‘Afternoon folks! I hope you’re having a lovely start to the week.
Well, I’m delighted to start my comeback series of posts for this month with my ‘Behind the Scenes‘ interviews and this month we have the lovely illustrator Louise Wright; the amazing talent behind all the super cute animal-inspired illustrations you will find on anything from tea towels to mugs. I first stumbled across Louise’s work (as well as meet the lovely lady herself who I chatted to for a while intrigued about the story behind that print!) at the Crafty Fox Autumn markets last year in Brixton….as you can see from that link, I did also fall in love with her ‘Elephant and Penguin’ print which now takes pride on my little gallery wall in our bedroom. There’s a sense of warmth and innocence in her work that almost makes you go back to those nostalgic happy childhood days…..I’m not exactly sure how best to describe it but all I know is it puts a huge smile on my face every time I look at her print hanging on my wall. It makes me feel warm, fuzzy and happy! :)
Anyway, without further adieu, let me introduce you to this delightful Derbyshire-based illustrator who has been such a pleasure to interview! Here’s what she has to say….
 Hi Louise, tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer? Hello, I’m a freelance illustrator based in Derby. I didn’t always want to be an illustrator, when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, but as time went on I became less and less academic and much more drawn to the art side of learning. I still very much would love to write for children but something in my brain has switched onto drawing only at the moment and the stories don’t flow as easily, so I’m not forcing it, it’ll come back on its own :)
 How did you come about setting up Louise Wright Design? What is the story behind your business? Well, after graduating university with a first class honors in illustration I came out into the world full of hope, which was quickly crushed. After lots of rejections I found myself in an office job crying at lunchtime because I was so unhappy and I pretty much stopped drawing altogether…I gave myself a bit of a kick up the bum eventually and joined a local studio to do some screen printing; no pressure, just a little bit of fun, and a way to get messy and interact with other arty folks again. This turned out to be a step in the right direction and I began to enjoy my artwork again and got excited about printing onto various surfaces – tea towels and tote bags. People at the studio began to take an interest and started asking if they could buy them from me! From there I’ve spent a lot of time building my business and my brand, I started out selling at small craft fairs, and supplying shops on a Sale or Return basis after getting a grant from Prince’s Trust. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been an incredible journey so far.
 What five words best describe you and your style of work? Quirky, fun, busy, cute, foxy!
 The ‘elephant and penguin’ print I bought off you at the Crafty Fox autumn markets last year is still one of my favourites. What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work? Ah I’m so glad to hear!! :) When I’m working on pieces like that I like to create a narrative in my head, and often I don’t share this with customers because everyone interprets them in different ways and I think it’s so beautiful that something I created can bring so much imagination and joy to people. I love animals and being outdoors, and I find that heavily comes through into my work. I basically draw things that make me happy and hope they make other people happy to :)
 How would you describe your design process and/or technique used, and what part of it do you like the most? My process has changed SO MUCH over just the last year, I now work much more digitally and although I create the sketches by hand I do lots of the work from there in Photoshop, there is nothing more pleasing then getting my paints out and making a mess though!!!
 How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It varies, sometimes it can take me days to get an idea to surface and then I’ll faff around with it and we might not see a product for months. That being said, for the spring fair, I designed 5 mugs and got them printed up super quick…..I think we had about a week and a half from start to finish on those!
 Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? If so, do tell us why?There are loads! I would love to be better at sewing and try to sew some of my own clothes! I could then just pick out amazing fabrics and it would be so much fun stitching it all up into all kinds of clothes. And I’d look amazing all the time….right? ;)
 As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d?This is a tough one, I think what I’ve found harder and much more prominent was starting my business in the recession. People haven’t had the money to splurge on treats so I figure if I can do okay through that what harm is a little healthy competition?
 What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? hmm, I guess first of all….
totally check and see if you can get any help from the Prince’s Trust, they are absolutely fab and can help you hit the ground running with your business.
Don’t listen to that little voice in your head screaming ‘ butttt it’s not ready yet!!’ and miss out on opportunities, bite the bullet and just go with what you have, because you can work on something forever and still feel like it’s not ready yet!
