Posted on

Chloe Cheese: Beautiful and surprising domestic narritives

Chloe Cheese

Chloe Cheese is an artist of great critical acclaim and internationally recognised. Her work sits in public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her handmade aesthetic is full of charm and intimacy, converting the seemingly ordinary into extraordinary and unique visual feasts.

Soup Can

The seemingly ordinary La Belle-iloise soup can has been transformed into a bright and bold composition, reminiscent of pop art compositions but in a thoroughly unique and hand rendered style.

This is the perfect companion for a modern rustic look, bold and bright but elegantly crafted and full of charm.


Lemons is a beautifully coloured piece. The cool subtle background lifts the lemons forward. The Lemons on a shelf is a simple still life but one that epitomises Chloe’s skill in making us see the ordinary in surprising and extraordinary new ways.


The warm richness of Chloe’s Tomatoes will brighten any wall. The yellow is accented with the yellow highlights of the rustic create tantalising the taste buds and the eyes at once.


Chloe’s Cat sits surveying the view, this seemingly simple composition is full of personality as the cats own dual green eyes stare out towards the viewer. Perfect for the animal lover.

Sea View

Sea View is a beautiful composition that at first appears that of a domestic interior, only after time do the adult and child playing in the wash of the rolling waves come into view making this an intimate family scene about learning, love and adventure.

White Shelf

The Shelves of simple newspaper strips are adorned with a variety of objects. Their assemblage draws us to develop a narrative for the piece, how did these objects come to be together? What do they mean to their owner?

Posted on

Kate Heiss: Energetic Florals and Nature Inspired Prints

Kate Heiss studied at the Royal College of Art graduating with an MA in Textile Design in 1997. She then worked as a Textile Designer across a wide range of fashion brands including Fenchurch, Miss Selfridge and the Japanese fashion Designer Michiko Koshino.

In 2011 she opened a print workshop and has been producing lively floral and nature inspired prints since.  Much of her inspiration comes from the natural landscapes of East Anglia. Working in a variety of techniques to create her distinctive style, she describes her style as “Vibrant, illustrative and quirky.”

Kate’s four prints Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer document the natural seasonal cycle of the british landscape. They work as individual pieces but work best as a full set. These pieces have been top selections with our customers for this spring, rich with ultraviolet and purple hues – the colour of the year for 2018.


Kates Autumn print is rich with warm oranges and reds and yellows, muted and earthy autumnal tones. The branches are thick with life, accented with bold berries.


The winter piece is further muted with suggestions of colours from flowers and berries framing a clearing in which a proud bird sits central to the image.


The warm flower petals are cooled by the breezy blue background making this a light, airy but warm spring time print buzzing with life and charm.


This print full of beautiful details and elegant flowers is warmed by its rose background. This is complemented by the beautiful blue and yellow birds sat together on the clearnings branches.


Posted on

James Bywood: Vibrant Screen-Prints of the British Landscape

For the first of our Artist Spotlights were exploring the vibrant works of James Bywood, a screen print maker inspired by the rugged British landscape. James is a keen rambler and hillwalker and captures hidden gems he discovers along the way. He has captured scenes from the Peak District, The Lake District and other great walking areas in the UK. His bright and bold style is the perfect way to brighten any wall.

Otley Chevin

The Chevin is a picturesque wooded hill just outside Otley. Here James and his family (Pictured in the background) have walked the paths for many years and built many fond memories.

The cool earthy tones within the print are very calming. The flat colours are harmoniously balanced with delicate details. The perfect way to bring some natural serenity into your home this year!

Beech Woodland

The colours most popular right now are violets and purples. Bright complementary combinations of colour, Like the purple and green of this print, marry together perfectly.

This print depicts a piece of woodland James came across whilst walking in the Wharfedale valley near Grassington. The previous years leaf litter was still holding its red colour, and the new spring canopy was just unfurling. The sap green of the new leaves contrasted perfectly against the red on floor, especially when the sun came out.

The Langdale Pikes

The Langdale Pikes are amongst the most famous peaks in The Lake District National Park. On a recent trip to stay and walk around Ambleside James found two pikes in question seemed to be omnipresent. On each of the five days James walked they were there, either full-fontal as with this image, or poking their tops out from behind other peaks.

