Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday Finds - Melissa Watts - Textile Designer - Maud Designs




Morning all - today's creative is an emerging textile and pattern designer Melissa Watts who is a member of the Cultivate Art Collective. I love her pattern work - the colours and shapes are stunning, but her textile work, which I was less familiar with is incredible! Very sculptural. Melissa's product business line was named after her Grandmother Maud but her surface pattern design business is under her own name.



 © Melissa Watts

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental?

My 'day job' is working as an Operating Department Practitioner at a local hospital and as you can imagine the work can be pretty stressful at times. It was during one of these 'times' that I decided to take a break and with it came this sudden, out of the blue urge to create. I immediately went out at bought a sewing machine. Excited, I found I couldn't thread the needle to start with (I find it difficult to open the instruction booklet!), I didn't even know what I wanted to make, a bit of an oversight one might think! I played with scrap pieces of fabric for a few hours and then put it away, thinking well that's that, bad idea. The following months, I spent hours upon hours searching every inch of the internet, feeding on the knowledge and visual delights I would encounter. FIVE months later I made my first 3D Wool felt cushion, a Christmas present for my mother. I think I ended up making all my Christmas presents that year (to my partners dismay as he had to do all the cutting)! I think you could say it was accidental........certainly NOT meticulously planned.







Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

The following January (2011) I continued on the 3D cushion theme and also added the Tilly throw to the collection. I was encouraged to continue making by a lovely lady called Catherine from Woolsoft who provided me with 100% British wool cushion inserts. It was much appreciated, she made me believe it could be done. 



Textiles from © Maud Designs

Later that year I was offered the opportunity to make a large piece of work for the SCIN Gallery, Clerkenwell, London, (which is a resource gallery for architects and interior designers). Annabelle Filer who owns and runs SCIN, sources innovative and cutting edge materials worldwide and is a great supporter of new designers. I created a 2.7m x 2.7m H.M.Queens head made up from 8100 3D 'felt pixels'. Pixel Felt, an acoustic wall tile was launched.

© Maud Designs-Melissa Watts





Since then, I've also been involved in two exhibitions with Campaign For Wool at Somerset House (2013) and Southwark Cathedral (2014). My work has certainly evolved and I thrive on a challenge. I love exploring something new and I don't consider many things out of reach, I'll try anything! It's now late 2014 and I'm enjoying Surface Pattern Design. I hope to continue to explore, learn and create in whichever way I choose.



© Melissa Watts


Do you do your business part time or full time? 

I work at my business part time. It can be a difficult journey and success very rarely happens overnight. My plan is to hopefully one day create full time.



Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? Is there anything you would've done differently if you were starting your business today? 

I obviously love the initial research and making/creating. I enjoy the gaining of knowledge and trying something new. I honestly can't get enough of it. I didn't really know what I wanted at the beginning, it was all about the creating, I hadn't considered the future or selling! There wasn't much thought in the early days, it just drifted in a particular direction. If I was to start again I would definitely do a lot more research into how to run a business. A business plan, finances, marketing and PR all need to be considered and I wish I had understood the importance of it all when starting out. Big Fail!


© Melissa Watts -meeting HRH Prince Charles during Wool House 2013 with her piece Relentless the Ram Needlepoint. Wool on canvas 2013. 1.6 m x 1.2 m. Almost 500,000 pixels converted into stitch (based on original image courtesy of David Bennett, quillcards)

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

Until now, I've never set main goals. As I still work the day job part time, I like to keep an open mind and make/create what I like, when I like which is a nice position to be in. If I decided I wanted to make a piece of furniture next week or a large painting, I would. It wouldn't matter to me that I hadn't attempted it before, I would just do it......after a lot of research of course. I like to be free to feed my creativity in whatever way takes my fancy. I personally think the crossing over of skills and knowledge you gain can help individuality.


© Melissa Watts

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you-business or otherwise? 

I don't really have a typical day. I could be sewing one day, researching the next or quite easily spend 12 hrs creating pattern design. I never get bored!

Finally, please tell us where we can buy your work?

Surface pattern designs are available for license or purchase. 
Textiles are bespoke and made to order. Commissions are considered.
Available for freelance work.
Please visit www.mauddesigns.co.uk for more information.


