Sally and the Freckles – so much more than just a cardmaker

animal shrinkies

Meet the Maker: Sally and the Freckles

Sally Hawker from Sally and the Freckles has been making illustrated cards since she was a child – ask her mum and she might even show you some! A Sally and the Freckles card is not your average card, however. It’s a miniature character study lovingly illustrated and made in shrink plastic, and always accompanied by a little rhyme, story or ditty. We talked to Sally to find out more about her inspirations, her studio overlooking Skirrid Mountain in Abergavenny, her love of the picture books and the Arctic, and her secret dream of playing in an all-female Depeche Mode…

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hello Folksy. My name is Sally and I live in Abergavenny in South Wales. As Sally and the Freckles, I make cards and brooches mainly with pictures of strange animals on them.

Sally and the Freckles

I’ve always made cards – my mum still has all the cards I made when I was very young.

Have you always been creative? 
Yes – I’ve always loved crafts, written poems and stories. I’ve also always made cards. My mum still has all the cards I made when I was very young.

How did you get where you are now?
I sold cards for a while back in 2001 to some local shops. These were made from seed beads, felt and wire. I stopped when I got married in 2005 and fell into a bit of a creative rut. After my divorce in 2010 and a few bad years, my creativity gradually returned and I found myself returning to making cards.

Sally and the Freckles

Craft and being creative means a lot to me as it’s brought back positivity into my life.

Who are your design heroes?
I love the work of children’s book illustrators such as Richard Scarry, Oliver Jeffers, Tove Jansson and Alain Gree. I also love Gemma Correll’s artwork, Donna Wilson’s animal designs, Katie Abey’s quirky illustrations which always cheer me up (and a Folksy seller who’s doing really well) and the colourful, playful work of Jane Foster. Leona from the Lucky Dip Club (a monthly subscription box) comes up with amazing ideas for products too. As well as always producing quirky and beautiful items each month, it always feels as though loads of thought goes into the packaging and the overall feel of her business.

Bumble bee brooch, sally and the freckles

After my divorce in 2010 and a few bad years, my creativity gradually returned and I found myself returning to making cards.

What else inspires you?
I’m inspired a lot by children’s picture books in terms of both their text and illustration. As an aspiring writer of children’s books I am always reading picture books and I think this has also inspired my cards. I’m also inspired by nature and wildlife, and enjoy reading about animals and learning about their (sometimes weird) behaviour. At the moment I’m particularly fond of books by Nicola Davies (who I found out also lives in Abergavenny), which combine facts about animals and nature with inspiring stories, poetry and beautiful illustrations. She also writes humorous books for children on all kinds of subjects. Her books are really inventive.

Sally and the Freckles

My ideas come from news articles and books or just from my surroundings and imagination.

Can you talk us through your creative process? 
My ideas come from news articles and books or just from my surroundings and imagination. I have shelves of notebooks full of ideas that have accumulated over many years. These are filled with doodles, poems and stories. My mind is constantly full of new things, and sometimes I have so many ideas going around in my head I find it hard to sleep. Often thoughts will pop into my head such as a silly rhyme about an animal, and that makes me think of an illustration that incorporates those ideas.

Sally and the Freckles, illustration, lightbox

The card making process is actually quite lengthy. I make lots of sketches and tracings until I’m happy with it. Then each animal is hand drawn on to plastic, coloured, cut out and made into the finished shrunk version, which I varnish so it’s ready to use on the card.

As for the card making process, it’s actually quite lengthy. If I’m making an animal card, for example, I make lots of sketches and tracings until I’m happy with it. At this stage I also think of the text for the cards. Then each animal is hand drawn on to plastic, coloured, cut out and then made into the finished shrunk version, which I varnish so it’s ready to use on the card. I’m currently looking into making printed versions of some of my cards, so I’ve been redrawing my ideas digitally and turning my shrink plastic designs into colourful digital artwork that could also be used on different products.

Sally and the Freckles

I have shelves of notebooks full of ideas that have accumulated over many years. These are filled with doodles, poems and stories.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
I enjoy it all, but I like coming up with the initial ideas (which can be very weird at first) and also seeing the finished product.

Sally and the Freckles

A simple drawing can perfectly portray something. I tend to get caught up with whether an animal is correct in terms of proportion and features and so on, when really it’s the overall feel of the animal that counts.

Do you think anyone can draw? Can you share your top tips for anyone scared of putting pen to paper?
My drawings are simple and I think that with products like cards, a simple drawing can perfectly portray something. I tend to get caught up with whether an animal is correct in terms of proportion and features and so on, when really it’s the overall feel of the animal that counts. So I would say look at photographs of animals, play around, doodle and just have fun. Doing this on a regular basis can really help.

Sally and the Freckles, studio

My study is full of things I’ve collected since I was a child – badges, knick-knacks as well as lots of picture books and craft books.

Can you describe your workspace?
I’m lucky enough to have my own study and my desk looks out to the Skirrid Mountain in Abergavenny, and over my back are more mountains. My study is full of things I’ve collected since I was a child – badges, knick-knacks as well as lots of picture books and craft books. I’m also surrounded by notebooks, beads, felt, buttons, paper and zillions of pens.

Sally and the Freckles

What would I say to something thinking of selling their work? Folksy is the perfect platform as you’re in the same boat as lots of other people who are just starting out.

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
Although at the moment I only work on my cards part time, getting to use all of the ideas in my head to actually make something is the best thing. It’s great to see something that started off as a thought materialise, and then when you sell something you’ve created, it’s a very satisfying feeling.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
I would say go for it. I was very apprehensive at first, but Folksy is the perfect platform as you’re in the same boat as lots of other people who are just starting out. And as well as providing all the necessary tools for selling, Folksy is also a very helpful community full of friendly people who can give you advice and support. I’ve had so much help both from Folksy staff and from other sellers.

Narwal card, narhwal unicorn, narwhal illustration

If I could travel anywhere I would go North to Svalbard to see the polar bears and I would also love to see a walrus or two.

What does craft and creativity mean to you?
Craft and being creative means a lot to me as it’s brought back positivity into my life. Creating something give me a sense of achievement, which I feel even more when somebody chooses to buy from me.

What do you do when you’re not drawing and making?
As I am trying to pursue a writing career, I work on my manuscripts to send out to publishers and sketch out new ideas for stories. I’ve finished several novels for children and I’m now working on some picture book ideas. I am also a bit of a synthesizer geek, so I enjoy playing and writing electronic music and pretending I am in a female Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode, my favourite band since school in the 1980s.

Sally and the Freckles

I’m a bit of a synthesizer geek, so I enjoy playing and writing electronic music and pretending I am in a female Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode

The Arctic often features in your work, but if you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I’ve been obsessed by the Arctic for a long time (I have a collection of books and scrapbooks on the subject) and finally visited Tromso in the Arctic circle with my dad for my 40th birthday. It was beautiful and I felt very emotional there, especially when the Northern Lights appeared. If I could travel anywhere I would go further North to Svalbard to see the polar bears and I would also love to see a walrus or two.

Blob fish illustration

 

Visit Sally and the Freckles on Folksy > 

Enjoy 10% off everything in Sally and the Freckle’s Folksy shop with the code folksyfreckles10
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusinstagram

Comments are closed.