So 2016 was a busy year, and finding new ways of promoting my products is always a challenge. You may have noticed that I produced a number of new images last year that had some beautiful back drops. I know so many wonderful creatives and I was really looking for an opportunity to collaborate with one of them. I wanted to find someone who was based in Gateshead and somone who was really special and had some creative magic about them.
As I do know some wonderful people it didn’t take me long until I realised I had the perfect person in mind. My good friend Kate Usher is an absolute inspiration to me. A mum of two with a full time job, she also somehow finds time to create the most beautiful wallpaper designs. There is such a beautiful hand drawn quality to her work, and that is because she is a very talented artist.
Kate’s vision is simple, but I should imagine a real challenge to achieve, she aims to “…create innovative and exciting wallpapers for interior spaces which cater to the needs of both style savvy adults and their fun-loving children. We believe in bridging the fantasies of children and the tastes of adults to achieve a more liveable, creative and unique family home.” Don’t we all want that!!! I know I do and it is a challenge getting the balance between what your kids would like and what will stand the test of time and look stylish and beautiful.
Having looked at Kate’s beautiful designs it struck me that my products would look absolutely amazing if I used her beautiful wallpaper as a back drop. And so I asked Kate if she wouldn’t mind, and she was more than happy to help. This was very exciting to say the least and I couldn’t wait to get started.
The challenge for me was chosing wallpapers that had the right balance between the products and Kates designs. And I very quickly came to realise that many of her gorgeous design just didn’t work. I decided to focus on the fine bone china as the products to showcase. And of course they are predominantly white, so any designs that had a more subtle colour palette just didn’t provide the right contrast.
However I am sure you will see above there was the odd acception to this rule. And the Aeronaut Wallpaper above was the perfect back from for my Flying Angels Mug. This is because the black and white balloons not only playfully reference flight, but they also allow the china mug to stand out and be noticed.
One of my absolute favourite images has to be the London Tea for One image, it is so luxurious and has a hint of extravagance about it. The product itself captures the concept of iconic landmarks being reflected in the Thames. And Kate’s Enchanted Wallpaper provides a sense of luxury, creative opulance and aspiration.
There are so many benefits to finding creatives that you can collaborate with. Personally I think it really enriches your creative experience, and it also opens your eyes to new ways of working. Collaboration is also reflective of an ethos of openess and generosity that can sometimes be lacking in the competitive creative world.
One of the most vibrant creative communities in the North East can be found on the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne and Kate used this as her focus for one of her wallpaper designs. As I am based in the North East I really wanted to use this wallpaper to showcase one of my North East inspired products. I hope that you will agree that the Newcastle Gateshead inspired Tea for One looks pretty special with Kate’s locally themed wallpaper behind it.
I am really keen to collaborate with some more amazing creatives, and I often bang on about the wealth of talent in the North East alone. As a Londoner born and bred I know from experience that it is all too easy to think that the creative mecca is the capital city. However as we now live in a global community it is easier than ever to find creativity and innovation in the most unexpected of places. And the North East has a rich heritage of innovators and creative talent. All you have to do is look into the history of some of the iconic landmarks and heritage sites in the North East and a whole world of creativity and ingenuity is open to you. And this why the North East remains one of my favourite places, simply because it is an endless source of inspiration.
The Angel of the North was being installed the year that I moved to the North East. And it was almost as if this beautiful sculpture, that I hold very close to my heart, sprinkled an extra little bit of magic on the North East, making it impossible for me to leave. The North East is most definitely where I call home, and creatives like Kate provide such an enriching experince of my adopted home and make it all the easier to be up here, which can sometimes be a challenge when many of my nearest and dearest are down south. Ultimately I think it is hard to imagine a better place to put down your roots, but I remain open to the possibility that there could be somewhere else out there worth another big adventure.