Favourite artists of 2021

Discovered any new artists in recently? These are my favourites from 2021. Follow the links to see more of their work – enjoy!

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Tina Berning

Highly saturated, modern portraiture. Tina’s spectral subjects are rendered in intense, richly pigmented colours. Works communicate a narrative, photographic quality as figures stare directly into camera. Prints and originals are available to buy online here.

Molley May

Low-key visual poetry. Molley’s art shifts between charcoal, ink, and oil pastel. Subject matter includes the artist’s clothes and personal effects, plants, the washing up, and portraits of strangers – a quiet tour de force in making shapes out of lines. View Molley’s shop here.

Rambling Sketcher

Tiny watercolour tributes to New York, New York. Katie specialises in skylines, bridges, and sunsets, capturing perfectly the layered infrastructure of a historic city. Original paintings can be found on Etsy. Head over to Society6 for a huge range of affordable prints.

Evie May Adams

Despite shifting between 2D work and ceramics, Evie’s pieces are instantly recognisable for their distinctive style and recurrant motifs of ribbons, chains, and stars. Ceramics are listed in small batches with prior notice given on Instagram. Prints, paintings, pins and more can be found here.

Claire Fletcher

Claire is an accomplished watercolourist whose work effortlessly relates all the charm, sensitivity, and imagination of the most celebrated children’s illustrators. Prints and original paintings are available through the Made in Hastings online shop.

Foraged Fibres

Suzie uses traditional basket-making techniques to create these tiny, (and presumably very fiddly!) woven vessels. Her work is an artful, sensitive meditation on a craft that was once absolutely critical to everyday life and commerce. Check out her website here.

Melodie Stacey

Melodie’s work focuses largely on portraits of female figures, curious landscapes, and scenes reminiscent of folk and fairytales. Her landscapes in particular are both strange and familiar, sitting somewhere between the imagined and the real. See more of Melodie’s work here.

Mirtle Makes

3D illustration. Mirtle appeared in my 2020 article 10 Contemporary Embroidery Artists – I had to feature her again! Mirtle’s tiny, sensitive companions are made in small, carefully curated batches. Follow on Instagram for news about shop updates – works sell out fast!

Luiza Holub

Luiza is another familiar face – I featured her Christmas cards in one of my 2020 holiday gift guides. Her prints are perfectly executed – masterfully composed whilst also conveying all the quirks and foibles of the printing process. Visit her shop here.

Clover Robin

Clover’s collages, or ‘snips’ are created by colouring, cutting, and layering tiny pieces of paper. Works are jaunty, detailed, and highly illustrative. A selection of eco-friendly cards and prints are available here. Originals sell in seconds, so make sure you keep an eye on shop updates!

Kasasagi Design

Delicate paper sculptures inspired by scientific illustrations and museum displays. Kate’s life-like pieces are made using a variety of techniques including carving, wire-work, and embroidery. Visit Kate’s shop here; selected works are also available at Made by Hand Online.

Andrew Graves

Andrew’s painting have a taxonomy of their own, allusively describing anything from landscape and botanical forms to soft furnishings and still lifes. The shapes and colours are always insistently familiar, made strange only by abstraction. www.andrewjgraves.com

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19 Contemporary Jewellery designers

Jewellery is a unique area of design. Pieces are at once architectural and sculptural, domestic and performative, functional and symbolic, and uniquely engaged in an intimate relationship with the shape and movement of the body.

Contemporary jewellery design is, in part, about transposing and reimagining traditions and symbols of conventional value. Though many manufacturing processes remain unchanged (lost-wax casting, stone-setting, enamelling), innovative approaches to composition, materials, and techniques have made contemporary jewellery-making an especially exciting chapter in an ancient story.

The artists featured below draw on a huge range of sources—the natural world, Victoriana, objet trouvé, politics, memory, the built environment—to inspire their designs. Each designer-maker demonstrates a unique compositional conviction, and a masterful ability to create precious, emotive, wearable art. Scroll to learn more…!

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Carly Owens

Carly’s interest in ‘inventive surfaces’ is clear from her résumé, which features couture tambour beading and Jacobean crewelwork as specific areas of experience. Her signature eye earrings incorporate luxe goldwork embroidery, beading, and freshwater pearls.

