When were the Porch Fairies born and how did you come up with the idea?
The Porch Fairies started life around six years ago. There’s always new ideas developing in the magical, fairytale land of the Porch Fairies, and always a notebook to jot down thoughts at all times.
How long have you been an illustrator and when did your passion for art (and for fairies) start?
I drew at a very early age. I was always very happy with blank paper and a colouring set. My parents, and my older sister, were very artistic, so exposure to imagination, theatreland, and art was always around me.
At primary school I would draw various requests (usually fairy princesses) for other children in my class. I heard the word ‘idea’ when I was five, and just loved the word, still do. It has so many positive possibilities.
I had a fantastic and very cool art teacher, Val Nethercott at senior school, Thorpe House, Norwich. I was offered a place for the fine art foundation course at Norwich Art school at 16 in the 1980s, but declined the place to work in the theatre. Many years on from then, my husband Nick inspired me to draw and illustrate again, and that’s how The Porch Fairies all started.
It’s a privilege to create a happy and enchanted world of beauty, fun and stories from the heart.
What materials do you use to create your illustrations?
Always a pencil first! Then a very fine rotary pen, followed by coloured inks mixed, because they are so clear and either vivid or soft. All of The Porch Fairies’ cards, pictures and products are hand finished in sparkles, bringing the illustrations to life.
We have a very capable person who works with us as a hand finisher, a real glitter fairy. Between us we use Stickles, a professional fine line glitter glue. We are always evolving and trying new things, but Stickles is unbeatable. This product is available at Jarrold in the craft department. The names are finished in gems, and ribbons too.
Each detailed piece takes hours of immersive work. People say that ‘You see something new every time you look’.
You have just launched two new ranges of cards – Woodland Brigade and Birthday Land – how do you come up with new ideas for your designs?
New ideas lead on from the last creative thoughts, people and situations around us, or childhood memories, and talking to Nick, my husband. You are a product of your own environment.
Birthday Land evolved from an original picture that I recently gave to a dear friend. Then I thought, why wouldn’t you be a Birthday Queen, in Birthday Land, for a day!
The Woodland Brigade range is fun. When I’m drawing the woodland folk they all have their own little characters and stories to tell.
And what about for Christmas?
‘Silent Night’ and ‘Finding Christmas’ are two new cards we have added to the Christmas collection this year, as well as a brand new framed gift illustration called “Winter Wonderland” and a new advent calendar, and four notebooks which are perfect stocking fillers.
2017 has been an exciting year for the Porch Fairies with the book and all. What are the Porch Fairies planning for 2018?
Ah yes, our first book. The Lost Date. For many years we have been asked for books, and have wanted to write them. The Lost Date, is all about a small but brave fairy, who loses a very important date (her own birthday) and has adventures trying to find it. The books are collaborative between us.
We sit at the table opposite each other in script writer style, and hope we write it on both child and adult levels. There are indeed more stories to tell…
The Porch Fairies is now a limited company, family run, and based in Norwich, with three aspects to our brand. Greetings cards and stationery, framed gift illustrations, including our personalised name keepsakes, and now books. We’ve come a long way in six years, from presenting the first six illustrations in a portfolio. Jarrold is our home store, and not only are we proud to supply Jarrold, but the store and people are close to our hearts too.
And finally…do you have a favourite Porch Fairy?
Now that would be telling….we don’t want to create upset in the camp, after all they are real…