm)? Check. Near identical hummingbird design (with what looks like the Wikipedia entry on hummingbirds pasted into the background)? Check. Same fabric? Check.

And, conveniently, it was now part of the W Collection.

(Fun fact: If that text is in fact from Wikipedia, Wiki requires attribution on all commercial use of their text. You’d be correct in assuming Woolies did no such thing.)

I have since asked, repeatedly, for the last of my samples to be returned, but have as yet not received them back. That is the least of my worries, however. I’m more concerned over what I see as a case of thinly veiled plagiarism.

If I were to play devil’s advocate, I could say that yes, they’ve changed the design slightly. I could concede that pictures of hummingbirds tend to largely look alike. I might even agree that under some very loose definitions of art or design, they had done their own painting. But, the facts stack up too much on the opposite side for me to allow it.

Given what you know about my meetings, about the time frame, and about what’s happened since, can you look at these two pictures and honestly say that Woolworths came up with this exact cushion design on their own?

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It’s my belief that my designs were sent to a another manufacturer and adapted. This is common in all areas of retail. What I didn’t realise was that it’s also now apparently common practice to treat independent designers in this way. It seems the only thing that Woolworths learnt from the recent Frankie’s debacle, was how to disguise their plagiarism.

I saw samples from several other designers in the buyer’s office, and have reached out to them personally. Fellow designers, I know that it’s all too tempting to sit back and take this sort of treatment either out of fear that a big chain will shut you out, or out of hope that it’ll pay off in the long run.

But, I’m asking I’m – begging for you to stop. We have to stand up for ourselves, and our community, or things like this will keep happening.

I’m well aware of the risk I’m taking by publishing this, but I’ve decided to go ahead with it regardless. My claims aren’t unfounded.

Please subscribe to my news updates here: http://eepurl.com/vtkDb

 

See my own Hummingbird cushion here: http://www.toucheefeelee.co.za/collections/nautical-collection/products/hummingbird-pillow-cover