Datter Industries by Kaye Blegvad

Process is a valuable design element for Kaye. The marks of hand-manufacturing give her pieces a curiously ancient feel; gold rings bearing clasped hands and naïve wheat motifs look as though they might have been discovered in a ploughed field, pressed with earth.

Anna Vlahos

Anna is interested in jewellery as a token-like class of objects that links landscapes, events, and memory. Her work communicates a unique idea of form and mass. In some pieces, solid surfaces are pierced with holes; in others, structure is created from fine latticed metal.

Danni Schwaag

Danni has chosen a material more commonly used to make buttons, card cases, and decorative inlays, and given it a non-traditional, structural role in her pieces. Pearl is notoriously brittle; Danni’s work demonstrates real craftsmanship and a commitment to innovation.

Grainne Morton

Grainne’s pieces are a natural expression of her life-long love of collecting and curating pocketable treasures. The components of her signature statement earrings range from cameos and gems, to shells and small tokens, each object enclosed in its own bespoke setting.

Holly Suzanna Clifford

Holly creates her pieces by painting and layering eco-resin to create 3D shapes which can be set like gems. Influenced by artists such as Monet and Klimt, her mark-making is showcased as a focal point in final works. Holly is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Jewellery.


Inspired by traditions of ‘ancient adornment’, Ruth’s modern-day amulets celebrate the resonant histories and landscapes of the British Isles. Designs include the Long Man of Wilmington, the Cerne Abbas Giant, henges, hag stones, and stylised astrological motifs.

Sarah Brown Jewellery

Sarah’s work is a decidedly Scottish affair; pieces are made on the Isle of Islay and hallmarked in Edinburgh. Her seaweed ribbon rings are carved in wax then cast in 9ct gold. Other pieces draw inspiration from the shapes and textures of coral, and seafoam.

Rachel Larkins

Theatrical, dioramic pieces inspired in part by folk and fairy tales. Peering faces, golden suns, snowy forests – all feature in Rachel’s uniquely strange, evocative, and slightly macabre designs. Rachel’s creative output also encompasses automata and figurative sculptures.

Hee-ang Kim

Hee-ang’s brooches clearly draw inspiration from organic structures—fungi, lichen, plants—whilst also embracing an expressive, sculptural surrealism. Detailed surfaces are created by packing thousands of individually shaped slivers of coloured polymer clay.

We Are Arrow

Pieces are inspired by ‘found plant parts’—rosemary needles, tomato seeds, cactus hide—collected in Greece and Mexico. Heavily textured, expressive, and robust, each piece is designed and made by hand in a studio on the lively Columbia Road in East London.

Cyklu Jewellery

Victoria uses the lost-wax casting method to recreate buds, seed pods, and evergreen sprigs in silver and gold. Some pieces are set with stones; others look as though they’ve only just been collected on a woodland walk. View Victoria’s botanical collection here.

Jana Machatová

Jana’s work explores the encroachment of Communism on the intimate, porous world of her childhood. Inspiration is drawn from memories, old family photographs, postcards, and newspapers, as well as the lives and voices of memorial women.

Carmen Salvador

Carmen’s bracelets are made on a loom using tiny Japanese Miyuki beads (famous for their quality and uniformity). Patterns are geometric, colours carefully curated; the final products are certainly contemporary, but call back to the rhythms of ancient pattern-making.

Lucy Spink Jewellery

Lucy takes her inspiration from the wildness and fragility of the natural environment. Hammered metal recalls weathered moorland stone; ‘spurs’ of gold and silver imitate lichen growing on branches and boundary walls. Contemporary pieces with real sensitivity.

Louise Billgren

Louise has the sensibility of a sculptor, foregrounding form, movement, and flow in her work. Pieces are initially shaped in wax then cast in metal; rings in the ‘Inferno’ series (pictured) showcase ecstatic formations of textured, twisting, coiling gold.

Irina Latkina

Egyptian cosmetic spoons, Russian spinning wheels, Indian carvings – all provide inspiration for Irina’s strange, talismanic pieces. Works are created using an eclectic range of materials—brass, wood, copper, plexiglass, steel, epoxy resin—and have a unique, resonant tactility.

Rubinski Works by Madison Rae Holler

Madison’s fine beadwork blends colours, patterns, and motifs drawn from both sides of her Anishinaabe (Native North American) and Scandinavian heritage. Pieces are rich in colour, symbolism, and a resonant, narrative geometry.

