A CREATIVE MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM
Louella Odié is a partnership between mother-daughter team Karen and Lauren Mead. We design handbags and lifestyle products for coastal living. As a sailing family the coast and the sea has always been close to our hearts and we live between the islands of Lamma in Hong Kong and the Isle of Wight in the UK. Having been born in Hong Kong Karen has always found an oriental twist in her artwork and that theme underpins the beautiful prints that she produces.
WHO IS LOUELLA?
Louella is Karen! To her closest friends Karen has been known as ‘Louella’ for the past 20 years because they felt the name more accurately captured her personality and eccentricities. The second name (pronounced like the letters ‘O-D-A’) comes from Karen’s mother’s surname and we felt it was important to us to include it to remember the strong women in our family. To us Louella Odié has a personality of her own, built around a love of colour and pattern, the outdoors and strong women.
Karen always been irrepressibly creative and has found outlets as diverse as TV-work, mural painting, ceramics and topiary before returning to her first love and getting a Masters in print making. On her return to Hong Kong she saw the opportunity to use print making in a commercial sphere by applying her prints to various materials. Karen uses the traditional techniques of lino printing, which are very simple and direct, and then combines those with modern technology in order to apply her patterns to silk, leather and other surfaces..
A lino print is created when a piece of lino is carved using specialist tools to remove part of the surface to make the design or picture. Ink is then rolled on top. The carved area appears white and the uncut area holds the ink and creates the image when printed. In some of Karen’s larger pieces there are many thousands of individual cuts in the lino and a large print can take 10-14 days of labour intensive work.
Karen continues to have exhibitions of her own work, some of which becomes beautiful designs on Louella Odié products. You can see Karen’s latest work on her personal website here.
As a family we have always had a love for oceans and islands and every shade of blue. Karen spent all of the holidays of her childhood exploring the many outlying islands of Hong Kong on her family’s boats which gave her a deep love of coastal living. She then met and married a sail-maker which anchored her even more firmly to the sea! Their eventual home on the Isle of Wight reflected the fact that the whole family had become competitive sailors who couldn’t countenance living inland. When we came back to Hong Kong the chance to live on Lamma and reconnect with the tropical island style of Karen’s childhood was too good to miss. Summers are still spent on the Isle of Wight because the family would never miss Cowes Week.