Start small and grow naturally. Only do what you are comfortable with – you are in charge now, and if you don’t feel happy about something you don’t have to do it :)
 What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side? The best part of my business is the fact that I get to work on things that I want to work on; if I want to draw a fox, then gosh darn it, I’ll draw a fox! I can take lunch whenever I want, and I can plan things the way that I want too, which is really amazing! My business is full-time now. I wish I could say it were 9-5 but really it’s much more like 24/7 as there are things I don’t do out of office hours but I really do work my bum off for my business. Part of my new years resolutions this year was to take more short breaks during the year so I don’t burn out – which I’m pleased to say I am doing.
 Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? Ohh, this is hard!! I REALLY like my octopus mug, he makes me so happy, I’ve been doodling this octopus for years so it’s nice to finally have him alive and on a product!
 When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? Hehe, well I love playing video games, reading and getting myself outside into the countryside somewhere where there are no other people around for miles! And nothing gets better than meeting friends for a good natter over some cake (and wine!)
 What are your favorite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I’m loving reading Moyo Magazine on my tablet while I’m in bed, but that doesn’t replace a real book! II thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green recently, so much so that I’m working my way through his other books now….so yea, I’m currently reading the fabulous ‘Paper Towns’.
 Name three things you just could not live without? Tea, music, cake!
 Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? Oh so many! I love the work of Holly Betton who runs ‘Death By Tea‘ – I have quite a few of her mugs already and they are my favorites….. plus she is lovely too! I’ve also been having an attack from the brilliance of Emma Yarlett’s illustrations for picture books, I had to buy all the ones she had done…obviously.
 And finally, what do you have in store for Louise Wright Design this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Well I’ve done my first two trade fairs early on the year (Spring Fair & BCTF) so they were my biggies really. From here on in I’ll be at local events around the Derbyshire area which you can keep up with via my Events page on my website :) I do have loads of other things I want to achieve this year; new products up my sleeve and developing my illustration work further being the big two. This year is just going by so fast!! So, the best thing is to stay tuned via my Facebook page or Twitter for all the latest news and gossip!
Got to love that last quote!
Okay, so now do you feel that warm, fuzzy and happy feeling I’m talking about?? I mean, aren’t they simply the cutest little drawings? :)
Well, if you like her work just as much as I do……then here’s a treat I have in store for you! I’m sooooooooooooooo excited to tell you that Louise and I have decided to offer, exclusively to all you lovely readers/followers, 20% offANY of her work that you find on her Etsy store.To redeem your discount, simple enter MADEBYMOLU at checkout where it says ‘Apply shop coupon code‘ and then proceed with the next stage.
This special offer is only valid for the month (ends 30th of June) so if you’d like to treat yourself then now is your chance to get your paws on any of her goodies!!
Thank you, once again, Louise for giving me a huge chunk out of your busy time to share with us your story and for the amazing offer to all my readers. There’s been some really inspiring and insightful things for us all to take note of and I know we’ll all be looking forward to seeing all the wonderful new creations you have coming up! Good luck and all the very best, lovely!
Have a wonderful and fun month of June, folks!! xxx
So here they are all framed – my labour of love in print!! :D I must say, after photographing these for this post, I feel even more chuffed for accomplishing such a challenging piece in just three hours! Give me a challenge any day!! :) Baby Blue and Baby Pink ink on both off-white (above) and grey (below) card stock. Which one would you go for? Hard for me to say….I think I like them on both :P xx
This is the last post on our 1st wedding anniversary gifts series and although we do not consider or claim to be creative writers such as William Wandsworth, I think I can safely say that we have still managed to put the “breathings of our hearts” on to paper through illustrative methods! ;)
First up is the present I received from the hubby; a beautiful large geometric screen print, titled ‘BLUE TRIANGLE,‘ by UK Artist and Printmaker Emma Lawrenson. I was totally blown away and overwhelmed by this present for a number of reasons; firstly, for the sheer beauty of the work with its crisp lines, simple geometry and soft calming hues; secondly, knowing that he had clearly spent quite a bit on me by opting for this original and special edition piece… and lastly, for picking this print as it was seen on the set of Mad Men Season 6 in Peggy Olson’s Office!! You’re probably wondering why the latter is such a big deal but sooooo much thought and attention went behind this piece of art; knowing how much I love geometry, clean lines, colour, bold statements, a touch of retro, handmade, screen-printing, simplicity yet elegance and on top of all that the added bonus of having something that reminded us of the Mad Men marathon sessions we had, curled up on the sofa in