I've always loved heritage, whether it's a crumbling ruin surrounded by ancient trees, an engraved pocket watch passed from one generation to the next, or even the gravitas of Latin with its immense linguistic legacy. I grew up amid the majestic mills of Bradford and after over a decade in Oxford and London studying literature and working in publishing, I have returned to the magnificent Yorkshire countryside to set up on my own.
This is a very small me, outside Keighley's Cliffe Castle Museum
Clavis & Claustra, 'key & lock' in Latin, represents for me the excitement of discovery, of unearthed secrets, of unlocked treasures, but also the necessity of cherishing and protecting those things which we prize, be they precious relics, people's life stories or the natural world. Conservation and sustainability are very important to me, which is why my products feature designs which evoke the romance of bygone ages; it's also the reason I upcycle and love chic reusable tote bags.
This is one of my Shuffle the Deck greetings cards made using pre-loved playing cards
This is one of my Quotelets, handmade using upcycled pages of some of my favourite novels
My new supplier of tote bags and aprons is a fantastic company called Vandanamu which I came across at the Women of the World festival. Their business is invested in cultivating sustainable livelihoods and a thriving community for their workers. Community means a lot to me, whether it’s supporting my local shops, joining Fabrication, or nurturing links with other businesses and organisations who have goals similar to mine. There is something uplifting about connecting with a group of other people who share common purpose or interest.
When I come to publish children’s books next year, I will be engaging directly with the audience: I want to foster a close relationship between author, illustrator and reader, and to hear ideas and responses from the children themselves. The first book explores the importance of welcoming outsiders into your community and including those who are different, all through the eyes of funny little creatures (more details later this year - watch this space). Celebrating diversity, especially in children’s literature, enables us all as readers to be enriched by a broader range of experiences.
These are two of my suffragette goodies: a Notes for Women notebook and a Deeds Not Words to do list pad
Underpinning my love of diversity is a lifelong belief in equality of all people. Honouring those who have fought for equality led me to create the suffragette series - that, and a weakness for puns. In fact, if you’re reading this and you too love a pun, or anything else I’ve mentioned, it would be great to hear from you. Send me pictures of your favourite heritage sites, fun facts about suffragettes, memories of learning Latin at school, or whatever you fancy. Because life is more exciting when you share your treasures.