How did you get started as designer-makers and is it a full time job?
We’ve both been creative people from an early age. Bread and Jam started as a result of pooling both creative minds for one purpose. We have both been doing our own things on Folksy for some time now but doing it together just works. We also hold down a full time freelance business as commercial interior designers.
Talk us through your collection.
It’s still early days for us, we have some big plans to move into different areas but we are learning to walk first. Our current collection consists of 5 patterns which we have translated across various stationery products along with some text based designs. Our current best sellers are our nostalgic wooden pencil cases and our random notes of appreciation. We are working on a second collection of patterns, which will be ready early next year.
Tell us about your practice and making process.
We’re pretty lucky as it goes, we’ve just moved to the wilds of the North Pennines, we look out of any window in the house and there’s an abundance of stunning views and space to breathe. It all helps to clear the mind and focus. This also allows us more space for new equipment, which enables us to start moving into broader techniques. Currently, we start most of our designs with a pen and piece of paper, which we then translate into digital pieces of art which can be scaled to suit different purposes.
We produce blocks from which all of our work is then hand printed, although we are moving into other areas which require different print techniques such as silk screening, watch this space. We also like to provide nice little finishing touches, the buying process doesn’t end when it leaves our studio, it ends when the customer can see the goods.
How do you plan your work – do you use sketchbooks or do your makes grow organically?
Most of the good stuff happens late at night (steady!) either with a good bottle of wine or even when we are drifting off to the land of nod (we always have a sketchbook by the side of the bed, romantic or what). We are fairly relaxed about the way things happen, we don’t really have a set of rules which we follow, it just kind of flows. However, we are very careful about the colours we choose to print with and the quality of the substrates we print onto.
Do you have any tools unique to you ?
Our minds are fairly unique and can be slightly twisted from time to time.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
We are suckers for vintage patterns, whether it’s fabric or crockery. Catherine has a lovely full set of J&G Meakin crockery which was picked up in a local charity shop. We also follow an unfathomable quantity of blogs covering all manner of subjects.
How do you manage your time between making and the other commitments in your life?
We have two delightful young girls, Ella and Grace, who demand a lot of attention and time (in a good way). Luckily they are both of school age now and not old enough to stay up late so we can find some pockets of time. The freelance work takes up huge chunks of time so sometimes it feels like we’re juggling chain saws but somehow we manage to do just fine.
What’s your favourite book at the moment (craft or not)?
We’ve got our heads continually stuck inside Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a Shoestring at the moment. We’re planning a big trip early next year to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with the girls. We like to experience far flung corners with the girls in tow, we think it will leave some lasting memories and open their minds up to new places and cultures. We’re also hoping it will lead us down some interesting paths in terms of new influences and ideas.
Do you have a craft hero?
With so many great creatives out there it’s tricky to choose just one. But if we are going to pushed it would have to be Ed’s mum (Catherine’s mother in Law). She’s an amazing, inspiring lady who has so much energy and enthusiasm for everything craft. She makes it seem that nothing is impossible and she has an infectious ability to make you want to try your hand at almost anything.
Do you have one great tip for other makers ?
Be true to yourself and stick to your principles and creative ethos. If you like it, chances are others will too.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Oh tough question. First things first, we hope Bread and Jam will become a full time concern and that it starts to pay for itself. We’re not greedy people, so if it pays the bills and a few of life’s little luxuries then we will be happy bunnies.
Re-stock your stationery cupboard with scrummy Bread and Jam goodies.