For the first in my series of Hello Handmade features we have the lovely Olivia Streatfeild-James who designs and makes gorgeous, animal-inspired lino prints, which she transfers onto bags, cushions and t-shirts. Read the interview below, to find out more...
1. First of all could you tell us a little background information about how you started your business and the products you sell?
It all started in the final year of my degree. For my degree show I began a project called 'Home from Home' which came from my feelings of missing home (Scotland) while I was at University in Loughborough. The things I missed the most where the landscape, hills, mountains and wildlife and exploring on horseback. My degree was in screen printing, but I also had experience in relief printing. This is when my designs really took off. Using my lino prints to put onto screen and transfer them onto fabric led me to develop my ideas for cushions etc. After graduating in July 2011 I decided to set up my own business as I'd had so much positive feedback both at my degree show and at New Designers. I'm now selling through my online store and at craft fairs and markets in Scotland. My products are all hand screen printed, something I love to do. The cushions are all handmade and I am currently trying to source all my fabrics from local mills so that I can be as eco friendly as possible. I am already buying my linen from a wonderful fabric mill just down the road.
2. How would you describe your designs and what inspires you?
My designs are all inspired by Scottish wildlife, (native breeds and former native breeds such as the wolf) and the landscape and architecture around my home in rural Perthshire. My lino prints are quite stark and monochrome but I still feel that they have characters and seem almost alive and fluffy!
3. Do you have a favourite print design that you’ve made?
It's so hard to choose! I love the hares, they are so beautiful. The rabbit is my favourite for being cute and fluffy as well as the Fluffy Chaffinch, he's been a favourite with everyone from the start as he has so much character! The wolf is my newest design and I really like him as he is quite different to the others, less cute and fluffy and more austere and serious.
|Cotton Curious Chaffinch Cushion Cover|
4. What advice would you give other crafters and artists out there, who want to start selling their work?
I think you have to have confidence in yourself and what you do/make. Go to craft fairs as it's one of the best ways to network and actually meeting customers is great. I've also found that networking online is so useful, Twitter is a brilliant tool as well as Facebook, blogs etc, regular updates keep people interested as they love to see what you're up to!
5. What are your hopes for the brand in the future?
I'm hoping to keep the brand handmade and hand printed, I don't want to lose that quality. It would be great to be able to get to some of the big craft fairs out there and to be featured in a magazine or two. Saying that though I enjoy what I do, especially my lino printing, so I'm happy as long as I can carry on being an artist!
Make sure you visit Olivia's store for more adorable animal print items!
Have you enjoyed the first Hello Handmade feature? I hope so!