Victoria Walker Jewellery

‘Kinetic’ botanical lockets. Victoria’s dynamic pendants are cleverly engineered to open (and close) their petals just like their real counterparts. Designs include daisies, peonies, poppies, tulips, roses, and sunflowers. View Victoria’s tulip locket in bloom.

Images used with the artists’ permission

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COMING SOON: Ceramics, Printmakers part 2, Artist Spotlight…

Shopping small this Christmas (part 2) 🌟

Feast your eyes on a second(!) Art Desk Christmas gift guide, featuring even more independent makers, artists, and small businesses. Supporting artists and makers is easy and feel-good: simply scroll to discover a curated selection of gifts, cards, and festive decorations, all designed, made, and wrapped by creative people who love what they do!

View part 1 of our Christmas gift guide here

#buylocal #supportsmallbusiness

Hanging decorations by Jessica Kopetzki

Jessica is a freelance illustrator based in the Lake District. A selection of charming autumnal illustrations can be found in her shop, along with a festive paper wreath, and these beautifully designed wooden decorations!

Cards by Luiza Holub

Luiza is an accomplished printmaker whose bold, blocky yet sensitive style perfectly captures the quiet, haphazard quality of everyday life. Her ‘Christmas Hugs’ card/print is particularly lovely – the perfect token to send to anyone you haven’t been able to see.

Embroidered accessories by Hattie McGill

Goldwork embroidery involves using metal thread to create tactile, high-impact embellishment (think military dress uniforms). Of course, Hattie puts her own spin on things, creating brooches etc. from sparkly shrimp, sunglasses, and dinosaurs.

Natural skin care by Wild Sage + Co

Simple skin care made with natural ingredients. Wild Sage +Co is a small, family run business based in the quiet Herefordshire countryside. Visit their website for a delightful selection of sustainable packaged vegan soaps, shaving products, lip balms, and more…

Cards and gift wrap by Nick Sellek

Nick’s paper goods are created using photographs of New York, Paris, Oxford, Brighton, Berlin, Bath, and Hackney in London. Cards feature cut-out windows that reveal mini cosy interiors; turn your prezzies into little buildings with his unique photographic gift wrap.

Decorations by Kayleigh Radcliffe

Kayleigh takes inspiration from a medley of influences including Arthur Rackham’s illustrations, nursery rhymes, folklore, and the natural world. Her decorations and brooches have a slight Brothers Grimm vibe, featuring grinning cats, apples, teeth, and moons.

Hand-printed cards (first, second) by Imogen Aitchison and Heather Tempest Elliott

The Twelve days of Christmas really seems to bring out the best in printmakers. From beautiful colours to hand-painted gold pears, these Partridge cards are certainly among the classiest you’re likely to find!

Hand-printed goods by Claire McKay

Pouches, needle cases, and keyrings in bold botanical designs. All of Claire’s items are handmade from a natural linen-cotton mix that’s been carefully block-printed with her original designs. Visit her shop to view a huge range of gift ideas!

Prints by Callum Russell

Fire escapes, street scenes, industrial fittings – Callum’s detailed works are highly architectural both in subject and composition. A variety of original prints are available in his shop – perfect for that pal who’s after some bold graphic art for their pad/office.

Sea glass jewellery by Beach Shack Project

Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made from Brighton beach finds. Hannah secures pieces of sea glass by ‘setting’ them in fine woven wire lattice – an ingenious technique of her own creation. Use code AHOY10 at checkout for 10% off!

Every day objects by Amy Leake

Amy is driven by her love of using beautiful handmade objects—a hand thrown mug, a turned wooden bowl—in her everyday life. The wood she uses is sustainably sourced from local tree surgeons or coppiced woodland and worked skilfully with hand tools.

Cards and prints by Lizzy Stewart

Lizzy is a London-based illustrator and author. Her starry Christmas cards combine a naïve simplicity with a joyous, and frankly, extremely Christmassy use of colour. A range of charming prints—Pond, Winter Bird, Living Room—are also available in her shop.

3D Nutcracker theatre card by Ben Dunnett

Ben’s handmade 3D theatre cards capture all the essential elements of The Nutcracker, including movable characters (Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Fairy), the orchestra, and a magic growing Christmas tree. Plus, each card is lino-printed by hand!

