Home Interviews Meet Puffin Cove – she sells seaside gifts from the seashore
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Meet Puffin Cove – she sells seaside gifts from the seashore

by Camilla

Meet the Maker: Carolyn Graham from Puffin Cove Designs

For Carolyn Graham from Puffin Cove, the seaside plays an essential role in her life and work. It’s where she lives – just up the road from Cromer beach, on the coast of Norfolk – and it features on many of her products, from her lighthouse magnets to her beach hut coasters, but it also influences the colours she uses and the cheerful nature of her designs, which take their cue from the bright shop fronts, jolly fishing boats and pastel-painted cottages on her doorstep. Carolyn tells textile artist and fellow Folksy seller Teresa Bettelley from Shirley Rainbow how her business started, the creative process behind her seaside gifts and how her days normally start with a clifftop run and end with Spanish lessons or tap class…

Get 10% off all homeware, stationery and seaside gifts by Puffin Cove before the end of June with code ‘FOLKSY10’ – Click here to shop Puffin Cove on Folksy >

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Boat and Puffin Coasters by Puffin Cover – click for more seaside gifts by Puffin Cove

I love the freedom my creative business gives me and I feel very lucky to be able to live and work by the sea. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Can I start by asking about your working day and where you work from?
I work from home so my day can be very flexible. I get up early and by 7am I’m in my studio with a strong coffee and the radio on. I’ll paint for a few hours and then I like to get outside. I live in Cromer, North Norfolk, and the beach is at the end of my road, so I might go for a clifftop run or go bodyboarding with friends. Once or twice a week I do some voluntary conservation work on local nature reserves. Once I’ve had my outdoor fix I get stuck into more painting, designing, preparing for craft fairs and internet work. I often work late into the evening, interspersed with a few evening classes – I’m currently learning Spanish, tap and ballet!

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I live in Cromer, North Norfolk, and the beach is at the end of my road, so before I start work I might go for a clifftop run or go bodyboarding with friends.

When did you first start making and designing?
I first started about 18 years ago when I was looking after my mum in London. At weekends I would go home and paint to relax. I continued painting after she died, as I felt that this was the path I wanted to follow and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love the freedom it gives me and I feel very lucky to be able to live and work by the sea.

bluetit badge, bird badge, seaside decorations, seaside gifts, coastal decor, beach hut decorations, puffin cove, carolyn graham, Cromer Norfolk, Your products have a great style and strong identity. How did you develop this?
About 14 years ago I moved from the flat fens to the coast and I think this has helped inspire me and develop my style. I love colour and the way it’s used at the seaside, from the beach huts to the fun shop fronts, the pastel-painted cottages and fishing boats. These inspire me to create fun, colourful designs.

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Kingfisher, Flamingo and Puffin Badges by Puffin Cove – click to see more gift ideas by Puffin Cove

I have a customer who sells my work on their boat trips to see the puffins on the Isle of May in Scotland and I can happily sit for hours painting 100 puffins, listening to music… repetitive but meditative!

Which part of designing and making do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy coming up with new designs and it’s something I want to do a lot more of, but I love painting most – I find it very relaxing. I have a customer who sells my work on their boat trips to see the puffins on the Isle of May in Scotland and I can happily sit for hours painting 100 puffins, listening to music… repetitive but meditative!

cromer, norfolk, cromer souvenirs, seaside decorations, seaside gifts, coastal decor, beach hut decorations, puffin cove, carolyn graham, seaside stationery, coastal stationery, coastal gifts,Can you tell us a bit more about your favourite places for inspiration?
Anywhere by the sea. My favourite places are Aldeburgh, Whitby, St Ives, Hastings, Margate, Lindisfarne and, of course, Cromer! I love places with quirky, a bit shabby higgledy piggledy buildings, narrow streets, independent shops, galleries and cafés.

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Lighthouse Magnet by Puffin Cove – click to see more seaside gifts by Puffin Cove

Your shop is full of lots of lovely and different products. Are there any new products you would like to try making?
I’m planning a range of lino and screen-printed products on fabric and as prints. I’m really looking forward to getting started on this, as I haven’t done any hand printing for a long time and I want to get away from digital printing and back to handmade.

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Campervan Mug by Puffin Cove – click to see more mugs by Puffin Cove

I use all my own products – I even have a campervan with my mugs and tea towels in!

Do you use your designs and products in your own home?
I have coasters, mugs and tea towels in use, all my family and friends have a selection of my work and I have a campervan with my mugs and tea towels in!Cromer Craft Fair, seaside decorations, seaside gifts, coastal decor, beach hut decorations, puffin cove, carolyn graham, seaside stationery, coastal stationery, coastal gifts,

I’ve heard people say ‘this stall makes me smile’ – that is the exact intention of my work.

The photograph on your Folksy shop of your craft stall looks fantastic. Do you have any tips for a good craft fair display?
Having the sea as a backdrop to my stall always helps it look good! I use dark blue covers to make the colours of my products stand out and I cram as much as possible on to my stall – I don’t believe in subtle! I want to catch people’s attention. I’ve heard people say ‘this stall makes me smile’ – that is the exact intention of my work.

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Flamingo Tote Bag by Puffin Cove Designs

I love colour and the way it’s used at the seaside, from the beach huts to the fun shop fronts, the pastel-painted cottages and fishing boats.

Finally what are your favourite drinks and snacks while you’re busy making and painting?
Coffee, peppermint tea and rice cakes with peanut butter and honey, together!

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Get 10% off all homeware, stationery and seaside gifts by Puffin Cove before the end of June with code FOLKSY10 

Shop Puffin Cove on Folksy >

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Discover more Seaside Gifts on Folksy > 

 


Shirley Rainbow, embroidery artist, embroidery hoop art, textile art, crochet art,

Meet the Interviewer

The maker asking the questions this time is textile artist Teresa Bettelley from Shirley Rainbow.

Read our interview with Teresa here >

Shop Shirley Rainbow embroideries and textile art on Folksy > 

 

 

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