New Designs – Your Thoughts Please

Chicken Plumage Rooster Cockerel Drawing Lulu Kitololo Asilia

Market research - cards7

 

Following the great response I've been getting to my 'African Cities' greetings cards, I'm working on a new set of greeting card designs and would love your input. 

I’ve put together a questionnaire which, you can complete in 10 minutes here. As a thank you, I will send you a free piece of art to download for your personal use.

If you’re in the UK and have 20 minutes to spare before or on November 1st, I’d love to take you through the questions, over the phone or via Skype. As a thank you, I will post you a limited edition art print. Simply email me on lulu [@] weareasilia [dot] com with three times that work for you.

Your information
The information that you share will be used to help me determine which greeting card designs to produce and, how best to get them to people who will find delight in them. This information will not be used for any other purpose and will not be shared with anybody outside my company, Asilia Ltd.

Spreading the Joy
Please submit your responses before the 1st of November and, do feel free to share the questionnaire with others who, might enjoy looking at some colourful images and giving feedback too.

Here’s the link to view the designs and complete the questionnaire: http://goo.gl/forms/10B26zBiyt

 

Thank you in advance!

View more work in progress on Instagram

All images copyright Lulu Kitololo/Asilia Ltd.

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Recent Art Adventures: Appreciation, Inspiration and Making

One of the things I'm really enjoying at the moment is all the art that I'm discovering, experiencing and making. Here are some photos from recent adventures …

1-Mandela-Street-Art-Manchester-Akse-P19

 

While in Manchester recently, it wasn’t all about plant photography. I chanced upon graffiti artist Akse (P19 Crew) working on a Mandela portrait.

 

2-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-by-Dean-Chalkley-Harris-Elliot

 

A few days later, I finally checked out the Return of the Rudeboy exhibition at Somerset House. Created and curated by photographer and filmmaker, Dean Chalkley, and fashion-industry creative director, Harris Elliott, the exhibition “showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces” (exhibition site). Beautiful photography and amazing style – inspiration to up my own game!

 

3-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-by-Dean-Chalkley-Harris-Elliot

 

The exhibition features a few rudegirls too. Here: Zoe Bedeaux.

 

4-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-We-Are-Cuts-Installation
 

I was digging the colours, textures and patterns in this corner of the We Are Cuts barbershop/salon installation.

 

5-Asilia-Team-En-Route-Pangaea

 

A few days after that, the Asilia UK team went to check out Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, at the Saatchi Gallery. You’d think from this picture that I forced them to go!

 

5b Boris Nzebo Art Pangaea Exhibition
 

I loved the colour, lines and layering in the work of Cameroonian artist, Boris Nzebo.

 

6-Asilia-Team-Pangaea-Exhibition-Saatchi-Gallery-Aboudia-Art

 

Kathryn and Lusungu mesmerised by a painting by Ivorian artist, Aboudia.

 

7-Vincent-Michea-Art-Detail-Pangaea-Exhibition

 

This is a detail from a piece by Dakar-based artist, Vincent Michea. This and the piece below celebrate African music. Vibrant, simple but striking.

 

8-Vincent-Michea-Art-Pangaea-Exhibition

 

Over in my maker's corner …

A couple of years ago I shared my desire to spend more time creating. Even though I own a creative business, over the past few years, I’ve found that I haven’t been doing as much making as I’d like. You may have caught my post from a couple of months ago – "Beyond Making" – explaining all the other things that are involved in running a creative business. 

I’m happy to declare that, things are changing! Particularly since June. I’ve been getting my hands ‘dirty’ much more and not only has it brought me much creative satisfaction but, opportunities too! I’ve been receiving such a great response to my illustrated portraits, for example. Here are a few snippets of things I’ve worked on recently.

 

9-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Painting-Patternmaking

 

I’ve been designing the upcoming album cover for musician, Namvula. I created a pattern, inspired by some kitenge (wax print) fabric on a dress she owns. The first step was painting the elements that would make up the pattern.

 

10-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Pattern-Making
 

I then played around with them on the computer and the pattern began to take shape. It was a really hectic week for me – moving offices and preparing to travel, while trying to keep on top of the usual demands. For the first time ever, I took to working on the bus, between meetings and errands! I prefer taking the bus to the tube anyway, especially when it’s as hot as it has been lately. Since the bus usually takes longer, I thought I’d capitalise on that time and be productive.