Thank you so much Melissa - I am so impressed at how you taught yourself how to make those meticulous structural textiles. Lovely to find out more about you :)























Thursday, 23 October 2014

Friday Finds - Illustrator Trina Dalziel


Good morning all! Today's interview is a real insight into how it feels to be an illustrator with the wonderful Trina Dalziel who I've been lucky enough to meet. She is a delightful, warm, clever person and clearly very talented too.

© Trina Dalziel

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental?

I studied Illustration at art college in the late 1980s and even though I can recall at five or six saying I’d like to be an illustrator I got a bit waylaid after graduating. I spent several years drifting in a nice way – an au pair in Paris, back home in Scotland working on my parents' tomato farm, a move with a friend to London and a stall selling our hand made goods at Camden Market, a shop job, a postgraduate course at Winchester School of Art, a part time job as a nanny. Then five years out of college – around the stage a lot of my peers were looking for more stable work, I decided to give illustration a go.

I really value the period in time that I was doing this, and that I was able to gradually step into illustration work whilst still being able to survive and support myself in London with a three day a week job. With crazy London rents I’m unsure a recent graduate could do that so easily nowadays. Also though I hugely appreciate the opportunities the internet and email now allow me to work with clients anywhere in the world, I appreciate that in the mid nineties there was a lot of taking your portfolio to design studios and publishers and witnessing first hand reactions to it. For me this was very motivating and also made the whole commissioning world seem less daunting. 

I had no detailed plan - things have just evolved and I’ve meandered a lot – maybe though with quite a strong sense of what I did and didn’t want to do life and career wise.


© Trina Dalziel

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn? you do your business part time or full time?

No it definitely took a good few years – I wouldn’t have been able to do it full time straight away. Since 2005 I have been working solely for myself, with the exception of very occasional days teaching on degree courses - though interestingly (or scarily) some of the years when I was balancing illustration and part time nanny work I was earning more from my illustration than some of the years when I’ve been solely supporting myself from freelance work. I think it is always a tricky decision knowing when to give up other work. And also on reflection I hugely miss the balance having work outside my home gave me. Moving the focus from desk bound often introspective time spent on illustration work to the outward focusing on others that my nanny job gave. I also sometimes miss the commitment to leaving the house to go to work, seeing things in the outside world was a very enriching experience, being part of the seasons and the weather!

Would you say you earn a good living from your work?

I’d say it allows me to lead a mostly nice life with all things considered! What I still find a bit hard is not having the continuity of regular consistent work, so there are busy times and slow times. However since the 2008 recession I’m so aware everyone’s jobs can appear shaky and choosing a freelance career at least allows a selection of clients – so less precarious in a sense than having just one employer. There's no sickness pay, no holiday pay, no pension etc, plus the UK welfare systems aren't set up to provide as effective a safely net for freelancers as for regular employees all of which makes it a precarious life choice… but I do like having a degree of control of how, where and when I work.

© Trina Dalziel

Where do you sell your work?

I work with designers and art directors on commissions in the UK, mostly for books and magazines and through my US agent Lilla Rogers Studio for similar clients, and additionally sometimes on more surface design work such as stationery or fabrics.
I don’t sell direct to the public except with my Etsy shop that desperately needs a dusting and a bit of loving care! I see myself very much as an illustrator who responds to a brief and provides a service to design related companies, and this feels a very different activity from making or designing a product and selling to the public. When I set up my Etsy shop I was really excited and I’ve done a couple of open house events which I really enjoyed but I find the juggling hats between different income streams too tricky, and a year ago I decided to focus mostly on illustration work for now. (Which is why I hugely admire you Gabriella as you seem to spin so many plates and do it all beautifully!)(Oh Trina, that's so kind but I am more the other way around...I make things for people everyday with the rare illustration job along the way and I'd like that to be far more balanced in the future)) 

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

I like the ideas stage of an illustration - coming up with ideas and developing the roughs, being challenged to think and find visual solutions for a text or a concept…but I also equally enjoy what my partner and I call “knitting work” - when I’m drawing or working on my computer on a project but it’s quite straightforward – like laying out or colouring in - and there is space in my brain to listen to the radio or think or just be peaceful.


