Sally Haysom is an illustrator who loves applying her drawings to all sorts of hand made goodies, from jewellery to printed textiles and more.
Where did you train?
I studied Illustration at Falmouth in Cornwall and it was a wonderful 3 years.The main thing it gave me was time to explore my ideas, strengths and weaknesses. It also instilled in me a good sense of the importance to the business side of things! I do feel that it was a very narrowly aimed course however, and it could have made students aware that there is a much broader range of options available after graduating than pure, commercial illustration. I tried to fit myself into this mould for 3 years before finally realizing it wasn’t for me and exploring other options.
Is being a designer / maker your only job?
My design work is now my full time occupation, although it has taken a lot of hard work and time to get here!
One favourite living designer?
I absolutely love the work of jewellery designer Helen Noakes. She encompasses everything I love about high craft – brilliant technical skill, originality, beauty and fun. The little figures suspended in resin have a narrative feel, suggesting a story or history behind each piece, and they are so beautifully set with her silver work. For me they just stand out so far from most of the jewellery you see at craft events. I covet every piece!
One favourite historical designer?
I will have to stray slightly from the designer here and go for an illustrator, as that is also a huge part of what I do, and has actually formed the larger part of my development. I really like the work of traditionally fairy tale illustrators, such as W Heath Robinson. The muted colours, magical scenes and romantic style – always beautifully executed and composed with an eye for pattern and design within the images.
What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
My work being what it is, I don’t actually work on jobs for clients, but one of the last jobs I did for a client was the ‘Wow! Gorillas’ project run by Bristol Zoo. For that project I, had to design and hand paint a life size gorilla sculpture. I covered it with illustrated text, pictures and patterns about Bristol and gorilla conservation. It was so much fun, and completely different from anything I’d ever done before. I’d definitely do another one if I had the opportunity!
What is your most prized item of design / craft?
I have a knight in shining armour who I love! It was a gift from my parents years ago, and to my shame I don’t actually know who made it – there is no mark or name on it – but he is a balancing ‘toy’ with a stand and he sits on it with just his hoof tips, and the weight counterbalances it perfectly so he just rocks back and forth on his horse! It’s brilliant, fun and everyone who visits comments on it. I will have to find out where he came from!
What item of design / craft do you covet most?
As I mentioned earlier, I am totally smitten with Helen Noakes’s jewellery, and that is next on my birthday list!
At age 16 who most influenced your style?
Blimey, that’s going back a bit! When I was 16 I was really into painting and painters like Lucian Freud and Stanley Spencer. I also really liked Paula Rego who had an element of fairy tale and symbolism in her work so maybe that’s where my love of fairy tales began. But back then I was trying to paint in acrylics and oils and spent loads of time at life drawing classes working on my drawing.
Last book / film that blew your mind?
This question always makes my mind go blank....um....I read ‘Remains of the Day’ a little while ago and really liked that. It was a quite, understated but insightful book. Beautifully written.
What music are you currently listening to?
I’m getting quite into folk type stuff at the moment – Seth Lakeman is the current favourite. I’m not really into DJ’s or electronic type music though, I like real instruments!
How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
Waaaay too many. Continual blogging, facebook and email checking. I need to allocate it a time slot and stick to it.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I’m a water baby and country girl at heart, so anywhere by the sea – either somewhere warm, or Cornwall. I love Cornwall because I spent a lot of time there as a kid and then at Uni and there’s just nowhere like it. It is, however, subject to the good old English weather, so I might go further afield to sunnier climes instead!...I quite like the idea of West Coast America.
Where and what is your studio?
I work from a home studio, which is currently in one end of my living room, but I’m moving house soon and will have my very own room! It’s absolutely stuffed with equipment and materials. I love learning new techniques and skills, but each time I do it adds a new box of tools or supplies to the mess!
Do you have a good work/life balance?
Hmmm....that’s tricky. I’m really trying to work a rough 9-5 day Monday to Friday at the moment, and giving myself evening and weekends off. It’s just so hard sometimes to be disciplined. I’d say my work/life balance could be better!
What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
Disbelief (that I’m actually getting to do what I love full time!)