Winter sprig decorations by Emma Rosa

Emma’s unique winter berry sprigs are beautifully made from a variety of carefully chosen materials, including silk, wool, moss, and clay. Her life-like rosehip sprigs are available in a choice of burgundy or rust-red taffeta!

Pewter jewellery and keepsakes by Glover & Smith

Every item produced by the team at Glover & Smith is handmade in their small Wiltshire studio from high-quality lead-free pewter. Discover earrings, trinket boxes, and keyrings featuring oak leaves, bees, wrens, and hares.

Pin badges by Heidi Gardner

Know any biochemists or entomologists? Here are the STEM pin badges you need to validate their achievements. Designed by research scientist Heidi after being told she didn’t ‘look like a scientist’, these cheery badges set out to prove that anyone can science.

Prints by Jodie Howard

Jodie is committed to creating atmospheres and emotion in her work, citing light, landscape, and nature as particular sources of inspiration. Regardless of subject, her prints are full of a warmth and thoughtfulness that make them prime candidates for gifting.

Plant pots by Alex Sickling

A charmingly eclectic offering of hand-painted ceramic plant pots. Choose from David Bowie, Nick Cave, Madonna, Ozzy, Yayoi Kusama, Van Gogh, Grayson Perry, Barbara Hepworth, Frida Kahlo, and David Hockney. Make that £1.99 Tesco cactus happy.

Decorations by Kath Cooper

Kath’s ceramic pieces have a distinctly illustrative feel. Visit her shop to discover birds, bears, and little houses, all finished with her signature white detailing. A selection of Kath’s festive pieces are also available to buy from the New Brewery Arts online shop.

Screen-printed goods by Miesje Chafer

Miesje is committed to creating beautiful, functional products. Her practical screen printed goods—pouches, hair accessories, glasses cases—brim with colour, pattern, and style. Perfect for anyone who loves a bold, upbeat, holiday print.

Paper cut art by Jessica Baldry

Intricate paper cut illustrations. Jessica’s compact, botanically-inspired artworks are carefully cut from card using a scalpel. Pieces are full of quirky, patiently crafted detail and look great in floating frames. An unusual gift for the botanically-inclined members of your circle.

Festive collage artworks by Bex Bourne

Bex combines gouache, coloured pencil, and collage to create charming scenes full of colour and quirky detail. Her warm, Christmas-themed original artworks celebrate the now semi-forgotten joys of hanging out with friends indoors

3D cards by Judy Lumley

Judy’s colourful 3D cards are created from her original nature-inspired lino prints. Her concertina cards are particularly detailed, featuring garden birds and winter berries. You’ll also find a selection of other creatures in her shop, including penguins and owls.

Cards and prints by Cecile Berrube

Cecile’s illustrations are rooted in a love of nature, and a desire to introduce a little more tenderness to everyday life. Hers is a charming world in which mice, rabbits, and voles celebrate birthdays, water their allotments, go for walks, and read in bed.

Graphic London Mugs by Sarah Tanat Jones

Celebrate the real landmarks of London—launderettes, chicken shops, old pubs—with Sarah’s collection of bright, illustrated mugs. The same signature designs are also available in the form of sweatshirts and tea towels. Rad.

Walnut shell decorations by Cats in Pairs

Tiny felted woodland creatures. Anna’s miniature owls, squirrels, and rabbits are delicately felted from 100% wool, then nestled in real walnut shells lined with dried moss. Is there a better use for walnut shells? I think not.

Cards and prints by Katy Pillinger

Cheerful, bright, and expressive, Katy’s style is the perfect pick-me-up for lockdown/winter blues. Visit her shop to view a selection of thoughtful cards and prints, as well as colourful mugs, pins, ceramic accessories and more!

Planters and pouches by Lisa Jones

Lisa’s delicate, screen-printed patterns originate from hand drawn designs. Products are created in her Kent studio using linen, cotton, and cork. Her signature combination of natural linen with black, white, and neon orange could be perfect for that chic, design-conscious pal.

Prints and decorations by Elizabeth Harbour

Wooden decorations inspired by vintage children’s illustrations and toys. Choose from prancing horses, dogs on wheels, sailing ships, and manor houses. A series of beautiful prints and originals are also available in Elizabeth’s shop.

