Siob­han Har­ri­son an­swers all!

We talk to Siob­han Har­ri­son, the artist be­hind April Rose Il­lus­tra­tion and this month’s beau­ti­ful Stitch With project!

Cross Stitch Crazy - - Stitch With April Rose -

How did you first get into cross stitch designing?

I met some of the Crazy team at a trade show a few years ago. They liked my il­lus­tra­tions and so com­mis­sioned me to do my first cross stitch de­sign. I’ve been en­joy­ing cre­at­ing de­signs ever since.

Tell us about your but­ter­fly de­sign in this is­sue...

This de­sign was in­spired by an out-of-print book I found, The Ob­server’s Book of

But­ter­flies. I en­joy sourc­ing books that use old print­ing pro­cesses as in­spi­ra­tion or a start­ing point for some of my il­lus­tra­tions.

What else in­spires you?

As well as old books, I love look­ing in retro-style shops which have un­usual pieces of fur­ni­ture and ce­ram­ics. Trav­el­ling to an­other coun­try and experiencing an­other cul­ture is al­ways inspiring, too – I en­joyed vis­it­ing Bologna in Italy for the Chil­dren’s Book Fair ear­lier this year.

Where might we have seen your il­lus­tra­tions be­fore?

Well, I’ve il­lus­trated a lot of chil­dren’s books, greet­ings cards, sta­tionery and ce­ram­ics, all dif­fer­ent prod­uct ar­eas re­ally, so you’ve pos­si­bly boughtt some­thing with my il­lus­tra­tion work on. I also used to work in-house for Marks and Spencer, il­lus­trat­ing their greet­ings cards, and I cur­rently have an own-brand range of greet­ings cards, which is stocked at a se­lec­tion of small in­de­pen­dent shops in the UK.

What’s a typ­i­cal work­ing day like for you?

Most of my days seem fairly busy with il­lus­tra­tion and or­gan­is­ing my own-brand prod­ucts for sale. I reg­u­larly have my own stand at trade shows, too, so time is also spent or­gan­is­ing and pre­par­ing for th­ese. I have a lo­cal stu­dio space shared with other de­sign­ers and mak­ers, which I work from for part of the week. When I’m not at my desk, I love to be out in the fresh air – fit­ting in a leisurely walk along the beach al­ways makes my day.

How did you de­cide the name April Rose Il­lus­tra­tion?

I came up with it quite by ac­ci­dent, re­ally! I wanted to sep­a­rate my wa­ter­colour work from the chil­dren’s book il­lus­tra­tion work – which is quite dif­fer­ent – and I wanted some­thing that re­flected my in­ter­est in paint­ing stud­ies of flow­ers, birds, and in­sects. Now I use the name for all the wa­ter­colour work I do.

Are you a stitcher, and do you en­joy any other crafts?

I’ve al­ways made things, but I’ve only just re­cently started cross stitch­ing. I prom­ise I’ll put the re­sults up on my blog soon! I used to do a lot of sewing, as I stud­ied for a de­gree in fash­ion de­sign be­fore study­ing fur­ther for il­lus­tra­tion.

Can you tell us what’s next for you in the stitchy world?

An­other project for Crazy, ac­tu­ally! I’ve been work­ing on a set of pretty vin­tagestyle seed packet de­signs for a fu­ture is­sue, but I can’t say any more! Just keep an eye out for April’s is­sue...

Visit www.april­ro­seil­lus­tra­tion.com to find out more about Siob­han’s work

Images from na­ture are a key in­flu­ence in Siob­han’s work Siob­han cre­ates her beau­ti­ful cross stitch de­signs in watercolours

One of Siob­han’s de­signs for Crazy which ap­peared in is­sue 187

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