Sunday, 9 June 2013

profile rachael smith - penelope & pip.

Rachael Smith of Penelope and Pip

Today I am super excited to be sharing an interview with Rachael Smith, illustrator, craft whiz and all round DIY super-star! In addition to creating humorous, super sweet prints for her label Penelope and Pip, Rachael also contributes to numerous blogs sharing wonderful DIY projects. From clever crafts like miniature hanging gardens which take just a few minutes to knock together, to geometric light shades, it's easy to see Rachael distinctive style which bursts with colour, cheeriness and a touch of cheekiness. So inspiring, I love it! Checkout her lovely range of prints here and set aside PLENTY of time to check out her blog. Just a word of warning though, once you try a few of Rachael's DIYs you'll become hooked...before you know it you'll be popping to Spotlight to load up on felt, fabric, pom poms and craft glue! Lucky it is a long weekend, enjoy!

How would you describe yourself?
Kind, adventurous, nurturing, cheerful and optimistic.

What was your childhood dream?
To be a vet! I loved animals and wanted so desperately to work with them. Then I did a prac at a vet surgery in Year 10 and it was too emotional. All those poor sick kitties! Now I just enjoy drawing them instead.

When did you discover you were a crafty whiz?
I think when I was younger I loved doing crafty things, but it wasn’t until I started a blog and wondered what I could post every day that I really started to unlock my craftiness. I did one project that went viral on Pinterest and it all went from there! Now I work for four major blogs creating lots of DIYs which is loads of fun.

What led you down your current path?
My path as an illustrator began only a couple of years ago when I was looking for a career outside of teaching. I love teaching, but it’s too stressful for a long term job. I started a graphic design course and wasn’t really into all the logo and branding work, but I discovered I really enjoyed illustrating instead.

What do you love most about what you do?
Working from home is a wonderful thing. As is making connections with people from all over the world. I have clients in Asia, America and Europe – it’s amazing how small our world actually is.

Rachael's DIY raindrop cushion project
Where do you draw inspiration for your art prints and pretty paper goods?
I have a quirky sense of humour so I’m always thinking about funny situations with cute animals and their human friends. I get asked this question a lot but I can honestly say I have no idea where the inspiration comes from – it just pops into my head like magic!

Who do you admire?
I admire anyone who runs their own successful small business. I am constantly seeking inspiration from those who have achieved this goal and work hard to follow their advice.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Earning less money in the pursuit of my dreams of being an illustrator. It’s hard to make the move from full time work in a secure well paid job to freelancing. I have no regrets, but I do wish I’d saved more money when I was working in my previous job – I don’t need all those shoes now I work from home.
Rachael's DIY hanger project
What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
I really loved having one of my illustrations on the cover of Bespoke Magazine. It was really exciting to go into the newsagent and see my little girl smiling at me. I have a range of cards with La La Land too and whenever I see one of my illustrations on a card in a shop I have to take a photo as I still don’t believe it.

Do many people think you’re called Penelope? - what’s the story behind the name of your label?
This question made me laugh. Yes, I get that all the time! I just nod sometimes and agree. Penelope and Pip were just two little characters I dreamed up many years ago and the name kind of stuck once I opened my Etsy store.

Rachael's DIY 5 minute frame project
What are your top creative resources?
I’m going to name four blogs I love as they provide great creative resources and inspiration too:
A Subtle Revelry (her DIYs are crazy good!)

Do you have an all time favourite DIY Project?
My favourite DIY was my “Be Thankful” bunting. It hangs in my studio above my desk and reminds me every day how amazingly lucky I am to do what I do.

What is your idea of happiness?
A foreign city, a map and no plans to be anywhere other than in the moment.

What's next?
I’m winding down Penelope and Pip slowly over the next three months to open a boutique invitation business. It’s very exciting and something I’ve been planning for a while. Stay tuned on Penelope and Pip for when the new website will be up and running!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – My google reader.
Watch- Anything from HBO.
Cook- Pasta.
Create- Lots of lovely illustrations.
Listen to- Bon Ivor.
Dream about- My next overseas adventure.
Look forward to- Continuing to do what I love.