2021 calendar by Isla Joy Middleton

Isla’s 2021 calendar is a stunning celebration of seasonal fruit and veg. Each month reveals a new beautiful lino print along with gardening advice and practical growing tips. The perfect gift for the horticulturists, allotmenteers, or printmakers in your life.

Felted birds by Grey Wren Studio

Originally a doll-maker, Rosie has turned her hand to creating wildlife-inspired, needle-felted sculptures. A lover of garden birds in particular, she has stocked her shop with enough woolly robins, wrens, and magpies to delight even your least ornithologically-inclined pal.

Graphic bags by BlockHouseBath

For all those fans of Bath’s timeless Georgian architecture: BlockHouseBath brings you a selection of bold, screen-printed bags that celebrates the city’s regency terraces, crescents, and circuses. Made using 100% cotton canvas and eco-friendly inks.

The Just A Card campaign is on a mission to raise support for Artists, Makers, Independent Shops, and Small Businesses. For more information and downloadable resources, visit justacard.org or follow the #justacard campaign. Campaign pin badges available here. Image design by @angela.chick.illustration

Images used with the makers’ permission.



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Shopping small this Christmas ❄

Buying from small businesses and independent makers keeps dreams alive and post offices open. With another UK lockdown now underway, many of the outlets that makers rely on to sell their wares—shops, markets, events—have evaporated. So, with festive thoughts in mind, here’s a sparkling Art Desk gift guide featuring not ten, not twenty, but thirty-four (phew!) gift ideas from UK creatives and small businesses, all making things you simply can’t get anywhere else.

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Sequinned decorations by Kate Gwilliam

Shimmering jars of mayo, golden lobsters, and glittery bottles of milk and hot sauce – perfect gifts for that one friend who loves Strictly Come Dancing and condiments. Kate also offers a variety of kits, including a sparkly DIY gin bottle…

Beginners’ embroidery kits by Chloe Hardisty

For the pal who inevitably took up cross stitch during lock down: Chloe’s 2020 embroidery kit includes everything you need to stylishly memorialize the year that everyone stayed at home. Why not subscribe to Chloe’s Hoop Club?

Botanical beaded jewellery by Carol Bruce

Carol uses Czech glass beads to transmute local flora into wearable art. Highlights include: beech leaves (left), hawthorn (right), pear blossom, daisy chains, sycamore seeds, forget me not, cherry blossom, and lily of the valley.

Wooden trees by Berwyn Woodwork

These timeless trees are hand-turned from native, locally-sourced hardwoods like ash, beech, and oak. David acquires his raw materials via foraging, chance encounters, and notoriety; his final pieces are simply and beautifully made.

Winter hare card by Elizabeth Moriarty

Elizabeth’s ‘Hare on Winter Stubble’ is really more of an artwork in itself than a greetings card. Check out her 12 days of Christmas designs: Three French Hens, Six Geese A-Laying, Ten Lords A-Leaping, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

Botanical Jewellery by Hannah Kyriakou

Trained in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Hannah uses methods like lost wax casting and hand forging to create delicate, detailed seed pods, buds, and leaves. Crafted in fine silver, her lovely range of nature-inspired jewellery is available here.

Botanical prints by Samantha Rock

Sam’s design process begins with photographs and observational sketches, taking inspiration from her own garden as well as local countryside. Print highlights include: rudbeckia, sweet pea, sloe, and cosmos; find Sam’s Christmas cards and wrapping paper here.

Bees wax candles by Lindsey Robinson

Lindsey’s candles are handmade in Yorkshire with bees wax sourced from her local apiary. Bees wax candles burn more slowly than their paraffin counterparts, and don’t release toxins into the air. They also smell absolutely incredible!

Driftwood scenes by Desi Dimowa

Sweet miniature scenes made from driftwood and upcycled material found on the beaches of south-east Kent. Christmas scenes feature garlands of festive lights made from tiny coloured beads; Desi also makes highly creative use of old brushes and clothes pegs…!

Winter cards by Nicky Clarke

Charming, illustrative winter greetings cards. Nicky is a landscape architect by trade, something which involves a lot of model-making – she also stocks some lovely DIY paper scenes (nativity, woodland, ice skaters) for you to cut out and arrange!

