Nicola runs a small but successful company called ‘gooseberrymoon’, designing pretty paper goods for weddings and everyday which you can explore here and here.
Artists often have interesting stories about how their talent first emerged. So I began by asking Nicky when she first realised that she was an artist. I’m sure many of us will identify with her reply:
'I’ve always enjoyed creating and I come from a very artistic family but never really considered myself an artist. I’m trying to get used to calling myself a designer.'
Have you had formal art/design/illustration training?
'I’ve had no formal art training. I’m completely self-taught, hence the reason I find it difficult to refer to myself
as designer or artist I think.'
Do you consider that your lack of training has held you back at all?
Only that I may have gotten to the stage I’m at now a little quicker!
What is the most important thing you have learnt on your journey as an artist and from whom did
you learnt it?
Never give up and believe in what you’re doing. It’s been said by so many people along my journey.
Which artists/designers/illustrators inspire you?
This changes as I discover new artists and designers. At the moment I’m loving the work of Lotta Jansdotter and Skinny Laminx.
How long has your business been up and running?
I had my first paid order at the end of 2008 and have been lucky enough to have a consistent flow of orders ever since, which enabled me to give up my day job in September this year to run gooseberrymoon full time.
Are there any particular pitfalls that have caused difficulties for your business that you would like to warn others about?I’ve had a few learning curves along the way. The one I’ve learnt from most recently is always request a deposit before starting work on a time consuming project!
Do you enjoy the business side of things?
Not particularly! I’d much prefer to be designing. I’m pretty bad at leaving the paperwork ‘til last minute and I’ve not looked at my online statistics for months.
Have you had any training in the art business?
I’ve been studying Rachael Taylors’ The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design ecourse and have learnt so much.
Do you paint/draw regularly?
Not as much as I’d like to, but since starting the pattern course I’ve filled a couple of sketchbooks.
How many hours per week do you work?
I work anything between 30 and 40 hours. I do have the odd week where I’ve taken on too much and just have to work as many hours as it takes.
Do you have regular contact with other artists?
I connect with other artists mainly through twitter and Instagram. I’ve also met lots of lovely designers and
artists (including you Judy!) on the art and business of surface pattern course.
What is your biggest achievement – or the one that pleases you most – so far?
It has to be making the break from my day job to run gooseberrymoon full time.
Do you have a favourite quote, art-related or otherwise?
I’ve got a Pinterest board with a few inspirational quotes and this one is something I should remind myself of more often “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today”. You’ll see from my work that I’m also a big fan of the quote “less is more”.
This year I’m planning on taking a screen printing course at a local college in the hope that I’ll be able to apply my motifs and patterns on all sorts of surfaces. I love designing wedding stationery so I’ll be adding new designs to my existing collection in the spring.
Nicky, I'm sure all our readers will join me in wishing you joy and success in all your endeavours and in thanking you for taking the time and trouble to answer my questions. I'm sure your replies will provide someone, somewhere with just the information or inspiration (or both!) that they need!
If you have enjoyed this interview and would like to get to know Nicky and her work better, here are the links to her website, blog and social networking sites -