design

Exciting things coming in 2019!

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Exciting meeting

With Holly & Co

Just before Christmas I was invited down to Richmond for a meeting with the three lovely founders of Holly & Co, Holly Tucker, Carrie Gateshill and Gabriella Munro Douglas. I went down to talk about a project that is very special to me, one you might be aware of if you have listened to Holly’s podcast ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ in which I chat about it and how it has shaped what I do now. Link to the episode here: https://holly.co/podcast/zack-mclaughlin-paper-wood/

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I have been chatting with Holly, Gabriella and Carrie for years now but unbelievably I had never been down to visit their Holly & Co headquarters, shop and cafe! All I can say is WOW! What a wonderful space they have created, a true reflection of all their beliefs and love in one place, I just love it! If you get a chance definitely pop down, they have a super shop with beautiful hand made artisan gifts, the cafe is so relaxed and homely with delicious cakes and coffee!! I love the old fashioned feel of the shop too, feels like it has always been there.

They even stock my paper bird kits in their beautiful shop.

They even stock my paper bird kits in their beautiful shop.

They have such a strong message about shopping independent and supporting all the small creative businesses out there and I love them for it!



After enjoying a delicious coffee as I was early, Holly came in and as ever was full of warmth and love, shortly followed by Carrie and Gabriella who all just have the biggest smiles and hugs, you instantly feel a part of the family.

We had a good old catch up and then started discussing the project they want to help me with, my book.

So those of you who have been following me for a while and know my story, you will know what this book is and why it is so important to me, but for those who don’t know what it is, I will explain briefly…

One of my illustrations from Hairy and Scary

One of my illustrations from Hairy and Scary

In my final year of University I decided to write and illustrate my own Children’s book, this Children’s book was called ‘Hairy and Scary’ and it depicts my experiences as a child with an abusive parent, growing up and ultimately freeing myself from the self doubt and emotions that come with it.

After this initial book was made by me, (nowhere near published) I went on to illustrate many other books for a few years as a freelancer and then after 5 years I decided to go back to it and re-illustrate/tweak the story and try to get it published. What transpired changed the course of my life creatively forever.

The boy in the story originally created his own plane to escape the monster holding him captive, but over the years the plane became more and more irrelevant to the story as it is a Robin that inspires him to fly away, so on further reflection I decided it should be a paper bird lantern he creates. In my illustrations I couldn’t get this bird lantern to look right so i went about making a large scale paper bird lantern out of pages from an old book, willow sticks and tissue paper so I could use it as reference to draw from. As I hadn’t made anything like this before it took me around 3 months, but when it was finished I realised this is what I want to be doing, crafting 3D birds out of paper, the spark was ignited.

Now another 5 years since then I am making paper birds daily and selling them all over the world, but ultimately I am always drawn back to the story that started it all and finishing it….

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On hearing this story and it striking a note Holly told me she really wanted to help me get this book finally finished, published and into Children’s and parent’s hands alike, to spread the love and help who it can overcome their demons, as we all have some.

I couldn’t and still can’t believe how she and Holly & Co wanted to help and felt passionate about my book, with help from people like them I know it will happen! Thank you from the bottom of my heart guys!

So look out on my social feeds as well as on here, this year I will be working on this book and hope to release it sometime in the summer….

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Paper and fabric snow for Regent street Winter Retreat 2018

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Regent street Winter Retreat

With Heaps +Stacks & Regent street W1

The build up to Christmas this year was one of the busiest yet, but mainly because I couldn’t say no to so many exciting new projects! None more so than this one. Heaps + Stacks got in touch and asked whether I’d like to work with them to create a window display for a Winter Retreat for shoppers on Regent street, somewhere you could escape from the Christmas chaos and unwind, get your presents wrapped, have a massage as well as take part in workshops. Of course I said yes!

The brief was to create paper and fabric snowfall in all four windows of the stunning new Quadrant arcade on Regent street, it really is a beautiful shopping arcade. I popped down to see the place and measure up…. the windows are huge! I am going to need a lot of fabric, paper and wool….as well as help! So I got right to it with the help of some lovely people, (Lilly, Zoe, Liz, Adam, Nichole and Leah, thank you!)

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The team shredded and cut metres and metres of fabric and paper, varying thicknesses, finishes and sparkle to give a lovely varied feel, much like real snowfall in winter. The fabric had to be slightly transparent like snow too, this picture above demonstrates how effectively it worked. As does this one to the right…

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In around two weeks the team managed to hand sew over 2km of wool through thousands of shreds of paper and fabric. The biggest challenge was not getting them all tangled up! With only a few lengths getting tangled and taking forever to un-tangle!! We got all the lengths to the arcade ready for the install.

