Archive of ‘When I grow Up…’ category

When I Grow Up…

There’s nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you’ll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to MoonKo in Sheffield. We caught up with Debbie to find out a little more about what makes them so unique…

How did MoonKo come about?
When I became a mum for the first time, I was torn between going back to work and doing something I was passionate about, whilst spending as much time as I could with my little one. Being an artist myself I know how hard it is commercially to make money and make an income, so I wanted to provide a platform in which I could support graduates, students still studying etc.  From there it just evolved and grew, from a small idea to something I am really proud of and love.

Have you always had an interest in design?
I have always loved design, which probably comes from my background. My dad is an amazing garden designer, who has done the odd Chelsea Flower show. He has a passion for simplicity and likes being surrounded by beautiful objects and floral influences, which has definitely rubbed off on me! I love the unique quality and quirkiness that British design brings to creative sector. It’s inventive, intuitive, not afraid to be bold, ask questions and be controversial as well as incredibly commercial.

What do you think of the growing Arts scene in Sheffield?
 How does the shop fit into this? Sheffield is an amazing place (although I am a Brightonian) and I’ve lived here for 15 years, it’s my home.  It’s wonderful. It feels more like a village then a city – with the peaks on your door step. It’s such a creative place and always has been, it’s just more folks are taking notice. It’s full of little hubs, in the old industrial quarters where artists, makers, musicians are creating, recording and getting noticed. The shop is based on a Division Street,where there are lots of wonderful independent shops. and sits in an old 1960s prefab building, with the remnants of Sheffield past round every corner. The folks of Sheffield have been so supportive of our shop; it showcases lots of up and coming design, textiles, ceramics, home-ware you name it, from Sheffield and around the British isles. We also have regular pop up shops and exhibitions. My passion is for MoonKo to showcase such amazing work, that folks take notice, that here in Sheffield, there are beautiful and commercial wares being made.

  How does MoonKo work together with emerging talent?
I do lots of things outside of the shop, working with great organisations and charities, such as Ghost of Gone Birds and The ONCA gallery.  I work with emerging talent , not just sales in a shop context, but exhibitions, commissions etc.

How do you see Moonko in 5 years’ time?
Wow, MoonKo in five years… there is a thought. Well, I would love to see more MoonKo shops open. Hopefully MoonKo will grow, supporting more amazing makers, creating jobs and supporting charities.

What’s next for Moonko?
Lots of lovely MoonKo products and collaborations… watch this Space!

Interview by Victoria Rodrigues O’Donnell

When I Grow Up…

For this instalment of When I Grow Up, we grilled knitwear designer Charlotte Booty and found out a little more about the girl behind all that macramé…

