Q: Tell us a bit about your history and what mediums you first began to work in?
I grew up in London and studied Fine Art at Chelsea Art College. After graduating I started a company called Lazy Eye, making music videos and tour visuals for bands. In 2001 some friends and I started a fanzine called Hey Ladies, which featured female illustrators, writers and photographers. We wanted to create a fanzine about things we thought were funny and interesting, and were not being covered in mainstream women’s magazines. Hey Ladies got me into drawing and a lot of commissions followed, for magazines like British Elle, Vogue, and Dazed and Confused. Since then I’ve worked on adverts, animations, book covers and a graphic novella for international clients including Volvo, Topshop, Penguin Books, The Global Fund For Women and Seattle local clients including Sitka and Spruce, The London Plane, Flora and Henri, and Marigold and Mint.
Q: What do you love about your community?
I am lucky to work with some really inspiring people. I often collaborate with my husband, Christian and his graphic design and art direction skills really push my work into interesting directions. We share a studio with jewelry designer Rachel Ravitch, who I’ve recently collaborated with on some hand dyed indigo iterations of her iconic knot necklaces. I work with Vanessa Lang a lot, who is amazing, multi talented, she can turn her hand to any creative project, and also with rising star photographer Sofia Lee. Katherine Anderson, who owns Marigold and Mint and The London Plane, and Ayako Gordon taught me everything I know about floral design.
“I approach each flower arrangement and garment I dye as a piece of art.”
Q: How would you describe your aesthetic / style?
I think my aesthetic is pretty eclectic. I love pattern and texture. In my illustration work I use a lot of black and white, building up tones with hundreds of tiny dots of black ink. Working with flowers definitely made me get excited about colour a lot more, which then fed back into my illustration work. I’m really into using different patterns together and I’m very inspired by the way traditional Japanese textiles approach pattern mixing. I love the way you can play with lots of different shades of the same tone in indigo. I guess that takes us back to monochrome.
Q: What was the inspiration behind Isvald?
A couple of years ago I began messing around with indigo dye, just making things for myself and my friends. I was wearing a shirt I’d dyed when I went into the shop Nube Green in Seattle. They loved it and asked me to produce a range of scarves, which encouraged me to pursue it more seriously.
Q: Can you tell us about your other creative projects? We know you are up to a lot in Seattle!
At the moment I’m focusing a lot on Marigold and Mint Botanicals, which is a line of candles and soaps I have with Christian Petersen and Katherine Anderson. I illustrate all the papers we use in the packaging and Christian creates patterns from my illustrations. Katherine and I work on the scents – which are inspired by her organic flower farm near Seattle. We are launching our website very soon, which is exciting. I also recently completed a large wall hanging for Matt Dillon’s new restaurant, Upper Bar Ferd’nand.
Q: What else should we keep in eye out for in the future?
This summer I will be leading a workshop at the Olympic Sculpture Park as part of the Summer at SAM series. It’s called ‘Bleu de Travail’ (working blues) and will explore the role indigo has played in colonialism, resistance, industrialization and commerce. Participants will be able to dye pieces of fabric, communally creating a temporary installation which celebrates indigo and indigo workers. I’m really excited! I’m also creating new drawings for a show at the end of the year with two other female artists from Seattle. I see all my work, whether it’s floral design, textile design or drawing as equally important. I approach each flower arrangement and garment I dye as a piece of art.