the evenings, when we first moved to London last year! (It’s one of our favourite TV shows!) It really was perfect; not only summed me up down to a tee but it had a lovely touch of nostalgia too! How he manage to source that still baffles me…….so yeah, he did well right? ;) This next piece below is the one I presented to my husband. I know I had made a little something myself (see my earlier post here) but while that represented the ‘handmade’ and ‘inspirational’ elements this second piece was more about ‘memory’ and ‘sentiment’. So I got him a large graphic print by UK artist Nick Prints labelled ‘LONDON CALLING‘ where I too went for the touch of nostalgia by picking something that represented the city we moved to, to start our married life. What I love about this print is level of detail that went into it by placing all those iconic logos, symbols and illustrations in a perfect circle and representing the vibrant big city that is London! You can easily lose yourself going through the illustrations trying to identify the places and things you’ve explored! And, as I’ve mentioned before, the hubby is really big into his graphics and illustrations (and collecting art in general) so I’m pleased to say, that it was received well for both the sentimental value as well as the aesthetic! ;) Both these pieces need to be framed properly – what you see here are just temporary measures to get some images up on on the blog. We’re hoping to do a floating mount for the ‘Blue Triangle’ piece and the ‘London Calling’ piece nicely mounted. Anyway, I just wanted to share these as I thought both artists and their works were definitely worth mentioning. So, what do you reckon – have we done well for our 1st wedding anniversary presents? :) xx
Seems like Paris is where it’s all happening this year (well, when is it never!) as I seem to come across a good few bloggers who have just been or about to embark on that wonderful journey over to the magical city…..and wahey – so am I! :D I cannot tell you how stoked I am about this trip; I’ve been wanting to go for aaaages now having only been there once before as a kid (an age when you don’t really appreciate much around you!) so vowed to myself that I’d return someday and see it for what it really is i.e. do the less mainstream and touristy stuff! If you ask the hubby or any of my friends I’ve been going on about how I’d like to do Paris for my big ‘3.0.’ this year – and adamantly so! :P And it only occurred to me recently that our 1st year wedding anniversary (where has the time gone!?!?) is the week before my birthday so we decided we’d combine the two and celebrate them both in style out in Paris! Why not eh? ;) And boy was I so delighted when we finally got round to booking the Eurostar tickets and our wee rustic apartment in the Le Marais District! (for those of you that aren’t too familiar, it’s the oldest and most medieval part of Paris with lots of stunning Parisian architecture, art galleries, vibrant cafés, cobbled-stone streets, vintage/antique stores and many more…….everything we love!)
Anyhoo, with the travel and accommodation arranged, I thought I’d write a series of posts (aided by some pretty illustrations) in the run up to this fabulous holiday that share all my thoughts and ideas I’ve compiled on ‘things to do‘, ‘places to see‘, ‘where to eat‘, ‘what to wear‘, etc. And I would of course LOVE to hear your suggestions too – anything that you think would be of interest to us especially for those who’ve recently come back from their trip there! Just leave us a comment below! Our aim is to totally get lost and explore as much as we can the ins and outs of Paris by foot….the quirkier and more Parisian it is, the better! Oh and FYI – we are huge foodies so I think I’m going to have to start looking up places to eat first! Bring on the copious amounts of bread, wine and cheeeeese!! :D ahhhh I cannot wait!! ROLL ON AUGUST, I say!!!! :D
I stumbled across Holly Francesca while checking out my first Designer-Makers market event back in December that was held at the Hackney Down Studios. It was a cold winters evening and I spotted Holly’s work just as I entered the Warehouse – actually I’m not sure if it was the work that initially caught my eye or the very cold and well wrapped up Holly standing by her stall! :P Anyhoo, we got chatting a lot (she’s such a warm and delightful person!) and I soon learnt that she had only recently emerged onto the craft and design scene…..and successfully too! Like many artists and designers out there, she was clearly passionate about her work (even weathering two evenings in the cold!) which I found very admirable so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for Made by Molu! I really do think she is inspirational to all creative folk out there including myself, going to show that you need to have a lot of determination, hard work, patience and faith in your work to get yourself noticed in what is such a competitive field! Here’s what Holly has to say:
What five words best describe you and your style of work? Colourful, Quirky, Londoner, Fun, and Creative!
What is the main source of inspiration for your artwork? Mainly what surrounds me, for example the local area I live in. I would then go onto create a map of a specific area. For instance, I went to the zoo and then went on to make the A-Z of animals at the London Zoo.
How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? Firstly I make my drawings and from these I form my paper cuts (see below)…. then it’s on to the fun part! I scan in my white papers and colour them in digitally. It’s this colouring process and creating the final product that I enjoy the most!