 When did your passion for knitwear begin? 
 During second year I had a project called knit and print and my main inspiration was cobwebs covered in snow. I was trying to find a texture to recreate the look of the cobwebs and came across macramé. I preferred it to traditional knitting as it allows you to work straight onto the body and see the shape develop as you wish quicker into a three dimensional form. I have always had a love for textures but it was not until I discovered the possibilities of knitwear that I realise what I was able to create
Have you always enjoyed making things? 
 Definitely. I have always had a love of making things and as a child I would cut up my mum’s tights and make them into ball gowns for my Barbie Dolls. Textiles is my strongest area, this particularly became apparent at university where I’d create samples out of mundane objects and if I was assigned to make five I would make thirty – earning the awful nickname of the Sample Queen. I love to experiment with the techniques I have learnt through different mediums and show diversity with each new collection I create. 
What inspires your work? 
I love looking at derelict buildings, cobwebs or even patterns in trees. Seeing an unusual surface gives me inspiration for how I could apply the print to the body. I try to recreate the surface through sampling and then apply those samples to the stand.  I find I normally work backwards, working with the materials first to see what I can create and then applying the shapes and silhouettes into fashion.
What’s been your favourite piece you’ve made so far? 
 Probably quite an obvious choice but my favourite is the Cable Tie Biker Jacket I created for my graduate collection. The jacket was inspired by Bauhaus and consists of over 100,000 cable ties threaded through perforated leather. It took over a week and half to create the whole thing but every time it is used in another shoot I feel it was worth the effort.
 Who would you most like to see wearing your pieces? 
I would love someone like Rita Ora to wear my pieces as I feel the sporty feel and tailored bright colours of the Porcupine collection would show off her street style. 
What have been the highlights of your last year? 
 The biggest highlight of my last year would definitely be being published in Europe; Rising Fashion Designers; Volume 2. I’ve had a few pieces published in a range of editorials and a couple of music videos but to have my work printed in a book really topped off a great end to the year. One of the biggest compliments to my work is that each time my work is used it’s in such a diverse way so that when I see the photos the pieces look completely different. 
 If you could go back in time which period and place would you choose? 
 I would definitely choose the Roaring 20’s period in America. I feel I take a lot of inspiration in the form of 1920’s style. I love the ‘Age of Wonderful Nonsense’ with the prohibition, glitz and glamour. I adore the style of the flappers, from the floating fringe dresses to the feather head bands. I am entranced by everything about the ornate style of Art Deco architecture, art, clothing, hairstyles and décor. I feel the Roaring 20’s silhouettes massively influence my macramé garments, from the neckline to the fringe 
 What are your future plans?  
I’d love to intern abroad for more cultural inspirations to influence my work. Although my aim for this year to create a new collection in time for London Fashion Week’s Fashions Finest. 
Tell us something about you few people know…
 I am secretly a bit of a geek as I adore shows like Doctor Who, Supernatural and Game of Thrones. I also have a passion for escapism in the form of dystopian book series like Name of the Wind, The Hunger Games and Delirium.
 What would you say to anybody aspiring to become a designer?
 Personally I think you just need to have passion in what you are doing although it helps to do a lot of research and sampling to work out your designs. Experiment with new materials and constantly challenge yourself. Be confident in yourself. It is an incredibly tough industry, but do not let that knock you down – instead you have to channel it into your work. Although as a young designer myself I am still in the early stages of my business though it is always reassuring when I create a new piece and upload it a social network how much interest that piece gains. I would definitely recommend putting your work out there on as many different platforms as you can.
Interview by Kerry Flint

When I Grow Up…

For the next instalment of our When I Grow Up series, we grilled Cleo from Cleo B about her individual style and how her passion for shoes helped her to create her own brand…



You studied at Cordwainers college, have you always want to be a shoe designer?
I always wanted to design fashion accessories and when I learnt I could study shoe design I thought it was the ultimate challenge! Shoes are the most powerful item in a woman’s wardrobe.
What was it like working with Nicholas Kirkwood?
I worked for Nicholas when he was in his early stages of development. It was a very exciting and inspiring place to be and I learnt a lot about shoe design as a commercial business. It was extremely valuable experience.
Do you have any favourite designers?
I admire a massive range of designers and brands for different reasons but a few favourites include Henry Holland, Lazy Oaf, Kate Spade and Tory Burch. (All very colourful!)


Where do you get your inspiration from?
So many places! Each collection takes inspiration from a different place and tells a different story. For example the Pixel collection (AW13) was inspired by the retro videogame, Tetris, whereas my SS14 collection pays homage to the ‘60s animation starring the Beatles, Yellow Submarine.
Can you describe your average day?
I get up, feed my dog Honey B, eat breakfast and aim to be in work as early as possible. I work on a variety of things each day, but try to focus on gathering inspirations, designing and dealing with my manufacturers as a priority. Sometimes I break during the day with a gym visit. We work in a building full of interesting, creative people, so there is always a great vibe and lots of people to bounce I ideas off.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I am in love with my multi-coloured Ironhide boots (part of my AW13 Pixel collection). They are all my favourite things in one shoe… I have barely taken them off since I got them!