Embroidered badges by Amy Wilson

Amy uses eco-fi, a felt made from recycled plastic bottles, to make her delicately embroidered botanical badges. Pieces feature dainty sprays of heather, rowan, cornflower, chamomile, clover, and dandelion. Find Amy on Instagram, Folksy, and at amypandashop.com.

Ceramic palettes by Emma Jo Alford

Elegant shallow-welled paint palettes made from subtly rustic, flecked cream stoneware. Emma’s palettes are lightweight, easy to clean, and decidedly charming. Perfect for mixing watercolours, they make unique, portable gifts for creative pals everywhere.

Paper flowers by Pam Booth

Small-batch crepe paper flowers. Pam’s handmade snowdrops, mistletoe, and cyclamen are intended as seasonal keepsakes, complete with presentation box, stand, and greetings card (very postable!) She also stocks a DIY anemone craft kit.

Gift wrap and cards by Rachel Appleby

Rachel’s festive, nature-inspired wrapping paper, gift tags, and greetings cards are all hand-printed from carved lino blocks. She also stocks a varied mix of affordable prints in her shop, including ‘Summer Greenhouse‘.

Hair accessories by Holme & Moss

Impeccably finished hair accessories made with Liberty of London fine printed cotton. Items arrive beautifully packaged and customer service is excellent – what’s more, if you’re after a particular print, they’ll order it in for you at no extra cost!

Hand-printed seed packets by WeePicturePress

These charming hand-printed seed packets make lovely tokens for the zealous horticulturalists in your life. What better way to spend lockdown than sorting and labelling seeds? Alternatively, Lyndsey also stocks an excellent cat-themed range

Embroidered Brooches and buttons by Pippa Haynes

Pippa is a textile artist specialising in 3D botanical fibre sculptures. Committed to making her work accessible to all, she has created a range of delicately embroidered brooches and buttons, as well as a beginners embroidery kit.

Block-printed cushions by Hannah Madden

Hannah’s hand-printed fabric has a distinct Arts and Crafts feel. Single carved blocks are inked and printed onto natural UK cotton to create beautiful repeating patterns of fieldfares, robins, foxgloves, wrens, goldfinches, and hellebores.

Cards and advent calendar by Molly Lemon

10p from every Christmas card sold goes to the Woodland Trust. Head over to mollylemon.com to see a selection of original prints available for under £30. Follow Molly on Instagram for some great behind the scenes print-making action!

Prints by Cally Conway

Cally’s nature-inspired prints are an elegant celebration of the flora and fauna of the British Isles. Artworks feature deer, otters, foxes, hares alongside ancient native plants (rowan, hawthorn). Beautiful gifts for the wildlife enthusiast. Check out Cally’s Christmas cards here.

Festive paper decorations by East End Press

Deck the halls three times over with a unique range of brightly coloured paper garlands and hanging decorations, including baubles, fir trees, reindeer, turtledoves, and stars. A low-key, high-impact way of making your Christmas decor sing.

Embroidered artworks by Sylvie McCracken

Sylvie’s detailed, one-off artworks arrive ready framed – perfect for gifting. The snakeshead fritillary (right) is particularly beautifully observed. Sylvie also makes embroidered brooches edged with plush velvet ribbon – how festive!

Ceramic jewellery by Melanie McGready

Melanie creates her ceramic pieces by taking impressions of herbs (dill, fennel, coriander) from her garden, as well as the odd hedgerow find. Her pendants, brooches, buttons, and bobbins all have the same delicately brushed, worn finish.

Cards by Alison Sloggett

A lot of work goes into a handmade card – Alison’s are individually screen-printed. Other designs include Blackbird on Holly and Robin and Ivy. If you find yourself needing something nice to wrap something in, Alison also prints small cotton bags with leaves.

Homeware by Lou Tonkin

In addition to creating beautiful original lino prints, Lou has designed a range of other items—enamelled tin mugs, tea towels, tote bags, notebooks—bearing her unique artwork. Read more about Lou in our Contemporary Printmakers article.

Ceramics by Tamsin John

Tactile, sculptural pieces that’d make anyone’s breakfasts, snacks, or teas at three significantly classier. Tamsin’s pieces embody a unique balance between rustic material, practical form, and elegant detail; highly functional and resoundingly beautiful.

