Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
I am Gabi and I have a business called Small Stories. I am predominantly an illustrator creating hand drawn pieces. I also develop my work into jewellery pieces, tea towels, cards, baby apparel and other fine things to adorn yourself and your home with.
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I am mummy to Poppy aged 6 and Vaughan almost 2 and together with my husband we go on lots of exciting family adventures together and try to make each other laugh as much as possible.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I guess i have always known that is what i most wanted to be. My mum is an artist and my Dad and architect and they have always inspired and encouraged me in my work. I graduated from Art School with a degree in drawing and painting and worked as an artist part time for about 8 years. My work totally changed when I was pregnant with Poppy and all I wanted to draw were birds! Poppy and now Vaughan too have inspired my work to evolve and I am constantly filling sketchbooks with new ideas! Having the kids meant that I was able to work from home and has inspired and enabled me to make Small Stories a full time commitment.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
Every day is fun and creative and with illustration at the core of the work i am making i feel that i can explore new and exciting ways of translating my ideas and taking my work in new directions.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My kids are always telling me stories and giving me inspiration. That is where the name Small Stories came from. I collect beautifully illustrated children's books and 1960's and 70's pottery. I have boxes of coffee pots that i plan to have on display when we get our studio so i can enjoy all the beautiful designs and patterns!
Describe your studio or workspace?
My studio is currently our front room, working on the dining table, coffee table or outside when the sun shines! We are looking for a place to call home at the moment and that will have to include a well needed studio space!
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Belinda Lyon made some designs and illustrations for Oxfam in the 1970's. She produced a range of tea towels and cut and sew patterns for cushions and toys. Her work was all screen printed in the most beautiful colours with hand drawn printing techniques and no computers involved in the process! I still have my Belinda Lyon cat and snail cushions that my folks bought and made for me when I was a kid and my Granny had the most amazing fox tea towel by her on her kitchen wall! So if you can just transport me back in time then a peek inside her studio would be simply fantastic!
How would you describe your creative process?
Constant. I am always working and sketching when i can, where ever we are as you never know when inspiration will hit... My husband thinks I have what he calls 'hypergraphia'! I was in hospital after having my son (and he was put in the unit) I filled my baby-less time by drawing monsters, some inspired by hospital induced dreams! When I work on large drawings and paintings however my work evolves on the page.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a tiny gold pendant of a pig, with a clover in its mouth, that my Granny left to me. She was given it by her father who sadly passed away before she was a year old and she cherished it as i now do. It was handmade in South Africa. I wore it on my wedding day and it always makes me think of her and the stories she told me.
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
Speak to my husband and bounce ideas around with him (he is also an artist). I sift through my sketch books as well as there are a lot of ideas in there i have not yet developed and sometimes in those moments i can see just how to take them forward. I also love looking through my collection of children's books for inspiration.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Hmmm.. in ten years both my kids will be at school, I will have a studio to work in instead of the sofa in our front room, I will have designed a collection for more wide scale production but will still be satisfying my need to make by producing bespoke collections and one off pieces! I'd also love to be a featured in some illustration books and magazines. My sketchbooks will still be filling up and i will be making more Small Stories for you to enjoy!
Thank you Gabi, your 10 year plans sound great! We wish you all the best with that. You can find Gabi's awesome brooches and tea towels in our Made in Britain shop.
Made in Britain
Mon-Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 11am - 5pm