November 4, 2011

Kirsty Ramsbottom : The Score

Bonjour mes amis!

Yep, 'tis Friday, bloody cold outside and the world and it's mother seem to have the flu. So what better way to start the weekend than a read of this week's Score.

Meet Kirsty, the creative talent behind Dotty Noggin and full time textile designer. And dog owner. And wife. And mother to be...

So in true glossy mag style, read on to find out just how she does it all.

So hello, what's the average day like in Dotty Noggin HQ?

I think Dotty Noggin is a bit of a covert operation! Concealed to little bits of time I've managed to grasp from in between the moments I'm hanging off the edge of a ladder fixing my house up, wrangling something out of my dog's adventurous mouth, sleeping, sitting and most recently being pregnant! So I'd be lying if I said 'day' because it's not entirely true. My nine to five job is designing bedlinen for my employer, and Dotty Noggin is my very own little bit of loveliness where I can draw, tweet, try out new ideas, and generally be as adventurous as I want. That's an average day in my studio. Quite hectic but it seems to work!

So, how did you end up working in illustration and textile design?

When I graduated way back in 2008, I didn't have clear idea of where I was going to end up in terms of work. Like a lot of students, I spent the final year of my degree consumed with trying to produce the very best work that could. So as a result I hadn't given too much thought to what my next move would be once I had graduated. I had a lot of faith that something would come along and that it would would spirit me away to the next part of my life. Luckily that happened, and I got into Textile Design through a job offer which came about through participating in 'New Designers'. I got into Illustrating (on the side, so to speak) through being inspired by other people and having confidence to continue drawing and selling my work.

Who do you think inspires you the most?

This is a difficult one! It will probably sound like a typical answer for an Illustrator but I think I'm going to have to go with Quentin Blake. It's funny because I don't think we truly are aware when we are being influenced by something or someone. But I read a lot, a lot, a lot of books when I was little and actually I would have to group Mr Blake in with all of the people who made beautiful drawings for books and even the writers themselves. I think they ignited my imagination enough that I never really grew out of doodling, and I am inspired to continue every day by the drawings I see around me.

Do you have any unusual working habits?

I wouldn't say unusual but I'm not sure how I manage to be an organised list maker, and yet my desk is always an embarrassing mess! And how I must seem so obsessive and particular with all of the little details in my drawings but very relaxed about it all at the same time. I also talk to myself a lot, but that comes with working from my home studio with just a dog for company.

If you weren't doing this, what would you be?

I've often thought about this, and I hope to never find out! I always fancied being a teacher when I was young, so I have no doubt that's where I would be (if they'd have me!)

If Doctor Who landed in Norwich and asked you to time travel... which era would you most like to be working in?

I think I'd be happy sitting in room full of lovely mid century design, as I have a bit of a thing for all of the lovely furniture and prints from that era. When my husband and I were decorating our living room last Christmas I was thrilled to find a small patch of wallpaper (under the more conservative years of paper) which had a bright multicoloured Illustrative 1950's theme. The previous owners were elderly and had owned the house for over 60 years, and after that I couldn't stop thinking about how they'd had their brief flirt with mid century and what my Living Room might have looked like during that time.

You spent some time in Hong Kong, how did that come about?

The job I mentioned that came about from New Designers was based in Hong Kong. I was approached at the show by a lady who was looking for someone with nice 'handwriting'. The position was for a three month placement as a graduate bedlinen designer for a company stocked in the big department stores the world over. Exciting. My job would be to design leafy/floral embroideries and also kids applique bedlinen and accessories (think quilts, cushions and throws). I got the job, three months turned into a year in Hong Kong and then a further two years working for them from my new base in Norwich. I'm still a bit shocked I lived and functioned quite well on the other side of the world!

You now work in Norwich, why do you think that so many creative types are so London centric?

Yep, I live and work in Norwich now because that's where my family are (I didn't half miss them when I lived away!) and it's where I grew up. I would hazard a guess that logically there must be more opportunities in London for people wanting to get into design jobs. I don't know if this is a fact, or if maybe I think it because it feels like everyone else does? Certainly there must be more variety but I would also think there would be stiffer competition. From a freelance point of view, I don't really think you need to live in London. Norwich can be a quite nurturing place for creative types. We have a big community of artists and art students and because everyone always jokes about the City actually being like a big village (everyone knows everyone), it can be good for getting to know people and hear about events and get involved.

Any advice for our budding creatives?

Be yourself, do what you love, take risks, work hard, keep an open mind, be ambitious! And the rest I still have to learn myself!


Thanks very much to the lovely Kirsty. If you'd like to find out more about her work you can find her here. Or say hello on Twitter.

We'll leave you with a very festive Dotty Noggin exclusive* (well the lights are up so why not).

Till next time...


*Which you can find here on Etsy.

Published by: admin in The Score

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