Tell us something no one else knows about you?
I hate red, I never want to design a red shoe, no one has noticed that there is no red shoe yet!
Any advice for aspiring shoe designers?
 Make sure you have good work experience under your belt. Get as much advice as possible. If you are planning on starting your own shoe brand, it will be 10 times harder than you think it’s going to be, so make sure you have the right connections and business plan.
As a designer, what makes a good pair of shoes?
Comfort and fit is fundamental but in terms of design, unique details that make your shoes stand out, oh and of course, colour! 

Who would you like to be seen wearing your shoes?
I am most inspired by strong, independent women wearing my shoes. Influential role model types, whether famous or not.


What can we expect to see from Cleo B in the future?
I have recently launched a range of leather travel card holders and I am currently working on designing more leather accessories to accompany the main footwear collections. I am also expanding my shoe clip collection. The aim is to develop CLEO B as a fully-fledged lifestyle brand! 

When I Grow Up…

For the next instalment of our When I Grow Up series, we caught up with one of new favourite illustrators, Ella Masters to find out a little more about her and those amazing bearded tattooed men!



What made you first want to become an illustrator? 

I always wanted to be cartoonist growing up but I wasn’t always confident with my reading or writing due to my severe dyslexia, so when growing up I focused a lot more on just painting without a narrative. It really was the spark at university that pushed me to want to pursue a career in commercial illustration, but I still don’t really see myself though as solely an illustrator. I often call myself an artist because it incorporates most of the things I do.

How would you describe your work? 
Thats a rather hard to answer because my work is a mish mash of different styles. My work is normally based around detail, I love detail and humour in illustrations … cue my bearded tattoo men! I am starting to work more in colour and I’m inspired by the people I meet, patterns and places I visit like my Paris and London illustrations. I work in a mixture of different mediums which in themselves bring different styles out in me.   

Describe your average day?  
At the moment I’m still working part time so my days vary a lot.  I normally wake up around 7am, have a good cup of tea then get started with my to-do list – I live my life via to-do lists! I will check my emails and then get started with orders about 9am, printing and packaging up all items. These will often take me up to 12 and then I’ll have lunch whilst working on paintings and illustrations. I’m currently working on a new clothing line, so at the moment I am working on patterns that will be printed onto the fabric. I normally have dinner with my family, then work late into the evening either on new illustrations, scheduling blog posts or updating my Etsy shop.  I often don’t finish working until about 10pm it can be a long day but I really do love it.    




We’re huge fans of your bearded and tattooed men pieces – how did this come about?
Thank you – I’m always so flattered when someone does! In my final year at Uni 3rd year, I doodled some watercolour illustrations for an exhibition and then sort of forgot about them hidden in my sketchbook. It wasn’t till last year whilst sorting sketchbooks, I found them and started drawing them again. They became a big hit online with people, which was a massive shock as to me they were just a little project I was focusing on to cheer me up. I’ve always drawn tattoos, since I was about 13 and it wasn’t until I actually put them onto topless bearded men that it actually worked. The originals were inspired by vintage tattoo images I found in old books and the beard was mainly inspired by my dad who has a magnificent one! I have now been dubbed “Queen of beards”… I promise that doesn’t mean I actually have one! 

Any Advice on aspiring Illustrators?  
I still feel like an aspiring Illustrator myself if I am honest, but I think the best way to become a good illustrator is to have a consistent style, push yourself, use a sketchbook always and go out and get what you want. If you want to be featured in a magazine contact them, want an internship… apply! I once emailed Mandy Sutcliffe from Belle and Boo for experience running an illustration shop, she then emailed back and we ended up worked together. Social media is also great for spreading your work  on twitter, facebook, pinterest and remember always act professional, you never know who will be a future client. 

Do you have a favourite piece?  
I do love my big pop illustrations, but my favourites would have to be my tea cup illustrations that were inspired by my recent trip to cornwall, they make me rather happy when I look at them.   

Any future plans you can tell us about?
I’m currently looking to move back to cornwall and set up a new illustration studio, going full time with my small Etsy shop and being full self employed which is just terrifying. As I mentioned before, I’m currently working on a new illustrated clothing line and am in talks with a few companies about collaborating on exciting illustrated pieces.

