I’m Bex, the artist behind Rebecca Sandey Illustration. I work from my home in Frome creating watercolour cards, prints and homeware. Most of my designs are based on the natural world that is all around us, with a strong focus on birds.
Why do you craft / make?
For years, I didn’t have a creative outlet until I rediscovered by love for watercolour painting back in 2016 while designing my wedding invitations. Once I’d found that initial joy, I wasn’t ready to give it up, and I’ve been painting ever since. It’s just a bonus that I’m able to create and sell products that other people love as well!
What are your favourite projects?
I love most of the painting process but the projects I love the most are the ones where I can play around with colour. It’s amazing just how many beautiful and brightly coloured birds we have in Britain that we just take for granted.
What do you do to keep yourself, space and time organised?
Short answer is that I don’t! I’m very sporadic in when and where I work. I have a full-time job in ecology so don’t have my own studio or defined “creative time”. I paint when and where I am able, and none of it is organised…
What are your can’t live without craft essentials?
My teeny tiny little watercolour brushes are complete life savers. A lot of the work I do requires minute details and very exact brushwork, so the smaller the paint brush, the better for me.
How would you describe your style?
My style is (I hope) both colourful and fun, but also with attention to details. I love to create products which people will be aesthetically drawn to – I’ve tried to make my prints as bright as possible when they’re printed so that they don’t fade into the background in someone’s house, for example. I paint a lot of birds, and I aim to both capture their personalities, as well as the intricate details of all of their colours.
Are there any crafters / designers that you look up to?
I look up to so many crafters, both local and further afield, but I’m always drawn to those who use bold colour and add a sense of fun to their work. Life is too short to take too seriously, so the more fun we can find in artwork, the better.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Outside! Nature and the great outdoors hold such rich inspiration for me and never cease to make me happy. Just watching the birds outside in the garden makes me want to grab my paintbrush and start creating.
We live in such a mass-produced society, why should people continue to make things by hand?
Individual and unique items are much more thoughtful as gifts, and you know you’re getting a one-of-a-kind product. Mass produced items don’t start conversations, and don’t help the local economy. Wherever possible, I believe that it’s best to buy less but buy smarter – from local shops, individual makers and small-scale producers. Your money will be going to a real person rather than to a large, faceless corporation, and that’s pretty special in my opinion.
What is your advice for people who want to start crafting / selling?
Just go for it! You’ll get it wrong and make all the mistakes at first, but that’s all part of the fun of it. Learning what works for you and what doesn’t (either in terms of what you’re creating or how you’re selling it) makes the whole experience of starting a small business even more rewarding.
Do you take custom request?
I do take custom requests – I’ve been asked to paint all sorts, not just birds! I’ve painted peoples’ pets and landscapes and have been asked to write special messages in calligraphy for people. I love working on a commission as I really get to focus more deeply on an individual piece of work. There’s more pressure, but the outcome is even more rewarding.