Woody Ellen’s bags. Come in to the world of beauty. Interview with Ellen.
I found out about Woody Ellen (woody-ellen.com) in The Netherlands, during the Succubusnl Open day.
I didn’t plan to buy a bag that day but it was love at first sight!
I decided to visit the place where Woody Ellen’s masterpieces are created- her shop in Lovendegem, and buy some more of those amazing bags!
I felt like a kid in a candy store!
As a result of my visit, except for an amazing chat with super talented lady, I have something to present you as well- an interview with Ellen and soon contest that we have prepared for you together with Ellen, PinUp News and E-Vintage.pl!
Cherry Bee: Tell us briefly about yourself?
Woody Ellen:I’m Ellen Cornelis, I studied graphic design and illustration in Ghent. I was working as an illustrator of children’s books. My specialty was the art education. In my spare time, I painted on wooden panels, with lots of flowers and colors. Just for myself. On a whim, I made a bag with a print of one of my paintings. I received so many wonderful responses, that the idea of the bags with the prints was born!
ChB:”The world is full of beautiful things like you.” What’s the story behind Woody Ellen?
WE: In 1999 I started painting to feel better, to get out of the sadness. My mom had just died. Painting color worlds and flowers gave me new strength and joy to continue. I think my mom was the little fairy that gave me the inspiration. The paintings seem like conversations with my mom.
ChB: How did your Woody Ellen company start?
WE: Once a year all publishers and illustrators meet on the children’s book fair in Bologna.
I have printed out on of my paintings on a bag and took it with me there.
People could notice me better with my big bag. But what was the most striking, was the fact, that people on the streets of Bologna were stoping me, and asking where I got it. I explained that I had made it myself. I was really flattered by all the compliments of the Italians, even old women were amazed by my creation.
CHB: I understand that this fair pushed you to start working with the printed fabrics. But why handbags?
WE: I have a weakness for handbags, I have a wall full of small hooks and I hang my handbag just like you would hang paintings. I cannot wear them all at once, right? But I can enjoy them sitting there and looking at them.
ChB: Are your products 100% Belgian?
WE: As a cook does not like to release his recipe, I’d rather not tell you how I make the bags. Lets say that everything is European. The paintings and designs are 100% my work.
ChB: In your offer we can find not only handbags but also mirrors, wallets, glasses cases. Are you planning to create more accessories with your paintings, like earrings or pendants?
WE: My priority is a new model of a handbag. Maybe a full leather handbag.
In 2016 I will have Agenda’s of my work, I have collaborated with a company called Brepols.I’m slowly starting to collaborate with other companies.
ChB. What is a retro for you? Describe the essence of retro.
WE:Retro is referring to the 30, 40, 50 and 60. In my case I get inspiration from the old postcards, botanical books. I mix that with my color inspirations, writing and my freedom as a painter. The most important thing is that the nostalgic atmosphere inside is alive.
ChB. I have noticed that your designs are based primarily on nature. Nature is you biggest inspiration?
WE:Probably, but also artists like the Fauves Matisse for example, he wasn’t limited by the colours of the palette. So I take the liberty to change colours and to give my own interpretation of the reality.
ChB: Do you follow trends?
WE: I am influenced by retro, boudoir, burlesque, rockabilly, pinup style …
But those are timeless for me. I also look at what the big designers do today. I seek inspiration in the works of the old artists from the Renaissance and Romanticism. I don’t want to have tunnel vision. I enjoy the world in the broadest sense of the word. I’m very visual.
ChB: Do you have a favorite style of clothing?
WE: I love the dresses from Daisy Dapper, my Swedish friend /designer.
ChB: Do you collaborate with the stores in Poland where we can buy your bags and accessories?
WE: Not yet but it’s about time! I am open for new collaborations.
ChB: You are working with many international models: Idda van Munster, Acid Doll and Greta MaCabre are promoting your collection. How the collaboration started?
WE:They found me, miraculously. And asked if they could work with me.
ChB: What are your dreams for the future?
WE: Many beautiful collaborations with people. And developing great products that can enhance my brand. I always want to surprise myself in painting. Once I have a nice group of artworks, then I’ll exhibit them.
Simply-making people happy with my work, give them strength and energy though!
Thank you very much for your time and I wish you that all your dreams come true!