An interview with Ella Goodwin
LL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your brand Ella! How did you come up with your brand name?
E: My husband has always called me Miss Ella and as I was mixed up between my surname and whether or not to take his on when we got married it seemed the simplest way forwards just to have no surname at all!
LL: What is your design process?
E: I always start with scribbles in a sketchbook (and random bits of paper around the place!) whether I’m working on an illustration or designing kits, cushions and jewellery. If it’s design for cushions and jewellery I will then scan drawings into Illustrator and continue with the design refinement and any colour there. If it’s illustration I tend to move between digital, watercolour and pencils. (Prismacolor being the king of coloured pencils in my opinion!)
LL: Where do you work from?
E: I have a studio space at home where I sew, make up jewellery, pack orders, draw and chat with my two fluffy feline assistants and I have also just taken a studio space on Elm Hill, the prettiest street in Norwich! So I am now part of a cooperative of artists that run The Jade Tree, a cute little independent shop in Norwich with our studio spaces behind and upstairs. All the Jadie Ladies are lovely and although it’s taking a while to get organised between my different spaces it is refreshing not to be so isolated.
LL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
E: I travel a lot, it will be my fourth trip to Japan in September which is my favourite and the most magical place in the world, every time we get back from a trip I start saving to go back again! I also read a lot, I think this is really important for creatives as it makes you use your imagination to observe in so many different ways and always inspires new ideas and poetic ways of thinking. It’s also undeniable that my two cats are a huge influence on my work!
LL: What advice would you give to any designer-makers just starting out?
E: Perseverance and thick skin and finding that balance between being ready and not waiting too long to put themselves out there. I also run Norwich Makers Market which is hugely oversubscribed so I see a lot of new designers who are trying to sell their work before they are quite there so I think the most important thing is to pour your time into making your work really special, hone your style and practice your craft to be the very best. I am only just learning this myself as I try to make more time to be a better illustrator and spend less time faffing.
Follow your nose and do what you love, not what’s on trend or what you think will sell. Everyone is doing that so it’s hard to stand out and unless you are a brilliant marketer it may get boring, find your niche and enjoy it!
LL: What is your studio playlist?!
E: Radio 4 (I am full of all sorts of random facts from random shows!), Illustration and Japan podcasts, music wise it would be Lullatone when feeling serene, Cat Empire for a real boost (put them on and try not to dance!) and old faves like Frank Turner, Pixies, Arcade Fire, King Blues, Tilt, Curve and Lana Del Rey.
LL: What is your favourite social media platform?
E: Instagram for sure as it’s so visual, the only downside is getting sucked into beautiful images for hours when I should be working!
LL: Who are your favourite designer-makers?
E: I adore Rosa Pietsch’s jewellery, in the world of laser cut jewellery it’s so original and delicate. I finally was able to buy some of her work at a London market recently and it’s always commented on when I wear it. I’ve also followed Viktorija Semjonova (And Smile) for quite some time and seeing her journey into from making such a successful business out of her eclectic style on pins and move into selling more watercolour illustrations has been really inspiring. I’m very envious of her beautiful loose style, I tend to fuss too much over little details that no one else can see!
I also came across Kinska recently when I was trading at BUST Craftacular, who makes lovely quirky ceramics and was equally lovely in person. I’ve been taking ceramics classes for a while (which I love!) and it’s been a real eye opener as to just how much work and time goes into it.
LL: What are your plans for the future of your brand?
At the moment I want to further my illustration and work with some more hands on techniques. The ceramics I made and sold recently went down well so that’s certainly a direction I am going to take further when back from my travels later in the year. I also want to write and illustrate more stories. I brought a book out last year, a short graphic novella called Needlefeet and I also write stories and make mini books for some of my kits so I’d like to make those quirky additions to my range a bit bigger. I am also adding more different cushion designs and definitely more Capybara as those guys are my absolute faves!
LL: Thank you Ella!