Eek! Print and Illustration – open now in Leeds

3 Feb

Ok, So I’m back from Christmas/New Year distractions with lots to tell you about..

I haven’t just been quaffing mulled wine and lounging about (although that has happened – quite frequently). I’ve also been opening a brand new, all singing, all dancing, real life shop! It’s called Eek!, it’s a Print and Illustration hub and it’s in collaboration with Jil from Jil Made This and Chloe from Life’s Big Canvas


Here we are the day before we opened holding our cute shop branding c/o Jil..



Since September 2013 Jil and I jointly ran our shop within Handpicked Hall in the Grand Arcade, Leeds. The shop proved really popular with lots of lovely customers and we decided to evolve and expand. Jil has taken the helm as boss lady and we’ve taken on a number of other artists and illustrators.



We sell a range of beautiful, original work which you can see if you visit our Facebook Page at or by coming to visit us Wednesday to Sunday. 

That’s all for now folks!


Pompom alert…

5 Dec

Did you know, Christmas is nearly here?  Well, it’s been here for a good few weeks in retail land and I finished work on the festive window displays for the 3 Handpicked Hall stores in November.

Pompoms feature strongly this year…a mere 350 in total. Mostly strung and hung by yours truly, from high up on a wobbly ladder!


The neon lights which shine at night make the pompoms change colour.  The scheme we went for was mint, claret and cream with some highlights of olive and lime green. 




The window decal wording is in a beautiful bronze colour which looks fantastic but was a nightmare to stick on straight!




Skipton Window – But how did we get in..and out?



Work in progress…One of the Chilli Trees in the Skipton Food Hall



So, 350 pompoms fluffed and hung, 12 trees decorated (after being wrestled with to stand straight), 15 hanging hoola hoop decorations made and numerous amounts of buying, knot tying (and possibly some crying) and we’re finally ready for Christmas after another great team effort – Thanks Jil!

Now we just need to think about a new design for the January window…

When I’m cleaning windows..

5 Nov

The Deco Press has had a small, but not insignificant, diversion into visual merchandising and over the last few month. VM, as it known to those in the trade, or faffing around with shop windows to those who are not, is a creative and fun way to spend a working day.

I’ve been working for 3 Independent department stores called Handpicked Hall (where I also have a Deco Press pop up shop) with my lovely friend and colleague Jil Smith of Jil Made This. We designed the concept of ‘An Independent Revolution’ to celebrate the launch of this new independent retail shopping brand over the summer and the results have been in situ for the last few months.

Part of our brief was to use previously un-discovered Beatles images by local photographer, Paul Berriff. Can you imagine this happening today?!



In Leeds the store is situated in the Victorian Grand Arcade on two levels and has around 22 separate windows to fill…


ImageNow it’s November though, all this is coming down as it’s time for all things Christmas…

Bar domination continues…

21 Sep

If good things come in 3′s then I may be getting a call soon…If they don’t then it’s ok as I might start running out of pictures!


What am I talking about? Well, The Deco Press now has 9 pictures on display upstairs in The Midnight Bell, Leeds Brewery’s Flagship pub in the centre of the city. I chose an eclectic assortment of images dating from 1912 up to 1930. They’re all black and white and work well with the aubergine walls. The management were looking for artwork which complemented the mismatched vintage furniture, old beams and exposed brickwork. 





Hanging them was fun…I had to work around customers who were finishing long Friday lunches. I found that trying to hammer quietly and un-noticed is hard. I also nearly slipped over in my wooden cowboy boots on the very shiny wood floor. Luckily the results look good!




Pictures for a Bar…

28 Aug

I had a lovely call last week from the friendly owners of the about to be opened Preston Bar in Leeds. Could I provide some Art-Deco posters for the moody (Hague blue) wall in their beautifully designed new drinking establishment?

Of course the answer was yes, and 4 fab images now enhance the quirky and ever so slightly eccentric decor that the North Bar team are famous for.



And they have lovely wallpaper in the toilets too…



A nice result all round.

French field, 100s of sellers, dust, sun, heavy bags = Cool old stuff

5 Aug




ImageThis is what a Vide Grenier in France looks like (it means empty attic by the way).

Pretty shabby and full of junk I hear you say?? This is indeed true,  but you can also find some gems amongst the tat!



Au Revoir!



Small Independents Rock.

28 Jul



We’re just coming to the end of Independent Retailer Month which aims to promote…you guessed it..the name’s in the title.

