Local artists Christmas cards
PUBLISHED: 09:35 25 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:14 20 February 2013
Christmas cards by Norfolk artists
What a card!
Mini pieces of art, cards are a lovely way to share the work of your favourite Norfolk artist with friends and family, says Nancy Wedge.
From coastal scenes blanketed in snow to magical toyshops and comical penguins, choose from a wide selection of Christmas cards designed by Norfolk artists, many giving a donation of profits to charity.
P-p-pick up a penguin is what Gresham-based artist James Buttifant would like you to do this Christmas.
The 35-year-old designs comical penguin-themed cards, mugs and t-shirts, all printed and created within a cycle ride of his home. In fact, the t-shirts and mugs are produced by my old primary school teacher and his wife, says James.
Having studied art at City College Norwich, James worked as a sign writer for 10 years. After the death of his father four years ago, he reassessed what was important to him in life, and decided to get back to what he really enjoyed: Drawing and painting.
I started painting the penguins for myself, because I wanted them on my walls, but friends hounded me for them and encouraged me to sell them, he says.
Since childhood, James has always had a thing about penguins and from the response his work gets, it would appear many others do too. In fact, it was The Garden House Gallery in Cromer who encouraged him to turn his card designs into t-shirts and mugs after customers had raved about them.
Always an identical, simplistic design, James penguins are depicted in humorous poses throughout his work.
Ive always been amused by how penguins congregate in huge waddles, all looking the same. Id speculate about what makes them individuals maybe one of them is cold or perhaps another doesnt like fish. So I give them funny little personalities to stand out from one another, says James, who was recently commissioned by paralympics athlete Mel Clarke to portray her in penguin form, complete with her archery quiver, bows and medals.
James confesses that he doesnt aim to challenge people with his artwork, but simply to lighten their mood.
I believe that art has the potential to stir numerous emotions within us all, but Im happy to just bring a smile to your face, says James, who has recently persuaded The Mall in Norwich to allow fellow artists to display their work, hopefully introducing art to people who wouldnt normally go to a gallery.
Originally acrylic on canvas, James four Christmas card designs include Christmas Morning (a line-up of four penguins; one wearing a party hat covered in streamers, with an empty bottle of booze at his feet) and Christmas Lights (a penguin wrapped in fairy lights with a star on his head). His most popular card is Cool Yule (a penguin with a Santa hat and red bow tied round his middle), while Christmas Kiss (a penguin puckering up under mistletoe) tends to be bought by people for their loved ones.
Its life and love as seen through the eyes of these funny monochromatic characters, says James, who is looking forward to a fun-filled Christmas with his two children, 10-year-old Erin and Reece, aged eight, who can be seen on his website modelling penguin T-shirts on Cromer Beach.
James Buttifants cards, T-shirts and
mugs are available from www.jamesbuttifant.com; The Garden House Gallery in Cromer (www.garden-house-gallery.co.uk; 01263 511234); and Miss Madeleines Giftware Emporium in Sheringham (01263 821990).
Love Christmas? Love Lucy
Christmas is pretty much all year round for me, says north Norfolk artist Lucy Loveheart, who starts designing new additions to her festive card range in spring. Luckily, it is a time of year that she adores.
Inspired by magical memories of childhood and painted in a naive style, Lucys artwork is a perfect fit for Christmas. While her non-festive cards are reproduced from her paintings, Lucys Christmas range is designed especially, with more than 21 different cards available. New for this year are Christmas Bird Tree, Magic Toyshop, Midnight Feast, The Snowball and Snow Queens Palace.
My favourite card is Christmas Morning as it encapsulates what it was like for me as a child. My brother and I always used to be so excited; lying in bed waiting for Father Christmas to arrive with presents.
Another evocative design for Lucy is Magic Toyshop which was inspired by her fathers collection of Victorian tin toys.
Lucy also designs Christmas wrapping paper and has published Magical Christmas, one of many childrens books written by her mother which she has illustrated.
