When I left university and was putting together a CV to find a serious job, my friends would laugh at what I had written under the ‘hobbies’ section. ‘Colour’ they said ‘you can’t have colour as a hobby’ but the truth is I have always loved vibrant colours and although at the time I don’t think I knew how exactly colour manifested itself as a hobby, I knew that colour was important to me and was a word I wanted to have down in any document describing me.
I come from a family of artists. We all have different areas of focus but I am the only one who surrounds myself with bright, cheery hues and tries to spread my colour philosophy through my work. (My philosophy is simply that bright colours can be uplifting and cheery!)
In recent years, my inspiration has come from my beautiful surroundings – I am so lucky. I live in a cottage near Edinburgh with my back garden gate opening on to a Scottish beach. The cottage is surrounded by light airy woods in all their beauty, sounds and smells. In February the snowdrops come out in their large swathes followed by the spring with the verdant colour of wild garlic and its amazing smell and then the fruit trees blossom. The range of rhododendron colours here are staggering. The wild flowers and bluebells mingle in between bringing all sorts of colours to the woods. The birdsong is incredible; the variety of birds staggering and it is not unusual to have over ten swans land on the water in front of my garden gate. There is a river running through our wood with a kingfisher in its banks and our little garden is home to a family of nuthatches as well as other garden birds. We are visited by the woodpecker too and have a large family of hedgehogs living in our garden. The beach is a protected bird area and I spend any spare time in August collecting discarded curlew feathers. It takes a lot of collecting to get enough perfect feathers for one of my rounds (see feather rounds under ‘by design’). The park land surrounding the lane down to my cottage is home to thirty or so highland cows and hundreds of sheep and in spring if we are lucky we see their young being born. We often have to avoid the dear careering across the lane and if we are lucky we see a badger.
BRAZILIAN JOIE DE VIVRE
I also have a lot to thank Brazil for. Before living here in Scotland I lived in Brazil. While working in London for a newspaper I met my Scottish husband on holiday in Brazil. He invited me back and I lived there for 5 years. So I am thankful to Brazil. Firstly of course for meeting my amazing husband (and beloved dogs) who gives me the support and happiness to do my work but also, it is here that I came across a Beatriz Milhazes picture. Her pictures have inspired me like no others before. To add to this the bright colours of the incredible flowers. Our house was wrapped in bougainvillea and surrounded by coconuts, mangoes and papaya trees. Importantly too, the spirit and happiness of the Brazilian people – their joie de vivre was infectious. Following a stressful job in London, my stay in Brazil gave me time to actually do something with my creative yearning. This was the start of my art becoming more than just a hobby.
SCOTTISH NATURE & BRAZILIAN JOIE DE VIVRE
So now you see why I always say that the inspiration behind my designs is a combination of Scottish life and nature and Brazilian joie de vivre. I simply harness these inspirations and try to do uncomplicated pictures that make one smile.
Lastly here’s something that makes me smile! On a recent course my husband was asked his worst negotiation. He said that when he went to Brazil he went with nothing. Just one suitcase. Before coming back from Brazil he said to his new wife (me) that he thought we should just bring one dog back. He came back with a container, a wife and three dogs! Yes we brought our three wonderful dogs (the first of which was found in the rubbish) back to Scotland but that is another story and a future book!
Thank you for looking at my site. If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to buy something that you can’t find then please do get in touch. I hope that if you do buy something from me that the lovely colours or the quirky character will bring a smile to your face over and over again. Thank you so much.