Screen-printed bags by Lorna Robey

Lorna studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University. Hand-printed with tropical monstera and banana leaves, her bold purses and pouches are made from linen with an unbleached calico cotton lining. She also makes face masks!

Pin badges by Eleanor Longhurst

Eleanor’s detailed enamel pin badges are based on her own watercolour illustrations. Each badge is presented on a gift-grade backing card – unique little tokens for hats, bags, and lapels. Eleanor also sells fabric patches, magnets, cards, and prints.

Tissue paper decorations by Tamsin Ireson

Inspired by mid-century children’s illustrators and vintage greetings cards, each of Tamsin’s honeycomb paper decorations is cut and embellished by hand. Visit her shop to see a festive offering of angels, mice, toy soldiers, and footmen.

Cards by Rambling Hen

Judith’s robin and partridge cards are printed on recycled paper using mellow, vegetable oil-based inks – eco-friendly reproductions of original lino prints. Her hand-printed sage and silver mistletoe cards are created using a 130 year old cast iron Victorian book press.

Ceramic decorations by Joanna Clay

Bright, quirky, hand-painted hanging decorations in an unusual palette of red, indigo, mint, orange, pink, and red. Joanna’s aim is to ‘bring colour and joy into people’s homes’ – her pin badges and Christmas cards are as cheerful as advertised.

DIY paper decorations by Vicki Johnson

Vicki’s explosively colourful, folk-inspired DIY decorations arrive in flatpack form, ready to be assembled by you (or a delighted recipient). She also offers a fabulous range of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

Jewellery by Justine Nettleton

Colour-enthusiast Justine has found an unusual way to add a little something to fine metal jewellery. Pieces are hand-detailed, washed in enamel, then sanded back to reveal the copper underneath. Check out a wide range of earrings in her shop, most of which are ready to ship!

Little paper Shops by Clare Dales

Assemble your own mini high street from 3D paper shops—ironmonger’s, fishmonger’s, butcher’s, hat shop—all based on Clare’s original lino prints. A variety of Christmas cards are available in her shop; she also sells directly on Instagram.

Every sale means the world to an independent maker, even if it’s just a card. The Just A Card campaign is on a mission to raise support for Artists, Makers, Independent Shops, and Small Businesses. For more information, visit justacard.org or follow the #justacard campaign on Instagram. [Images by @angela.chick.illustration]

Images used with the makers’ permission.

➼ Read the second instalment of our Christmas gift guide

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Coming soon: ceramics, printmakers part 2, and jewellery designers!

10 Contemporary Embroidery Artists

Contemporary embroiderers make use of an ever-expanding array of influences, materials, and techniques. From thread-painting to machine embroidery, each of the artists below has their own distinct sense of style and design. Follow the embedded links to find out more!

Chloe Giordano

Chloe’s needlework is astoundingly detailed. Woodland fauna—deer, rabbits, badgers, mice—are her most common fare. These naturally shy creatures are stitched on hand-dyed fabric and often delicately encircled by embroidered foliage. See Chloe in action here.

Megan Ivy Griffiths

Combining a soft muted palette with an exceptionally strong sense of design, Megan creates whimsical figures embroidered with oak leaves, radishes, and toadstools. An illustrator by trade, she uses watercolour to delicately dye her figures’ folk-inspired clothing.

Eira Teufel

Eira’s creative process is beautifully documented on instagram. Her painstakingly-sequinned fish are a signature crowd-pleaser. Detailed micro embroideries (thistles, ferns, skulls) are turned into dainty, victoriana-esque pendants and brooches.

Sheena Liam / Times New Romance

Quiet, everyday moments captured with intuitive simplicity. Sheena’s pared-down style perfectly conveys a sort of neutral quotidian aloneness as figures eat, read, and dress. Collectively, works feel like a series of candid photographs – affecting in locked-down times.

Nadezhda Kulikova

Nadezhda‘s unusual pointillistic technique lends her work an almost tapestry-like quality. Her small botanical pieces are particularly painterly: discrete, expertly-placed stitches blend seamlessly to form beautifully observed renditions of spring bulbs.

Cathy Cullis

Dense stitching and fluid, overlapping forms are skilfully marshalled into an undeniably charismatic style. Line and blank space combine to reveal Tudor ladies, angels, and foliage in these small, frameable pieces. Cathy also creates mixed media collages.

