Mary tells us a little about her story, inspirations, travel, and artistic influences

I have always loved sewing, making and design. From a young age at my mummy’s knee (where I learnt how to use her Singer sewing machine that I still own and use today) I studied Fashion and Textiles at Art college, specialising in tailoring, knit and surface pattern. Practical design in its many different forms has always been a huge part of my life. After graduating from college I worked for ten years designing surface patterns for fabrics, graphics for the labels, and all types of clothes in the fashion business. I travelled the world working in Hong Kong, India and Europe, and sourcing inspiration in America and Japan. And then life all changed with the arrival of my two amazing sons! A few months after my boys were born, I had always wanted to paint ceramics, so I spent a weekend learning the basics from an old master. I got a kiln, and off I went! After five years establishing my own bespoke china business, I opened two gift shops with a partner. I ran these for 18 years while continuing to design and create. In 2016, I felt the need to return full time to my creative roots, so here I am designing prints, making candles, plus a few other bespoke projects which keep me busy. I have a lovely hut in the garden ‘Mary-land’ where I work — lots of exciting and creative stuff goes on in here. This is where my gin print and candle offshoot was conceived. I work in my hut accompanied by my two cats whilst listening to Radio 4, Motown, soul and reggae music.

My artistic inspirations range from the Dufy, Grayson Perry, Matisse, Thomas Hardy, 1930s china, Indian textiles, the printmakers Bawden and Ravilious. I’m usually accompanied in my studio by a nice cup of tea and cake, and if the sun is over the yardarm, quite often a G & T will be my spirit guide!I love creating new designs, especially when a customer requests something unique. I really enjoy collaborating, and drawing inspiration from the clients ideas to create a special design that they will love and cherish, or will be proud to give away as a keepsake. I love my work, and I hope you do too. For more ginspirations including bespoke gin tea-towels, drinks prints, and candles, head over to www.marydarchdesign.com