Tag Archives: touchee feelee
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The hummingbird cushion continued

18 Nov

Good morning!

Today is a good day, so for now I would like not to talk too much about WW, but I’m definitely taking matters further as their story is still full of holes and I stand by every word that I blogged about on Friday the 18th of October.

Just to clear any doubt, I do have permission from the late R.W Scott’s son, Gregory Scott to use the photograph of the Ruby Throated hummingbird as a reference for my painting. Gregory is a wonderful photographer who lives in the US and uses high speed flash techniques to capture these tiny creatures. These techniques allow for the amazing feather detail (see here: http://www.gregscott.com/).

On a more joyful note, I would like to introduce the, new and improved, hummingbird cushion:

Buy it here (limited amount available): https://hellopretty.co.za/touchee-feelee/hummingbird-cushion-cover

_DSC7540 _DSC7780 _DSC7698I decided to make it 50cm x 50cm so that South Africans can easily find an inner. I also chose a higher quality fabric, a cotton linen blend in a natural beige colour. The cotton linen (as apposed to pure linen or pure cotton) is more resistant to UV light and won’t fade in the sun like a pure fabric will.

This cushion is entirely locally produced using natural inks to print the hummingbird. It is heat cured for durability producing an image that is set right into the fibres of the cushion that will not crack over time, making the print soft to the touch as apposed to a layer on top of the fabric like screen printing often does.

The cushion cover has a hidden zip at the bottom for easy removal. And a Touchee Feelee label on the upper right corner.

Buy it here (limited amount available): https://hellopretty.co.za/touchee-feelee/hummingbird-cushion-cover

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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:

ww.hummingbird

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?

hummingbird_skuinsww.hummingbird

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

 

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Cotton coffee filter gone wild

20 Sep

We’ve changed the packaging of the reusable coffee filter. I love it and I think it’s a great improvement, what do you think? (I guess you’d only know if you knew the old packaging – I’m not too proud of it, so won’t be showing a before & after).

back1 back2 front1 front2 lots

The idea is that you keep the packaging on your fridge or notice board as decoration (hopefully my watercolour painting of coffee leaves would encourage that) and prevent the packaging from ending up in landfills.

We used recycled paper & the packaging has no off-cut paper that is thrown away. I’m really proud of our no-waste packaging!

If you’re not sure how to use this cotton coffee filter, just check out those info-graphics Louw (my other half) did! He also did the photography, which I might add, is stunning.

Buy it from me or if you like to touch before you buy, buy it from the awesome steam-punk themed coffee shop Truth Coffee in 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.

Free printable fathers day cards!

10 Jun

I’m doing my bit for humankind by making sure every dad gets a card this year. No one has an excuse with a choice of four (mind you, five if you include the Afrikaans one) printable watercolour cards I painted. My favorite is the hat, simply choose your favorite and print! Remember Father’s day is on the 16 June this year.

How to download?

1) A download link will be sent with the confirmation email when you sign up for my updates HERE .

2) If you’ve already signed up for my updates, email me at euodia@toucheefeelee.net and I’ll happily reply with a link to download all five cards.

Size: A5 folded to A6 (21cm x 14.8cm).

Tip: Suggested paper to print on: cream/off-white heavy weight, textured paper (a cotton rich paper or recycled paper also looks good).

Enjoy!

~Euodia

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Download these for free above

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Hats off to you, dad

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Rad dad

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Pappa

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Dad

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You sir, are a gentleman

*UPDATE: These cards have been removed as father’s day has passed. I’m busy with artwork for the next big thing!

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Sunday baking: Easy orange and poppy seed cake

2 Jun

Cape Town is wet and cold and everyone’s high on hot chocolate, so what better time to whip up a cake? This orange and poppy seed cake is not overly sweet, so it goes really well with a sweet hot drink, like rooibos tea. The original recipe is by David Herbert (a master chef by the way), I changed it slightly by adding cream cheese icing (which I didn’t actually do myself but I highly recommend adding icing as it needs that extra bit of richness to round it off). I don’t usually share recipes or anything other than design and art, but…..you need to taste this cake – it’s absolutely heavenly.

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oh! sneaked (snuck?) in my welcome felt place mat in the background there… it’s all about subliminal marketing.

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…and yes that’s also my artichoke napkin curling around the plate.

Ingredients:

Cake

½ cup poppy seeds

¾ cup milk

juice from ½ lemon

250g butter (softened)

1 cup muscovado sugar

grated zest of 1 orange

1 tsp orange essence

4 eggs

2 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (banking soda)

pinch of salt

{soak the poppy seeds in the milk and lemon juice for 1-2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180˚C or 350˚F. Grease a 25 cm cake tin. Beat the butter, muscovado sugar, orange essence and orange zest with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale. Beat the eggs in one at a time, alternating with a little flour, until combined. Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt  then fold into the mixture. Gentle stir in the poppy seed mixture until smooth and combined (try not to eat the batter at this stage – it is delicious and you shouldn’t eat raw batter!).

Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55- 60min or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5min, turn upside down onto a large plate or cake stand and brush with HOT orange syrup – see below. Leave to cool completely before spreading cream cheese icing on top}

Syrup

Juice of 3 oranges

½ cup castor sugar

{combine the juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then gently simmer for 5 min}

Cream cheese icing (frosting):

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 125g (¾ cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

{Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and lemon zest in a bowl until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Stir in the lemon juice}.

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Doll face cushion. This one’s for art lovers.

15 May

Last week I launched a new cushion. It’s a watercolour doll face I did and then printed onto cotton and made up into a large cushion. The doll I painted was found severed in a ghost town in North-Dakota, USA.

The concept behind it was to give ‘things that people lost’ a 2nd chance.
Hope you like it!

Size 40cm x 60 cm.
Buy: http://store.toucheefeelee.co.za/products/doll-face-scatter-cushion
Cushion inner also available.

illustration on paper

illustration on paper

60cm x 40cm cushion

60cm x 40cm cushion

Dark green backing

Dark green backing

Touchee Feelee Label

Touchee Feelee Label

Little nose

Little nose

Flat cushion cover

Flat cushion cover

eye of an eye

eye for an eye

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‘I love my laundry’ exhibition – on right now!

25 Mar

My exhibition started on Wednesday at ‘I love my laundry’ dim sum bar in Cape Town (59 Buitengracht Street)! A laundry party is what they call it, complete with a washing line and vintage pegs.. It will be on for three weeks (so until 10th April 2013), so hop on over and order some of the most amazing pork and coriander dumplings you’ll EVER  EVER have… while (hopefully not) drooling over all the Touchee Feelee goodness.

Everything on show can be purchased on the spot! Also look out for some amazing work by other designers and artists like Hendriette Rademan, Heloise Bottomley, Leila Badsha and Alex Jordaan.

~ Euodia
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