Designer of the Week - Laikonik

Do sublime textiles make you weak at the knees? Perhaps your eyes start widening and your dimples start to dance? Maybe your chin starts twitching and your grin starts growing and your mind wanders off into an artsy, crafty paradise? Well my design loving friends… Meet Kasia from Laikonik; a Sydney-based design studio that creates a range handmade textiles… here’s my review!

Laikonik Once-A-Year Book, Baby Photo Album

The Product Review

Earlier this week, a package, beautifully wrapped in hand silk screened recycled craft paper, and tied up with string, landed in my mailbox. Inside I found a Laikonik “Bundle of Memories”, featuring a Once-A-Year Book and pack of New Baby Photograms in my favourite colour, teal!

The Once-A-Year Book is hand bound using archival paper, and is covered with hand printed hemp textiles, in bird or horse design (teal, red, yellow, or white). The book comes packaged in a hand printed hemp bag, which makes it lovely for gift giving. Plus, there’s a little ‘Chatter Book’ inside where you can record your thoughts, stories and anecdotes.

The concept behind the Once-A-Year Book is to snap a photo each year of your child’s life in order to chronicle their development and capture their little personalities. I love the idea of giving this to a child on their 18th birthday, or perhaps keeping it to display when your little one takes off on their own life adventures. The book has a concertina design which means it is easy to display and store.

My favourite element of this book? The Polish folk-art inspired print on the hemp cover.

The New Baby Photograms are similar in design to the Once-A-Year Book but feature individual baby announcements to send out to your nearest and dearest as precious keepsakes. Each set comes in a pack of four, complete with custom postal wrapper and seal.

The verdict… Modern design meets magical memories

Laikonik Once-A-Year Book, Baby Photo Album

The Indie Label

Laikonik was launched in 2005 after the birth of Kasia’s second child. She wasn’t keen to return to her previous job in graphic design, but still had the desire to keep her hands busy, “searching for colour, fabric, ink and thread”. She started out with a few hand painted fabrics at a market stall in Mosman, Sydney. Soon after her products were being stocked in a local boutique, and today they’re being shipped around the world.

The word Laikonik comes from a Polish folk character called “Lajkonik”. This character takes part in many street festivals and is synonymous with the folk culture. It is a man dressed in a costume of a horse and its rider and is richly decorated with colour, ribbons, bells and lavish embroidery. Kasia says, “I like the name as it symbolises the Polish folkloric culture that my designs are based on but also the name sounds ‘iconic’…”

The Creative Mind

Kasia is a “happy, grateful and wonderful mum” to Isabelle aged 9 and Stanley aged 8. She explains, “They are two energetic bundles of sunshine,  wisdom and love. Both are very creative and enjoy drawing and decorating with me. Isabelle expresses herself very much through her plasticine and clay sculptures and Stanley with various mechanical inventions and woodwork. Just to paint a realistic picture I will add that they both also watch TV, play computer games, argue, and beg for milkshakes nearly every morning on our way to school”.

In describing her design process, Kasia says, “My process is that I just do it! This may sound overly simplistic but it’s the truth. I listen to my intuition which, if you have not managed to learn its language is the bubbly feeling that wells up in your solar plexus, and I follow it when it comes to choosing colour combinations or patterns or techniques”.

“I do a lot of drawing, embroidery, paper cutting, silk screen printing, egg decorating. I’m creative every single day. My process is my life, it’s how I live, the work isn’t work it’s an intrinsic part of who I am. However, there is a process of transferring a drawing onto a commercial product and that is done together with my wonderful business partner Josephine Palmer, a designer herself, as well as various others who help us put a whole product together.”

Laikonik Hand Printed Baby Announcements

The Whimsical Spirit

Here’s three fascinating facts about Kasia (in her own words):

  1. I come from a small town in the south of Poland called Krosno, which translates to “weaving loom”. It used to be the centre of a rich and bustling textile industry. I believe I chose to be born there because my life has been all about the creative expression through textiles and threads richly decorated in folk-art from a beautiful country. What better place to start. I’ve just begun to learn weaving and it feels like I’ve discovered another universe of infinite creativity! I wish I didn’t have to sleep at night.

  2. Living in a communist country in the 70’s and early 80’s with food rations and ridiculous laws, then migrating to Germany, then migrating to Australia and living the migrant life for a few years has taught me to be uber resourceful and life savvy. My mother risked her freedom to get us out of Poland and I observed her and learned from her the skills of being able to make anything out of anything. Now I reckon I could build a fully functioning double story house out of the things people discard. Well, maybe I’m being optimistic! But I see very few limits in life and I know that happiness is a choice and not a feeling that washes over us randomly if we’re lucky or blessed with abundance.

  3. I’m one of the founding members of the NSW Industrial Hemp Association. I feel very passionate about this crop and its applications. At the association we lobby the government to change legislation surrounding the uses of this crop. We also work on presenting information about Industrial Hemp to everyone that is accurate and up to date. Industrial Hemp, free from THC, can be used for building, textiles, food, medicine and cosmetics. We use Hemp textiles for Laikonik products and many people are surprised to hear not only about what a versatile crop this is but also how far the textile technology has come with the production of this fibre. I love being part of this important group. It’s a small thing I’m doing towards the improvement of the worlds ecology.

The Handmade Collection

Along with their lovely photo albums and baby announcements, Laikonik also create a range of printed papers and wall hangings. You can view the full range at Laikonik website or visit them on Facebook for all the latest news.

Laikonik Hand Printed Wrapping Paper

Laikonik Hand Printed Textiles

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