At Calypso we publish cards by artists from all over the world – tell us where you grew up and where you live and work.
I was born in Wales in the UK but moved around quite a few times as a child. I then moved away to study an Art Foundation course and then went on to study a degree in Textiles. I thoroughly enjoyed all the disciplines I got to try during these years from life drawing and photography to sculpture and sewing.
Now I live in the Hertfordshire countryside, with my family and our dog, Buddy, and am lucky enough to work from home.
What is your work environment like, do you have a home studio? An ocean view? what sort of music do you like to listen to while you work?
My office at home is my sanctuary. It is full of product samples, ribbons, paint samples, and things that I have picked up along the way for inspiration. My favorite thing right now is an old hand embroidery piece that was handed down to me from my grandma which I intend to frame and put up in my office. We live close to a common so most days I enjoy a walk with the dog to get out and take in some nature which I find calming, relaxing and inspiring!
How is your day structured as a working artist?
With a young family my day always begins with the chaos of the school run! Then once everyone is where they need to be I can shut myself away. My days usually entail of catching up on emails (doesn’t everyone!!) and organizing myself for whatever project I am working on. I am mostly on my computer working up product files and pulling together ranges for either cards or giftwrap and bag collections. I love to design and style patterns and have play time to experiment with new and exciting color palettes. Having spent such a huge chunk of my career designing on my computer, I am excited to now have some time this year to get back to creating artwork and exploring different styles. I am super excited to see where this will lead!
How did you begin your career as an artist?
Following my degree in Textiles I exhibited at a graduate show in London where I was offered a work placement with a large card company. This was my first experience of being a working artist in a professional studio environment. My artwork was selected to be featured on cards for a leading UK retailer and from there I was offered further work on a freelance basis.
What was your first big success as an artist?
Straight after graduating I moved down to London and was lucky enough to be offered a job as a junior designer at leading card publisher. This role was perfect for me and allowed me work on a variety of prestigious ranges and involved lots of styling of work. During my 7 years there I was sent on numerous inspirational trips including, Paris, Barcelona, Japan and India. It was following my trip to Japan that I developed a range called Stephanie Rose. This range won a prestigious ‘Henry’ award for ‘Best Contemporary Greeting Card Range’ and went on to sell millions of cards globally for over 10 years. Because of the success of this range, I was awarded ‘Young Designer of the Year’ in 2005.
Following 7 amazing and inspirational years I left to become a freelance designer again but continued to work on the Stephanie Rose range for them. I was also able to explore new licensing opportunities.
What inspires your work?
I am hugely inspired by color first and foremost and love happening on exciting color combinations. Patterns are also a key inspiration for me, and I love to trawl through old wallpapers. I draw much inspiration from nature and flowers and feel there is no better place to start. I love fresh flowers and it is definitely my guilty pleasure to have them in my kitchen at home! Although recently my passion for plants has got a little out of control as I propagate them, so we are definitely outnumbered at home by all of the baby plants.
Are there other artists that inspire you?
I love all things William Morris!
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
I remember as a young girl I would draw fashion sketches over and over and dream up outfits!
What is your favorite medium?
I am currently enjoying the texture of oil pastels and hope to develop some new work this year, using this medium. I am loving free and abstract art and will focus on color and composition.
How has your style changed over time?
I started out creating loose watercolor florals, with quite a delicate and soft feel, however my style has developed over the years into a bolder more vibrant look which incorporates a strong mix of color and pattern. The use of photoshop allows me to quickly try out different color combinations or compositions and is how I pull all of my designs together.
Of all the cards we publish by you, do you have a favorite?
I love the birthday cake design. I love pink and navy together as feel the combination is commercial yet sophisticated! The hot pink candle jumps out and with the touch of foil, it is finished off beautifully! And who doesn’t love a cake!