Ashley Thomas has recently joined the community of artists and craftspeople based at the Harley Studios, built in Welbeck Abbey’s historic Victorian kitchen garden, Pineapple Pits and Tan Gallop.
A successful surface pattern designer, Ashley told us why she made the move from her design studio at home to a Harley Studio on Welbeck Estate.
I graduated in 2007 from Staffordshire Uni with a first class honours degree in Surface Pattern Design. In 2008 I launched my own brand of home accessories working from a design studio that I set up in my spare room. Over the past seven years things have gone from strength to strength and my work is now available in interior boutiques, gift shops and galleries in the UK, Paris and Tokyo.
I’ve always loved visiting The Harley Gallery, it’s such a beautiful and inspiring place. I have taken part in the Christmas Market in recent years and my work has proved very popular with the visitors. It’s a dream come true to now have a studio here and I’m really excited about opening my studio doors to the public for the first time ever in November for the Harley Open Studios event.
I have a range of handmade cushions, notebooks, fine china mugs, quirky tea towels, unique cards and limited edition art-prints and wallpaper, all printed and made in England. My inspiration for my work can come from the smallest detail, such as the pattern on a vintage plate or watching the busy little birds in my garden. I aim to produce designs that are fun, curious and make people smile.
I’ve had a lot of commercial interest in my work from prestigious companies including Laura Ashley, Mamas and Papas and Hallmark Cards. My latest collaboration with Debenhams has showcased my work onto high streets across the country.
The Harley Studios open twice a year, offering visitors the chance to explore the diverse work spaces of artists and craftspeople. The next Open Studios will be held on Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 November 2014 during the Christmas Art and Food Market and Harley Open Studios.