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