Friday, 8 September 2017

Etsy shop find... a chat with Amber Davenport

This months etsy interview is with Amber Davenport.
Amber is a textile artist currently studying at Manchester School of Art, just about to venture into her final year.
Inspired by botanical gardens and interesting plants, Ambers paintings are full to bursting with lush colour, exotic foliage, beautiful texture, mark making and pattern.

You can buy some of her original paintings in her etsy shop, but she also sells greeting cards, notebooks, prints and ceramics too.

So, let's get to know Amber shall we...

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m Amber a plant and cat enthusiast and I’m just about to go into the final year of my degree (so scary) studying textiles at Manchester School of Art. 
I’ve always been creative, art was the only thing I was ever good at at school, I was just average at everything else. 
When I started college I actually wanted to be a fine artist, I only chose textiles to fill a gap in my timetable. I decided on textiles about an hour before the deadline! 
It's safe to say I’m so relieved I did! 
Once I’d finished college I couldn’t decide between art and textiles, but finally decided on textiles as I wanted to learn more about screen printing, dying and repeat pattern. 

2. What books/ magazines are you currently reading? 
And whats your favourite childhood book?

I’m so awful at reading! I’ve just finished Louis Theroux’s book ‘Travels in American subcultures’ which was great although totally unrelated to my work! 
My favourite childhood book is definitely ‘The Fat Cat’ by Jack Kent. 
I’ve always been surrounded by cats; my Nan has between 10-15 cats at any one time. 
She looks after strays which sleep in a very cozy shed in her back garden, she even fills them hot water bottles! 

3. Who are some of your favourite illustrators/designers 
and what it is about their work that you love?

Ernst Haeckel and Katie Scott’s eye for detail and colour, Josef Frank and Matisse's pattern and form and I’m always hugely inspired by Wes Anderson movies; the way his colours make you feel nostalgic and happy – that’s definitely something which I try to inject into my work! 

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

I enjoy visiting botanical gardens, but when I’m not able to travel far I go for walks in a little forest next to my house. It's full of overgrown plants, textured leaves and my favourite colour, green! 
I then sketch out an outline using pencil, sometimes I like to draw without a reference image, this allows you to be more creative. I love inventing plant species!
I then begin to mix my paints (I usually use acrylics or gouache) and go for it! 
I never really plan my work as I enjoy making it up as I go along, experimenting with placing different textures alongside others. 
Once I’m done with the painting I usually scan it into my computer and make it look a little neater as I’m a messy painter. I’m the worst for spilling tea on my paintings. 

5. Tell us ten random facts about yourself...

I’m 4ft 11.
I love hot water bottles all year round.
I have three cats, one of which thinks she's a human.
If I wasn’t doing my degree in textiles, I would love to decorate cakes.
I’m Hall and Oates’ biggest fan. 
I'm rubbish at sports.
I’d love to illustrate a children’s book one day.
I’m currently saving to go travelling with my boyfriend next year.
I'm happiest with a cup of tea.
I paint better in Pyjamas.

6. How would you describe your work?

Narrative, colourful and playful!

7. There's a lovely Moroccan influence coming through in some of your pieces…
Where else have you travelled that inspired your art?  

I recently visited ‘Jardin Exotique’, a botanical garden in Monaco, 
its one of my favourite places I’ve been! 

8. What makes you laugh?

 Any movie with Will Ferrell in, I have a silly humour.

9. What would be your dream job?

My dream is to be a Freelance Illustrator and designer. 
I'd love to focus on expanding my etsy shop into a full time business selling illustrated patterned goods! 
Hopefully one day I'll have my own screen printing facilities too! 
It would be amazing to have a job which allowed me to work from anywhere in the world also. 

10. What are you currently passionate about or fascinated by 
and how is it inspiring your work?

Plants and nature! 
Always has been really! 
I'll never get bored of the patterns and textures I find in plants!

11. What’s the most popular item for sale in your etsy shop? 
And your personal favourite?

The most popular item changes all the time, but if there’s one stable variable it's cats! Whether it be a Jaguar or domestic kitty! 
My personal favourite changes constantly also, I’m very critical of myself so anything I created more than a few months ago generally bugs me. 
My favourite at the moment is my Jungle Leopard Painting!

A big thank you to Amber for taking the time out to be part of the etsy interview feature.

If you'd like to Follow Amber on instagram, click here...

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