A shop of our very own!

Iris and Dora Pop-up shop
Iris and Dora Pop-up shop

Iris and Dora Designs is taking over the OSA pop-up shop for the week, in support of Autism Guernsey. We’re getting installed tonight (Sunday), we are exhausted, but we’re pretty pleased with ourselves too and hope we can manage to get some people through the door.

So, far we have learned:
1. The radio is ace! We were on BBC Radio Guernsey last Monday to promote the shop. It was a bit of a last-minute thing, but we ended up having quite a rambling talk for an hour. We’d encourage anyone with a fledging business like ours or an interesting creative sideline to approach the radio as it’s free publicity and apparently people do listen (we weren’t convinced anyone was listening but it turned out our printer was and was rather alarmed at the deadlines we were promising). It’s not intimidating at all, but for less chatty types, you could always join forces with others and descend en mass – we took Andy from Autism Guernsey with us and found the experience enjoyable.
2. Make connections. So we do feel this pop-up is a great opportunity to showcase Iris and Dora, but the experience has been all the better for joining forces with two other creative types (in addition to Autism Guernsey, who invited us to run the shop with them). Warren Hall, a sailmaker with a workshop in St Peter Port, is working with us on a range of bags made our of upcycled sails, which we are launching this week. The lampshade below is part of the range inspired by the Serendipity sail. The sail has been around the world twice so is guaranteed to hold quite a bit of hedge veg for years to come! Daniela of Rustique Guernsey revamps used furniture. Another  upcycling devotee! She has loaned us some of her beautiful pieces for the shop. They are also for sale and she, too, will be donating 15% of profits to Autism Guernsey.
3. Time your shop opening with the Christmas lights going up on Smith Street. Just kidding. We had no idea, but it does make the street look very festive.
shop window, smith street
shop window, smith street
1 week only, pop up shop
1 week only, pop up shop

Open air screen printing workshop in Sark

We are slowly getting our studio back in order after taking our screens and inks to the Sark Folk Festival, and have had some time to go through our photos of the weekend. Whereas at Arts Sunday we were mobbed and could do little more than give people pre-cut stencils, this time we were able to work with people on their own designs. Happily, many adults as well as children decided to give it a go. Here are a few:

Pulling, pulling, steady as she goes
Pulling, pulling, steady as she goes
the big reveal…are you pleased with it girls?
the big reveal…are you pleased with it girls?
I love it!!!
I love it!!!
oooh, you're showing off now!
oooh, you’re showing off now!
Guernsey French translation stall AND screen printers in the same field….inspired!
Guernsey French translation stall AND screen printers in the same field….inspired!
Sreens drying at the Sark Folk Festival
Sreens drying at the Sark Folk Festival
Fab designs by primary school children
Fab designs by primary school children

And after all that hard work, time for cider and a dance:

Morris dancing in Sark with Dora (and v odd hair)
Morris dancing in Sark with Dora (and very odd hair)

Screen printing at Sark school

We are back in the studio after a phenomenally fantastic weekend in Sark. For anyone who doesn’t know it, Sark is a small island with a population of just 600, a 45-minute boat ride from Guernsey. The Sark Folk Festival has been running for three years now and is a small family-friendly, relaxed music festival that brings together folk bands, morris dancers, hirdy girdy players, bag-pipers, lobster catchers, craft makers and now screen printers!

School transport in Sark - there are no cars on the island!
School transport in Sark – there are no cars on the island!

Since we were lugging all of our screens and inks to the festival we decided to offer a workshop to the school as well. There are 34 children at the school between the ages of 4 and 16, taught in three groups. We anticipated a quick two-hour workshop, but a lot of the children decided to design their own stencils rather than use our pre-cut ones so we were there for most of the day.

The combination of small-island life and being taught in mixed age groups seems to make for very independent thinkers and a very supportive group of children.

Sark school pupils preparing screens to print
Sark school pupils preparing screens to print
Some of the younger children printing
Some of the younger children printing

The computer game Minecraft seems to be all the rage in Sark (we’re way too old to know what that is but we were amused when a flipped letter made the slogan “I love Winecraft”) and the ubiquitous One Direction is popular, but there are a lot of original thinkers at Sark school. Have a look at some of their creations:

A few of the finished products drying in the sun
A few of the finished products drying in the sun

And some of the bags already in use:

Bags already in use! (if you want 'horses' on a bag with a Scotty dog who are we to protest?)
Bags already in use! (if you want ‘horses’ on a bag with a Scotty dog who are we to protest?)

Sark Folk Festival here we come!

We are busy busy preparing for Sark Folk Festival and we are very excited about it. Neither of us has been but we have heard a lot about it and know and love some of the bands and singers who will be there. In anticipation, we have prepared a new paper cut, which we think captures the mood. Here it is on children’s t-shirts:

And under that starry night on that small island we danced
And under that starry night on that small island we danced
and the music filled our imaginations
and the music filled our imaginations

On another note, we recently took receipt of some secondhand screen-printing frames and realised how toxic the plastisols most screen-printers work with are. The frames retained residues of ink that we could only clean by using harsh solvents. We took the decision from the start to use soil-association-approved, solvent-free inks, and we are so glad we did, even though they are blummin expensive. It means we only need water to wash our screens and children can screen-print safely and easily. We would recommend them to anyone interested in trying out screen-printing. We use Permaset inks, but there are other solvent-free brands available.