Tell us something no one else knows about you…  
I struggle to correctly write my middle name, Georgia….

Oh and as we’ve just released our music issue… what’s on your ipod at the moment? 
I have a bit of an obsession with bastille particularly Pompeii. 

When I Grow Up…

For the next instalment of When I Grow Up… we grill Jade from Ginger Pickle and find out what her average Monday is like and happened when she did the Can Can for Michael Barrymore…. 

Where did the name come from?  
I was at a Greg Davies gig and thought of it then, inspiration from the weirdest of places!   
How did the idea come about? 
 It was at my final year degree show at art school, I was sat there on my stool pondering what to do with my life after Uni. I love the creative industry and didn’t want to leave it for a more corporate job, which perhaps yes was the more suitable option with regards to a stable income and good career prospects, but I had to follow my heart. I wanted to make my own jewellery and homeware range as well as support other British designers.   

Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?  
Inspiration is everywhere from loads of sources…anything can inspire you, that’s the beauty of life, the uninspiring can be inspiring to some.  I tend to draw random doodles in my sketchbook and come up with ideas, relax and have fun with it and you will think of something cool!   
Who would you most love to see wearing one of your designs?  
Anyone, honestly it’s such a great feeling knowing that people like to wear the jewellery I make.   
You work with some talented young designers, anyone we should look out for?  
The Grey Earl is one of my newest designers. He’s an illustrator living in Glasgow, Scotland and makes the funniest cards i’ve ever seen. His ‘Batboy‘ cards take Batman to a new level. (I have attached pictures of his cards for you to see for yourself!) The response has been amazing, I really do see big things for Jon of The Grey Earl. 
Describe your average day…  
I get up around 8am, (I go for a morning jog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays…this is my attempt to try and get fit!) I then get my breakfast of cereal and green tea, reply to emails and then work on my orders. Some of my own jewellery is made to order so I need to spend an hour or so in the workshop. Monday’s are the busiest days for me, the build up of orders over the weekend means that I have to play catch up! Everyday is different, it really depends I could have a new designer in the shop and will spend a good amount of time uploading their items to the shop, organising stock, doing my accounts and sorting out paperwork. I am looking for new stockists for my own jewellery so will email shops that I like, or spend time on Facebook and Twitter promoting new work and designers. I am also actively looking for new designers for the shop so will spend time looking for new talent, or sometimes I have stalls to attend so I will get all my stock ready for it and organise my ‘stall kit’.   

Any advice for our readers wanting to take the plunge for themselves?  
If you are a designer and want to sell your work my advice is to start on Etsy.com. It’s a brilliant marketplace and has loads of fabulous sellers. Also get as much information and advice as possible, if you are inspired by other designers, give them an email. There is a lot of trial and error, you will make things which you think are good at the time but then look back and say ‘what was I thinking, no wonder nobody bought it’. You will make mistakes, but it’s all part of the journey and each mistake will make you a better designer because you will learn from it and get better each time. The only way you will do it is if you keep trying! 
Tell us something no one else knows about you…  
I was on TV when I was a kid (think I was about 4). I was on Michael Barrymore’s show called ‘My Kind Of People’ where he travelled around shopping centres and people performed on the stage unrehearsed. I did the Can-Can with my dancing group. I was cheeky to him and he retaliated by knocking the microphone on my head…I remember it hurting and tried to hold back the tears. CRINGE! 

What does the future hold for Ginger Pickle?  
The plan is to expand and have more designers, We currently have 34 and would like to increase it to 50 within 5 years. I would also like to have my large studio space and have a little assistant to help me with orders. I would also love to go to more markets outside of Aberdeen where I currently live. Renegade market looks amazing!   
Oh and as we’ve just released our music issue, what’s on your ipod at the moment?  
I’m one of those people who has an iPod but can’t be bothered updating it! However, I do listen to youtube a lot and have been loving Bastille. Their mix tape ‘Other people’s heartache’ is amazing.  