This interests me. Why you ask? Well, since it opened in June I’ve been involved with a really interesting new business right in the heart of Leeds City Centre. It’s called Handpicked Hall and you might remember me mentioning it in a previous post.

It’s a gorgeous Victorian building full of small independent retailers including a few of my new favourites –  McDonough and Davies bespoke invitations, That Old Chestnut cakes, Jil made this handprinted illustrations and Our Handmade Collective who are doing great things to promote all the small designer/makers they support.

In a world where big brands constantly bombard us with bland, sterile products it’s so great to see real people, true originality and the passion behind the products we buy. I want the real story, not a mass marketing campaign.

The Independent Shops website says “ For every £1 you spend in a local independent shop or locally owned business up to 70p benefits your local community, whereas if you shop at an out of town centre or online with one of the retail multiples, as little as 5p finds its way back.”

If you look there are always options to buy local, it just requires a little more thought than one click ordering on A*****, the world’s largest online retailer.

As an American global footwear brand says;

Just do it.

Shop local that is!

It’s nearly holiday time..

18 Jul


Well, it’s been a hot few weeks and it’s nearly holiday time – yippee!

School’s out soon and in a week or so we’ll be heading to France for some much needed R&R (that’s rummaging and relaxation for those of us who love flea markets and antique shops!)

We’re not going as far as Nice but will be driving to the Loire Valley with two young’s going to be interesting..

The plan is to buy lots of new stock for The Deco Press shop and I’ll post pictures of my lovely new finds as soon as I get them. Au revoir!



What’s in a name?…

28 Jun


Using good old fashioned pen and paper and a some brain cells..Thinking up my business name has been one of the most enjoyable tasks I’ve done since starting up my business!

Many of us have spent hours thinking about what we’d call our dream business if it ever came to fruition or come up with the ‘perfect’ business name but with no idea what the business would really do..

Well, I started out knowing I wanted to sell vintage advertising. It was probably going to be mostly French, initially at least, and I knew the era I loved most, and had most stock from, was the 1920s art deco period. I needed a name that captured the feel of my products, indicating what I would sell while also giving me scope for future expansion of my product line.

I did loads of brainstorming and doodling in the back of my colourful leather notepads (turquoise being the current favourite). I initally started off with the name ‘Vintage Prints’ because that’s what I sold. Not very imaginative but it was a starting point and enabled me to at least put an identifiable business name on the pictures I was selling.

Then a number of people suggested using my own name as my business name. I didn’t think this would work as I had a clear idea of the brand I was wanting to create and that wasn’t going to be based on me personally…plus my name is a bit too long!

I love typography, old letterpress letters, faded ink and antique paper and thought that the word ‘Press’ perfectly described the adverts from old press magazines I was selling.

The penultimate name I came up with was actually ‘The Vintage Press’ but, luckily I now think, there is already a swanky, art-nouveau style restaurant in California with this name who also owned the domain.

The next evening while writing new lists of all the key words which represented what I wanted to do, I replaced ‘Vintage’ with ‘Deco’ and realised I had found my name. 

Amazingly no-one else registered it and the domain for both and .com was available.  I snapped them up!

Overall it took me around 4 months to come up with ‘The Deco Press’. And I LOVE it!

I’d love to know the process you used to come up with your business name and if you are still happy with it later down the line…




Coming up: Registering and hosting a new business domain name


Edinburgh International Film Festival – You can watch films there..

20 Jun



The 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival opened yesterday and runs until 30th June. I’ve visited the Festival in a work capacity – it was particularly hard watching my 4th great film of the day knowing I then had to ‘network’ in the gorgeous bars and restaurants of this ‘dream in masonry and living rock’ (poetic observation from Robert Louis Stevenson..)

Anyway, I managed ok and am this year intrigued by two very different directors showing there.

With more of a high art vibe, there will be a retrospective of the work of French Director Jean Grémillon who made many well regarded films from the 1920s through to the 1960s and during the time when Europe was in turmoil and under German occupation. His work has strong links to the avant garde, art and music and should be interesting to watch knowing the historical context.

In a different vein, the new film “Frances Ha” by one of my favourite directors, Noah Baumbach will have its UK premiere tomorrow. Baumbach of The Squid and the Whale fame has again set this film in New York, and also Paris, and a film with these cities as a backdrop has got to be worth a watch.

To anyone currently smoozing up in Edinburgh and enjoying the films..I wish I was there!



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