I am a surface pattern designer / illustrator based in England, currently shifting between Birmingham and Manchester. I set up on my own at the beginning of 2009 and haven’t looked back since. I have a great interest in producing intricate, hand drawn illustrations which I then combine with my love for interior decoration, pattern, archival designs, etc. My debut collection of wallpapers, ‘Peonies, Lilies and Other Pretties’ was launched in summer 2009, winning me the ‘New Designer of the Year’ award, as well as one of the designs being shortlisted by Elle Decoration for ‘Best Surface Design 2009’ at the British Design Awards. Liberty of London became my first stockist, and I now have various distributors around the world.
I’m currently working on new designs (being sampled as we speak!) for wallpapers, as well as cushions which will be launched this summer. I also work as a freelance illustrator with recent clients including Johnson & Johnson and Laura Ashley Home.
what three to five words would you use to describe your work?
Hand-drawn. Colour. Pattern.
what inspires you?
Anything colourful, hand drawn, fun, not generic looking and someone who is prepared to take risks in their work. Anyone who is told they can’t do something a certain way and do it, well, I also like.
what was your first job? when/how did you know you wanted a career in art?
My very first job was working in a sweet shop aged 15 for £2.50 an hour. Luckily I liked art and making things from a very early age, so knew I wouldn’t be weighing bags of sweets all my life. I used to paint my family and friends pictures, decorate flower pots – that sort of thing when I was about 8. I then took art and graphic design at school, and never looked back from there really.
finish this sentence. I could eat ____all day.
design books/blogs you can't live without
No books in particular, just anything to do with botanical/organic prints and illustrations - especially archival ones, and anything to do with vintage textile design. The V&A always have good books, as well as some of the books from the British Transport Museum. Blogs I like looking at recently are Katy Elliott – nice documentation of an old house restoration plus lots of posts on textiles/wallpapers. Also The Snail and The Cyclops – Lots of vintage prints and illustrations blogged about, really nice.
what do you do when you are not doing art?
Oh lots of things – Cooking (mostly cakes and puddings, mind), drinking tea, lots of different tea – I am English after all, nothing a nice brew can’t fix. Going to vintage/craft fairs, museums/galleries, seeing friends – dancing, chattering, swimming, gym-ing it (not so much). I am also in a constant battle of growing out / cutting back in a fringe, it’s a vicious cycle that I see no end to.
name one thing about you that would shock the outside world.
I’m working on new designs that don’t have a single flower in them.
finish this sentence. If I could time travel, I would arrive...
On the 28th October 2009, just before I dropped my external hard drive on the floor and lost quite a bit of work.
New designs, new products this summer. More commission pieces, new stockists and a move into a larger studio space.