Previously featured artist Kerrie McNeill has expanded her work into painting and decorating ceramic and terrocotta plant pots and quaint little house shaped tealight holders. Kerrie spoke to The Jumble Magazine about finding a new creative process with a fresh new medium- talking through the step by step guide of making unique decor, and expanding her business beyond prints.
I’m Kerrie, the creative behind Kerrie Illustrates. In September past I took the plunge and launched my online shop selling my work as I decided to take a year out before finishing my degree in Graphic Design and Illustration at The Belfast School Of Art. I wanted to make the most of my year out and thought what better way than to start selling my own work and growing Kerrie Illustrates. I’ve always known that I wanted to have my own small business selling things that I have created as it’s always been a passion of mine to be a full-time illustrator/designer!
Over the past few months since launching my shop I’ve really begun to experiment in different mediums rather than just my usual- being digital. If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while, you’ll know I have an obsession with anything to do with plants. One day I noticed some random Terracotta plant pots sitting about the garden and I had the idea of painting them. I shortly posted a picture of the pots on my Instagram and it seemed to be a huge success! I never really thought of selling these as it was only a hobby when I first started painting. I really liked the idea of introducing these to my shop but also having the option of creating personalised pots over the Christmas period for gifts. I love finding new ways of expressing my style through different products and the plant pots are definitely one of my favourites!
As well as plant pots, I found little ceramic house tea-lights in my local craft shop and thought they would be really fun to paint patterns on them! As one of my favourite things to do is travel and explore new cities I always love to illustrate different streets/buildings. These little houses remind me of the style of buildings in Amsterdam which brought back some good memories. I’ve really loved painting all these new ceramic pieces and it’s opened up new opportunities for me to progress this medium further. I’d love to actually have a go at creating the ceramic pieces from start to finish and this will definitely be one of the projects I’ll be working on in the coming months, I have a few ideas!
I always love the starting to end process of any project! With any of my patterns that I have created on pots or houses these usually tend to come from things that inspire my work such as plants and bold colour. I like to create leafy patterns layered on top of bold shapes and colours and for the houses, they are very fiddly, so I tend to use more simple patterns of dots and lines layered onto different bright colours! For me, the longest processing time is layering the paint and waiting for them to dry. I can sometimes be described as being impatient and I really just get too excited about painting and want them finished right away! I usually don’t just paint one item at a time. I have around 4/5 sitting on my table and I paint the first layer on each, then second and so forth. This speeds up the process as while one is drying I can move onto another one! When finished, I like to glaze the pieces to make the bright colours really pop!
I think it’s really hard to plan anything with everything that’s going on in the world. I’m happy that I started my new venture in September and have constantly been creating new things and hope to keep growing and being creative in 2021. I would love to make my own ceramic pieces and paint these as well as move to larger floor plant pots. I painted one over the Christmas period and it was really fun to create! I have a few ideas for new prints relating to Northern Ireland and places I love to visit so that’s what I’ll be getting up to in the next few months! I’d also love to paint a mural. I’ve never done one before, but I just keep envisioning a big leafy pattern on a wall. So, if anyone wants a wall jazzed up let me know!
‘Kerrie Illustrates’ plant pots and ceramic houses are hand painted but not hand made, Kerrie hopes to create her products from scratch in the future, but for now she is selling them as hand painted products- as the plant pots and houses are bought as blank/ un-decorated products before she begins her process.