Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Wendy Paula Patterson, I live in Sydney with my Scientist husband Kevin, my very talented graphic designer daughter Tabitha Emma ( soon to be married ) and 2 elderly grumpy fluffy Himalayan cats. Our son, now 21, shares a house with friends, he too is a graphic designer and a computer genius, we have strong creative genes in our family!
I was born in England and emigrated to Australia as a teenager with my parents and younger brother. We adopted Australia as our home but I still have longings to return to my birth place and also visit my husband's family in Scotland.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? Using digital technology to work with is a fairly new addition to my portfolio.
Until recently all of my work was done by hand including hand lettering, creating detailed and unique fonts to be used in packaging and greeting cards. I love to work in pencil especially drawing animals and birds and have sold many original pieces over the years. It is magical to watch the animals come to life on the paper especially the eyes watching me! Working in gouache and watercolour is a technique I especially enjoy. When I returned to England to work for a year at the age of 20, I produced many paintings to sell to earn my airfare to London.
Using original artworks with antique and vintage ephemera to create the digital collages for the Mulberry Muse and Cafe Baudelaire collections is my latest favourite technique. I am self taught on photoshop with some guidance from my son, Benjamin. Paper has a fascination for me and I love to work with it using various other materials such as vintage laces and ribbons. When the digital images are ready for print I do a lot of experimenting with print techniques to get the colours and quality perfect.
The designs are then printed onto 100% cotton rag papers using the giclee process. They are cut out using a surgeons scalpel for very accurate trimming. I then trim the finished product using ribbons and sometimes a delicate accent of fine German glass glitter for extra sparkle. When items are sold they are packaged beautifully for the customer with ribbons and paper lace doilies and a gift tag with a personal thank you. I like to make my customers feel special as if it were a gift for them.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? My inspiration comes in many forms, architecture, history, old masterpieces. I am an avid collector of ephemera, old papers, books, packaging and music sheets. I also collect lots of vintage pieces like the bird cages and lace which find their way into my designs. When I lived in London I spent weekends visiting museums, art galleries and antique shops.
I would try to copy the old masters techniques in my paintings. The internet is an amazing source of inspiration with so much creativity to inspire. Ideas frequently pop into my head during the night or when I am showering! I wish I could press a button on my head and print out the idea when it arrives! I don't always have the completed idea in my head, it evolves as I sketch and then play with the images digitally. I like to tell a story with each piece, it sometimes reveals to me what is going on in my world as the picture emerges.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? Since I was vey small I wanted to be an artist. Always a pencil in hand my school maths book had ballet dancers cavorting across the pages rather than the numbers I should have been writing! My parents were very supportive and encouraged me to follow my dreams.
I Studied Graphic Arts in Adelaide and was apprenticed to leading packaging designer Wytt Morro & Son. As an Illustrator & Designer I have worked for Design Houses in Adelaide, London and Sydney. I worked as a freelance Designer and Illustrator for Phil Taylor Studios, a Greeting Card Company in Sydney for over 25 years.
My wrapping paper designs are still sold in David Jones stores and Newsagents around Australia under my maiden name of Wendy Paula Beldom. This work helped to support us as the children were growing up. I have always considered it important to be at home for the children and we have spent many happy hours in creative projects together. After discovering digital technology and getting hooked on photoshop I decided to launch out into the world of the internet with my own designs.
How did you come up with your business name? I wanted something unusual and easy to remember, a cookbook entitled "Cloud berries" started the train of thought. Add a little "Muse and there it was.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I have several favourite shops both in Sydney and the Southern Highlands, one of my favourites is a vintage music, book shop in Glebe not far from where I live. My daughter and I inspire and encourage each other, both working from home is a privilege. I have a huge reference library of books and inspiration collected over the years.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
• Be prepared to work very hard and long hours.
• Make your product of the best quality and standard you can, research, get to know other people in the industry and share and encourage each other.
• Invest in best materials and technology you can afford, my professional printer was my biggest and most worthwhile investment.
• Be patient for sales and success, the internet is an incredible way to get your work noticed.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
• I am not terribly good at this, I would much rather be creating than promoting, but I have found that blogging helps especially if you can get others to blog about you.
• Quality product images help a lot and good customer service is vital, word of mouth promotion is invaluable.
• Present the item you have sold professionally and with care.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? I learnt very quickly to try to protect my online images from copyright theft, I still have many heartbreaking problems with this. The internet is a wonderful way to get noticed but it has its dark side.
What do you like to do besides creating? I love to shop for old books, ephemera and vintage goods, saturday markets are a favourite. A relaxing visit to a coffee shop and reading a good detective novel. Decorating, rearranging my house, or "playing house' as my husband calls it!
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - I love classical music, a favourite is "Miserere", the sound track from "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables" Books -I have many favourite authors, Lemony Snicket, Jane Austen, Ruth Rendall, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie. Television - I don't watch very much but I enjoy "Spooks", "The Black Adder", "One foot in the Grave", good British comedy. Films - Lemony Snickett "A series of Unfortunate events", "Phantom of the Opera" Websites - lesmaries.com.br, tabithaemma.com/blog, afancifultwist.typepad.com
What would be your perfect day?
I have a chronic debilitating illness, ME, so my perfect day would be one without pain or fatigue. To enjoy a walk and share a special day with my husband.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? Kathy Panton - I love her colourful, cheerful happy designs.