Monday, 24 March 2014

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Anna Wiscombe

I first came across London based designer Anna's beautiful wooden pieces on Etsy and was surprised and delighted to find her Wall Birds in Hausen, a lovely little store on Boxhagener Platz here in Berlin. Each piece is lovingly handmade so every piece is individual and full of intricate detail.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I started my business in the summer of 2011 but had been working on my products for about a year before that too. I'd started working with wood and playing around with different ideas when my Mum asked me to make her some hanging birds for her garden. I loved making them and creating these little characters so from there started developing my wall bird range. The standing birds and bird brooches quickly followed along with my wooden necklaces and before I knew it I had a full range of products to promote!

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I normally sketch out ideas for shapes or designs and then get working on them in my studio. I'll cut out a number of the same piece so that I can work on the colour ways to see which works best with the specific wood that I'm using. Once I've refined the colours I'll often leave them for a few weeks at a time so that I can come back to them with fresh eyes to see if I still think the shapes and colours work. I normally have a good feeling as soon as I've made a piece as to whether it will work so if I also come back to it after a break and feel happy with it, I know it will be good!

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

If the question hadn't included the bit about time, that would definitely have been my answer! Every designer I know would like there to be more hours in the day!
Apart from time though, for me, having to be in control of every aspect of my business, from accounting to marketing to designing and packaging is the biggest obstacle. It can be really tricky to try and do everything, especially as naturally there will be things that you're better at than others. I aim to do as much as I can as well as I can and hold on to the hope that one day there might be some people to help me do the things I'm not so good at!

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I don't find it that hard to stay motivated - probably because I always seem to be quite busy so there's always one deadline or another that I'm working to! I do find motivation harder when I'm working on new products though so I have to remember to think of things in small stages so the task doesn't seem too enormous!

I find inspiration in all sorts of things and particularly love looking at plants and flowers or images or birds for ideas. Nothing beats a good walk in the Country to get thinking about new products either!

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?

Recently it has been the inclusion of my swallow wall birds in the Emporium section of Country Living. I remember looking at that magazine when I was just starting out and thinking 'how do people get their work featured there?!' It seemed like such a big thing and I still can't quite believe my work is in there now!

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I really admire the textile designer Donna Wilson and always look forward to seeing her new catalogue and products - she always manages to keep things really fresh.

7. Describe your creative space

Quite tidy for a woodwork studio! I'm very lucky at the moment to have a space with a messy area for all my woodwork and a nice clean area for all my varnishing and packaging. Lots of my products are dotted around along with plenty of images for colour and design inspiration!

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Do what makes you happy and believe you can do it. It can sound a bit cheesy but it really works - doing what you love is genuinely the best thing in the world!

You can keep up to date with Anna's work here...

(all above images are © Anna Wiscombe)