Sophie Botsford – Sophie Botsford Stationery & Art

Artist Sophie Botsford designs and prints beautiful personalised furneral stationery.

This week on WHITEBALLOON INSIGHTS we talk to artist Sophie Botsford about how growing up on a farm has influenced her work and continues to spark her creativity.

Q: You grew up on a farm, surrounded by countryside and nature. How did this shape your early career choices?

I loved my upbringing and always thought I would pursue a career in agriculture, which is the reason I completed a degree in Rural Enterprise Land Management. However, art has always been a passion throughout my life, but I never thought I would be able to create a career from it…I was very wrong!

Q: What led you to then focus on art and design? Or had you always known that this would be an important part of your life?

Throughout my school and university days I used to do odd commissions, sell cards and organically built up a small business without really knowing it. It was then through a chance encounter with artist James Gillick, that my journey to becoming a professional artist began. He gave me the opportunity to spend a year’s internship with him at his studio in Lincolnshire, and it was from here that I realised a career as an artist was where I saw myself.

Q: We absolutely love your bespoke stationery for weddings, funerals and other occasions. The illustrations are beautiful and really make these items special and very personal. Tell us more about this service. 

I love working with each of my clients to provide a really bespoke experience. I think it’s extremely important to get to know your clients and what they are looking for. I pride myself on offering designs that are extremely personal to the client, whether it be for their wedding or a loved one’s funeral. I like to add a touch of their personalities through my illustrations, and have painted many pets, favourite views, flowers and hobbies.

Sophie Botsford personalised funeral stationery.

Q: You also take commissions for portraits of animals and pets. I am sure that growing up around animals has helped you to understand and capture them in the different mediums? Do you have a favourite animal or style of drawing?

Growing up on a farm meant I was very lucky to be surrounded by lots of animals. I have always loved painting dogs and horses, having had both as pets for many years and these are definitely the most popular pets I have requests for. Although I have painted the odd parrot, rabbit and tortoise as well! Most of my commission are either watercolour paintings or pencil drawings, however oil painting is my favourite and I especially enjoy painting guinea fowl.

Q: And you have partnered with your father to produce bespoke metalwork too. The firepits are particularly enchanting, the way the designs really come alive when lit from behind by the dancing flames. Do you find it easy to transfer your design skills from one material to another?

Luckily, I don’t have to get involved with the manual side of things. I can stay in the warmth of my studio and do the design work, while my father (with the help of this plasma cutter) does all the hard graft. It’s lovely to be involved with something a little different, but still be able to use my creative skills. As we offer a bespoke service, it’s amazing to see all our client’s ideas come to life, with hanging farm/house signs and weathervanes being our favourite to create.

Q: Your illustrations are hand painted, but have you found computers and digitisation useful in your work too?

I don’t think I will ever move fully away from physically painting my designs. I think my illustrations would lose some of their charm if they were digitally created, and I also like to give my clients the original artwork to frame as a keepsake. However, it is amazing what you can do on a computer now, and I hope to learn more about this and I’m sure it would come in useful for future projects.

Q: And finally, you clearly have a love, and passion, for the country, but do you have a favourite city too?

My heart will always be in the country. I moved to the highlands of Scotland at the beginning of 2023 and still can’t get over how beautiful it is up here. However, I always love going to London and visiting the galleries and admiring the architecture. I have also found Edinburgh to be a beautiful city, and reminds me slightly of Cambridge which is also one of my favourites to visits. Again, these two are full of culture, amazing buildings and plenty of inspiration.

Thank you Sophie for sharing your insights.

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