It’s important to have your eyes open at all times. I learnt this from an amazing woman at a previous job - Priscilla Carluccio - you can find inspiration in everything! The first thought of the Mark Hearld commission came about when I was having a chat with Roger Thorp (Tate’s publishing director) in his office. Now, this man’s office is a treasure trove of gems to the eye! Everywhere you look there are amazing books, pictures and mementos that artists and writers have sent Roger over the years.
I saw on Roger’s pinboard a leaflet that Mark had done for the York book fair and I loved the style of illustration. I went away and did some research to see more of his work and the more I saw, the more I was convinced that we could potentially work together on an exclusive product range.
The fact that he is English was another important factor. I already wanted to do a range supporting British manufacturing and championing British creative talent. I also felt his style captured the zeitgeist of the time: the resurgence of interest in crafts. Possibly due to the recession, the way people are shopping is changing away from disposable items to a trend in buying for longevity and quality, where you buy something because you love it. Plus Mark is well-respected and established in the illustration world, but I liked the fact that he was not yet a household name and that we got him at the right time - timing is very important!
From there Roger and I went to visit Mark at his home in York to discuss the idea of working together and to brainstorm. His house is incredible but I can tell you more about that in the next blog!