You live in a beautiful part of the UK, Pembrokeshire in Wales. How does the landscape around you influence your work?
It influences my work as well as just making me happier in general. Even if I’m not being directly influenced by what I see, the grounding and calming influence of the sea and being outdoors is so important for me to stay creative.
I adore your project A Natural Year in which you captured wildlife from the Pembrokeshire countryside throughout the changing seasons. What inspired you to start this? How have you found it? Has the process been different to what you thought it would be?
Thank you! It was inspired by a personal project I had been meaning to do for a long time which was to start a nature sketchbook / diary, as I love spotting the different things popping up in hedgerows and along clifftops through the seasons. I actually can’t walk anywhere without stopping to look at new buds, flowers and leaves! I’m sure my boyfriend finds it quite frustrating!
After doing the first few sketches I had the idea of combining the concept with greetings cards, as I really liked the thought that people could share a seasonal thing to spot with others. After starting the project I also found that so many people have their memories of special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries etc – deeply associated with the sight and scents of certain flowers in bloom at that time of year. I love that concept; marking an occasion with what is happening alongside it in nature. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, but by the end of the year I was finding the timescale of producing the cards, as well as postcards and prints, a bit challenging on top of my other work. I’m excited to look back on the collection now, without the time pressure, and see how I can present it in new ways, offering some new sets for example.
You say your work is for slow, seasonal living. How do you think your illustrations encourage people to slow down?
For me the act of sending handwritten mail is a wonderfully slow and mindful process in a world of fast throwaway messages. Sitting down and putting pen to paper with a friend or family member in mind, addressing the envelope, making your way to a post box and then waiting for it to wing its way to the recipient. Receiving post is equally enjoyable – everyone loves opening a letter knowing the extra effort that has been put in just for them. Beautiful stationery has always been a great love of mine, it just adds to the whole experience. A beautiful card should feel like a little gift. With my Natural Year project I also hoped to spread the joy of slowing down on walks (even if just to the corner shop!) to notice anything new growing. The sight of a tiny bud or flower unfurling is one of the most optimistic sights. It is also so fleeting that you have to be fully present to notice it.