A 20p donation from each pack of Lucys Christmas cards goes to the William Waits Memorial Trust. Available from Big Blue Sky in Wells (01328 712023; www.bigbluesky.uk.com) or online at www.susiewatsondesigns.com. For more information about Lucy and her work, visit www.lucyloveheart.com
Chloe Birds Christmas cards are guaranteed to stand out on your mantelpiece. An antidote to heavily-embellished, factory-produced cards, the Norwich artists hand-made designs are beautifully simple, and produced in limited numbers.
You might find a white silhouette of a snowflake, bauble or Christmas tree against a dark background, or perhaps just the lettering Plum Pudding or Silent Night.
Whats nice about designing cards is that it makes artwork accessible for everyone, says Chloe, who donates a percentage of profits to Cancer Research UK, a charity close to her heart as her mother died from cancer at Christmas time three years ago.
Chloe has always made her own cards but began selling them two years ago, when she was running a Christmas gift-wrapping service in Londons Covent Garden.
I tested the water by selling a few of my designs, and they were really popular, she says.
A graduate in textiles from Norwich University College of the Arts, Chloe,
32, admits to a lifelong love of paper and stationery, which has inspired her card-making and Japanese-influenced gift-wrapping service.
In Japan the wrapping is as important as the gift itself and it is considered rude to give an unwrapped present, says Chloe, who wraps staff presents for companies such as O2, as well as for individual customers.
As she is so busy in the festive season, Chloes plans for Christmas Day are simple: To breathe a big sigh of relief!
A donation from Chloe Birds cards goes to Cancer Research UK. Cards are available from The Perfect Pad (www.theperfectpad.co.uk; 01603 765766) and Grapevine (www.grapevinegallery.co.uk; 01603 760660), both in Norwich. For gift-wrapping and commissions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norfolks winter wonderland
I have to confess that even I got a bit fed up with the snow earlier this year, says local landscape photographer Martin Billing. Whereas normally I struggle to get snowy shots, there was more than enough opportunity. All great news for his popular Christmas card range.
The snow-covered coastal scenes are available in two packs of 10 from his shop and gallery Bringing the Outside In at Holkham, which also sells seaside-inspired artefacts from all over the world.
I try to tap into what draws people to the coast, both through my work and the items I sell in the shop, says Martin.
The contrast of snow on a beach is one that has always fascinated the Brancaster-born 25-year-old. It always surprises me that more people dont head out to the coast when it is snowing, especially when the sky is blue.
Martin is looking forward to a family Christmas with his new wife, Sarah, who manages clothing store Joules in Holt. The couple were married in a magical ceremony in New Yorks Central Park earlier this year.
But Martin admits, if snow were to fall on Christmas Day, he wouldnt be able to resist getting out there camera in hand!
Martin Billings Christmas cards are available from Bringing The Outside In, Holkham, (01328 713093; www.bringingtheoutsidein.co.uk).
Kooky and kitsch are the best words to describe Petra Boases designs, which include homeware, stationery, and childrens toys and clothes. So its no surprise that her Christmas cards are a little bit out of the ordinary. With a pink, red, black and white theme, this years designs feature a
barmy cat on skis, reindeers pulling a Christmas cracker, and a plump Christmas pudding.
Its subtle humour. I like the idea that hopefully they will put a smile on peoples faces, says the Swaffham-based designer, who has published a series of interior and craft books, and presented Change That for the BBC in the early 1990s.
The cards are sold separately or in packs of 10, with 10p per card going to Narborough School, where her children, Florence and Billy, are pupils. Petra has recently had a third child, Olive, who was delivered by her husband Russell, owner of stylish Norfolk retreats Carrington House and Cliff Barns.
Olive will be five months old at Christmas, and no doubt sporting one of Petras funky babygrows.
I like keeping the magic going for my children at Christmas; its always a lovely family affair at my mothers house in Suffolk, says the 39-year-old.
A donation of 10p from each of Petra Boases Chistmas cards goes to Narborough School. Cards are available from Big Blue Sky in Wells (01328 712023; www.bigbluesky.uk.com) or online at www.petraboaseshop.com