After graduating from Gray’s School of Art, I went on to set up my own creative business in 2011. We’re a creative family, my sister Tracey is an artist and our parents were always very supportive.
I launched my first collection of silk scarves six years ago and since then I have worked from my home studio in rural Aberdeenshire. I had my first child in January, so it’s just as well I work from home! I show my work at contemporary design fairs including Aberdeen’s first ‘Etsy’ fair, Woodend Barn’s annual ‘Flock’ fair and ‘Handmade at Kew’ in London.
When I left art school, I thought about what my dream job would be. I figured my best move would be to try to create it for myself. I receive a great response to my work, but as with any small business, brand exposure has been challenging. I’m a small independent business so it’s really important for me to attend events and show my work. It means I can meet customers and other local designers. It is really inspiring to be part of that community, we help each other and our businesses to grow.
Each new collection starts with sketching my ideas down and creating mood boards with photographs of wildlife, colours and patterns. Designs are hand drawn before being digitally transformed into a colourful kaleidoscopic form. The silk fabric is digitally printed. I trim the fabric and hand finish the cushions in my studio. I outsource the hand finishing of the silk scarves locally as this gives me more time to focus on my design work.
Over the years, my product range has grown and it now includes luxury scarves and cushions along with greeting cards, prints and smaller products such as mugs and mini catnip cushions for cats. My fabric is printed in Scotland and I have everything else, like my mug designs, printed within the UK.
Like many creative workers, I’m constantly inspired by nature. I really admire Kristjana S Williams, House of Hackney and my local creative friends produce some amazing work. It is great to see the different directions that each individual’s artwork can take. I have a collection of their designer cushions, and I love how they are little pieces of art that are more tactile than framed pieces.
I think the beholder’s connection to my work is what makes it special for me. I sometimes work to commission for special events. A customer in America had purchased a scarf that I designed to celebrate the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter. When she sold her Beatrix Potter collection at Christie’s, New York, she asked me to make her a special scarf to commemorate this.
I like to release new seasonal collections under a theme and apply this across different products. I’m always looking for ways to add more products to my range. I upcycled a chair recently and had it re-upholstered with fabric that I designed, so I plan to create more unique one of a kind pieces of furniture. I would also like to apply my designs to clothing. I commissioned Scottesque to make a kilt for me using my own ‘Capercaillie’ printed silk with some Moon tartan wool. It worked really well together so this has inspired me and I hope to branch out into clothing as well.
My work is exclusively available on my website and can also be viewed and purchased at local contemporary design fairs. The new designs and events I’m attending are always listed on my social media too.