Abi Overland on starting her own creative business

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Last year, artist Abi Overland launched Abi Overland Jersey, a new homeware brand starting with a collection of stunningly detailed, illustrated ceramics.

The collection consists of two designs - the intense, patternful Jungle Collection and the striking Panther Collection - each of which introduces you to a different part of Abi's wondrous illustrated world. Bringing together her impressive and unique illustrations with luscious gold detailing and slightly eccentric styling, Abi has created a flawless brand with a classic yet contemporary feel.

As a proud owner of one of her beautiful new line of mugs, I was intrigued to find out more about what inspired her to start her own business...

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First off, why did you decide to create your own homeware brand? Was there something about ceramic art in particular that attracted you?

I've always been a big fan of ceramics and loved collecting tea cups from bric a brac and antique shops, I really enjoy the delicacy of images and colours translated onto this medium and so when I decided to start my own business I was really drawn to it. 

I hear you are a bit of a tea enthusiast - is one of your own now your go to cup?

Oh but of course! I use the tea cup and saucer for my morning coffee and then the tankard for endless cups of tea that get me through the day!

You artworks are incredibly detailed - how long does it take to complete each drawing? And do you ever envy those with more simplistic styles?

I do from time to time, but nothing beats the satisfaction of finishing a drawing that has been painstaking and has taken me weeks or months to get there, whenever I add dots to a drawing it always make it take a thousand times longer, it's my favourite way of working though albeit not the most commercial. 

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Your collection is styled beautifully. Did you style them yourself and who did the photography?

I tried some tests with the styling to see the sort of thing I wanted but it was my lovely friend and photographer Max Burnett who really brought the pictures to life. We just did the photography at my house, it was handy that I have this wonderful old table that added some brilliant warmth and texture to the photo's. I wanted to add some slight quirks to the photos so I spent a day spray painting all sorts gold which worked out really well.

How have you found working for yourself as a business owner?

For the most part it is absolutely amazing, as with doing freelance it's sometimes hard to get out of your own head when worries start to creep in, I found that more at the beginning than I do now, it's great to have so much support which really helps you get the confidence that it's all going to be alright!

What part of owning your own business have you found hardest?

I do wish I was a bit better at the figures part of owning a business, whereas I enjoy the designing and the promoting I have found that is something that I've really had to knuckle down and get right which doesn't come naturally to me. 

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Where do you do your creative work? And if money was no object, where would your studio be and what would it be like?

I currently do my creative work at home, although I would adore a studio space I prioritise spending that money on the business. If money was no object I would have a light and airy studio on Brighton seafront overlooking the whole of the beach

What about where you live - do you think your interior design style matches your illustration style?

I feel like my illustration style does reflect certain aspects of my own personal style however I think it is more heavily influencing by my upbringing, my dad had a wonderful flair for interior design and had a great love of art deco. I think my illustrations more reflect an homage to my wonderful childhood in that sense.

So creativity runs in the family?

My dad has always been a lover of design and creativity, although he's not an artist he is always busy creating and designing something, he owned a jewellery shop for a while and had designed some absolutely stunning pieces for it. 

How big a role does creativity play in your life? Have you always been creative?

I've always had a real love and passion for drawing, when I was incredibly small and was absolutely pants at drawing I would insist my parents drew me pictures instead so I could watch their process

Are there any illustrators or ceramic artists you are particularly loving at the moment?

One individual that I always adore looking back on for inspiration is Ernst Haeckel, the biologist, with his intensely detailed illustrations of animals and sea creatures. I enjoy how surreal they look but are based on real factual living things which is something I always try to convey in my work.

And finally, what’s next for you and your business?

I want the brand to form into an all encompassing home-wares brand, so I plan to very soon bring out new products and will hopefully be doing my first trade show later on this year and see where it takes me! 

Thanks so much Abi! You can shop the entire Abi Overland Jersey range here | abioverland.com

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