© Trina Dalziel

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive? 

I think I’m not quite a type A personality but a bit of a driven Type B, Which is quite frustrating! I do make goals and lists, but I find that self-imposed deadlines for creating speculative/personal work seem to move from one to-do list to the next. Sometimes I find old lists from years back and can see I’ve been carrying an undeveloped idea around for ages! I also realized my “Important but Not Urgent” list - which is supposed to be where all the good opportunities are - is often where most slippage occurs. Trying to change this! 

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? 

No, but I am constantly aware that an illustrator’s job - unless I am just not effective enough! -is probably a job for one and a half people. Also we need such a wide skill set I sometimes find it hard to swap between creative work and more “businessy” tasks, so whenever possible I try not to mix them.


© Trina Dalziel

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? 

I work in the corner of our living room – I’ve always worked in a room with an additional function or shared my work space. I would really like to have a room just for making art in and separated by a door from the rest of the house! My partner is an animator and he mostly works from home too. It’s nice as we eat lunch together. It also means I have someone to run tricky emails by, or to correct punctuation like he’ll do here!  However occasionally he will go and work in-house at an animation studio for a few weeks or months and I like the structure that brings to the days - there is a much clearer marker to the end of the working day. When we are both working at home our working day often spills over into the evenings.

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

Twice a year I meet with two of my friends both are artists and educators. We meet and talk art, illustration, creative life stuff, and I love those gallery and lunch days so much I usually start pining for them about three months ahead! The MATS course that you and I met through also made me realise how few other illustrators I knew, and it’s really nice to now be reminded there are other people just like me beavering away around the world with the same passions and doubts. I do sometimes think I waste time trying to make decisions when alone – should I say this or this in the email, is that a fair quote, this layout or this, etc – little stuff that when you are in an office or a team can be resolved really quickly. However with the bigger business type questions – which direction should I take my career, what should I focus my speculative work on etc, I find that though it’s always good to talk things through with other people, the answers are inside me. I think as a freelancer you need to have that sort of independence or inner strength or whatever it is.

© Trina Dalziel

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

I usually sit down at my desk around nine with a do to list I’ve made the previous evening. I try to do any businessy type things and also ideas and roughs in the morning and then artwork in the afternoon, but sometimes it all jumbles together. I really like when all the thinking/writing is done for the day and I can work along to Radio 4 or an audio book and really immerse myself in a project. We have an aim of stopping at 6.30 but it doesn’t always happen – need to work at this!

© Trina Dalziel

A non-working dream day is spent either wandering a European city with my camera and stopping at cafes, interesting shops and galleries or going for a long walk in the countryside. I especially love doing this on a week day – it’s silly but thirty years nearly after leaving school it still feels like “skiving”! (Trina I feel just the same!!) The awareness that other people are at work and I have a job that allows me to choose when to relax is very special. I now need to work at taking more advantage of it!

© Trina Dalziel

Anything else you want to add... tips or plans or ambitions or even special offers to my blog readers...

Thank you for asking me these questions, it was a lovely opportunity to reflect on my career!

Also mentioning my dusty old Etsy shop made me determined to “autumn-clean” it a little. I have added my Christmas cards and winter hanging birds. If anyone wishes to buy anything please use the code “FridayFinds2014”. You’ll receive 10% discount plus I will donate 10% of the sale to Sightsavers (valid until 23rd December). 

I feel the shop has been allowed to be inactive lately so it deserves to make a contribution to something worthwhile! 



Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please....

You can see my work here
and here
or follow me here
my Etsy shop is here


Fantastic - thank you so much Trina - I really enjoyed reading your replies and what a great offer in your Etsy shop! Hope you have a flurry of sales x

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Website update

I have been updating my website a little which is really helpful in seeing where I am going and the sort of work I want to do. It's so hard to completely cull professional work done 15 years or so ago but I have. I am sure there will be even more of a cull soon! I've also updated my Art page, the Illustration page and the Pattern page. This is the sketch page that I'll be adding a lot more to over the next couple of weeks - I'm doing #inktober on Instagram which means a daily ink drawing!




