Clearing Clutter with Organized Chaos

Brighton is a sunny seaside town on the south coast of England in the United Kingdom. It’s home to a community of artists, designers, and creatives including Ellie Rains, who has released her collection of ceramic and cork containers that seek to create calm and order among the chaos of a cluttered desk.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Semi Porcelain, Sycamore and Resin Sphere

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Terracotta and Cork

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Semi Porcelain and Cork

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Minature

With their sleek lines and intriguing shapes, the items drew me in immediately. So I got in touch with Ellie to find out a bit more about the collection.

Where did you come up with the idea for Organized Chaos?
About a year ago I was given the book ‘The Organised Mind’ by Daniel Leviten, a physiological book on how to be more organised in the digital age and it sparked my initial interest in the project.

I decided I wanted to make a collection of vessels that would stand out as a place I would want to put these objects that are constantly running through my hands: keys, phones, glasses, headphones, stationery, any nomadic bits and pieces. If their destination felt more valuable to me and was pleasing to the eye, I would remember that either a belonging was there or that it should be placed there. 

Went it came on to the forms. I tried to marry my two passions of Memphis inspired objects and simple elegant Scandinavian design. The pastel blue and yellow color palette was chosen because of its calming serene qualities.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - mixed collection of vessels and desk tidies

What do you like to do as a distraction from working?
I love running. Nothing calms my mind better than running along the Brighton seafront at dawn when the sun’s coming up and the water is still. It’s the ultimate meditation for me.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Key Holder and Terracotta Vase

What are your favorite mediums to work with?
Though my main background from an early age is ceramics, I really enjoyed working with cork this year. It carves off like butter on the lathe so it’s really fast to work with and after an initial start with a chisel, the majority of the form can be sculpted just from sand paper. Plus its softness means it contrasts well with the ceramic lids and is a great sound muter when dropping objects into the vessels.

Design process for Organized Chaos series

During the design stage was there a lot of trial and error, or did the final pieces shape up as you expected?
It came down to a lot of trial and error throughout each process. Because the ceramic lids are obviously open with no base, they’re much more liable to warping in the kiln and no ends of work just didn’t quite make it. I couldn’t make any of the sycamore or cork bases until all the ceramics were done because each one is made specifically to fit the size of its lid.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Resin and Jesmonite Test Samples 2

As for the resin spheres, it was impossible to predict how the suspended desk ephemera would turn out. I loved all my small test tiles, even suspending objects like Lego, but when I went larger, the pencil sharpenings were the most eye pleasing.

Despite the trial and error through the process stage though I’d always envisaged this is how the forms would turn out.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Pencil Sharpening Sphere

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Resin and Jesmonite Test Samples 1

What’s your personal home interior style?
I love the simplicity in Scandinavian style and try to emulate that in my surroundings.

I think I need that calmness to help counteract my hectic busy life.  Color is really  important to me. I love occasional bold colors against a clean white background, especially red, I seem to have a thing for the color red.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on Terracotta and Sycamore

Is your studio an example of organized chaos?
…no comment! It all makes sense to me, but it might not to an outsider.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Blue duo in use

Are you less distracted now with your pieces hiding the clutter?
I used to hate it at school when they preached ‘Tidy Desk = Tidy Mind’, but now that I can’t see the clutter my mind is definitely more at ease.  It’s also much more enjoyable sorting my desk area now that I have a destination for all the bits and pieces that used to frustratingly just float around. I’ve even learnt to misplace my keys a lot less now I know where I’m supposed to keep them.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Minature colour variations

Where can we get one of your pieces?
Excitingly, a few niche retailers have requested stocking but I’m not currently in a position to  give them the volume they would require so watch this space for more on that later in the year. However all the work on my website is available to buy via email requests.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on - Blue Trio

What are you working on next? Do you have any nine sided pieces in the pipelines?
I’ve got plans to develop this collection further; new colors and forms, a baby pink addition to the pastel theme, and adding a lot more playful elements with silicone and resin but still maintaining the essence of modular deskware vessels.  I’m moving towards editorial and styling while continuing making alongside so it’s going to be a busy few months ahead.

Ellie Rains Organized Chaos Collection on Illustrator designs desk tidy

Many thanks to Ellie Rains for the interview, and I look forward to seeing the range develop. You can find out more about purchasing the Organized Chaos collection from Ellie Rains’ website.

Project: Organized Chaos

Design: Ellie Rains

Photos: Ellie Rains