Emma Mierop (Skippy Cotton)

Quirky machine embroidery inspired by vintage materials and motifs. Visit Emma’s Shop to check out a unique assortment of embroidered dolls, lavender bags, and vintage decorations. The inspired ‘fun-fair meets children’s storybook’ vibe runs throughout.

Lyndsey McDougall

Delicately expressive works made using natural fibres and dyes. Pieces have names like Racálach (‘cast-up seaweed’), Bláthanna Fáine (‘wild flowers’), and Sliabh (‘mountain’) – sensitive, tonally muted hymns to the landscape, wildlife, and folklore of Ireland.

Mirtle Makes

Mirtle has developed a unique identity for her art, celebrating small pleasures, and cultivating a sort of quirky, joyful minimalism. Her colourful little pocket people brim with quiet, matter-of-fact charm – talismans for introverts everywhere.

Becca Nicolaides

Synthesising the freedom and energy of pen and ink with the compact deliberateness of stitch, Becca’s fluent use of line and shape is deployed to create a series of beautifully spare botanical ‘drawings’. A case in which less is absolutely, emphatically more.

Images used with the artists’ permission.

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Coming soon: ceramics, printmakers part 2, and places to shop small this Christmas!

Instagram: @artdes.k

10 Contemporary Printmakers

Printmaking takes many different forms, with screen printing, etching, and relief printing (lino, wood block) among the most familiar techniques. This article showcases 10 contemporary artists working across printmaking today, each bringing something unique to the press. Follow the embedded links to learn more about each printmaker, their process, and their work.

Laura Boswell

Laura works exclusively with linocut and traditional Japanese woodblock printing. Both technically and visually complex, her landscapes display subtleties in colour and detail that showcase the sensitivity and versatility of printmaking. Check out Laura’s podcast here.

Lou Tonkin

Lou’s work is full of movement, her style perfectly capturing the small-scale, rustling energy of hedgerows and undisturbed gardens. Small birds sit poised amidst naturalistically crowded foliage, ready to disappear between one glance and the next.

Frea Buckler

Frea is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, installation, and printmaking. Her screen prints utilise a highly distilled palette—indigo, cyan, magenta, peach, yellow—that electrifies their angular compositions. Frea’s work is available through Smithson Gallery.

Molly Lemon

Molly takes almost all of her inspiration from the natural world. Delicately observed and beautifully executed, her woodblock prints are infused with her passion for environmentalism (all her packaging is plastic-free) and her interest in mental health.

Lisa Stubbs

Lisa pairs the vintage domestic-industrial graphics on used tins and containers (Colman’s Mustard; Bird’s Baking Power; Lyle’s Golden Syrup) with sprays of everyday flowers. Her screen prints are expertly layered and often finished with coloured pencil.

Joseph Kalionzes

Joseph’s style is fantastically distinctive – his prints have a sort of sculptural quality, relaying not only a printed image, but a compelling impression of the block-cutting process itself. Joseph’s ‘inverted’ mark-making is highly charismatic: fluid, intuitive, and strikingly unique.

Renee Fly

A prolific pattern-maker, Renee uses single carved sections of lino to create bold repeating patterns, demonstrating the graphic might and utilitarian thrill of print-making with practised ease. Renee’s instagram feed serves as a fantastic gallery of works past and present.

Kerry Pagdin

Kerry’s work hones in on subjects with strong graphic potential. Examples of interesting natural architecture—feathers, pinecones, animal skulls, the exaggerated profile of a greyhound—are skilfully recreated in perfectly observed yet decidedly stylised lino prints.

Sean Thornhill

Finely-tuned screen prints inspired by Bauhaus and mid-century design. Sean’s compositions are beautifully balanced, combining an expertly curated selection of discrete yet interrelated shapes with an elegantly limited palette. Click here to view available works.

Kat Flint

Kat’s affinity for storytelling is clearly evident in her work; prints are rich in narrative detail—motifs, compositional flourishes—that give them a profoundly illustrative quality. Bold, sensitive, and allusive, each of Kat’s prints has the compressed quality of a poem.

Images used with the artists’ permission.

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Coming soon: embroidery, ceramics, printmakers part 2, and places to shop small this Christmas!

Instagram: @artdes.k