Home InterviewsMeet the Maker Meet the Maker: Little Birdy
hedgehog pin cushion, little birdy

Meet the Maker: Little Birdy

by Camilla

The bright, original, illustrative work of Little Birdy has completely captured our hearts. Who could resist turning on lights with the pull of a goose’s tassle, pinning a hedgehog’s prickles or tugging twine from a fox’s tail? All the colourful creations are the work of one determined Little Bird enthusiastically crafting in Bristol. We spoke to her about her inspiration and caught a glimpse of her sketchbook and her garden studio nest…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am Little Birdy, a Bristol-based illustrating bird who likes to make hand-sculpted fancies in porcelain and I am partial to textiles and a spot of up cycling too. Despite having the characteristics of a Magpie, I’m quite a small bird as I’m part chaffinch and part blackbird.

 

Little Birdy, Little Birdy Crafts

Your real identity is a carefully guarded secret. Do you enjoy keeping it hush-hush?
Indeed I do! I’ve always been a private little bird and there’s nothing like a good bit of mystery, especially in this age of social media saturation and self promotion. Friends { ironically} call me the Banksy of the craft world, albeit a feathered, far less wealthy, cool or famous, avian version!

Who is the Fox in your logo? We hope he hasn’t eaten your friends to make his headdress…
Don’t worry, no birds were injured in the production of my logo. The naughty fox is me in disguise… or is it?

images.folksy-1

You describe yourself as a flamboyant Francophile. What is it that draws you to all things French?
The romance, the spoken language, along with the beautiful design and faded opulence of French antiques.

Aside from France, what or who inspires you?
Patterns, colour, flora, fauna, vintage finds and sometimes stories are my most immediate inspirations. I find the print work of Mark Hearld, Abigail Brown’s birds and Mister Finch’s textile creations really inspiring – although I’m just as likely to find as much inspiration from non-craft/illustrative sources like books or films (I’m a huge Miranda July, Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry fan).

Lait milk jug, handmade french milk jugHand-painted ‘Lait’ Milk Jug, £13.50

Does where you live influence your work?
Yes. Bristol is a very creative and inspiring place to live, with an enormous community of artists. There’s no shortage of art trails, pop-up shops, exhibitions, creative festivals and markets and, of course, Bristol street art is pretty legendary. It’s a city that attracts artists and supporters of artists, so I’m very happy to have made my nest here.

bristolbirdsBristol Animal Cards, £18.50 for a set of 10

Have you always been a maker?
Yes, in some form or another.

Can you describe your workspace/studio?
I do have a studio shed in the garden that friends were taking to the dump. I rescued it, had it restored and painted, and it is lovely to work in during the summer but a bit chilly through the winter! I also go to a fantastic ceramic studio in Bristol called Maze Studios to get my porcelain pieces fired and glazed and to make larger pieces.

shed studio, little birdy

studio shed, bristol

How do your designs develop? Can you talk us through your process?
Normally I start by sketching out ideas. If it’s for an illustration then it’s not uncommon for me to re-sketch an idea 20-40 times and then work with different colours for a while until I’m happy with the end result. I use pencil, black ink pens, coloured sharpies, coloured Copic markers and white Posca pens to finish my illustrations.

sketchbook, little birdy, sketchbook 5JPG

If it’s for ceramics, then after the initial rough sketch I move to working with porcelain clay really quickly and the idea changes and develops while working with the clay. It’s a pretty drawn-out process when I make a porcelain piece. I come up with the idea and sketch it, then sculpt it, then it has to dry out and have its first firing. Then it’s glazed and goes in for a second firing.

bird ceramics

After they have been fired, I hand paint the piece using air-drying porcelain paints and pens. It may also require additional bits and pieces added to the piece for decoration, like twine, pompoms, ribbons and bells too.

Are you a constant doodler?
Definitely, I get through black ink pens alarmingly fast!

Are you a collector of things? If so, what kind of things do you collect?
Yes, I’m quite the magpie. I have a fondness for vintage fancies like crockery, tins, baskets and nicknacks. However, my worst addiction is collecting vintage fabrics with the intention of creating beautiful things for my nest, but I can’t bring myself to cut them up!

hedgehog pin cushion, little birdyHedgehog pin cushions, £17.50

Is your home as beautiful and original as your work? 
I’m not sure if anyone else would think so, but I like my little nest. I certainly have lots of interesting vintage finds, although they are sometimes lost among a flurry of clay, paper, fabric, glue, price stickers, bubble-wrap and cardboard – or, as I like to call it, a craft explosion!

ceramic light pull, fox light pull

Freddie Fox Light Pull, £20 by Little Birdy 

Shop Little Birdy on Folksy

 

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