Is there a craft/art medium you haven’t tried but want to? And why? I have bought a Gocco printer from Japan and I have never got round to using it. It looks like a fun way to print and an easy version of screen printing!
Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer-maker? And what made you choose that path? I have always wanted to be in the creative industry – I knew this from quite a young age. Art was always my best subject. I went on the study BA Applied Arts and once I left I went on to work part-time as well as creating many different types of products in my spare time until I found the right thing, which has allowed me to go full-time and turn it from a hobby to a business!
There has been a huge boom in the craft and design field in the last few years – would you say its been difficult breaking into this competitive world? It is really hard – you need to get quite a few things in place first. From the beginning you need to work out your figures making sure your price is right and that you actually make money from this new venture. Then you need a unique product which sells well and from this product you start to form a brand. Once you have done this you can sell, sell, sell!
What do you like most about your business? The creative side – but unfortunately most of the business is about the finance, marketing etc but that beings said once I get my work printed and I get it out of the box for the first time it really is the most satisfying moment seeing the finished product!
When you are not in designer-maker mode, what else do you enjoy doing? I play the guitar and sing, I love to read and watch films, but the key thing which I am learning is to make more time to have breaks from the business!
Have you any tips for like-minded creative individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this field? First make sure this is 100% what you want to do and if it is, then start creating! Do what comes naturally to you and just make it. Develop your ideas until you start to get lots of positive feedback then you know you are on the right steps to having a successful business. My top tips is to pace yourself and stay focused!
Of your current work, what piece would you say is your favourite? For me it is always the last piece of work that I make is always my favourite.
Are there any designer-makers out there you find inspirational – if so, who? I admire a lot of designers at the moment I’m loving, Maxine Sutton, Zeena Shah, Anna Wiscombe and Elena Deshmukh
What would we expect from Holly Francesca in the future? Many new designs and more maps of cities so keep an eye out for your area!
Finally, where can we find more of your wonderful creations? Can we find you at any craft + design events this year? My next events are: The Start Up Showcase which runs on both Saturday 23 March: 10 – 6pm and Sunday 24 March: 11 – 5pm. I will be at Pulse London too so do come visit me at Stand LP29A on 12th – 14th May! For more details about my work or to buy them online, please do visit my website http://www.hollyfrancesca.co.uk
A massive thank you to the lovely Holly Francesca for her time out to answer all my questions and for the lovely photos! I wish you all the best Holly and i’ll no doubt see you at the Start up Showcase event and Pulse! So folks, I’m a big fan of her work and I urge you all to go have a nosey through her beautiful illustrative work and show her your support! Maybe you cuold find something in time for Mother’s Day? xx
Gosh I nearly forgot about the Letterpress printing workshop we signed up for……you can only imagine my delight when I was reminded earlier that the class was on tomorrow – I cannot wait!!!!! Both myself and my hubby have always longed to give letterpress printing a go having a keen interest in typology and the type of illustrative art work you can create out of what was once a primary method of printing and distribution of information until the second half of the twentieth century! So when we came across the advert for this 3-hour course at Craft Central, hosted by Turnbull Grey we decided then and there to sign up for it! We also decided that it would be our Christmas gift to each other……and why not, seeing as we probably would still be stewing over what to get (stuff we probably wont be needed anyway!) and this has always been something we’ve longed to do for quite some time!
So, before I head off to bed buzzing about tomorrow’s workshop I thought I would share a little gem of a video (courtesy of Jamie Murphy on Vimeo) showing you the level of work (and patience!) that goes behind letterpress printing. This video is made on the letterpress printed book ‘Albert, Ernest & the Titanic‘ beautifully written by Colm Tóibín which tells the story of the printers on board the Titanic as they travel on one of history’s tragic voyages (marking the 100th anniversary this year back in April). The book was printed at the Distillers Press, NCAD, Dublin, Ireland where the final stages of production are captured in this very video – isn’t it simply marvelous!?! Not only are the texts all hand set but the illustrations (40 of them!) are all linocut! What we do tomorrow is a fraction of the work you see there…..ohh but I can’t wait…..roll on tomorrow I say!!! :)
If you fancy a bit of light reading check out more on the aforementioned book (it really is stunning!) and the workings behind it by visiting the Titanic Letterpress blog. Well, good night for now folks but watch this space as we’ll be reporting back with more on the workshop!! Enjoy the video!!xx