This is a scene familiar to many hillwalkers, and the beautiful colour layers bounce off of each other creating a vibrant and eye-catching composition.

Roundhay Park

Roundhay Park is a jewel of municipal greenery on the eastern edge of Leeds.  The bandstand and surrounding mature woodland make for a beautiful scene.  This was especially the case last autumn, when a prolonged period of fair weather meant the trees retained their leaves far longer than usual.  The leaves turned a beautiful combination of russet tones in the surprisingly warm sunshine.

This print is a spectacular example of how James can blend his screen print layers together to create dynamic compositions, as the blue and yellow layers create a beautiful green burst.

The Boathouse over Crumock Water

This print derives from a tranquil walk along the banks of Crummock Water in The Late District National Park.

The boathouse is the only building on the lake and James found this comparative emptiness a peaceful contrast with the heavily populated and well-known Derwent Water and Windermere.

James Bywoods work is full of vitality and intrigue. His bold flat colour layers are elegantly balanced with subtle textures to capture the rugged beauty of the natural Landscape.

It’s so easy to celebrate your favourite walking spot or bring a little bit of nature back into your home with his work. With 2018 now in full swing it’s time to dive into the exiting styles and trends that are emerging! James’s bold block colours are very popular and the way they overlap and dance together on the page gives his work great depth and texture. Bring your favourite walk home with you!

To learn more about James take a look at our exclusive interview with him:

Posted on

More about Chloe Rafferty

Chloe Rafferty creates beautiful appliqué and embroidered textile artworks and jewellery. Chloe incorporates lovely fabrics and patterns into her work, using them as a base for her free-motion embroidery.

The name ‘Days In Design’ came about because sewing was originally something Chloe did when she was poorly or when the weather was too bad to go outside. Now that her new business ‘Days In Design’ has taken off, Chloe often works when it’s nice outside too!

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I’ve been a graphic designer for many years and I have worked in publishing and illustration. I have no formal training in textiles but my mum taught me to sew and use a to sewing machine when I was very young so I guess it was only a matter of time before I combined them.

Days In Design started life just one year ago (Christmas 2013), when on holiday in Cornwall. I would normally have been out running with my two dogs, mountain biking or swimming in the sea but I was feeling rather poorly with a cold. I hadn’t sewn for ages but I bought myself a craft magazine to keep me entertained indoors, which came with a free felt sewing kit. I ignored the instructions for christmas tree decorations and began to create my own little hand sewn designs.

After that I just couldn’t stop! After doing a lots of hand embroidery I brought myself a sewing machine and began to teach myself free-motion embroidery. I’d seen a few examples on Pinterest and thought that it looked like a technique that would really suit me: being able to combine my skills in design and illustration with my love of sewing and fabrics!
After creating a few more pictures I began to sell a few originals to friends and then decided to scan some and try to sell the prints. Days In Design has just grown from there! It was more of an ‘evolution’ of a new passion, rather than a ‘business plan’!

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

My inspiration for images comes from many things – travel, photographs I’ve taken, stories I’ve read, the area where I live and simply things that I love. Sometimes I sketch out ideas before I start, especially if they are big or complicated pictures, however the final textile version never ends up looking the same – the design always evolves as I work and come up with new ideas!

My appliqué and embroidered textile artworks and jewellery are made by cutting and layering carefully chosen fabrics on a base fabric, usually calico. I secure the fabric in place using Bondaweb (iron on glue) and then by stitching over the top using free-motion machine embroidery, effectively ‘drawing’ with the machine, adding lines, details and textures, sometimes using different coloured threads and adding some hand embroidery or beading to finish. I don’t currently use any fabric printing or painting in my illustrations, all the visual elements are found within existing fabric designs. I don’t use any computer programmed embroidery either, it is all completely free hand.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

I find self promotion really difficult. I am very fortunate to have the ability to design my own branding and packaging etc which really helps to make it all look professional, but I do struggle with constantly having to push myself out there to make sales. I would much rather just create my images than spend time trying to sell them! Opening a shop on Etsy and getting some of my work into local galleries has helped. I’ve had my share of rejects from websites and galleries too but you just have to remember that it’s only usually one persons opinion and there are plenty more opportunities out there if you keep looking!