Friday, 10 October 2014

A Christmas design for new couples - Our first Christmas together 2014 - a card and heart in one for Moobaacluck


Today I decided to create the art work for this Christmas card for new couples; it's very niche! I thought to myself that I would tackle it using Ai alone (Illustrator), that's only party true in that I had drawn all the elements in black ink with either a brush or a pen and used the "Live Trace" function for the most part and then had a lot of fun colouring it in! I learnt a lot but also realised how little I know still. For example how to print out from Ai; instead I copied and exported to Photoshop to print. Gah! I can see a little thing I need to fix, don't look too hard.



It's amazing how much you learn or realise you don't know when you see something through completely. I also realise that I don't know how to click on the stroke points to pull them into shape - if needed which is frustrating as I know I've done that by accident and just clicking and dragging. In fact as I write this I'm almost sure that clicking with the white arrow selected might have done the job...

I am heartened though - there is hope that Illustrator will become a tool I use regularly...next step to investigate what I can do with my Intuos and the brush tools which I've hardly touched since January when my husband gave one to my for my birthday!!






Friday Finds - Sally Swannell - Illustrator and Artist




Good morning everyone! Today's Friday Finds is an artist I became aware of a few years ago when I was a Phoenix Trader as well as illustrating - I used to sell a lot of Sally's cards. At that time she was one of their main artists as a freelancer and has since branched out with her own brand. Her business is Sally Swannell Ltd. I've spied her stand at trade events such as Top Drawer and seen her prints in John Lewis too - just one of the places she sells her canvas prints.


When did you start your business and why?

I started the business in January 2010 as I wanted more creative freedom and to build something of my own.

Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? 

Meticulous - absolutely not! But it wasn't exactly accidental either - I had an idea of what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it, so I started talking to people and looking at routes to market and it developed from there. 
Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

It has been a slow burn - it takes a while to build up a base of regular customers.


I bought this one myself :) it was our advent calendar one year! © Sally Swannell

Do you do your business part time or full time? 

Full time, overtime, high days and holidays!

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

I don't want to grow the business too much as good quality design, production and presentation are really important to me - staying manageable and hands on is where I want to be.

Would you say you earn a good living from your work?

It's pretty much paying for itself now but no Caribbean holidays quite yet!

© Sally Swannell

Where do you sell your work? 

I don't as yet sell my originals but we have a list of retail stockists across the UK and Europe and distributors in Italy and France.

Have you had publicity in national magazines? If so how did you you go about achieving this? 

No - I've not been great at PR - top of my very long to-do list.

Who do you think your typical customer is?

I would say mainly women who like homes and interiors, the countryside and something a bit different.

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most?

Planning new ranges and designing them - the business side takes up about 80% of my time now so designing feels like time off for me!


© Sally Swannell

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today? 

A very difficult question to answer as things change constantly, but I think no, experience is everything - good and bad/challenging, it's only way to learn, see and feel where you want to go.  

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive? 

No, I'm more instinctive.

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? If you do, how did you find people who were the right fit for you?
We don't employ anyone, the business is run by myself and my business partner (Dad - who does all the book keeping and 90% of the packing and warehousing). I do have 2 completely fab trade sales ladies who manage that side of the business on a day to day.  They work on a commission basis and have made a monumental contribution to way that the trade side of the business has developed. Cathy found me to start with and it went from there...We used a contract packing company for the first time this year only for our Christmas cards, as it would have taken all year to get through them all!


© Sally Swannell

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? 

It depends on the time of year.  At the moment June - November I'm pretty much constantly in the warehouse unit that we rent on an industrial estate for taking in our stock and packing it.  Mostly on my own, but this may have to change next year - extra pairs of hands will be needed. The rest of the time I can work mainly from home where my drawing board is and I can squeeze in some design time. 

Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing? 

I think businesses are ever evolving and so are we....things are going very much in the right direction.

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? 
If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business? 

There are a couple of people I discuss things with, it's good to have a sounding board or 2, I tend to chew over ideas/decisions for a while, revisit them, and then go on instinct.


© Sally Swannell

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a 
dream day for you – business or otherwise? 

