Nicola Jones grew up in a creative family and was always encouraged to make things by hand. So it’s only natural that now, a mother herself, she launch her own creative business. She has a passion for paper, graphic design and colour, and admits to spending every spare moment combining all three to create striking notecards and wedding stationery. They really are very lovely.
When did it all begin for you?
I’m not quite sure where the true beginning started as it has just evolved over the years of creating cards and experimenting with different styles. But the beginning of turning it into a business happened while I was on maternity leave in 2007/2008. In need of doing something creative I put together a portfolio of wedding stationery which I later showed to a colleague who was to become my first paying client at the end of 2008 and I’ve continued to create wedding stationery ever since. Once I discovered Folksy I was able to diversify and apply my designs to everyday stationery with the opportunity to reach customers all over the UK.
What’s your favourite piece of work?
My favourite is normally whatever I’m currently working on which happens to be my sprig design for a wedding commission. Although I never tire of seeing my sleepy owl design! (above)
Tell us about your work space? Favourite place to work?
I do all my work at my desk which is located in one half of the children’s play room. It’s a busy place to be if I need to work when the children are home from school, but we quite like all being in the same room together, and I have my back to the mess of toys!
Describe your day as a maker? Are you organised/disciplined?
I’ve always thought of myself as an organised and disciplined person but working for myself I’ve discovered I’m not as disciplined as I should be!
I have no set pattern, but normally start my day with a list of ‘must dos’ and ‘nice to dos’. If I get all my ‘must dos’ done I can reward myself with a ‘nice to do’! A typical day includes checking and replying to emails, printing and packing orders, promoting online and normally a trip to the post office.
As I spend most of my time on the computer I can easily lose the odd hour browsing the internet, reading blogs and getting carried away on social networking sites, luckily I thrive under pressure so always manage to get everything done, even if means working late into the night!
What three tools could you not live without?
My computer and printer for obvious reasons (can that count as one!), my guillotine as I can still remember the agony of cutting everything by hand for my first two wedding commissions, and my corner rounder which is a simple little tool that makes a big difference to the look of a piece of stationery.
What gets the creative juices flowing when creativity is stifled?
A good tidy up of my work space and a flick through my sketch pad is normally enough. If that doesn’t work then I stop thinking about it and go about doing everyday things taking note of everything around me. Inspiration can be found in the simplest of things like the colour combinations on my children’s clothes or fancy packaging at the supermarket.
Are you inspired by any artists from the past or present?
I’m greatly inspired by other designer makers on Folksy that have worked hard at creating a distinctive and cohesive brand for their products.
Although I produce flat printing I appreciate the work of artists using other printing methods, in particular, letterpress, lino and block printing. One of my favourite printmakers currently is Angie Lewin, her work is truly stunning.
What do you love most about being a maker?
Being able to do what I love and getting that feeling of joy when someone buys something I’ve designed and created. I also like the fact that when you sell through Folksy you’re also part of a creative community of like- minded people.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Still ticking along nicely but maybe a little more organised and disciplined! I’d like to see my stationery in more shops and galleries, and if I find the time I’d like to explore other printing methods.
What would you say to any makers starting out?
Take the time to play around until you’re happy with your own style, have fun creating your own brand and make things you love.
Nicola’s range can be found in her Folksy shop Gooseberry Moon.