Getting to know Louise Lockhart May 24 2017
We catch up with GSA Collection maker Louise Lockhart...
Formerly a student at The Glasgow School of Art, Louise now works as a freelance illustrator and runs her own business The Printed Peanut, supplying lovely illustrated stationery, soaps and gifts to the likes of us!
The GSA Shop stocks products designed by students, staff and alumni of The Glasgow School of Art…Can you tell us a bit about your time studying at GSA?
I loved being in Glasgow and there was a great atmosphere at the Art School and in the studio. I studied Visual Communication with a specialism in Illustration but my work was quite varied as I wanted to have a go at everything from animation to more interactive pieces. Me and my friend Rosie Ferrier made a guide book to Glasgow’s ice cream parlours where we drew the shop fronts, which is still what I’m doing now!
Where do you find inspiration and ideas for your designs?
I love 1950's designs and colours, especially on things that were used in the home such as fabrics, wallpaper and ceramics. I love the idea of bringing good design into all areas of life. I often take inspiration from the past and give it my own contemporary twist, such as my Home Life Plate which was inspired by those wonderful 1950s Homemaker plates by Enid Seeney which were sold in Woolworth’s so people could have affordable good design in the home.
Can you tell us a bit about the kind of processes and materials you use?
I create my work by compiling paper cut outs and drawings in Photoshop, then I add colour and texture.
How long have you been trading for and what led you to start your business?
I graduated in 2009 and started selling things in whilst living in Canada in 2012 as I worked in a fantastic stationery shop and the boss let me try out a few cards and things to see what sold. It was very small scale back then! When I moved back to the UK I went full time and slowly added more products to my range.
What are the hurdles you face as a maker in starting and running your own business?
It can be very difficult to have the funds to have products manufactured, which is frustrating because the more you have made the less each unit costs. You work long hours and it can be difficult to pack up lots of orders, but I love doing it alongside my freelance illustration work.
And tell us about the high points that make it all worthwhile?
I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do anything else. There’s nothing like the feeling of getting your finished product back from the factory, or hearing stories about how much people love what I’ve made. I hope my products bring a little bit of joy into people’s lives, that’s my aim!
What advice would you give to makers starting to design products for retail?
Start small and get lots of feedback about what’s selling before you make or invest in more!
How are you finding the independent retail scene currently?
I think independent shops are fantastic as they support smaller scale makers and are very encouraging and supportive. People love the idea of ‘shopping small’ as an alternative to large generic shops. I love seeing pictures of my products in shops on Instagram.
How long have you been supplying us?
GSA was one of my very first shops! Back in 2013 I was only making Pass the Parcels and had a few shops around the UK. It’s great to keep a link to the Art School and I feel very proud to be a part of it. You have made a wonderful display of my work, it looks like a little shrine!
Give us a sneaky taste of things to come... what are your big or small plans for the future?
I’m currently refurbishing an old cotton mill where I will live and have a big studio on the ground floor. I can’t wait to have a proper studio set up so I can expand my business.
What’s your favourite new material to work with or colour combination just now?
I LOVE applying my designs onto ceramics and have just got a new collection in my current favourite colour combination of teal blue, mimosa yellow and powder pink. Yum.
Which other designers or makers products impress you?
I’ve recently been to India to work with To&From, a business started by my friend Somya Singh who I met at GSA. We collaborated to make some textiles and I was really impressed at how she works and other designs she has made.