Crafty chat Behind the scenes
Discover how a doodle led to the creationnofof Donna Ratcliff’s stunning stamp collection
Donna Ratcliff’s crafting bow has many strings, from clay modelling to decorating cakes for the rich and famous. However, illustration has always been the constant, and her drawings are now available in a new stamp collection from Crafter’s Companion. We caught up with the keen crafter and blogger to find out how the collaboration came about and what inspires her hand-drawn designs.
We’re so excited about your new stamp collection for Crafter’s Companion – how did the collaboration come about?
Well I’m head of Sheena Douglass’ design team and I go to help set up the shows she does at Hochanda. I was doodling while waiting in the Green Room and Sara Davies, who was there for some other shows, saw my drawings and said they should be made into stamps. That’s how the first one came about. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to have been asked to design some more.
How do you come up with all of these new illustrations?
I think anyone who is a crafter has ideas in their head of things they’d like to ‘play’ with and that’s where the ideas come from. Then it’s just a case of making sure I make the images versatile enough that people can enjoy playing and creating with them too, and are able to apply them to their own creations in whatever style they like to create in.
When you’re designing, what mediums do you like to work in?
I much prefer to draw with a pen and paper, often just a ballpoint pen, in fact. I don’t like to sit down to create a perfect drawing. I prefer to just sketch and doodle images and see how they develop. However, for the stamps I have to draw on a tablet, but I still tend to draw a little on paper to try the ideas out first. When it comes to designing cards, then I much prefer to work in water-based mediums because of their versatility.
Do you have a favourite design from the collection?
Oh, it has to be Spiffy from my new Steampunk World collection! After all, a steampunk flying mouse… what’s not to like?!
Are there any more new releases in the pipeline?
Yes, I’m happy to say there are some new releases! There might be a little magical world to visit later in the year but I’m saying no more! My lips are tightly sealed!
When you’re not designing stamps, what would we find you doing?
I’m often creating samples with either my new stamps or with Sheena’s range. Alternatively, I could well be preparing for workshops. It’s usually some form of craft because as well as being my job it’s my hobby! I’m a total craft junkie I’m afraid to say.
We’ve been checking out your blog and we love your card designs – do you find it difficult to find new things to blog about?
Oh, my blog! How embarrassing! I’m such a bad blogger… I don’t keep it up to date at all and I really must get it sorted. I don’t usually find it difficult to think of things to blog about – I like to put photo tutorials on there, among other things. Rather, it’s more a case of finding it difficult to remember to actually do it!
How did you get into crafting?
This is going to sound so trite, but I really have crafted all my life in some form or another. I was always encouraged to be creative as a child, so I grew up playing with paint, colouring pencils, beads, modelling clays etc. Then, as I grew up it just carried on as I love trying out all sorts of crafts – I just really enjoy making things and being creative!
Is there a craft you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t got around to yet?
Ooh yes! I’d really like to have a play with some silver clay as I’ve been looking at that for ages now and just haven’t had the time to have a go. I’d also like to have a go at pottery and throw something on a potter’s wheel.
Lastly… tell us something surprising about yourself!
Surprising? Oh, that’s a difficult one! Well, let’s see… I used to have a family cake decorating business and over the years we were lucky enough to make celebratory cakes forf a few well-known celebrities!
Donna takes inspiration for her illustrations from all that’s around her!
Check out Donna's new stamp designs at Crafter’s Companion
Donna has been busy designing a new steampunk range!