Some months can be great for sales and it feels like you’ve really cracked it but the next can be slow again for no obvious reason which can be very disheartening. It can be hard not to take it personally, after all, you put your heart and soul into your art, but it’s really important to learn not to let it get to you. I’ve had to find ways to turn the worry into determination!

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

My motivation comes from the great comments and feedback I receive. I love taking my work to craft fairs and listening to what people have to say about it. I have often had people coming to find me because they follow me on Facebook, love my work and and wanted to see it for real. That always amazes me and really inspires me to carry on.

It’s so important to me to only make pictures that I know I will enjoy. I made the mistake a few of times early on of agreeing to make images that I wasn’t inspired by and even some that were not even in my style! I didn’t enjoy making these at all and really didn’t like them when they were finished. I felt like I had ‘sold out’ and I didn’t even want look at my sewing machine for a good while after! I now only make pictures in my own way that I know I will love working on and that won’t shift me too far out of my comfort zone and stress me out!

All my design work, sewing and constant self promotion is very time consuming and hard work but I try to make sure I give myself plenty of time to get out and do other things that I enjoy and get away from my work for a while. If I don’t, I find I quickly loose motivation and then have to take a much longer break before I feel I am ready to start again! Luckily I am my own boss so I can structure my day and my work around anything else I want to do, e.g. I can go out and play all day and work all night if I want to, which works rather well for me as I am a bit of a night owl!

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?

The icing on the cake for me is every compliment I receive about my work and every sale that I make! I have now sent my work all over the world but I still find it hard to imagine that people love my pictures and brooches and want to buy them to put on their walls, or to wear! I am so excited every time I sell something, no matter how small! I have a few lovely regular customers so I must be doing something right?…

I really love running my workshops. I did my first one as part of an exhibition I had last year but enjoyed it so much I have organised them regularly since and have lots more planned for this year. It’s fabulous meeting new people with a common interest and being able to share the skills I’ve learn so recently myself.

7. Describe your creative space

Organised chaos! I am lucky to live in the most gorgeous place – a tiny village nestled into a little valley on the North Wales coast with the sea on one side and the mountains of Snowdonia on the other. I love ‘the great outdoors’ and the views of the mountain side from my studio window are amazing.
I have two desks, one for my computer and design work and one for my fabric and sewing. In reality they are both usually covered in paper and fabric (and other stuff), as is the floor! I have photos, pictures, postcards and cuttings pinned up to inspire me, as well as a huge map of Snowdonia to remind me of all the places I need to go outside and enjoy!

8. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Believe in yourself and do what makes you happy.
I also often think of Mr Micawber (from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens) and his faith that ‘Something will turn up’. When you’ve been freelance as long as I have you thankfully find that it usually does!
The original Interview seen here was conducted and originally published by
Posted on

More about Jessica Hogarth

Jessica Hogarth

Jessica is an artist living and working in picturesque Whitby, North Yorkshire. She was born and raised close by – in Robin Hood’s Bay. This is a charming fishing village famous for its smuggler past. Now she specialises in surface pattern design and illustration. Her work is deeply inspired by this rich environment consequently . After a childhood spent roaming the village’s atmospheric streets, she left the coast and attended Leeds College of Art. Here she enjoyed three very happy years studying Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design. Then graduating with a first class honours degree in 2010.

In May 2011, after 8 months working in a Manchester based design studio, she returned to her homeland in North Yorkshire to begin her business. This officially launched in April 2012 at the British Craft Trade Fair. Furthermore Jessica designs greetings cards and wrapping paper among other products.


Posted on

An Interview with Richard O’Neill

“I like vibrant colours, strong contrast and simple compositions. It’s quite contemporary, but with a strong mid-20th century influence.”

What does art mean to you?

Freedom, self expression.

When did you first become interested in art and why?

