Meet the Maker - Sky Siouki

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
We are always on the hunt for new talent and were delighted when Sky, who has just graduated, got in touch. Sky's textile designs are vividly fresh and we just know you will love them, just as much as we do.  We asked her a little about her creative processes....
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hello, I’m Sky of Sky Siouki. I graduated from Nottingham Trent University last year with a first class honours in textile design. I moved to Southville, Bristol in March and am loving living here. I’m specialised in digitally printed textiles and sell luxury cushions, lavender bags, linen notebooks and greetings cards. My aim is to offer beautiful unique textiles that are also ethically produced in the UK. The collection is called ‘A Curious Kingdom’ indulging in vivid, fantastical ideals, suggestive of a vintage children's storybook. 
Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
I love to cook and bake so I’m often in the kitchen if I’m not creating. My latest favourite is a butternut squash lasagna recipe I found online. I also like to go for walks in the countryside, or just anywhere where there’s a good view from the top. When I’m in my hometown in Dorset I’m lucky enough to be able to potter down to the beach whenever it’s sunny and have a swim if I’m feeling brave enough. I’m quite partial to a good old fashioned board game on the rainier days and snuggling up with a film in the evenings.
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
Always! My parents both have very creative backgrounds and I think my mum secretly had it planned for me since I was in the womb. I remember she used to stretch a big sheet of paper on a board for me and then let me loose with sponges, pens, glitter and a shoebox full of assorted sweet wrappers and fabric scraps. She also taught me to sew pretty early on so I’d always be making somewhat ragged outfits for my dolls or little homemade gifts. No matter how roughly made my creations were, she’d always refuse to throw them out. For a little while when I was twelve I wanted to be a novelist, but choosing to do art at school was always an easy decision. Now I’m running my own business a flair for creative writing comes in pretty handy anyway. 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
The way that printing onto fabric compliments my designs. Seeing the designs on-screen or printed onto paper compared to how they look on fabric is always so different and each type of fabric has it’s own qualities that enhance a design differently. The velvet for example makes the colour and intensity of a design so vivid and strong whereas the silk shows a lot more of the small details and gives hints of unexpected iridescent colour even within greys and browns. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
Wildlife has always been the foundation of my inspiration for a project. With this collection I wanted to create my own imagined wonderland full of kittens, rabbits, eagles and mythical horses. My inspiration came from quite an eclectic range of sources; from fairytales, vintage imagery and other textile designers to collage, photography and abstract painters. Once I’ve gathered lots of research I spend good solid few weeks filling my sketchbook. 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
I work from home so my workspace is my dining table in the living room. I have the house to myself while my boyfriend’s at work during the week so I try to treat that time as my own working hours. I don’t need a lot of equipment since my work is digitally printed externally so my main tool is my laptop but I of course have an array of art supplies for when I’m illustrating too. All of my supplies, stock and tools are organised into draws and shelves around my ‘desk’. 
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Hmmm... Although it’s tempting to choose my favourite textile designers such as Timorous Beasties or Silken Favours, I think it would be really fascinating to have seen Andy Warhol’s Factory or perhaps Grayson Perry’s studio. 
How would you describe your creative process? 
It always starts with lots and lots of drawing. I love to use pens, but also use pencil, collage, ink, pastel and gouache paint. Once I feel I have enough motifs to work with I scan every sketchbook page and use Photoshop to cut everything out and place pieces together almost like a digital collage. This stage takes a lot of experimentation before I get my designs looking right but I love working digitally because you can try so many things out without making any permanent changes. I also use film photography, abstract painting and dyed fabric samples to achieve the textural effects in my backgrounds. When the designs are complete I send them to the digital printers and they return the fabric back to me in a couple of weeks ready to be made up into products.
What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
Thinking about it I think a lot of my favourite things around the house are vintage rather than handmade items, but I do have some handmade favourites too. Most cherished would have to be my necklace with a stag skull pendant made by Mafia. I fell in love when I saw it in a boutique in Cardiff. I’m a bit obsessed with deer so I wore it as a good luck charm to all of my uni interviews. 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
I always find some good relaxing music, a big mug of tea and some incense gets me into more of a creative mood. Scrolling through my Pinterest and Tumblr feeds tends to give me a lot of inspiration too. If I’m really stuck the best thing to do sometimes can be just to take a break and come back to something later with a fresh perspective. Having group tutorials at uni was a great way to get encouragement and new ideas. Plus nothing makes you feel pushed to work harder than seeing how much other people can achieve within the same period of time. 
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Selling in Liberty, Harrods or Anthropologie! Or all of them even, that’s a big dream for me. I hope my brand will be well established in the interior design world by then. I of course want to design and release new collections, and would like to expand my product range into throws, scarves and furnishing fabrics. I love vintage furniture so it would be fantastic if I could start upcycling pieces using my own fabrics and selling them on. And perhaps my very own brick and mortar shop somewhere too, that’d be nice.

Thank you Sky!  Oh yes, we can certainly see your designs in Anthropologie and Liberty, and most definitely in Paper Scissors Stone too!! 
Paper Scissors Stone
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