Frankly, The Folksy Magazine

Meet the Maker… Yvonne Ellen

by Emily. Average Reading Time: almost 6 minutes.

Yvonne Ellen big lace plate

DJing owls, Flamingoes with Top Hats and the odd Pug Jug; Yvonne Ellen is my kind of girl.

How long have you been selling on Folksy?

I’ve only been selling on Folksy for around a month, so I’m the ‘new girl’ in town at the moment, just finding my feet! It’s great to be part of a site with such a great concept behind it.

Why thank you! Tell us about your work.

I am the ‘car boot queen’ and love nothing more than hunting through piles and piles of old crockery on a Sunday morning to find vintage gems! Something I’m sure is not everyones favourite past time! As well as attending as many car boots as I can track down I also scour the local charity shops and vintage fairs for unique pieces to transform into my hand illustrated ceramic designs. Once I have a good collection I set to work creating decorative designs with a sense of charm and intrigue. I love to draw wild animals surrounded by beautiful and intricate pattern, often doing or wearing quite ‘human’ like things to add a little charisma.

"Lace Plate" - Yvonne Ellen
"Lace Plate" - Yvonne Ellen

What’s your favourite piece of work? 

My favourite piece of work is the ‘Ghetto Squirrel’ vintage plate I recently designed, I love how the little Squirrel is just chilling out listening to some tunes whilst knitting away!

"Ghetto Squirrel" - Yvonne Ellen
"Ghetto Squirrel" - Yvonne Ellen

Where did it all start for you?

I recently made a hand illustrated cake stand as a wedding gift for a friend of mine, and following some great feedback I decided to take the leap into selling online. It’s great to now have the opportunity through Folksy for my work to reach customers all over the UK. I love the work I do and enjoy the process of ‘making’ so being able to turn this into a business is fantastic and very rewarding.

"Unicorn Teacup & Saucer" - Yvonne Ellen
"Unicorn Teacup & Saucer" - Yvonne Ellen

Where is your favourite place to work?

I do all my work from the kitchen table so I’m often shuffling things around to allow for lunches/dinners with my partner and friends! It’s a busy place to be but it’s where I am happiest working. We have a tv in the room so I’m often half watching, half drawing! Luckily I have a great set of shelves which fill a whole wall and have consequently become my make shift ‘showroom’ of all my pieces. I like to have all my designs out on display while I am working so that I can maintain a strong cohesive range. The kitchen is also a great place to work for those regular tea/biscuit breaks!

Yvonne Ellen's workspace
Yvonne Ellen's workspace

How do you keep your work unique?

I think using vintage pieces alongside contemporary illustrations helps maintain a strong unique feel to my work. I also try to make my illustrations as unusual and fun as possible by combining somewhat ‘random’ objects with cute little animals for surprising compositions. It is really important for me to have unique pieces within my own home so I think that’s something that really drives me to make every item of my work a ‘one off’.

Describe your day as a maker? 

I am a real ‘list maker’ and jot down every idea or thought that comes to me so I can remind myself at a later date. Unfortunately I’m not quite organised enough to have a notebook with me at all time so the lists are often written on random receipts, packets or envelopes! So my day as a maker is spent working through my little lists and adding new ideas to them as I go along.

Yvonne being a very busy lady
Yvonne being a very busy lady

What three tools could you not live without?

Probably my ‘special’ porcelain pens, camera and an oven (for heat fixing the ink not making food!)

What gets the creative juices flowing?

It’s got to be the discovery of an amazing vintage piece, as soon as I find something I love my mind goes into overdrive about how I am going to decorate/enhance it. I also have this really annoying habit of my mind going mad with ideas and thoughts just as I am trying to fall asleep so I always make sure I have a pen and paper right next my bed to jot down any new ideas and designs (often written by the light of my iphone!)

"Stag Jug" - Yvonne Ellen
"Stag Jug" - Yvonne Ellen

Are you inspired by any other artists?

I get a lot of inspiration from Textile Designers actually, even though it’s not the exact field in which my work fits. I studied textile design at University and previously worked as a printed textile designer so beautiful printed fabrics are always something that catch my eye. I love the work of Celia Birtwell as her print designs have such a lovely decorative feel to them which is something I try to capture within my own work.


Celia Birtwell

How do you know when a piece is done?

A piece is 100% complete when it has just the right amount of decoration, not too much and not too little, the balance has to be perfect. It is also really important to me to create pieces that I can truly say I would love to have in my own home too.

What do you love most about being a maker?

The thing I love most about being a maker is being able to spend my time doing something I really enjoy and then sharing it with a wide variety of people via Folksy. It’s great to know that when you sell a piece it is because someone loves something that you have designed and made by hand.

"Little Fishes" Vintage Tea Set - Yvonne Ellen
"Little Fishes" Vintage Tea Set - Yvonne Ellen

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

In 5 years time I hope that Yvonne Ellen ceramics has grown into a strong brand with a dedicated and loyal customer base. I would also like my ideas to have maybe evolved into other product areas too, possibly onto textiles or stationary.

What would you say to any makers starting out?

I would say the most important thing is to be confident with your thoughts and ideas and not to doubt yourself at any time. I would also say not to be daunted by setting up online, the Folksy site is so easy to use that there really is no reason not to get started!


You can see all of Yvonne’s collection in her Folksy shop Yvonne Ellen.