There's no such thing as a typical day really, when you're pretty much chief, cook and bottle washer no job can be left undone! Some days I can spend all day on business admin, then there's sorting out stock, stock taking, packing, ordering, talking to suppliers, updating the website, planning and designing for shows etc etc.  I tend to do my designing and creative work over a block period of time when despatch periods are a bit quieter, that's when I get my dream days...start with an early dog walk, spend the day at a drawing board surrounded by paint pots and finish with a cup of tea with a friend - lovely! 

© Sally Swannell

Anything else you want to add… tips or plans or ambitions ...

A tip I happened on a while back - do what you love, follow your instincts and the rest should follow...

Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! 

www.sallyswannell.co.uk 

Thank you so much Sally - your work is beautiful, it's lovely to see successful, very skilful, entirely hand painted illustration.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday Finds - Illustrator Kate Slater




Good Morning! Today's "Friday Finds" went to the same art college as I did, but left considerably later.  A children's book illustrator by day and a creator of her own range of greeting cards and stationery by night and any other spare moment, collage artist Kate Slater has a shop on Notonthehighstreet.com where I first saw her striking work.

Kate by © Holly Booth

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental?

I started my career as a freelance illustrator as soon as I graduated from Kingston University in 2008. I was lucky enough to find a publisher interested in the story I’d written and illustrated for my final major project at uni and although it was a very long process (the illustrations changed hugely) it did give me the confidence to be a full time, self-employed illustrator by the beginning of 2009. Magpie’s Treasure was finally published in autumn 2010. Meanwhile I gained a few other commissions for publishers, ad agencies and editorials (I’d say I had a more diverse portfolio back then, whereas now it’s mainly children’s-focussed). So while I didn’t have a grand plan, other than ‘Get a Children’s Book Published’, I always knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t expect to be selling so much direct through my Not on the High Street and Etsy shops, that’s definitely something that has evolved over the last few years.


© Kate Slater

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

The freelance illustrator part of my job did take off quickly, although I do still have quiet patches, which is really why I began making and selling direct through my online shops. They have gradually built up over several years and it’s only really this year that I feel they’ve become a really valuable source of income. 

Do you do your business part time or full time?

I work full time, sometimes more on freelance work and sometimes on my own designs to sell direct. I really enjoy both parts, although whenever I’m concentrating on one I do feel I’m sorely neglecting the other! Lately I’ve been trying to get really organised for Christmas orders. I begin every day thinking I’ll do admin in the morning and get something creative done in the afternoon, but I never quite seem to get there!

© Kate Slater

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you
happy with it as it is and why?

I would love my business to be big enough to have a brick-and-mortar shop one day. There is something wonderful about making something that I really like (this generally my approach, I can never muster much enthusiasm for researching trends. The downside is that this usually this results in a rather disparate collection; my aim for next year is to get organised and concentrate on one theme, rather than thinking, “Cows! Orangutans! Post Boxes! These are the things I will sell”). I would also love to have lots more children’s books published. I’ve also recently started hosting collage workshops at the farm, it would be great if they really took off!

© Kate Slater

Would you say you earn a good living from your work?

Well, I’m happy as long as I can afford to be a self employed illustrator full time, but I probably don’t earn what someone with a proper job would consider to be a good living! I do have a good life though; I live in the countryside with a free studio on my parents’ farm down the road. I don’t think I could afford to do what I do in London, where I lived after I graduated. I probably would have gone mad and been found in my pyjamas, buried under the pile of paper I used to keep on my bed, for want of another work surface.

Where do you sell your work?

I sell my work primarily on Not on the High Street and Etsy, and also in a few shops.


 Ode to Autumn © Kate Slater

Have you had publicity in national magazines? If so how did you you go about
achieving this?

I’ve had work in Country Living three times which was wonderful! It’s one of my favourite magazines (to both read and collage with). It was through not on the high street. Twice they’ve sent product requests, the first time resulted in my Ode to Autumn print being on the front cover, which was amazing! The thing is you never know whether you’ll be on the cover or cropped on the edge of a tiny photo, which is what happenedthe 2nd time. The 3rd I was in the front few pages where they showcase a selection of different products on a theme. I’d love to get more press, but I’d need to be hugely more organised than I am, considering most magazines work six months ahead.

