Meet the Maker – Hesta from Bodkin Creates
Hesta Singlewood from Bodkin Creates is an artist and maker based on the Jurassic Coast in Devon. Originally trained in horticulture, the botanical world is often at the heart of her paintings. Hesta’s close connection to her surroundings is evident in each creation she puts out into the world, from her small folk art-style acrylic canvases, allotment skirts and enchanting woven nests, through to the pictures she posts on her bountiful and captivating Instagram account. Hesta talks to fellow Folksy seller Georgie from Georgie’s Little Makes about her art, her love of gardening and her rescue dog, Piglet…
I’m dyslexic but when I was at school it wasn’t really recognised and I was left at the back with the nature table and a tin of paints.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Hi Hesta! Please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hello! I’m Hesta and I’m a painter, textile artist and horticulturalist who loves to celebrate the seasons. I’m dyslexic but when I was at school it wasn’t really recognised and I was left at the back with the nature table and a tin of paints. I left school and went on to study and work in horticulture for many happy years, still always making and painting alongside.
I moved to Devon with my husband over 20 years ago and, after adopting our first child, I wanted the freedom of being self-employed so I started working with textiles and continued to sketch and paint. Now I make, paint, stitch and create with flowers from my small terrace house in Devon, which I share with Mr Bodkin, our two teenagers who we adopted as babies many years ago, some mice and a very naughty rescue dog called Piglet.
I really like Instagram, as you can tell your story through images.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Does being dyslexic make it harder to run an online shop?
I do struggle with my dyslexia, which is why I really like Instagram, as you can tell your story through pictures. This is where I have a link to my Folksy shop. I am very grateful for Folksy – without an outlet to express and sell my work, I wouldn’t have a business. I also couldn’t do it with a very supportive husband – I’ve had lots of operations and I’m often in pain (I meditate to help me cope), which is why being self-employed and having a Folksy shop works for me. Life isn’t always as rosy as it might look on Instagram!
Where is your happy place?
My happy place is being surrounded by nature in all its wonderful forms, from hedgerows to birdsong. With my feet firmly planted in green grass and my eyes turned to the blue sky, I explore my local area, gathering materials to inspire my art and craft and make the occasional herbal tea. A love of plants has been part of my life for many years – my first jobs were in horticulture and gardening and I now have my own allotment (a very special place to me). As well as being a self-employed artist, I also work as a therapeutic artist working with the elderly and vulnerable taking nature into care homes.
With my feet firmly planted in green grass and my eyes turned to the blue sky, I like to explore my local area, gathering materials to inspire my art.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Do you do anything special to help you focus on your work?
I like to listen to podcasts with a cup of tea in my hand in my favourite mug. Mr Piglet, our naughty little rescue dog, always sits either at my feet or on my shoulders while I work.
My happy place is being surrounded by nature in all its wonderful forms, from hedgerows to birdsong.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
You have many amazing skills in different crafts. Which is your favourite?
I love working with antique and vintage textiles, but recently painting has become very important in my creative life. I have always been drawn to photography and was snapping away long before Instagram. I have perfected my eye for colour and this has been really useful now that I paint for a living.
I try to work with the seasons in my painting and craft work. For example, at the moment I’m working on nests in various media and what they represent. Each one is from scratch so it’s safe to hold them and have them in the house. I use reeds, grasses and dried plant materials that I’ve gathered locally and stitch them together with fleece, silk and buttons. They’re ideal for a nature table or to put messages or eggs in at Easter.
Being creative is so important to me. I make every day – it’s as simple as that.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Do you like to get creative every day?
Yes! It’s so important to me. I make every day – it’s as simple as that. I have always enjoyed experimenting with materials – as children we were always given art materials by my mum, and at primary school there was a nature table which fired my creative imagination. Each season still inspires me to make and create. The start of a new painting is always exciting.
My workspace at home has lots of natural light and opens out into a courtyard garden.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Where is your workspace and what does it look and feel like?
I work from home on small pieces and I rent studio space to work on some of my larger pieces. My workspace at home has lots of natural light and opens out into a courtyard garden, which in the warmer months becomes an extension of the studio. The beauty of this space is that it enables me to be inspired by my surroundings while being snug inside. I also have an allotment with a self-built quirky shed, where I can be found painting in the summer. I like to go up there and immerse myself in nature.
Painting has become very important in my creative life.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
Do you have one project on the go at a time or a few?
I often have two paintings on the go at one time. I usually work on one while the other is drying and I have numerous craft projects on the go, depending on the season.
What makes you select the subjects that you decide to paint?
I am inspired by nature and the natural world – I like to bring the outside in. You will often find my pockets full of treasures from my walks and these spill out on to the kitchen table to inspire my next piece. So the seasons are reflected in my painting and craft work.
I consider a piece finished when you’ve said everything you want to say in it.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
How long do you give yourself on each piece of work, and how do you know when it’s finished?
It very much varies from piece to piece. I suppose I would consider a piece finished when you’ve said everything you want to say in it.
A love of plants has been part of my life for many years.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
What is it about acrylic paint that you enjoy?
I like the fluidity of acrylic paint. It’s very forgiving. I also use pastels and oils.
I would love a card company to take my designs and transform them into cards.Hesta Singlewood, Bodkin Creates
How would you like to see Bodkin creates progressing?
At the moment I print my own greetings cards but I would love a card company to take my designs and transform them into cards. I’m also looking forward to exhibiting through Devon Open Studios this summer.
Shop Bodkin Creates on Folksy
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Georgina from Georgie’s Little Makes. You can find out more about Georgie and her gorgeous felt creations in our Meet the Maker interview here and see all her lovely products in her Folksy shop here > https://folksy.com/shops/GeorgiesDesigns