Meet the Maker – Emma from DotKDesign
Emma Weeks started her creative business as a way to do something for herself, separate from her role as a mum. As DotKDesign, she combines watercolour, calligraphy and hand lettering with her beliefs, often finding inspiration in Scripture and the Bible. In our Meet the Maker interview, Emma talks to Helen Strutt from Lellibelle about self-doubt, the influence of her seamstress mother, and her dream brushes…
Enjoy 20% off all Emma’s pieces while she is our featured maker on Folksy. Just use the discount code ‘FEATURED’ when you check out – folksy.com/shops/Dotkdesign
Although I’ve been painting and crafting for a long time, I fell away from my painting when my son was born. When he started school, I really wanted to do something to get a bit of “me” back. That’s how DotKDesign started.Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
Hello Emma. I’ve really enjoyed looking at your beautiful hand lettering and watercolour creations. Could you start by introducing yourself and your creative business?
Hi! I’m Emma, founder of DotKDesign. I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with my husband Matt and five-year-old son Elijah. I’ve been creative since I was small and art has always had a strong pull for me. My mum was a keen crafter – knitting, crochet, dress making, you name it she did it – and I definitely inherited my love of crafts from her. I’m a self-confessed stationery addict too, so at least I’m using all the art supplies I keep buying! I’m also a music lover. On a Sunday you’ll find me at our local church playing my guitar and singing with the worship team.
Although I’ve been painting and crafting for a long time, I fell away from my painting when my son was born. My time and energy were spent on this little whirlwind or “spud” as I call him. But when Elijah started school last year, I really wanted to do something to get a bit of “me” back. Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up being “mummy”. DotKDesign started as an outlet for me.
My faith is a big part of who I am and a great inspiration for my work.Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
How did you come up with your business name, DotKDesign?
My faith is a big part of who I am and a great inspiration for my work. God’s word is like a fountain of knowledge and an inspiration that always bring new surprises. Which brings me on to how I got the name DotKDesign… For a long time I wanted to turn my art endeavours into a business and, as I started to think about how and what I wanted my business to look like, I found a beautiful quote based on scripture. It speaks of how we are “daughters of the Most High King”. This a really stuck a chord with me, so DotKDesign was born: Daughter of the King.
One of the best things about watercolours and calligraphy is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started. So if you’re thinking of giving it a try, go for it!Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
Have you done any courses in calligraphy and hand lettering, or are you self-taught?
I’m self taught with all my calligraphy and painting. My bookshelves are bursting with books on calligraphy, watercolours, hand lettering and the like! We’re also very lucky to live in a time where there is a wealth of tutorials and videos on the internet and YouTube. There are some super talented artists and calligraphers out there who are so generous with their knowledge. One of the best things about watercolours and calligraphy is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started. You can even hand letter with Crayola super tips (just don’t tell Elijah I borrowed his stash!). So if you’re thinking of giving it a try, go for it!
Do you have a favourite pen or tool to create your beautiful pieces?
Being an art supplies addict I have so many favourite tools and pens, but I’d have to say the Rosemary & Co Series 8 Pointed Round Watercolour Brushes are my absolute favourite. They are a dream to paint with and are handmade in Yorkshire.
What or who inspires you the most?
I get so much inspiration from the Bible, but I also have a quite a few favourite artists that I follow on social media. Shayda Campbell is brilliant, and her YouTube tutorials are also inspirational, along with Esther Peck. I’d definitely recommend having a look for both of them.
I sewed a long time before I took up calligraphy. I think having a mother who was a seamstress had a big role to play in that one! Combining the two seemed like a natural progression.Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
I love how you’ve combined calligraphy with embroidery. Have you been sewing for a long time or is this something you discovered recently?
I actually sewed a long time before I took up calligraphy. I think having a mother who was a seamstress had a big role to play in that one! Combining the two seemed like a natural progression. I tend to do embroidery in the evenings when I’m sitting down with my husband, relaxing. But painting and calligraphy is where I really lose myself. It’s lovely to get lost in the colours and paper and just unwind.
When you receive something through the post, that someone has taken to time to hand write, it feels special.Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
Your bookmark cards are beautiful. What gave you the idea to combine a card as a gift?
I think with everything that’s going on, I wanted to create something that you could easily send to a loved through the post. I’m a big fan of snail mail. It’s something we don’t really do much any more, with all the technology we have at our disposal now. But when you receive something through the post, that someone has taken to time to hand write, it feels special.
Do you have any other passions and interests?
When I’m not painting or playing my guitar, I’m an avid runner. I enjoy the ‘headspace’ it gives me. Being outside in nature is really healing, and we often take for granted the beauty that’s on our doorstep, so I love to get out on the trails. I do love a bit of bling too, so my race medal collection sits on display in our cloakroom. I have quite a few medals now, up to half-marathon distance so far. I’m hoping to start marathon training next.
The self-belief part of starting a business has been the hardest bit. But I’ve met so many encouraging people on this little journey… that’s the reason I love the Folksy community so much.Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
What areas of running your own business do you find most challenging? What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome since starting DotKDesign?
I think for me, the self-belief part of starting a business has been the hardest bit. It’s one thing creating artwork for yourself but a completely different thing putting it out there to sell. But I’ve met so many encouraging people on this little journey, which has been lovely! That’s the reason I love the Folksy community so much, because it’s just that, a community! People are so helpful and encouraging, and I truly feel like I’ve made some good friends through this endeavour.
Where do you work from? Are you lucky enough to have your own studio or work space?
I’m lucky that we have a spare room that is now my ‘studio’. My dad kindly made me my lovely desk in the bay window, so I have plenty of natural daylight to work in. It’s still a work in progress, as we’ve been having building work done on the house. It’s been stressful at times, but it’s starting to feel like my little place to come, find quiet and create.
Being outside in nature is really healing, and we often take for granted the beauty that’s on our doorstep,Emma Weeks, DotKDesign
Finally, what are your dreams and ambitions for your business?
I’d love to see DotKDesign grow. I’d like to create kits and teach-yourself packs to help others who would like to learn to paint and do hand lettering too. Maybe one day, if I’m brave enough, I could start a YouTube channel and make some tutorials. I’d also love to get some of my artwork printed into scripture cards and greetings cards too. I’m excited to see what the future holds for me on this journey but I’m also just going to enjoy the ride.
Get 20% off DotKDesign while she is our featured maker with the code ‘FEATURED’.
Shop Dotkdesign on Folksy
Meet the Interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Helen Strutt from Lellibelle. Helen creates cards and coasters featuring her original appliquéd fabric and embroidered designs. She also does bespoke pet portraits using a needle and thread.
Read our interview with Helen here – https://blog.folksy.com/2020/06/09/lellibelle
Shop Lellibelle on Folksy https://folksy.com/shops/Lellibellecards