Who do you think your typical customer is?

A woman, probably in her 20s on Etsy and 30s/40s on Not on the High Street. I’m more likely to sell a print on Etsy whereas all my children’s party invitations are sold through NOTHS. I think people visit my Etsy shop because they’re already aware of my work, whereas NOTHS customers are more likely to come across me when browsing the site as a whole.


Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most?


I love illustrating most. When I’m not worrying about other things I should be doing, I love the feeling of becoming completely absorbed in creating something. On the other hand I must confess am a big fan of the spreadsheet. In small doses it’s quite nice to exercise another part of my brain and do some sums. 

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

I would have made sure I properly costed everything I sell online from the start. It’s so important because it’s easy to underestimate how much time goes into producing a greetings card, listing it online and packing each order (not to mention the drive to the Post Office to send it). It’s tempting to price low in the hope you’ll get more orders, but there’s nothing more disheartening than realising later that you’ve lost money on the sales you have made. I’d probably remind myself about the importance of self promotion, which is something I still need to get better at. I know I should keep it up in the busy times and not just wait til things are quiet, but it is something which I do very irregularly! I would point myself in the direction of The Design Trust, they are brilliant and have masses of great advice!

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I don’t really set goals, although I have things I would like to achieve. I can see it would be a great idea to give myself a time-frame in which to achieve them and to plan how I’ll do it. I’m a huge fan of to-do lists though. I might just add ‘set some goals’ to my current one…



Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of
your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? If you do, how
did you find people who were the right fit for you?

I do everything myself. I think it would be a huge leap to employ someone, even on a casual basis. Having said that, I have an wonderful family who will happily pack a few hundred greetings cards over lunch to help me meet a rush order (this actually happened a few weeks ago). My aunty regularly takes home cards to pack and gift tags to string and my mum will fly off to the Post Office for me at a moment’s notice. Last year I had to cut out 450 birds from Foamex for a National Trust installation, which I really could not have managed without the help of all my friends and family, who valiantly wielded craft knives and painstakingly cut round every beak and feather!



© Holly Booth

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with
others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see
that changing?

My studio is attached to my parents’ house, but you have to go outside and up a wooden staircase to reach it. It’s called The Apple Room, because apparently it was once used to store fruit, although when I was younger it was filled with old furniture, rolled up carpets, spiders and occasionally newly hatched chicks. When I was 16 it was converted with some insulated plasterboard and a hefty dose of woodworm killer into the perfect studio it is today! I work alone which I’m happy with, although I now have a beautiful labrador, Gladys, to keep me company! One day my dad will retire from farming and I will have to find somewhere new to work (I try not to think about it).


© Kate Slater

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with?
If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

I don’t have a mentor but I do talk to people about my business, especially when I need
to make a big decision. Usually just talking out loud to someone else helps me to work things out. It would be great to have a professional as a mentor though, especially for business advice and to help me upscale.


© Holly Booth

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a
dream day for you – business or otherwise?

On a typical day I head to the farm between 8 and 8.30am and take Gladys for a short walk (she’s proving to be the best alarm clock I’ve ever had!). The rest of the day is determined by whatever I’m working on at the time. I quite like the idea of answering emails in the morning, then moving on to an hour’s research before getting stuck into a collage, but really I just deal with emails and orders as they arise and try and get something productive done in between. At the moment I’m working on a new website. Tomorrow I have a rough to do for the RSPB children’s magazine, a dog training class to go to if I have time and a swim would be lovely! I finish each day taking Gladys for a longer walk before going home. My ideal day would be one in which I receive a fantastic commission that will really stretch me or sign a contract for a new children’s book and receive a wholesale order from a dream stockist!

Anything else you want to add… tips or plans or ambitions or even special
offers to my blog readers…

Here’s a voucher for 15% off in my Etsy shop until next Friday! Use the code FFAUTUMN15.

Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please . . .


A fantastic interview - thank you so much Kate; you seem to have a great balance in you creative life, although I completely understand that conflict between loosing yourself in personal work and creating commercial products. I really enjoyed reading your answers, top advice within. I feel that I can really picture your day too :)