If you are feeling low one winter’s day, we have discovered a very sure way of lifting your spirits. Enter into the wondrous world of designers, printers and illustrators Jonathan Mercer and Kate Fishenden at Starch Green, a small artisanal design company in West London.
Their philosophy on life, work and art is compelling:
“Our focus is on hand-made design, using craft skills to create artwork and objects that add positively to the pattern of life, balancing home and work and creating a feeling of well-being. Our strong commitment to family, work-life balance and applied art combines to deliver a range of distinctive pattern papers, illustrations, prints and products, and a human approach to design.”
Jonathan Mercer studied at Ravensbourne and Kingston Art School, and then worked for a number of leading advertising agencies and publishers, including Ladybird. You can certainly see a childlike joy in his masterful black on white wood engravings that show old world traditions, agriculture, country life and the natural world in thoughtful simplicity.
Kate Fishenden originally trained at St. Martin’s School of Art in Graphic Design, and she worked with leading design consultancies before being made head of brand expression at BT for five years.
Their website and blog are the apogees of that quiet, stylish, simple genre of "Made in Britain" arts and crafts for which the nation is increasingly gaining global recognition. Anyone, anywhere in the world, would own or give Starch Green goods with pride. From the kitchen to the dining room, the writing desk or the picnic basket, having beautiful, handmade things around you fills the soul with gladness.
Jonathan and Kate work with paper, textiles, wood and ceramics, and the ideas for their unique illustrations and designs are clearly harnessed from a knowledge and a love of nature, food, travel, discovery and life.
They work with an Albion press in a shed, and all of their printed work is produced by limited edition, so that once the series is finished there is no more. How refreshing to find a small, independent business whose work ethic revolves around ingenuity, craft and passion rather than profit and scale. It's what puts the "great" in front of Great Britain.
Small and special, Starch Green is a magical place. We hope you enjoy finding it as much as we did.
Starch Green: www.starchgreen.com
Follow Jonathan and Kate on Twitter: @StarchGreen