Beautiful nature themed artworks by Hazel Partridge were one of my top picks at this year’s New Designers show, so I was thrilled that she took up the offer to submit for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Her gorgeous papercut piece was inspired by a poem from Black Country poet Liz Berry.
I found you at New Designers, what was the best thing about that show for you?
New Designers was really inspiring and informative, the atmosphere was great and it was packed the whole time! I really enjoyed looking at the work from all of the different disciplines and Universities; it was really encouraging to see such diverse ideas and products from this year’s graduates. The most useful aspect of the show was that it gave a great opportunity to speak to representatives from the creative industry; at the Falmouth University stand we met people from publishers, agencies and design companies, all of whom were really enthusiastic about our work.
How did studying at Falmouth Uni inform your illustrations, it’s such a beautiful town!?
Falmouth is such an inspiring location, and I think everyone studying there would agree! Working in a collaborative studio environment is something that I really miss, it’s so useful to be able to see what others are working on, and get reliable feedback on your own work as well. Nature is a recurring theme for me, and exploring the local Cornish landscapes definitely influences my illustrations. I scuba dive and rock-climb regularly, seeing the world from a different perspective- whether it’s underwater or from halfway up a sea cliff – gets me away from my desk, and more productive when I am back there.
Where do you like to go when you are at home in the Cotswolds and in need of inspiration?
I’m lucky to live close to so many beautiful places; I love a good long walk through the woods and fields with friends, and heading over to Wales with my family on our motorcycles. I also find a lot of inspiration through reading, I’ve recently finished The Worm Forgives the Plough by John Stewart Collis, which I enjoyed.
Can you tell us what inspired your double page for my book?
My colouring page was inspired by imagery from Bird by the Black Country poet Liz Berry. I caught a snatch of the poem; the lines ‘I shed my nightdress to the drowning arms of the dark, my shoes to the sun’s widening mouth’ on the radio, and jotted them down so that I could find out the rest. A little research later and I had discovered an amazing poem that was rich with themes of metamorphosis and migration, and which evoked an enticing yet slightly unsettling atmosphere.
What are your preferred methods when making artwork?
My illustration was created using cut paper, inks and digital editing. My current favourite mediums to work in are lino print and papercutting, I really enjoy how the process flows- starting with a blank surface and then removing bits of it until the design emerges (hopefully) unbroken. Although working traditionally is by no means the fastest method of producing images in these styles, I find that the results have a warmer and more authentic quality than they would if created digitally as I have put a lot more of myself into their creation.
You obviously have a great love for birds as they feature widely in your work, what is your favourite bird and why?
My favourite bird is probably the magpie, because not only are they intelligent and beautiful, but they have such a rich folklore surrounding them – most people know the One for Sorrow rhyme, for example. My illustrative work reflects my interests in natural history and science, and although my images are often decorative I enjoy researching the background information on my subjects and trying to keep the designs accurate.
What new projects are you working on now?
I am currently working on a series of privately commissioned images featuring various birds in their natural habitats. It’s always hard to part with my original artworks, but it’s lovely to know that they are going to a good home where they will be displayed properly rather than sat in a folder in my studio. I’ve got a few print-based projects in the pipeline as well, but I can’t say more about them at the moment, and as Christmas is on its way I’m beginning to plan some festive projects too. I post on social media frequently, so updates can be found there.
Find Hazel on Facebook, Twitter @HP_Illustrates, Instagram @hazelpartridgeillustration and Tumblr. You can colour Hazel Partridge‘s art in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion alongside that of 40 other international artists. Funding on Kickstarter with only 10 days left, so get your copy now, it makes a fantastic Christmas gift!
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