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August 21, 2023 —

Meet the Maker: Brie Harrison

British artist and illustrator Brie Harrison creates prints, cards and stationery inspired by her love for nature, pattern and colour...
Shelley Welti
91 Magazine online content editor,

Photography

Bilyana Vald Prema
Photographer,
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Hi Brie! First things first, why and when did you decide to start your business?

I wanted to make work that really came from me, plus I’ve always been obsessed with cards and stationery and so I thought I’d start illustrating in my spare time whilst I still worked as a textile designer. I had some of my work published in friend Mike Perry’s book about patterns titled “Over & Over’ and this gave me the confidence to make more work. A few years later I had a local exhibition of prints based on the seasons that I’d built up. I made postcard sets for the show too that I then approached shops to stock them and it grew from there. It wasn’t so much of a clear decision, it grew organically and took a long time.British illustrator Brie Harrison with plant prints inside her wooden studio

floral art print by illustrator Brie HarrisonWhat had you done previously?

I studied fashion textiles at the University of Brighton, specialising in print. I then went out to work on an internship in New York where we learnt to design using the computer (yes it was old school at the time!) and then once home I moved to London and worked as a printed textile designer for many years.

How would you describe the brand’s ethos and your signature style?

The brands ethos is based on a love of nature. Aesthetically I’m inspired by it, but also we try to make sure we make sustainable choices as much as we possibly can, and to always learn and grow with this. My signature style is inspired by a love of nature, pattern and colour; happy, modern but with a nod to nostalgia.

snowdrops5Butterfly print by British illustrator Brie Harrison

Can you tell me a little about the processes used to create your work?

I take photos wherever I go; walks, gardens, museum visits and then I draw in my sketchbook and then work into the drawings digitally in more detail. Colour is one of my favourite things about what I do, so I spend a long time working with variations and palettes. There are many versions before the final piece of artwork is chosen.

Which is your most popular product? Why do you think that is?

My ‘Fleurs’ card is the most popular card. I think because the colours are bright and stand out and the flowers are quite eclectic and happy and it covers a variety of themes. The new ‘Fleurs’ tray has also sold out, so we are getting more produced soon!

Spring plant print card inside British illustrator Brie Harrison's wooden studio

Hard question: do you have a favourite?

‘Muscari Jug’ is one of my favourite cards. I just love these flowers, they make me so happy as they are a true sign of spring. I also really like my Hyacinths litho print. I recently displayed it in a bright red frame at Chelsea and thought it looked really fresh.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The day starts with a swim or I walk my son to nursery. We are lucky enough to live in a town where we can walk to most places so I might head to the river at some point in the day. I always have a morning coffee at home before emails, then lists and work. At the moment the late afternoon involves tending to my seedlings in the greenhouse (with my son’s help). We try to have an early dinner as a family – we like cooking and we get an organic veg box every week, so that helps us stay creative. Then, sometimes more work in the evening, although during the summer months I’m getting outside more and more.

Floral print inside British illustrator Brie Harrison's wooden studio

British illustrator Brie Harrison with plant prints inside her wooden studio

How does your location inspire you?

In every way. My garden is a constant source of inspiration and calm, and I’m lucky enough to have a studio I can design from at the top of it. The inside of the space is all natural wood and feels warm and cosy with lovely big windows that look out over an apple tree and down onto the garden. Being out in nature is a must for my mental health – we have Sutton Hoo nearby where we go for walks in woodlands and paths overlooking the river regularly.

You work on other projects too – we’d love to hear more!

In the past it’s been fabric, magazine commissions, or one-off prints. One of my favourites has been the prints commissioned by the V&A Museum for their shop. I’ve done one inspired by the ceramics collection and one by the jewellery collection. It was a real honour to be asked.

floral art print by illustrator Brie Harrison

Flower and plant print cards inside British illustrator Brie Harrison's wooden studio

How do you approach PR and marketing?

With difficulty! Time and budget being the challenging factors. My new promise to myself is to be better at newsletters. In terms of social media, I approach it by being as genuine and varied as possible.

What’s been your highlight so far?

Having my first trade stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. From application, through to designing the stand, prepping the stock and creating new products, it was the biggest challenge I‘ve given myself so far but it was truly rewarding, and the week was a magical experience. We met so many inspiring people and saw some incredible things. Since Thomas, my partner, joined me in the business last summer I thought it might be more possible to achieve, and I could never have done it without his support.

Flower and nature prints inside British illustrator Brie Harrison's wooden studio

Colourful vase print by British illustrator Brie Harrison

What’s in-store for you over the coming months?

More products being launched including some fun drinks coasters. Plus, after a really busy first 6 months of the year, a lovely camping trip with my partner Thomas and our son this summer to Devon and Cornwall, with our bell tent.

If you were to share any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business – what would you say?

Be your authentic self. Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to just give things a go and accept you’ll have failures along the path – that’s how you learn and grow.

QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS:

What are your creating rituals? Coffee, toast, calm

Tea or coffee? Coffee (although tea is a close second)

Mountains or sea? Sea

Night owl or early bird? Night owl

brieharrison.com

@brieharrison

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