Monday, 6 June 2016

Etsy shop find...a chat with Sarah & Colin Walsh!

This months etsy interview is with the super talented design couple, Sarah and Colin Walsh of Tigersheepfriends.
A Husband and wife duo who create gorgeous illustrations and quirky designs across an array of products in their etsy shop; tote bags, mugs, art prints, magnets, badges and many more!

So, perfect for a Monday morning, grab your cuppa and have a read...

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your backgrounds...

Colin: I went to Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida for design.

Sarah: I went to St. Rose for Design in Albany, New York. 

We both went to schools in our home town and then got jobs at Hallmark in Kansas
City, Missouri right out of college. 
This is where we met and became friends. 
It wasn't until years later that we dated and then fell in love! 
Colin had quit Hallmark to travel to South American and Australia and then ended up coming back to Kansas City for other reasons. We bumped into each other and started hanging out. 
Through drawing in coffee shops, buying art books together and perusing record
stores, we realized we had very similar passions and ideas about art, illustration, music, bad jokes and life in general.

2. Who are your design heroes or favourite designers/illustrators, and
what inspires you?

Mary Blair, Ben Shahn, Dahlov Ipcar, Donna Wilson, Carson Ellis,
Margaret Killgallen, Andy J. Miller, Quentin Tarantino, Basquiat, Andy
Warhol, Kubrick, Alice and Martin Provensen.

3. ‘Tigersheep Friends’…how did you decide on the name for your etsy
shop and when did you open it? Is there a particular reason behind
the name?

It's a bit random. We both misunderstood a friend during a conversation and thought they said "Tigersheep" when they said something completely different. 

We both really liked the way it sounded and started thinking about the idea of the juxtaposition of what tigers and sheep represent. 
Tigers are known to be fierce, powerful, and cunning. Sheep are part of a herd, gentle and innocent.
The friend part came later. We like the idea of belonging to a tribe of like minded individuals. And we love meeting new people and hearing their stories. 

Especially when we travel.

4. Tell us about a typical day for each of you...

Coffee first! 

Colin: We snuggle with our 2.5 year old son Finley, have breakfast, and then get ready for the day. Finley goes to daycare 3-4 days a week so we can work. 
Sarah mostly works on client based work during that time (she quit Hallmark a few years back to focus on her own work) and I work as an in-house designer/illustrator at Hallmark. We usually work/party on Tigersheep Friends at night after Finley goes to bed which means very late nights sometimes!

5. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?

Tigersheep is an outlet to experiment with ideas and new product formats. It's a chance for us to have fun and be as weird or quirky as we want. 

One of us will think of an idea and then we'll talk about it together, sometimes adding to it. We like to research, look at different books, and experiment with a variety of mediums. 
We'd  love to do some more collaborative pieces together, like murals and toys.

6. Where do you work? Describe your studio/work area...

We renovated our basement a few years ago. We have a sewing station, our computer desks, a cutting table on top of a ginormous flat file case and a painting table. 

Then of course lots of books and other shelves to store things. 
There's also art on the wall of course. It's still a work in progress. 

Sarah: Sometimes I work at the kitchen table because I need sunlight! 
When I'm in sketch mode on a project I like going to local coffee shops.

7. What art do you have on your wall?

Pieces from Dick Daniels, Andrea Pippins, Spencer Numer, Maura Sandoval, Dean Kube, Hammerpress, Melissa Powless, Grace D. Chin, hopefully a painting from Jaime Rovenstine soon, a Draplin poster, a folk art mask, our kids artwork, some of our own but not much, some weird and fun thrift store finds (a painting of an unknown bald man that our friends gave us because they couldn't fit it in their truck when they moved!), some knick knacks on tiny shelves, and a ukelele.

8. What are your big loves in life?

Our children, family for sure, each other! 

Drawing and creating things, painting, surfing, snowboarding, playing music, writing music,
art, discovering new bands, food and drinks!

9. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a designer/illustrator?

The process of making something, the idea that you can surprise yourself with a new discovery of color combinations, pattern arrangement or a new composition that's extra wonky or weird. 

It's such a process and you don't always know what the outcome will be.
Which is cool! 

Also that someone else might get joy from it is the best!

10. What’s the most popular item for sale in your etsy shop?

The Happy Alpaca print

11. What are you working on currently? And any big plans for the coming year?

Just a few weekends ago we got our daughter settled into her Chicago apartment and also dropped some of our prints off at a shop called Paperish Mess. 
We're always looking for new shops to sell our hand made products in. 
To kick off spring we did a really fun window display for Wonderfair, an amazing shop in Lawrence, Kansas where we also sell our wares. 
That was so fun because we got to make giant succulents and tiny dinosaurs made of wood and then hand painted. 
At the moment are both separately working on really cool book projects and are getting ready to list some new pillows and prints. 
Hopefully in the next several months we'll have our screen printing studio set
up so can screen print our soft goods! 

It's been a goal for sometime.

Thanks so much to both Sarah and Colin for taking the time to be part of the etsy interviews and giving us an insight into their world.

(all artwork above is copyright of Sarah Walsh/ Colin Walsh/ Tigersheepfriends)

And thanks for the fab photos guys!

You can follow Sarah here...

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