I'm a pretty cheerful nugget of a human - it's kind of what makes this whole Enthusiast brand so hashtag authentic - but I have never ever, no never ever, in my life been so GLEEFUL as when I was writing up this INCREDIBLE interview with Julia, the designer, illustrator and creator behind Ink & Thimble. I actually got goosebumps reading these answers back, and then I realised that I'm lucky enough to have Julia wear one of my tshirts, and the bumps got bumps. (Julia also sent me a really, indescribably wonderful close-up zoom in of her face, which was a whole different bodily reaction, but that one's just for me). Her adoration for arts and passion for people are wonderful and inspiring and evocative and truly awe-inducing; from now on, I will forever be celebrating my jumper stains. (Read below to figure out what that is, and why you will too...)
Also - SHE PAINTED THAT GIANT BEAUTEOUS OIL PAINTING BEHIND HER. JUST CASJ. LOOK AT IT. It's more beautiful than Zac Efron in High School Musical 3 (and I do not say that lightly).
OH HEY. Tell us about yourself - like a first date, but we already love you
Having a long-term love affair with art, illustration & embroidery for what feels like my whole life, I took the somewhat natural leap from dreaming to doing.
From designing wedding stationery & gifts for friends & family to setting up my own Wedding Stationery & Embroidery Service, my passion is to provide lovely human beings with bespoke creations that celebrate their own unique characters. I’m inspired by the historical & revel in reading up on romantic stories of the past, valentines & sweetheart traditions.
The handmade, and therefore bespoke, cerebrations of love from the past fascinate me & it is my intention to replicate this in my work through hand painted designs, hand sewn embroidery & sewing seams with my 1894 Singer sewing machine (whose name is Ty).
A person-centred approach is the key to my process.
As a former paediatric nurse, I am well versed in all things family, communication & person-centred care.
What are you enthusiastic about?
Okay, so how can one even when one simply cannot even. SO – I am beyond enthusiastic about symbolism, little traditions and personal history. I have a box somewhere full of receipts that people ditch at the self-service queue, because I like to think about what has been purchased and who that person might be and I emulate a story about them in my mind. Also, when people leave those handwritten shopping lists and leave them in the bottom of the basket? Pure. Unadulterated. Heaven. I think it’s so personal to see someone’s handwriting, their own little shopping story. I try and hone in on this when I’m creating stories for clients through my wedding stationery & embroidery – I love to know their ‘personality handwriting’ if you will. The curves, the straights, their likes and passions, what connects them and what best showcases their personalities.
Why do you keep doing what you're doing?
I think I’m just the biggest sucker for a story. Encouraging people to tell their own stories, interpreting this into visual storytelling through my artwork & embroidery and almost immortalising it. It’s like full circle stuff to me. And there will always be lovely human beings, and there will always be stories. And that’s why I keep on keeping on.
What's the impact you want to make?
I want to make people feel recognised and valued for all that they are, uniquely. Okay so – you’re walking around the shops and you’re with all your bessies and you see this insane jumper. It’s glorious, it’s all the colours you love, soft as you like, the fit was made for you, & all your bessies are saying mmmmmmhm honey this is the one. You buy it. You wear it all the time. It’s who, you, are. But then, you see someone else wearing it and you lose that feeling of ownership over it? Until you realise that their jumper doesn’t have that tiny little mark on the sleeve from that night around Christmas at your family home when some red wine (and the rest) got sloshed about. And you remember how hilarious that was & it makes you feel warm and fuzzy again because you realise the individuality of your jumper now – and that tiny stain is what makes it yours. The memory. I want to celebrate that stain. That’s the impact I want to have.
Best advice you've ever been given?
Cliché – but just be yourself. I truly believe it’s the only advice you ever need. Also, eating crisps directly after eating chocolate.
Who's your Enthusiastic hero?
It has GOT to be Vinny Van Gogh (or Vincent if you want to add a touch of formality – which he’d hate. He’d also hate Vinny). He is the most tragically beautiful example of someone who had no physical choice but to be himself, and create what he truly believed in – despite not getting any praise or recognition for it. The way he visualised colour, the expressive nature of his work and ultimately his never ceasing enthusiasm for painting and art - inspiring. I’ve seen his work in museums and I still go ‘Omg JB this guy actually painted this, years ago…Like this paint came from his paintbrush which he held in his hand???’ Like, I can’t get over that. He’s my hero.
If money were no object, what would you be doing?
Collecting receipts & painting & sewing. Genuinely. Just maybe on a beach in Mexico.
If you were to have a baby girl what would you call it?
GENUINELY – Ellie. It’s my fave name ever. So - well done you.