Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Etsy shop find...a chat with Studio Legohead!

As I'm sure many of you lovely readers will know, I do a regular post,
(well, regular-ish, lets call it reoccurring posts, if you will...)
on super nice etsy shops I come across on my travels around the internet and blog land,
and whilst I'm going to carry on doing just that, I thought it would be nice to get to know some of those shop owners a little better...

So, first up, is Jo Chambers who owns the shop Studio Legohead,
producing greeting cards, art prints, postcards and many other lovely items, featuring beautiful floral felt tip doodles and plenty of our beloved four legged friends in her pet portraits.
I came across Jo's work some time ago and have admired it ever since, so here she is answering a few questions for loveprintstudio and all you lovely reader folk.

Enjoy getting to know her, and why not pop on over to her shop once you've sat a while with a cuppa...

1. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your background...
I’ve always as far back as I can remember loved drawing, painting and creating. Apparently as a child I was always sketching something. 
This led to me going to college, where I had fantastic tutors, real artists that taught us how to draw, be observant, and interested. 
I feel very grateful to have had this grounding straight after school.

I then went on to study a Creative Arts degree in Art and Textiles at Bath Spa University. The course enabled me to work in two areas that I really couldn’t choose between, and I’m so pleased to have had the combined disciplines, as I never felt restricted.
A few years later whilst studying my MA there I was asked to teach embroidery to first year BA students, which although was daunting at the time, as I had no real teaching experience, I snapped it up and loved it. 
7 years later and I’m still a visiting lecturer there. 
It’s such a pleasure to work with the students and see them develop over the course of their degree.
After my MA I went into a bit of a creative block, after years of drawing/stitching florals I wanted a change. 
I saw a dog in a bowtie online, loved the character it conveyed and began to draw. Before I knew it I had sketchbooks full. 
During my MA studies I was introduced to the Irish Singer sewing machine, a free hand embroidery machine, which is like drawing with stitch, my new drawings and this machine combined led to a series of embroidered dog portraits, which then led to an exhibition.
I produced some greeting cards for my show that sold really well. 
So after I opened an Etsy shop and began e-mailing blogs and websites to try and get more press. 3 and a half years later, the dogs are still with me, as well as the florals, and I’ve had the best time ever.

2. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?
I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty terrible on this front. I’ve never been much of a reader! 
But the items currently on my coffee table are – Maria Kalman ‘Various Illuminations (of a crazy world)’ the Guardian weekend guide and Focus, Science and Technology magazine! I so admire the work of Maria Kalman, 
but I think what I find more intriguing is the creator herself, open, honest and immensely talented. 
The Guardian guide speaks for itself, 
and Focus is my partners but it had a great article on Sleep!
I’ve also a fascination with psychology and human behavior and much prefer to read about the working of the human mind and real life than fiction.

3. Tell us about a typical day for you...
My typical day, starts at 6am. 
I get up and do a workout, at least 4 out of 5 working days. 
After that, breakfast and if I’m working from home, a walk around the block/to the shops before I settle at my desk. 
I find it really important to get back home and feel like I’ve arrived at work, 
it’s something I’ve always done.
Then it’s normally admin and e-mails for a bit before I get cracking on commissions, orders that need posting and occasionally the odd interview questionnaire to answer!

4. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?
If I’m working on a portrait commission then I always ask for a biog of the canine or feline in question. 
I like to hear as much about the character that I am trying to capture, 
as I want the final image to be as personal to my client as possible.
I began drawing dogs because I liked to imagine them as human characters and what there quirks would be. 
Working on a commission is always random, 
I never know what breed of dog I will be working on, 
what there human friend might want them adorned in and this is what always keeps it fresh and I can honestly say I never tire of.
When creating pieces for myself I’m always drawn to vintage ornaments and memorabilia. I adore colour and pattern, but I also love white spaces, hence my Mantelpiece Meet-Up series and the prints I produce from original sketches. 
I draw, collage and colour in. 
A little cleaning up on the computer and I’m usely done. 
I prefer to do as much as I can by hand.

5. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by lots of things, but I guess the main inspiration for me was my Nan. 
She is sadly no longer with us, but she left me with a curiosity for the kitsch, tatty and slightly odd things I now love. 
Her home was filled with objects. 
Looking back they certainly weren’t glamorous or expensive, but as a child visiting her home I was always transfixed by the amount of colour, the mixture of pattern and textures and selection of collected/hoarder objects. 
She was a wonderful lady who was never shy of clashing colours!
Inspiration also comes from my friends and partner, who I must say are a creative and talented bunch, and all varied in their interests and disciplines that they work in. 
I love hearing what they are up to and what their next project has in store.
And more recently inspiration came from my trip to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. I’ve always been a fan, but seeing the work he created from the age of 9 years old till when he died was a dream. 

6. In three words, describe your work.....
Colourful, cheery, characterful

7. What's your guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate with sea salt, madjool dates and Eastenders *hangs head in shame*. 
I would love to own Dot Cottons wardrobe!

8. What are your top three blogs?
Angela Dalinger is an illustrator who runs a Tumblr feed.  
I love the mixture of work, but also a lot of it has humour, which I’m a fan of in art.
What Angela says about it – “I thought it’s kind of a nice idea to make this a blog for all illustrators, which stay analoge in their art. Hand drawings, with crayons and marker, no graphic tablet or how ever it’s called.”

Cush and Nooks  
Because I’m a bit nosey and love having a peek into other peoples homes.
Also there is always a great array of interior products and art

It's Nice That
A real mixture of illustration, graphic design, photography, branding, the list goes on. Always current and I can get lost there going from feature to feature.

Thanks so much to Jo for sharing a little bit of her world with us!
You can find and follow Jo in various places detailed below...

(all of the above images are taken from the Studio Legohead etsy shop 
and all copyright belongs to Jo Chambers)

x x x

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