Say hello to ...
Sarah Hamilton from Sarah Hamilton Prints
Tell us a little about yourself and your company?
I am an established Artist and Designer making colourful contemporary cards, prints, mirrors and woodblocks. After studying Fine Art/Printmaking at Central St Martins I began my career making cards, which I sent to retail buyers. This resulted in considerable orders from stores including Paperchase, The Conran Shop and Designers Guild. My cards have always been a significant part of my work as a whole and, even though they are the least expensive thing that I sell, it is important to me that they have my name and some information about my work on as I see them as little pebbles leading to my other work. I’m often told people frame them. I was then commissioned by Heal's to make a range of mirrors and their success gave me the funds and impetus to develop the large 'artwork' mirrors, which I usually make to commission. I also use my skills as a colourist in the commercial textiles field and worked for some years in Sweden as a Design Consultant.
Describe your typical working day ...
If I’m preparing for a show I usually work on production, which involves printing cards, making up box sets, framing drawings, packaging prints etc. I may also have meetings with clients about an interiors commission, which usually involves a site visit with colour samples. Alternatively I could spend the day on marketing or promotion. To keep working as a Maker you have to devote considerable time and effort to the less fun things. I'm very disciplined and for every three 'fun' days designing and making I ensure I spend one on admin, promotion, website development etc. Designing is the fun part but if you don't address the less glamorous aspects you won't be able to have a career as a Designer.
What is the best thing about your job?
Well after the obvious, which is developing as an Artist, the best thing by far is the response from clients. Over the years I've had loads of cards, emails, letters etc from people saying how much pleasure commissioning a piece of artwork has brought them. I genuinely love doing shows and meeting clients ... mostly they say how much they love my colour palette and deceptively simple imagery. Whilst it is obviously great to sell through retailers nothing beats the pleasure and support of a happy client .
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to create your products?
A screen printing press which, despite popular misconception, is easy to make. Mine cost less than £50 and I've made hundreds of commissions with it. I also make delicate paper stencils to print with or as the basis of my designs.
The Products …
At the moment I'm loving the designs with the birds in the circles. Box sets of these cards sold really well in the run up to Christmas and I'm intending to market these more this year.
What are the most popular products in your range?
The elephants always sell very well. I only use animal shapes which work in a semi abstract way so they fit within the colour relationships of the overall design. My birds and leaves are also very popular.
What are you working on at the moment?
I designed loads of new work pre-Christmas, so for the time being I'm focusing on updating my website - boring but necessary.
What do you have planned for 2013?
A new range of items with the aim of premiering these at my Open House exhibition in Dulwich in May - watch this space!
What inspires your products?
I adore painters such as Georges Braque, Milton Avery and Jennifer Durrant. I have always loved fifties designs from fabric to ceramics, the colours are so considered and the imagery carefully conceived as a vehicle for the use of colour. This is definitely my approach to making work which is materials lead. It is about the union between the materials, colour and imagery. My cards are printed on the best quality card, I choose beautiful envelopes and Maple wood for my mirrors.
What current or upcoming trend are you're coveting?
Honestly I don't follow trends, even though I have worked as a design consultant . Obviously if you see things around you respond to them but, being an artist, you have to take your own path or your work will not satisfy you and then will look unconvincing to those people who like or buy your work.
Quick questions ...
What is your favourite film?
What is your favourite album / band or song? All 3 if you want!
David Ogilvy - Like it is
What is your favourite card or gift brand?
Eggpress - I just love this site! I often buy cards which I keep on a shelf in my studio - beautiful
What is your favourite website or blog?
Present & Correct A great site...witty and stylish.
What can't you live without?
Sketchbooks, range of scissors, paper scorer, collection of inks, wood samples
Last but not least, what's your guilty pleasure?
Murder She Wrote.
Thank you Sarah!