When I Grow Up…

Following on with our When I grow up series, we caught up with textile designer Naomi Tuffery founder of Tuff Love, who specialise in creating stunning digitally printed silk scarves. Read on to find out how she managed to bag her dream job… 

You graduated with a degree in Textiles and Surface Design, was this is always your dream career?
Definitely not! When I finished my A-levels I thought ‘Oh gosh! What am I going to do with my life now?!’ I knew I wanted to do something arty but was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in so decided to do a foundation degree but was told they had no more places at my interview. I immediately thought it had all been a waste of time and that I was back at square one but the interviewer carried on talking with me and looked through my work and thought I was ready to go straight to degree and between us we hand-picked the Textiles and Surface Design on the spot. All of a sudden I was doing a degree! It was very surreal. Luckily when I started the course I fell in love with print design and that was when I knew what I wanted to do with my life. 

Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?
A huge combination of things! I find that it’s pretty random, for example I may stumble across an old photograph and it will inspire a whole collection. All it takes is one initial thought to expand and lead onto other things…

Who would you most love to see wearing one of your designs?
I think I would say Kate Middleton. She has become such a fashion icon and she dresses very smart, classy and sleek – A look that I think my scarves go with perfectly.

Do you have a favourite piece?
I have a couple in the collection that I like the most but if I had to pick I would say my Winter scarf print, partly because of how it came about. Last year I went out to my car and it was completely covered in the most beautiful intricate patterns that had been formed by the ice overnight. I photographed them and used them to design this piece. That then inspired the whole of the Seasons Collection.

 Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My mum. She is so supportive of me and my career. Having her motivate me and keep me positive keeps me going and not let me give up on my dream of being a successful textile designer. I’m getting there one day at a time and I wouldn’t be able to do it without her.
Describe your average day…
Well I work freelance and am building my business up at the moment so I have other part time work around it. This means most days I will work a shift at one of my part time jobs and then I will go home and try to do as much designing as I can in the evenings, or visa versa. I love to design in my room with a big mug of tea and background music or telly. My favourite days are when I have no other work on and I get to work from home all day creating beautiful things! I’m hoping one day I can quit the other jobs and that can be my full working week.

Any advice for our readers wanting to take the plunge for themselves?
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your business. You don’t want to waste time and money investing in something that is not going to work. You need to look at every aspect of your idea and decide whether it is a good one. When it came to picking my label name it took me ages and before I finally settled with ‘Tuff Love’ I asked most of my friends and family what they thought. They all loved it and I’m so happy I stuck with that one.

Tell us something no one else knows about you…
I spend a lot of my time designing from my bed, drinking tea and eating chocolate! It is work, I promise!

What does the future hold for Tuff Love?
I will definitely be widening my range of products. At the moment I am just selling digitally printed silk scarves but soon I will have hand printed T-shirts available too. Then even further in the future I hope to have even more products!
Oh and as we’ve just released our music issue, we want to know what’s on your ipod at the moment?
 I am in love with ‘Waiting All Night’ by Rudimental! I cannot stop listening to it. It is definitely my favourite song at the moment. 

See more of Naomi’s designs on Etsy and Folksy, and at Nisbett and George

Papercuts…

In each issue of Cellardoor, we catch up with a different creative and grill them on how they landed their dream job. So when we came across the amazing paper creations by Chloe Fuery, we just knew we had to include her! 
Click here to read the whole interview and find out more about what makes the illustrator tick… and if you’re nosy like us she gives us a peek into what’s on her iPod too! 

When I Grow Up…

In our latest installment of When I Grow Up… we meet Jemma Fennings one half of the duo behind the beautiful vintage-inspired watch brand Olivia Burton. When they couldn’t find any watches to suit their own style they decided to create their own (well, if a job wants doing properly…). As always, we ask them our burning questions…
For those of us that don’t know, can you tell us a little about Olivia Burton?
Olivia Burton is a vintage inspired watch brand that offers something very different to what is currently available. Inspired by vintage and catwalk, Olivia Burton watches are contemporary, fun and bursting full of British style. 
 What made you decide to start up the brand?
We’ve been on a constant quest for stylish and beautiful accessories and have struggled to find vintage inspired watches at an affordable price point. Having spent many years buying for the likes of ASOS & Selfridges, we took theplunge and went into business together creating our own range of affordablewatches that enable people to change their watch with their outfit & mood.

