Meet the Maker - Camilla Westergaard (Butterscotch & Beesting)

Thursday, April 25, 2013
We are excited to introduce the delightful world of Butterscotch & Beesting.... over to you Camilla.

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
Hello. I'm Camilla and I'm the person behind Butterscotch & Beesting (the one hiding in the corner of the circus tent, behind my characters).  I tell the stories of a magical imaginary circus through a collection of prints, patterns and illustrations.

Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I seem to spend most of my time looking after children and animals. (Or trying to get children to look after animals.) I've got three of the first sort and countless of the second. When I'm not in charge of children and animals or an imaginary circus, I work for Folksy, which is pretty much a dream job. 

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I think you always know, don't you? It was there inside me from when I was really tiny, tapping away at my fingers, closing them around pencils and sticking them in pots of paint. It's part of me. I can see it in my middle daughter too – if you give her a piece of clay to play with, or a needle and thread, she comes alive. I feel like you can veer away from that path, but it will always pull you back. 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
I'm really lucky because I get to work across lots of different disciplines. Some days I'll be drawing, writing or sewing and others I'll spend in front of my Mac trying to get a pattern to repeat. I'm not very good at sticking to one thing, so that way of working really suits me. But if I had to pick, I'd say the bit I love the very best is seeing a fabric I've designed for the first time. Unrolling the linen, and seeing how the pattern has worked its way over the weave is always a thrill. 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
I'm probably most inspired by storytelling and illustrations. We have so, so many children's book in our house, and almost all of our shelves have now either collapsed or are teetering on the edge of collapse. There's magic inside their pages though, so I could never stop collecting them. I also love bright colours, old things and graphics. Oh and stationery. I'm a sucker for a nice notebook.
Describe your studio or workspace?
I work from home in a room that looks out into our tiny garden and over into my mum and dad's house where I grew up. It's far too cluttered though and I long for a space with shelves that actually have room to put things on. And a place to put a kiln. That would be wonderful.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Probably Matisse's studio with all its colours and shapes and bright French sunshine. Although I imagine Oliver Jeffers' studio in New York is a fun place to be. If you could take me to either, I would be very happy.
How would you describe your creative process?
Long and painful, and then sudden, fast and all-consuming. Generally everything I make starts with a sketch. I normally draw directly on paper with a pen, then I'll scan my drawing and play about with it in Illustrator or Photoshop. When I'm happy with the pattern or print, it gets sent to the printers and then I just have to wait to see if it's worked. My fabrics are digitally printed and come back to me on huge rolls, so then I'll carefully cut out the placement prints and start sewing them into cushions or making them into lampshade. I'd like to do a lot more screen printing but I don't have space in my studio. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a lot of my mum's work around the house and every piece of hers is treasured. My friend Beth has also made me some very beautiful things recently – she's just starting out and doesn't know how talented she is. (And if anyone ever makes me a cake or biscuit, I will gratefully cherish their handmade endeavours, however fleetingly.) 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
If the rut can't be healed by a cup of Lady Grey tea, I tend to walk away for a while and do something else. Ruts are hard places to escape.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
On holiday please, while someone very lovely sewed all my cushions and replied to my emails.

Thanks Camilla - we love your circus menagerie!  And I think you need to get in the queue for hanging out with Oliver Jeffers, we are first!  You can find Camilla's incredibly beautiful work in our Made in Britain shop...

Made in Britain shop is OPEN
Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm
Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol.

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