The install took us three days, we had to hang a series of white wooden dowels on the ceiling, curving around with the windows yet zig-zagging to allow some depth when we hung the lengths of snow. All four windows are around 3m high and 6m wide….so pretty big!

Once all the dowels were up we went about hanging the lengths, this was relatively easy but we got into a few tangles….not fun to rectify!

An electrician worked closely with us to have lengths of fairy lights running through the snow and I think you can agree, the end result is quite beautiful….

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It was strange because during the entire install there was hoarding up in front of the arcade which meant we could never see it in full from the street… not until we came back in the week after install.

First time we saw the entire front of the arcade with the hoarding down.

First time we saw the entire front of the arcade with the hoarding down.

This was such a fab project, the sort of thing I’d love to work on more in the future. Thank you so much to Heaps + Stacks as well as Regent street W1 for entrusting me with the designs, the whole concept was great and what you created over all was truly beautiful.

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Handbag customisation for Tory Burch

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Painting on Leather

Hummingbirds, Dragonflies and dogs

Tory Burch asked me to spend three weekends in November last year painting on their beautiful leather handbags and customise them for customers walking in and buying on the day. I was slightly nervous about painting onto peoples expensive and beautiful bags but once I got into the swing of it I loved every minute!

Beautiful Tory Burch store front in Milan

Beautiful Tory Burch store front in Milan

I was asked to sit in three of Tory Burch’s beautiful stores in London, Milan and Paris, (so even got to travel a little which was fun!) each store was stunning and beautiful but each had it’s own distinct style. I sat in store amongst all the luxury handbags, clothes and shoes, (feeling slightly out of my comfort zone…) but It didn’t take long to realise that everyone working for Tory Burch are just so lovely and friendly they made me feel like one of the team and I felt like I’d been there always.

Customers were lovely too, always happy to chat and see what it was doing, as well as being so lovely and complimentary about my painting.

They had a selection of 10 designs to choose from, 2 species of hummingbird, a beetle, a dragonfly, a peacock and 5 different species of dog.

Stunning paper art display in the window of Tory Burch Paris

Stunning paper art display in the window of Tory Burch Paris

Designs would take me around 20-30 minutes each to paint.

Designs would take me around 20-30 minutes each to paint.

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Painting directly onto the leather was a joy! It took the paint so well and the colours really popped, details never got lost either, It was genuinely a pleasure. The favourite was definitely the Anna’s Hummingbird, (my favourite too!) but there were lots of Dragonflies requested as well, which would you choose?

A selection of custom designs too…

A selection of custom designs too…

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As a new experience of live painting in front of the customer onto luxury Handbags I can honestly say I loved it! Hopefully I get more projects like this in the future.

Thank you to everyone at Tory Burch! x

Finally made all 10 Paper & Wood hummingbird sculptures!

I have just completed cutting and gluing all of the paper feathers for my latest large piece, 'The Hummingbird tree'. All 10 species below have been hand carved out of wood before each and every feather has been cut out and feathered with my trusty pair of scissors, (you can see them in one of the pics below).

This little guy will be a Violet crowned woodnymph once painted.

This little guy will be a Violet crowned woodnymph once painted.

Some iridescent blue paint will make this one into a violet crowned hummingbird.

Some iridescent blue paint will make this one into a violet crowned hummingbird.

Tiny Ruby Topaz hummingbird sculpture.

Tiny Ruby Topaz hummingbird sculpture.

The beautiful Violet ear hummingbird.   

The beautiful Violet ear hummingbird.

 

The stunning Anna's hummingbird here, can't wait to add all the iridescent paints to this one.

The stunning Anna's hummingbird here, can't wait to add all the iridescent paints to this one.

Beautiful bright paints will make this guy a velvet purple coronet.

Beautiful bright paints will make this guy a velvet purple coronet.

Lovely bright orange paper for this little Rufous Hummingbird sculpture.

Lovely bright orange paper for this little Rufous Hummingbird sculpture.

Violet Sabre wing, one of the largest species of Hummingbird.

Violet Sabre wing, one of the largest species of Hummingbird.

One of the smallest species of hummingbird is this one, The Snow capped.

One of the smallest species of hummingbird is this one, The Snow capped.

Las but not least, The White necked Jacobin.

Las but not least, The White necked Jacobin.

The next step for all of these little hummingbird sculptures is to paint them in lovely bright acrylic paints and attempt to make them look life-like. I do use some lovely iridescent acrylic paints for a lovely shimmer to the feathers just like real hummingbirds have. To achieve this I use Pebeo Studio acrylics, High viscosity paints, they come in some awesome colours and really do add a another level to the paper feathers.

Keep an eye out for them being painted on my instagram, I will be doing some videos of work in progress as well as some mini tutorials on my processes too. See you there guys!