 

11-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Drawing-Work-in-Progress-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design
 

Above, detail of a drawing I made to be used as a background for an illustrated portrait I was working on …

 

12-Lulu-Kitololo-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design-Illustrated-Portraits-Lizzie
 

… for marketing whiz, Lizzie Phillips. This is the final product. Another satisfied Illustrate Me customer!

 

And that's all for now. Follow me on Instagram (@lulukitololo) for daily adventures in appreciating, finding inspiration for and making art.

 

What are you working on this week?

 

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Buy African: Who Said Beige Is Boring?

Buy-African-Interiors-Furniture-Home-Decor-Beige-Not-Boring

'Beige', as an adjective, often has negative connotations – boring, plain, unimaginative. When we think of African design, we often think of the opposite – a creative kaleidoscope of prints and colours. I thought it would be interesting to find some beautiful design pieces for the home, that prove that beige can indeed delight. It's all about texture!

 

From top, left to right: Set of 3 Ghanaian baskets from Swahili African Modern; Zig Zag Gris mud cloth pillow from Proud Mary; Ecru Fleur a Joure crochet pillow from Proud Mary; Mali bull mask from Weylandts; ceramic crockery by Imiso; Senegalese sewing basket trio from Swahili African Modern; Moroccan leather pouf from Beyond Marrakech; Slat stool by Dokter and Misses; Magnet lounge chair by Vogel Design; Beni Ouarain carpet from Beyond Marrakech.

 

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Pins of the Week: Red, White and Pink

One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get to look for, look at and make beautiful images! Here are some that I came across this week. There was definitely a theme emerging – prints, beads and the red, pink and white palette.

 

Ikire-Jones-Print-Jacket-African-Fashion

Glen-Green-Photo-Jamilla-Okubo-Art

Anthropologie-Lantern-Beaded-African-Necklace

Lanvin-1972-Sabina-Savage-Scarf

 

Images from top:

 

As you know, I 'collect' images over on Pinterest. Come and have a look

Hope you're having a restful, rejuvenating and creative weekend!

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Inspired: African Wedding Cakes

African Inspired Cake Beaded Elizabeths Cake Emporium

 

As much as I try to follow a mostly paleo diet, my one BIG weakness is cake. On Sunday, I was talking about how to win the battle against grains with paleo meal preparation . Today, I'm celebrating sugar, gluten and dairy with these creative African-inspired cakes!

Such is the human being – full of contradictions! In my defense, wedding and celebration cakes are special occasion indulgences. Why go for the traditional plain tiers when you can go for something more distinct and artistic for your once-in-a-lifetime event?

Enjoy!

African Calabash Cake Central

African Animal Print Tower Cake Suite

Africa Wedding Cake by Indulge

Black White African Wedding Cake My Harusi

Unique-African-Bridal-Shoot-FO-Photography-1 Wedding Cake

African Hut Cakes My Harusi

African Calabash Cakes My Harusi

 

It would be great to see creations with more contemporary African imagery/designs – have you come across any?

 

Photos/cakes by (from top): Elizabeth's Cake Emporium (photo via Bridal Musings), Cake Central, Cake Suite, Indulge Cakes, Harusi, Elizabeth's Cake Emporium (photo via Bridal Musings), HarusiHarusi

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Photos from The African Market at Old Spitalfields, London

1-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Burst-Recycled-Textile-Pouches

 

I spent Monday hanging out with Lusungu at the Creativity and Noise and Merkato stall at The African Market Bank Holiday Festival, presented by Open the Gate at Old Spitalfields Market. There was entertainment, food and a variety of African and African-inspired art, design and crafts. I got to chat to some of the designer-makers and creative entrepreneurs – it’s always inspiring to be around other creative people!

Enjoy the photos and do check out these great brands and makers. Prepare your senses for a print and colour explosion! 

(Photo above: recycled textile pouches by BURST. Contact: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com)

 

2-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Creativity-Noise-Tshirts-Merkato-Baskets

Lusungu with his screenprinted Creativity and Noise t-shirts and Merkato baskets and toys

 

3-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Creativity-Noise-Tank-Winkate

Happy customer Winkate, rocking her brand new Africrown tank from Creativity and Noise

 

4-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Serenity-Bags-Plastic-Senegal

Woven plastic bags from Senegal, available from Serenity Bags: senebagz [at] gmail [dot] com

 

5-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Ankara-Wax-Print-Hoodie-Snood

Hoodies by Open the Gate

 

6-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Ankara-Wax-Print-Shoe-Laces

Shoe laces by Open the Gate

 

7-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Evie-Nix-Ankara-Wax-Print-Corset

Trying on a fabulous corset by Evie Nix (don't ask about the face!)