I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting as far back as I can remember. I think there’s probably a few reasons: It is one of those activities which require total attention and the outside world just melts away. It’s an activity which has a specific start and end point. There’s also always room to improve your technique. And nobody tells you what to draw or how to draw it.
What Inspires you?

I’m inspired by mid-20th century travel art, but over time I think a few other influences have crept in as well. I like the bright, bold Pop Art style of work so there’s an element of that in there. I also live in North Yorkshire, a beautiful part of the world. So there’s no shortage of inspiration for places to draw!

What journey do you take to produce your work?

That very much depends on the project. Commissions can sometimes mean a site visit to take reference photos and a discussion with the client about the kind of picture they would like. Other times it can be working from reference photos. If it’s self-initiated work I have a huge digital scrapbook of potential ideas most of which I’ll probably never get around to doing! Once the research is finished and the actual drawing has started then I try to be quite tunnel-visioned and not get tempted to start other projects. When I first began I used to have multiple pictures on the go at the same time. Which is great for combating fatigue, but inevitably means jobs take at least twice as long to finish!

How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

A nice cup of Assam tea, a slice of toast with Frank Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade. And total silence.

How has your work developed?

That’s a good question. I’ve been producing the kind of work I currently do for six years now and it’s definitely changed – hopefully for the better! I think I’ve become more experimental in terms of subject matter, pushing at some of the boundaries of what “travel art” can be. I’d like to go a bit further in this area as well, but as a commercial artist I always have to predominantly focus on work that will actually sell – so my own pet projects take a back seat. Though I’ve got a bit more sophisticated in my techniques I still largely work in the same way I did when I started. But I think a certain level of consistency is important, so that’s probably not a bad thing.

How would you describe the artist’s role within society?

I think the artist can have many roles in society, but your personality is always going to dictate the kind of artist you are. I enjoy producing work that hopefully people like and want to buy.

What are your plans for 2017?

To continue to improve in my work and gain greater exposure. There’s also a few top secret plans I am hoping will see fruition!

Posted on

More about Tabitha Mary

What does Art mean to you?

I’ve always loved art, it was my main subject of interest in school which lead me onto studying a degree in Mixed Media Textiles. As I’ve grown older though I find myself more interested in design, surface pattern and product design rather than what would be classified as traditional art.

How would you describe your style?

I’m a graphic designer using bold, clean shapes and bright colours. I guess my work has a 1930’s Art Deco feel about it.

What Inspires you?

Anywhere with a point of interest! A town square, a monument on a hill, lighthouses, coastlines. Really anywhere I guess you’d visit as a day out.

Is there any object, place or theme that is integral to your work?

My inspiration gained from the old railway posters of the 1930’s is integral to my work. The places are then my inspiration and I capture pretty much wherever i’m asked to.

How has your work developed?

It’s grown massively in the past 3 years. I’ve been running Tabitha Mary for almost 6 years, but it started off with one print: the shipping forecast regions, and slowly grew and grew as I ran it in my spare time around my full time job as a graphic designer. Eventually about 3 years ago I plucked up the courage to leave my full time job and put all my efforts into Tabitha Mary. A decision that was life changing for me, but has put me on this fantastically exciting journey as a self employed designer.

What are your plans for 2018?

2017 was an exciting year for me, I had lots of new business opportunities arise but I also gave birth to my first child, so 2018 will be focusing on finding a mother / business woman life balance and trying to achieve my work goals around my little one.

Posted on

An Interview with Stephen Millership


“Art for me is all about making a connection with people, with the kind of art I do that is relatively easy as people usually respond well to illustrations of their locality.” – Stephen Millership

Stephen Millership is a freelance Illustrator who specialises in artwork influenced by the golden age of the travel poster with a modern twist.

You may have seen Stephens work on mainline stations, on the London Underground and in exhibitions dedicated to the golden age of the travel poster.

His work has been used by an impressive array of retailers and clients such as The National Trust and many other Museums and Galleries including the London Transport Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. He has also illustrated books for publishers such as Ladybird Books and Thames and Hudson. Other clients include Bespoke Hotels, The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester and the National Museum of Football.

When did you first become interested in art and why?

