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mydeco goes under Ella Doran’s umbrella (Ella Ella) 12 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in design boutique blog.
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If there’s one thing Ella Doran is, it’s creative. Her eye for detail and colour bring the generic mug, coaster and tray to life with vibrant photography and eye-catching subject matter. So no doubt you’ll know (and love – how can you not?) her kitchenware even if you don’t know Ella. But there’s far more to it than flowers and sweets – as I found out when I popped along to her Cheshire Street shop.
Ella Doran Magnolia mug and tea

What was once mostly studio with a shop window attached, is now a colourful  boutique with green leaved umbrellas, knitted children’s chairs, Sweetie Love mugs and a whole lot more. She’s had to expand – demand for Doran’s trademark photographic designs has soared over the past few years and she sells with John Lewis as well as being part of our exclusive design boutique.

So, just how did she carve such a ‘boumercial’ niche for herself? (that’s boutique/commercial btw. See what I did?) She said: ‘There’s a lot of beautiful illustrative designs out there, and we are offering something different with my bold vibrant photographic eye and passion for colour and detail.

‘Photography is becoming more and more widely used; with the advent of the digital camera everyone can essentially take a great photo, but I shoot specifically and work on the image in post production creating repeats from often quite small aspects of the photograph.’

Ella Doran Geo wallpaper and tray and Sunlight through Leaves  blind and placemats

Her lovely assistant, Ruth, showed me some examples. Take her Geo collection, above left. The original shoot focussed on just a small section of the geometric design, yet the post-photo work repeated the image seamlessly to create it’s eye-fuzzing effect – you’d never know!

This brings me, nearly as seamlessly, to Ella’s brand new (quote) ‘never before seen’ Geo Play silk scarf. Ruth showed me a sample and it’s so new, in fact, that the hemlines still needed to be sewn.

Ella Doran Churchill Sweetie Love mug and Pinky umbrella

Image credit: Ella Doran @ design boutique

Ella’s latest success has been her umbrellas – made by the manufacturers that keep the Queen’s silvery head dry: ‘They invented the see-through umbrella for the Queen, so she could stay dry and see people,’ explains Ruth.

‘The Pinky umbrella, aka Meadow umbrella, is a take on this design with a floral edge. We sold out with the four trial designs and our manufacturer had to order extra to meet the demand.’

Ella Doran's Artists brushes mug and tray

My favourite design, Artist’s Tools, above.

Watch out for more new products on the Ella-horizon: a new stripey collection for men, new designs for Churchill China plus aprons, tea towels and oven gloves in her Sweetie Love pattern. A brilliant way to brighten up your cooking – afterall, who wants generic white oven gloves with those tell-tale scorch marks of black sausages and tears…?

What do you think of Ella Doran? Rate her with a comment below >


Ella Doran’s London Design Festival plans 4 September, 2009

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A couple of days ago I caught up with surface designer extraordinaire Ella Doran, to find out what she’s up to during the London Design Festival.

Quite a lot it turns out. And what’s more, it’s all for a good cause.


Image credit: Ella Doran

As part of their House of Cards campaign (which aims to raise awareness about the UK housing crisis) Shelter have organised a super-cool exhibition of work by artists, designers and architects – and Ella is one of the big names.

‘[Homelessness] is such a poignant cause, and so now’, Ella told me. ‘And it’s all the more humbling because it is happening during London Design Festival, the week when we celebrate design, houses and the interior. I think it should act as a rain check [for the industry]. It’s great that we are able to produce beautiful designs, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of others.’ Well said.

And this isn’t any ordinary exhibition, either. Oh no. The folks at Shelter have done something a little different. To fit with their theme, they’ve invited contributors to create works of art based on different cards from the pack. Ella’s 3 of Diamonds pillow (above) is based on the ‘concept of having shelter and somewhere to rest your head’.

Other famous creatives getting involved include Damien Hirst, Alexander McQueen, Rankin, Vivienne Westwood,  David Bailey, Sophie Conran and Sir Terence Conran and Henry Holland.

Quite an impressive line-up, wouldn’t you say? And guess who has the inside track on whose creating what?

A little birdie told me yesterday that Henry Holland has designed the Four of Diamonds as a dress, Sophie Conran has represented the Four of Spades using hand pressed paper with pressed leaves, and Sir Terence Conran has created the Ten of Spades as a self-portrait.

The full deck will be on display from the 24-28 September at the Haunch of Venison Gallery. Get down there and check it out.


Image credit: Martin Parr and Magnum (left) and Peter-McDonald (right)

But that’s not all that Ella is getting up to with Shelter. She has also invited numerous designers, artists and illustrators to design placemats for her aptly named ‘There’s no place like home‘ exhibition and auction. The exhibition will be held at her shop in Chesire street from 19 September – 3 October and launches with a tea party!

When I spoke to Ella, she was getting rather exctied about the imminent event: ‘It’s definitely going to have the wow factor. We’ve got so many artists contributing designs we’ve gutted our small shop to fit them all in! We want the way we exhibit the work to be as impressive as the pieces themselves’. She also revealed that her favourite designs from the collection are by Martin Parr and Peter McDonald (above).

Ella’s own photographic placemats are just as beautiful. My favourite are the Sunlight Through Leaves set – firmly on my wish list.

A silent auction will be held throughout the exhibition to sell the placemats, and all proceeds will go to Shelter. Why not head down and place a bid? Purchases that contribute to charity are fully justifiable in my eyes!

Three cheers for Shelter, Ella and art with heart.