 We’re huge fans of your designs, do you have a favourite?
Thank you. We’re so in love with every piece as they all add a little something different to your outfit. We’ve both been wearing a selection depending on the look we’re wearing that day. I’m pretty smitten with the Animal Motifs right now, especially the little Owl, he always brings a smile to my face! 
 Where do you get your inspiration from?
We take inspiration from lots of different things – vintage, catwalk and the great British outdoors. We’re also largely inspired by street style and must confess to spending a great deal of time observing what is happening right here on the streets of London. 
 Can you describe your average day? 
 No day is ever the same at OB HQ and that’s just the way we like it – it keeps us on our toes! One day we’re designing and range building and the next we’re meeting customers. A typical day for us starts at 8.30am. Emails are always the first port of call and I spend my mornings and evenings checking in on our social media profiles – it’s so important for us to have dialogue with our customers.

 Who would you most like to see wearing one ofyour designs? 
 There are so many people we would love to see wearing an Olivia Burton watch. We love the effortless style of Alexa Chung and her ability to mix vintage, designer and high street – she is definitely one! 
 Any advice for our readers? 
 Work experience are the golden words for anyone looking to break into the fashion industry. Approach even the most menial tasks with enthusiasm and above all else… smile.

When I Grow Up….

Here at Cellardoor Magazine we love promoting up-and-coming brands, and Brat & Suzie is right up our street! Here we talk to Polly, head designer at B&S about where she gets her inspiration from, and who she’s loved to see in one of her designs. Enjoy! 
For those of us that don’t know, who are Brat & Suzie? 
 Based in East London, Brat and Suzie is an animal-inspired fashion brand that creates a collection of super-cute, playful, easy to wear and desirable T-shirts, sweaters, dresses and tops. If you want to wear a raccoon riding a bicycle or a Rabbit in Victorian costume on your T-shirt, Brat and Suzie is the brand for you.
What made you want to start it up? 
 Both Charlotte and myself have always wanted to be creative and both went to study fashion. Charlotte had worked as a designer for high street fashion stores, including working at Miss Selfridge as a casualwear designer and I was working on the production side of things at a supplier and also in the tailoring department at River Island. I got bored with the job I was doing and needed more of challenge so I decided to start Brat and Suzie. At first it was more of a hobby then it started to grow it was now or never. Charlotte then joined the brand 2 years later to work full time.
Where does your inspiration for your designs come from? 
We come up with ideas for the designs by looking at old vintage story books about animals, vintage science/nature books on wildlife and combine them with the modern world – for example putting a Ferret on a scooter or a Squirrel in glasses. We also look at trends, for example Flamingos are pretty on trend for this summer so we got the artists to draw a flamingo in a very ‘Brat and Suzie’ way by putting her in high top trainers and pearls. 
 Who would you most like to see wearing one of your designs? 
 We love to see everyone in Brat and Suzie but we would love to see Katy Perry in our smitten with kitten tee as she loves cats! 
What does the future hold for Brat & Suzie?
 It would be great to get more UK stockist and to grow our profile at home as well expanding into more stores internationally. We would like to continue to grow the brand in other product areas – we have already started doing dresses, playsuits and snoods in our main collection. Continuing to raise our profile among celebrities and get some really great people wearing Brat and Suzie. 
 And finally, do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of starting up something similar? 
 Try to be organized and keep on top of all your paper work… its really boring but its a must! Keep track of your spending and set yourself budgets. Remember if it was meant to be easy everyone would be doing it. Don’t expect overnight success and try not to listen to negativity If you believe in what your doing you can do it.
By Lizzie Evans

