We caught up with print and textile designer Zeena Shah who creates fun and colourful home accessories. The crafter-extraordinaire has recently published a new Scandi-inspired colouring book, full to the brim with intricate patterns and illustrations to add your own touch of creativity to. Would you like to win a copy? Find out how at the end of the interview.
1. What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
I am always inspired by nature and the things I see around me in my everyday life. Leaves, foliage, florals and animals all feature heavily throughout my work.
2. What do you do to keep your ideas fresh?
I try to always find new inspiration, whether that is through creating mood boards by visiting galleries or just simply by drawing from nature itself.
3. Describe your perfect day.
I live in Hackney and it’s just a short walk through the park to my Dalston studio and a lovely way to start the day. I’ll pick up a coffee from one of our lovely independent local cafes en route and head to the studio for around 9.30am. I’ll probably have picked up some leaves/ foliage from the park on the way in so I might hang these bits up on my pegboard/ current mood board for some inspiration. I’ll pop the radio on, get out my sketchbook and an array of materials, ready to spend a day drawing – that would be a dream day!
4. What is your creative process from inception to creation?
I usually begin with a drawing, I’ll then turn this into a paper cut and use the stencils for screen printing. I’ll sample the design in various colour ways and then decide on which I think works best.
Once the design and colour way is signed off I’ll sew it up and turn it into a product!
5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I hadn’t ever coloured in any of my colouring book spreads until the promotion began.
6. So you now teach craft workshops. What’s the best bit?
I love sharing my skills and knowledge. I’ve learnt so much along the way whilst building my business I really want to pass on what I know and encourage and inspire people and that really is the best part about running workshops.
7. Are there any crafters/blogs you always keep an eye on?
I am currently in love with textile artist Elizabeth Pawle’s work, her colour palette is beautifully inspiring and bright! If you’re a neon fan check her out.
8. Tell us about your new colouring book Scandia. What benefits do you think colouring in offers for creativity and mindfulness?
Scandia is an adult colouring in book filled with 48 of my illustrated designs to colour in. The designs were inspired by my love of all things Scandi and folk patterns. They feature heavily throughout the book as well as plenty of leaves, florals some succulents and animals too. Colouring is a wonderful tool to a more mindful and stress free way of living. It is utterly therapeutic and so easily accessible to everyone. You don’t need a creative bone in your body to be able to colour in. I think that’s why it is such a popular hobby.
9. All of your products are sourced from the UK. Why is this important to you?
It is really important for me to work with UK manufacturers, I love finding out how much the UK can really do – I don’t need to go to Asia, it’s all here on my doorstep. It does mean my prices can’t be as competitive as larger brands but shoppers attitudes have really changed in recent years and they do appreciate where a product comes from more and more.
10. How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Gosh it has changed so much, I’ve really grown as a designer since I first began 5 years ago. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love and make it work. I’m so proud to be launching my second book and hope you all enjoy some mindful colouring in.
*Please note this competition is limited to UK addresses only.