Artist Interview - Sally Scaffardi

I was born and bred in Yorkshire and lived in Manchester, Leeds, London before finally settling in rural Nottinghamshire. I live and work from my home studio up a quiet country lane with my husband Rob, dog Oscar and 3 sons who come and go when they need a break from their busy student lives. We are surrounded by wildlife and flowers so there’s plenty to inspire creativity.

My studio started off as a photography studio 17 years ago where I combined portrait photography with bespoke floral artworks. Initially, my photography work was darkroom based but following the digital revolution, the opportunities for creativity were boundless so the transition was a no-brainer. I’ve always been a doodler if I have a pen or pencil in my hand. These days most of my doodling is with a graphics tablet and pen.

I am a really untidy worker so I couldn’t bear to show you an image of my work environment – I tell my family it’s because I’m creative – I’m not sure they’re convinced!

I spent many years experimenting with photography and digital illustration creating my own style. My passion became my career after I entered a competition run by The Fine Art Trade Guild with one of my floral artworks. One of the judges worked for a fine art publisher which lead to them licensing many of my designs over the years for fine art prints.

I took the plunge back in 2011 and started my own greeting card publishing company ‘Sally Scaffardi Design’. My first trade show was Top Drawer, London September 2011 where I exhibited 48 cards with a floral theme and some gift wrap and notebooks. I was lucky enough to be awarded ‘Best new product in Stationery & Greetings’. This gave me the confidence to put all my energy into the greeting card industry and to put the floral artworks and portrait photography on the back burner.

My designs have evolved a lot over the past 7 years and are very much more animal based with an emphasis on humor these days. My inspiration is driven by my passions in life …. family, friends, humor, good food, wine, soccer, dogs, wildlife, flowers, interior design, great architecture, a good book to name a few. Anything can inspire a card design such as a passing comment made by a stranger in a shop, a joke heard on the radio, a road sign, really anything. It often starts with a funny real-life situation or a wordplay and then I imagine a design to work with it. Most of my designs come to me in the night at around 3am – essential to tap the idea into my phone so as not to forget it.

At present I have in the region of 400 designs which I publish on greeting cards, gift wrap, wooden postcards and notebooks which are sold by retailers around the world.

An average day for me would be starting work at 9am. The morning is generally spent processing orders after which Oscar gets a walk which is a great time to work on ideas in my head and get some exercise which would otherwise never happen. After the walk, the rest of the day is spent designing, working on new products, marketing, planning trade shows and all the other things that go into being a self-employed designer.

I have only just started my relationship with Calypso Cards but my personal favorite card is the fox terrier on the chopper bike. However, i can be fickle so if you ask again tomorrow you may get a different answer.

Click here to see Sally Scaffardi's entire collection!