"Like Dumbledore in Hogwarts, we welcome all with open arms and are proud of our diversity and celebrate it unconditionally"
What do you do?
I'm an illustrator, artist and general crafter. Some of my expertise or fave jobs include: murals, book illustration, sign writing, weddings, cards and prints. There are many more and if it involves pens and paint, I'm in!
How did you get to where you are?
I come from a super crafty family so I think art was always encouraged in whatever form which gave me a subconscious confidence to have a go at anything that involves creating. I went to the Manchester School of Art for my degree, worked standard young person jobs, went travelling and then settled down to start a family.
My dream has always been to have my own creative business and also be a stay at home mum, so when just over 3 years ago I had my first daughter Ramona, I made both of those things happen at the same time!
This year I had my second daughter Lola so life has become very busy (sleep is a touchy subject!), but between moments of calm and a very understanding hubby, I'm somehow making it work, and I can finally say I have my dream job!
Why do you love what you do?
Without sounding a bit Bob Ross, I find art incredibly relaxing, there's very mindful qualities even when Ramona is asking for Hula Hoops for the 27th time! At the same time, it's always changing, always evolving and you're always learning so at times it's scary and demanding. So the joy of putting all these elements into a business is that there's so many different things at play. You can make things you want because you love doing it and hope that others are into it to, you have to make things for others that have set ideas or requirements, you have to do all the admin, packing, posting, promoting, marketing and everything in between. And finding a way to sprinkle your 'brand' over all of this is a real learning curve! I love ALL of it (apart from the maths bit).
I was born in Leicester, as were my entire family. In fact when my Grandma looked into our family tree she found ancestors living in Wigston in the 1600's! We don't move around a lot!
I feel like Leicester is always the underdog, sometimes forgotten, but we're content and happy with that and don't need to brag at how incredible we are! Like Dumbledore in Hogwarts, we welcome all with open arms and are proud of our diversity and celebrate it unconditionally without having to show off what comes so naturally to us. I also love crisps.
Two things I have made which I'm hugely proud of this year (apart from my children, obviously!) are the first children's book I've illustrated which is called Gracie's Forest Adventure written by Leicester local Carole Cafferty. You can purchase the book online from all the usual suspects (Waterstones, Smiths, Amazon).
And the mural I've created for part of the ArtOnTap exhibition for Bid Leicester and ArtReach. The mural is on display at the Knight and Garter pub in their courtyard and it's huge! It is an homage to historical Leicester and was such a privilege to do. There are also lots of other amazing artists who've taken over pub gardens around the city!
I'm always hoping people will check out my Etsy shop (search for RosieAndRamonaMake) as it's got all the little things I'm constantly working on like cards, decorations etc. They are my babies as they are completely mine, it's just stuff I'm into that I hope others will be too!
Lastly, (sorry, I'm a notorious ranger!) gearing up to 2022, I want people to know that I do lots of wedding commissions, I do signs, place names, decorations, I even do hand painted leather jackets (if you check out my Instagram this particular wedding was incredible)!
My recommendations are:
Upstairs at the Western, amazing independent theatre in the upstairs of equally amazing pub The Western. They put on incredible shows, do lots of great stuff with the community (Like Crafternoons and Art Walks) and need tonnes of promoting now we can all go out and see shows. They really know their stuff and deserve to be jam packed all the time!
Any Mexican art! Anybody that knows me knows I'm obsessed with Mexican Folk art, Frida Kahlo is my spirit animal and the culture and vibrancy informs everything that I do. For anyone who has no idea what I'm talking about, your gateway is the film Coco. How do Pixar do it?!
Grayson Perry, artist and ceramics master has really helped me when I'm lacking in confidence. The way he sees the world and art in general is so refreshing. I would recommend anybody watch any of his programmes on Channel 4, but especially the Art Club series he made throughout lockdown. To anyone who thinks they can't 'do art' he will assure you, you absolutely can!