It has been way too long since I did a Meet The Maker blog interview and there are so many great new makers in the collection! I was very excited when I came across Sophie Bresnahan, creator of Loop Loop, through one of my ceramicists. Sophie makes beautiful plantable wildflower seed cards and they are just such a brilliant idea. I'm such a card hoarder and I hate throwing them away but never know what to do with them, so the idea of sending someone a card that they can plant outside and that will give them wildflowers year after year is perfect! It's a gift that keeps on giving to the recipient and to nature. I wanted to find out a bit more about where the idea came from and how Sophie got started so I asked her to share her story.
What made you decide to become a maker and how did you get started?
I've always liked to experience to the world by creating things and always loved tinkering. I get rather obsessed with a certain thing, be it sewing or marbling or anything else that pops up and then I move onto something else. The cards are the latest obsession which I've stuck at for the longest and I am still really enjoying making them. I've always liked making individual birthday cards for my favourite people and then a year ago I thought maybe I might be able to make them a little more useful by using plantable paper. It took me about six months to figure out where to get the paper and how to print onto it, using ink that won't harm the soil once planted and then as soon as I had that in place it seemed to take off.
What inspires your card designs?
I like to design cards with people in mind. It might be a good friend or family's birthday, or occasion that I want to celebrate with them so I design it with them in mind. I also love quotes from the inspirational painters, writers or thinkers of the world and I use that as a source of motivation for myself and hopefully for others too.
What do you love most about being a maker?
I love being open to the world so much that the way I look at things changed since being a maker. Instead of just moving through places without taking it in, my eye tunes in and really starts looking at things. I think it keeps me curious and allows me to see wonder in the most simple things that might otherwise be missed. I also love the immediacy of making the cards. I can have an idea, draw it, paint it, scan it, print it and have a finished card within the space of a few hours if I want to. I am easily distracted and easily drop one creative project for the next, so this way of working allows me to move with the energy of an idea without getting bored. There's nothing worse that having half finished projects and ideas looming in the shadows, having never reached their full potential.
How important is the space you work in and what do you love about your work space?
I'm lucky because my watercolours are portable and I have these amazing paintbrushes which have a water store inside them so you can literally paint anywhere. I do a lot of work at home, in terms of painting and printing and I live with two lino print artists, which is brilliant to bounce ideas off them and ask their opinions about aspects of a drawing or project. I also seem to spend a lot of time of the train and instead of thinking of this as wasted time, I use it wisely. There's something about being on a moving object which helps push my ideas along and enables me to think through things more clearly sometimes than when I am sitting in a stationary place.
Why is sustainability important to you as a maker and what materials do you use?
As someone that cares deeply about the world, I don't want to create more pointless stuff to put on the planet. The idea behind my brand Loop Loop, is all about looping things back around and giving them a new existence in the world. I use recycled paper to make the cards and edible ink to print onto them. It's important to me to use recycled materials that can go on and have another purpose and the recipient can grow flowers with the card. Having a business should come from a heartfelt place, in my opinion, and we should look at things with a holistic view - not only at the profit, as is the model for the majority at businesses, but at the affect the business has on people and the planet as well. I look at the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. They need to work harmoniously otherwise it doesn't feel good for me to create. If you concentrate on profit and disregard the other two, that is when we come into problems.
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing what you do?
In another life, I would live in a treehouse and write children's books about nature, the universe and how we fit into it. I love Julia Donaldson and Roald Dahl's styles and absolutely love the imagination children have. It's absolutely endless and there's nothing that's not possible within their world. I have written a children's book about mushrooms that I still want to publish one day so who knows, maybe I will end up in a treehouse after all!