Hi and many thanks for clicking on this link, bringing you automatically to my first blog post;-) which will fill you in on my creative journey. I suppose I'll re-introduce myself just in case;-). My name is Karen, I'm a tile designer. I'm English and I live in France. I create natural, botanical wall tiles entirely inspired by nature. I'm really happy to share with you my insights, inspiration and everything that inspires me in my every day life with you on this blog.
I will be sharing with you My Story and how I began creating my tiles. Where my ideas came from and what I have done until today. I invite you to visit my Instagram page below where I have also started telling my story with a lot of pictures of my tiles.
And If you would like to see more pictures you can also visit my Pinterest page.
So, why is my story still relevant in 2022 ?
As I mentioned previously, I'm English and I have been living in France since 1989. I've lived longer in France than in the UK. You may be asking yourself why I decided to move from England to France... I had always wanted to study art in Paris so that's exactly what I did ;-).
After studying and having my first job as a textile designer in Paris, in household linens, I decided to move to Normandy where my former husband came from. You might know the town of Bayeux which is famous for its Tapestry which was embroidered by Queen Mathilda, the wife of William the Conqueror. It's a lovely town which I discovered when I first came over to France. My parents had a house in Normandy so I knew the area quite well. This is the town where I chose to live and build a family, leaving Paris in the year 2000.
We bought a mill, in the Normandy countryside which was surrounded by a huge, untended and unloved garden and fields stretching as far as the eye could see. It was rather an extreme of environments, leaving the bustling streets of Paris for the calm and relaxing winding roads of the Normandy countryside. I discovered a passion for gardening and started landscaping our garden of 4300 square metres. It was a mighty task and it took me years before I could finally sit back and appreciate the garden I had created and toiled in for so long.
It was immensely rewarding to see how I had transformed the garden into a family haven. A secure place for my children to grow up in and explore. The other aspect I love about gardening is how plants multiply when they thrive and so without a lot of money I was able to fill my flowerbeds with the plants I had propagated myself and not have to go to a garden centre to buy more and more plants which is prohibitive to say the least.
My passion for gardening grew to a point that I wanted to integrate nature, somehow, into my future professional project. Something I forgot to mention earlier is that through my art studies I had always been fascinated and inspired by nature. So it all came back to me later on in my life to finally exploit my passion for nature through my work.
In 2006, after having had my first child, James, who was 5 at the time, I desperately wanted to find an idea for my professional project. I explored many possibilities and one of them was to create my own bed linen collection, as I had the experience of being a designer in that domain. I needed to find a way of printing onto fabric by hand, at the beginning anyway. I also wanted to use the natural ressources that surrounded me, so quite naturally I started examining some leaves as I found their veins to be intricate and a beautiful idea to print onto fabric. If you want to know more about plant veins and their purpose you can visit the following website
Then I needed to find a medium to use for the printing process. I found that clay was a versatile medium and ideal to use as printing blocks. Here are some of my first printing blocks that I used.
I used the leaves of some of my favourite plants like Hostas, Foxgloves, Hydrangeas and Melissa.
Although I loved the effect of the leaf veins on the clay I wasn't that enthusiastic about the final effect on material, as you can see below...
As the effect of the leaf imprints were more beautiful and intricate on clay I had a brainwave ! Why not create tiles of leaf imprints ! So that's where my idea came from, to create handmade tiles inspired by nature.
So, you see, my story is still relevant now because inspiration around nature and all it has to give is everywhere ; in architecture, design, interior decoration and more. It has been a trend for many years now and I'm adamant that it still will be for many years to come. We are becoming more aware of the benefits that nature has on our health and through this awareness comes a desire to respect our environment more as it's our future.
I feel that my role is to bring nature into our homes, to embellish our interiors with these natural wall tiles and to be closer to nature. In my next posts I will be sharing with you my first pics of my tiles, my first Salon Maison et Objet exhibition in Paris and lots more ;-).
Don't miss it ;-).