Interview with Social Stylate

I was delighted to chat with the lovely people at social stylate about working as an artist and how I came to design a watch for Dial watches

1. Where did the inspiration come from that made you interested in creating art from paper?
For anyone who draws or paints it all starts with a blank piece of paper, you go on a journey of what paper works best for the medium your working with, discovering different textures and weights and how it affects your work. When I first started working with paper I would collage the different papers together to create my illustrations.

2. After having so much success with creating book covers, greeting cards, and other paper art, what lead you to collaborate with Dial to design a watch?

When I was first contacted by Dial, there was no website or imagery, just the raw idea, enthusiasm and bags of creativity. I felt really honoured to be the first artist given the challenge of working within this space and create a piece of artwork in a watch. I have completely loved the whole process, and the watch has come out more beautiful than I could have possibly imagined! It was definitely a challenge, as normally I am thinking how it would look hanging on a wall not on a wrist. I had to take a different approach, thinking how I could retain the same level of detail on a much smaller scale and how that design would practically work as a watch, and a beautiful piece of jewellery. I really love working with restrictions, I find you end up with some thing far more interesting as a result!


3. If you could create a watch for any one person, who would it be and why?
Tough question! I can only think of fictional characters, is that allowed? My little mermaid! A blissful under the sea themed watch, so she can keep track of time. Also, Audrey Tautou, as I like the idea of creating a watch for a wrist of a thoughtful, quirky and beautiful French lady cycling around Paris.

4. How did you come up with the idea for nature as the central focus point for your watch?
Nature is the primary source of inspiration in almost all of my work. Re-imagining the wonderful imagery and processes in nature motivates me to get up and into the studio. I would love to say my inspiration comes from exotic adventures out in the world but, to be honest, most of the time it’s from watching amazing documentaries that make me go “wow”! Discovering new things about the world that seems almost unbelievable and sometimes magical, reminds me of fairytale that I was told as a child.

5. Is there any specific part about Bristol that is particularly inspiring for you and your work? Where do you find other inspiration for your art?
Well, spring is my favourite time of year so I’m really loving Bristol even more than usual right now! Just walking around the city there is so much amazing blossom poking out of the trees, I’m constantly stopping to take pictures. One of my favourite things to do on a light spring evening is to sit by the docks, spying on the barges and the boats, watching the sun shimmer across the water. There’s not a specific part of this city that inspires my art, just living here and experiencing its quirks, spots of nature, surrounding countryside and lovely people keeps me happy. The other day I was cycling home through the park and a fox stopped in my path tilted its head back and made the most haunting howl, then ran off. It made my day!

6. What is your mantra for how you live your life? How do you relate that to your work?
Stay positive, work hard and enjoy life. If I keep this balance then the work comes naturally and I enjoy it, so working hard and enjoying life go hand in hand. Sometimes I do catch myself worrying unnecessarily about things, which I try to use as a reminder to get on and make things!

7. Where do you see yourself going with your paper art in the next 5 years? Could you see yourself creating other types of accessories or designing more watches?The alarming rate at which time is passing does make me stop, plan and see where I would like to take my work in future. I absolutely loved working with Dial, its fantastic to see the reaction to the watch. The whole process really made me step back and view my work from an entirely different perspective. Paper will always be an important part of my craft, but I’ve realised that my art can work in all sorts of different formats and media. Since then I’ve been talking with designers and architects and developing grand ideas of my work being used on furniture, interior design, homeware, stationary and accessories. It’s really nice taking my artwork out of the frame and into every day life. I love the idea of more watches too. I have also been running a few workshops, sharing my love for paper cutting and its tradition. It’s the craft that I really love to share. I’m also hoping to publish a book on paper crafts to inspire people to take some time out of their routine to make things.

8. What is your best marketing tool to get the word out about your pieces?
I have recently been putting more time into my Instagram account, I think I am becoming a bit obsessed! I really enjoy discovering new artists and other people in my community who share the same passions.

9. What has been your biggest challenge in starting up your own business?
Having your own business is very personal, and I’ve had to learn not to take things personally when ideas don’t quite go to plan or someone doesn’t share my aesthetic ideals! It’s not possible to just be ‘the maker’, you have to manage, promote, liaise, travel, and keep on top of all aspects of running a business. This can be a challenge, knowing how to divide time amongst an overwhelming number of critical tasks, all the while remembering to stop and take time out and enjoy life! It’s a challenge that I relish, and I try to push myself with every piece of work that I produce and it makes it all worthwhile when I’m proud of the results and others appreciate it too.


10. What advice do you have for creative women aspiring to start their own business?
Consider and evaluate every detail of your visual image to try and make everything as good as it possibly can be. There is a lot of competition out there so make sure you stand out, creating something different that your audience can engage with and relate to. Also, make sure that it is easy for clients to see and understand what you are offering and, most important, how they can buy in. I always try to keep on top of my craft and connect with new businesses and artists on the look out for opportunities for collaboration, inspiration and encouragement!