 

8-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Evie-Nix-Ankara-Wax-Print-Jewellery-Earrings-Bracelets-Cuffs

More ankara/wax print goodies from Evie Nix, including bangles, cuffs and earrings

 

9-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Sapelle-Ankara-Wax-Print-Weekend-Bag

Wishlist: this green weekend bag  and the yellow Choolips dress, available from Sapellé

 

10-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Burst-Lavender-Pouches-Ankara-Wax-Print-Recycled-Textiles

Textile recylcing – lavender pouches made from wax print off-cuts. By BURST: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com

 

11-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Sapelle-Beaded-Bracelets

Beaded bracelets from Sapellé

 

12-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Tymo-Shirts-Shorts-Ankara-Wax-Print

13-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Tymo-Ankara-Wax-Print-Shirts-Shorts

Loved these shirts, shorts and t-shirts by TYMO

 

14-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Fee-Uhssi-Multicultural-Ethical-Fashion

After years of communicating virtually, I finally got to meet fashion designer Fée Uhssi in the flesh! 

 

15-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Dolls-by-Verona-C

Dolls by Verona.C

 

16-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Dolls-by-Verona-C

And the lady Verona herself!

 

17-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-House-of-Lulee-Baby-Bibs-Booties-Ankara-Wax-Print

Bibs and booties from the House of Loulee

 

18-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-House-of-Lulee-Baby-Clothing-Toys-Ankara-Wax-Print

Lucy of House of Loulee. Last Christmas she custom made some beautiful boots for my friend's 18 month old and a funky sweater for Lusungu.

 

19-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Kakatsitsi-Drummers

Story time!

 

20-African-Market-Open-The-Gate-Old-Spitalfields-Musical-Entertainment

I didn't catch the name of the last band that performed. Let me know if you did!

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo (except the one of Lulu, taken by Yvonne of Evie Nix), with a little love from VSCOcam.

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Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo

Jamilla-Okubo-Art-Prints

 

I love the colour, pattern and personality in these prints from Jamilla Okubo’s series, ‘We The People of the Diaspora – Black Culture Exploration’. African-American/Kenyan native Jamilla is an Integrated Fashion Design student and a self-declared painter, textile artist, designer and graphic artist. 

Regarding her prints, her site reads: 

"The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.”

 

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp3_905

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp2_905

 

I’m really impressed by Jamilla’s entrepreneurialism. Her prints are on sale online and she’s already received some great press mentions and interviews for her work. In my own experience, the hustling I did before graduation (including spending most of my holidays interning) definitely made a difference when I entered the so-called real world.

Find out more about Jamilla and her diverse work.

 

Images via Jamilla Okubo's website 

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Earth Day Celebration: Nature as Creative Inspiration

Earth Day Squash

Nature has always been my number one source of creative inspiration. The diversity abundant in the flora, fauna and landscapes that surround us have been inspiring artists, craftspeople and designers, around the world, for centuries.

In this late Earth Day post (you may have noticed TypePad was down for a few days last week), I wanted to share some photographs I’ve taken – most of them recent, thanks to my new enjoyment of Instagram, and a couple from the archives.

Patterns in nature

Wundanyi Taita Hills Plants Pattern
The leaves above were found in my Aunt and Uncle’s garden in Wundanyi, a beautiful town in the Taita Hills. I love stripes in general so these leaves caught my eye. The photo was taken on my phone and I had some fun with VSCOcam to play with colour (the leaves are actually a dull greyish green) and really bring out the pattern.

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The Afri-love List: 5 Must-Follow Pinners

AphroChic Juju Hats Kuba Cushions

An abundance of Pinterest inspiration awaits you ,with all things Afri-fabulous and much much more. Here are some of my favourite Pinners and a few images to give you a taste of what to expect from their boards … 

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How to: Create a Great Web Presence + Other Top WOW Festival Picks

WOW-Women-of-the-World-Festival-Southbank

It's that time again – the annual Southbank Centre Women of the World Festival takes place this week, in London.

A couple of years ago, I presented on Digital Tapestries and, taking that theme to another level, this year I will be running a workshop entitled 'How to: Create a Great Web Presence'.

Most of us want to spend most of our time honing our craft – doing what we love most. However, for most of us to continue doing this, somebody's got to buy.

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