Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I'm often asked about where my interest in Art & Design comes from. Well it is almost entirely from my family. And as family is very much on my mind at the moment I thought I would do a little post on them. They are a super talented bunch who have inspired me a great deal.

 My maternal Granny, Betty, was a brilliant painter, patchworker, embroiderer and knitter who really fuelled my passion for all things pattern and textile. When I stayed with her as a child I would sleep in the little front bedroom that also doubled as her studio. I still find the smell of turps and oil paint incredibly comforting. There was a chest of drawers full of beautiful textiles, embroidery silks and buttons. I used to empty the button box and make patterns from them. I still have the box now.

My Paternal Grandfather, Stanley,  was a Graphic artist and one of the best draughtsmen (along with my Dad) I have ever seen. He could also make the most incredible things- dragons from egg boxes, castles from plastic cups that filled a whole room. His imagination and skill was endlessly entertaining to me as a young child. He introduced me to many artists, including John Piper who remains one of my favourite artists.

My mum, Ronnie, has explored many different crafts with such competence and creativity. I grew up in  a house surrounded by hand printed textiles, batiks and ceramics. I would card sheeps fleece for her to spin, dye and weave. Lanolin is another smell that I still love. Now, she paints such accomplished watercolours which she sells and exhibits. It was my Mum who taught me to sew, embroider and dress make at a young age. Time spent with my Mum was always a project- making an outfit, a doll, painting Easter eggs- even now we will sit and paint together.

My sister Rosy is a Graphic designer. I am in awe of her knowledge and amazing computer skills. Much to her chagrin I call her regularly for advice on how to do something in Photoshop or Illustrator! She can also do mean patchwork (something I've never had the patience for) and isn't half bad with a camera. She has a far more methodical and practical mind than me. Understands how things work and so has a more thorough and focussed way of looking at things than my rather intuitive approach.

My Dad Steve, a physicist, would come home from work when I was little with computer print outs (remember that stripey green paper) of graphs he didn't need so that we had paper to draw on. I've never understood the science but I used to thoroughly enjoy colouring in the graphs! He draws with such economy of line producing such pared down and beautiful images. He is also brilliant at making three dimensional things. He makes great furniture, can carve and make sculpture. When the willow in the garden had to be cut back look what he made from it...

The reason I have shared these thoughts and images is that tomorrow I have a post featuring the work of a new an exciting furniture designer who's work and approach to design reminds me very much of my own family's skill sharing outlook. I feel really lucky to have such creative and skilled influences around me.

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful post, and what a wonderful family to grow up in. I love my family too, but I wish many of them were more open about sharing their creativity - alas, I think it was the very conservative rural culture that made them a bit dismissive of what they were capable of.