When I Grow Up…

Khara Ledonne, miniature painter for her eponymous etsy shop, creates beautiful canvasses fit for a borrower. The Brooklyn-based artist’s necklaces are ideal for those who want to keep their hopes and dreams hidden away and close to their heart, it’s clear the oil paintings are given all of Khara’s time, love and attention. The perfect gift for your friends and family or if you are like us, for yourself, if you want a stegosaurus hanging from your neck.
When did you know that you wanted to take your creativity and work in fashion? 
You know how little kids will sometimes dress themselves in all the things they love most, without any regard for how it looks together? I still have the urge to do that. Painting lockets became this fantastic outlet where I can squeeze in all the color and imagery I dream up, yet keep it contained in a more presentable capsule. One can wear black from head-to-toe, but still have a hot pink mermaid dangling in their v-neck. It was a very slow and organic transition – I made things that I loved for myself until some of those ideas were noticed and gained momentum in an outside market. 
Where did you find the inspiration for your latest collection and what were your influences?
Though I live in Brooklyn, I grew up in a rather small and earthy town on the Pacific Ocean. Many of my designs are simply my daydreams, where I want to go when I close my eyes. When I’m riding the subway underground, I long for green trees, roaring campfires, and stormy oceans. Often there are elements of escape and fantasy – full moons, mermaids, and pirate ships. I find the locket is the perfect format for these tiny worlds because it can be exposed or kept secret. 
 How would you describe your creative process and what part of it do you most enjoy? 
Mixing new colors totally floats my boat. It’s just silly how much I love creating fresh colors to paint with – the oil enamel I use is intoxicatingly vibrant, and sometimes color alone is enough to give me an idea. Also, the requests of people for whom I paint custom orders open so many doors into new territories. They take me where I might be uncomfortable or unskilled and force me to adapt. 
What do you find best helps you get out of creative ruts? 
Usually when I’m in a rut it means I need to take a break, and remind myself that I am not a 24-hour creativity robot. After a few days away I am almost always refreshed. 
 What keeps you motivated? 
My studiomate – she’s a gem! Re-reading positive feedback from customers also gives me a lovely boost. 

For anyone thinking about taking their creativity and turning it into a business, what is the biggest piece of advice you would give them?
 For me, it has always been to work with your clientele. I’ve been painting murals, signs and miniatures for 13 years, and I think the reason it has proved so sustainable is because I try to meet others’ visions with my skills. I can get a blissful kick out of painting what I love for myself, but I can’t necessarily expect to pay rent that way. It is both a struggle and a delight to adapt to what others want. Being an artist or designer can also be a solitary pursuit, and I find interacting with buyers and clients keeps me grounded and open. 
What inspires you as an individual and who has influenced you the most? 
Nature and the love of my close friends. There is just nothing compared to the rejuvenation of laying under a leafy tree and the affirmation of someone I respect. In a more official realm, though, I would say the immensely talented painters that I worked with at a mural studio in Manhattan a few years ago. From China, Russia, Korea and Tibet – they were all bizarre characters who had much more experience than I. They put me through painter’s bootcamp (I literally cried over the shape of oak leaves, facial features and faux plaster), and I am much better off for it.
If you had the chance to take a sneaky peek inside the studio of another creative (dead or alive) who would it be? 
William Morris – that man was a force to be reckoned with. The way in which he applied strict function to lush and wild beauty is astonishing. That and the variety of his skills and workshops – wallpaper, weaving, woodwork… what I wouldn’t give to lay my paws on those tools! 
When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy doing? 
My work and play are so thoroughly integrated that it’s hard to say. If I’m not painting then I’m building, sewing, cooking or writing. Having tea with friends. And, you know, that occasional bloody mary or nap under a tree in the park.
 Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Building a house. With my own hands and lots of raw, organic materials. Foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical wiring, roofing – everything! With as many nooks and cubbies as a house can hold. Essentially I just want to make an enormous locket.
By Holly Taylor

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