F: Can you tell us a bit about you and how Scribble and Daub came to be?
CK. I often say Scribble & Daub is what my seven year old self would have wanted to do when she grew up, but it's been quite a convoluted journey to get here. I have always loved drawing and beautiful things, but the first part of my adult life was spent working with artists rather than being one, as a curator in the contemporary art world. After several years at a gallery in Edinburgh, wanderlust won out and I spent a year travelling in the Americas with my husband. When we came home, we moved to our cottage in East Sussex and set about creating a new life for ourselves. I made a card for a friend who was getting married in the Scottish Highlands, and he called me a few weeks later to say how much he'd liked it. At the time he was running the design bookshop at Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery which for those who don't know it, is equivalent to somewhere like London's Whitechapel Gallery – and would I make some for the shop. I sent a small batch off and he called a few days later to say they'd all sold, and could I make 100 more, and that was how it all began. I realised this could be the perfect way to combine creative work and family life and so, deciding to start at the top, I penned what I hoped was a charming letter to Liberty with some samples and they placed an order immediately. From there, it has just grown and grown, albeit slowly, as we have also had three children in that time.
F. Can you explain how #youarewhatyougive works?
CK. I studied Social Anthropology at University and spent a lot of time researching gifting in different cultures, how important it is for creating and maintaining social bonds. Lewis Hyde's book The Gift is fascinating on the subject. 'You are what you give' is Scribble & Daub's guiding principle and informs everything we do, from the things we make to the way we pack and send out orders beautifully wrapped in coloured tissue with a handwritten note. We create our cards to be little gifts in themselves: letterpress printed from my original dip pen and ink drawings, they are then individually hand-painted one by one in our studio, a tiny art work to enhance any present or as a sweet little gift in itself. Presents don't have to be expensive or extravagant to be cherished and meaningful, and the act of putting pen to paper and sending someone a note can be one of the best presents you can give if you choose a lovely card, particularly now when we are so physically distant from one another. If you want to mark yourself out as a person of style and substance, then give, and give well. During Lockdown, I began a weekly You Are What You Give competition, drawing an original card each week which I posted to Instagram for someone to win and send either to themselves, or to someone they loved.
F. You use Falcon enamelware within your stationery kit. What’s your favourite product from our ranges and what do you use it for?
CK. I love enamelware, and its simplicity and functionality is perfectly suited to studio life. I keep my dip pens, pencils and brushes in the tumblers or laid on the larger trays, whilst the smaller pinch pots and round dishes are great as ink palettes, the colours look beautiful against that smooth bright whiteness. The tumblers also make great water pots as they clean really easily. The colours are gorgeous, I particularly love the burnt orange/red combination.
F. What's your process and can you give any tips to anyone wanting to paint/colour/create more in their life?
CK. I work predominantly with a traditional dip pen, brush and inks which suit my scribbling & daubing style perfectly. I also love sketching in pencil, and that's what I use if I am out and about or at a museum or gallery as ink can be a messy business.
Creativity is a magical thing but it can be quite overwhelming – so many possible styles, materials, colours etc, how do you even start? I find something quite liberating in restricting my materials and these in particular suit my fast and scribbly style. I rarely mix my colours, preferring the vibrant ready made hues of the drawing inks which I love to paint with, and I use an overly large brush to avoid becoming fixed on detail. Using scrap paper or the back of another drawing that didn't quite work also help avoid the intimidation of the perfect blank white page. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, every artist does, and what you don't see on Instagram or the perfect gallery wall is that behind the scenes their studio floors are littered with them! You don't have to make it hard for yourself, just do what you enjoy whether that's collage, or painting, or sewing. Creativity comes in many forms but it is a discipline; like anything else, you need to practice but if you put in the time to really look, make and learn from your mistakes then the rewards will come.
F. Is there anyone you'd like to shoutout about in your local area at the moment? Anywhere you source ingredients, any particular restaurants and/or cafes doing interesting things etc?
CK. Where we live in East Sussex is full of brilliant, creative businesses. In normal times, we love to pop down to The Three Legs Brewery and have a drink in the sunshine, but for now I have made do with sending their taster boxes as thank yous and father's day presents http://www.thethreelegs.co.uk/shop/fathers-day-special-mixed-box All their gorgeous labels are deisgned by my friend and brilliant artist Jo Waterhouse.
We're incredibly lucky to have an outlet of Judges Bakery http://www.judgesbakery.com/shop in our village for delicious organic bread, and we love to go and pick fruit at Maynards in Ticehurst – walking through their cherry orchards is like having your head in a cherry cloud! https://www.maynardsfruit.co.uk. Scribble & Daub held its Christmas party at Farmyard in St Leonards on Sea at the end of the year, and I'm looking forward to going back one day https://farmyardwine.com, and the young chefs behind The Smallholding which is just up the road from us are incredibly inspiring, we had an amazing meal there last year – 10 courses for our tenth wedding anniversary https://thesmallholding.restaurant
F. How have you been keeping during this time? Do you have any tips for small business owners as we all become accustomed to this new normal post-lockdown?
CK. Life has been a heady mix of idyllic and impossible these past few months! I am acutely aware this has been a tragic and terrible time for a huge number of people and don't want to make light of that, but as we've not been directly affected, it's been quite a magical time for us in many ways. It has definitely had its challenges – homeschooling two children, and wrangling a baby in between running a business has been interesting to say the least, but it has opened up lots of new possibilities too.
It was a welcome surprise to find that what seemed at first like a total disaster - about 80% of our income streams from shops and events disappeared overnight - was actually ok, and new opportunities arrived in their place. As a creative running your own business it can feel terrifyingly precarious at times, but coming to realise that nothing and no one can take away your creativity, the thing that ultimately supports and sustains you and your business, is fundamentally quite reassuring. It has also pushed me way out of my comfort zone – I filmed a flower drawing class, and sold some original works for the first time as part of #artistsupportpledge - and the response to both was overwhelming and will definitely inform what I do in future.
Perhaps most of all though, it has really brought home to me just what an important object a tiny card can be – the comments I have been sent by customers and the notes they have asked me to write have been really heart warming. To be helping people to maintain meaningful connections with their loved ones at a time like this feels like a real privilege. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in fine stationery and proper post and I hope people's rediscovery of the pleasures they can bring to both giver and receiver will long outlast this current crisis.