As long as I can remember, my Mother said I always had a pencil in my hand, I probably caught the bug from her as she used to paint in oils.

How would you describe your style?

A retro style with a modern twist, combining my love of the nostalgic and the future.

What Inspires you?

I started off drawing illustrations of my home town of Ilkeston, then many views of the Isle of Jura, both locations have inspired me. I can get inspiration from many places, looking out of a window at the way the sky changes to looking at plans of train marshalling yards.

What journey do you take to produce your work?

I always do a lot of research, I draw and take photographs. I always say if I can come away from a piece of work knowing more than I did when I started then that is my perfect job.

How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

Make myself a large mug of coffee and stick Vaughan Williams on.

Is there any object, place or theme that is integral to your work?

I have to say my home town of Ilkeston although I moved away over 30 years ago. Like many market towns it has suffered over recent years with the decline of traditional industries such as mining, steel manufacturing and the textile industry. I wanted to show the town in a positive light and was thrilled when the local museum commissioned me to do a dozen views of local landmarks., it was a real celebration of the town. The Isle of Jura is also very special as we go there most years, it has a remote, wild character which I have tried to capture in my work.

How has your work developed?

I think it has developed into two distinctive styles, the more traditional Railway Poster style and also a more abstract, limited colour palette, exaggerated perspective style, used in my “Lost Destination” series for the design house Dorothy.

How would you describe the artist’s role within society?

To make you think, take time to see things in a different light, question your perceptions

What are your plans for 2017?

I have recently started on transport themed illustrations, collectively known as “Speed”, which I am looking to expand. I am currently working closely with an important client in heritage rail, which I am very excited about. It has been a very busy year so far with collating my work for Athena Art and I also have other projects to finish so I am looking forward to a rest at the end of a very busy 2017.

Posted on

An Interview with Chloe Cheese

“I thought that ʻartistʼ was a common occupation and it certainly felt normal to express myself by making art.” – Chloe Cheese

Chloë Cheese is a print maker whose work has been exhibited worldwide. It can also be found in public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Arts Council of Great Britain. This collection encapsulates her passion for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary object. She finds beauty in the things that we might not even notice therefore causing you to pause and look again.  Her beautiful work is now available to you through Athena and our brand new collections for 2017.


“My mother was an artist and her friends were artists, we were living in a small Essex village so I thought that ʻartistʼ was a common occupation and it certainly felt normal to express myself by making art. As a child l made drawings at the kitchen table while my mother drew her illustrations or cut blocks for her prints beside me. Visiting the studios of the other artists and listening to them speaking about their work to my mother gave me a very practical view of how they lived and worked from day to day. When I went to art school at the age of sixteen the foundations for my practice were already laid. This was the 1970ʼs so I also felt the strong influence of pop art ,music and youth culture of that era.”

How would you describe your style?

“Drawing based I like a line to have tension on the page and I use layers of colour sometimes in quite an abstract way to interact with the line. Because I have often made lithographs and mono-prints the process of overprinting in transparent colours has influenced the way I build an image. I have also worked as an illustrator although I rarely illustrate now it pushed me to draw all the time and take an interest in the narrative quality of my images. I draw in a personal way my primary aim is to communicate something I feel or respond to rather than a purely accurate rendition.”

How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

“I make a cup of coffee and wander round the garden (weather permitting) enjoying the plants I like every time of year there is always something to look forward to. The garden clears my mind and connects me to the reality of nature. I have to be careful not to start working in the garden on these days as it can use up too much creative energy.

Usually I set up my desk the night before which is in the kitchen on a tabletop made for me on my small offset litho press. I work here because the light is good and all my cups, bowls coffee pots etc are on surrounding shelves. I started working at home because I needed to when my children were small but now I prefer it as much of my work refers to domestic interiors.

Is there any object place or theme which is integral to your work?

I am interested in the domestic interior often using objects which once belonged to my mother or objects from my own collection I like things that might be very ephemeral such as a fluorescent plastic spoon, a tin can or a bus ticket as much as my motherʼs ceramic collection cracked or broken things are equally appealing. I often draw the same things – a tiny yellow cup with a black line print of a monkey shaving in front of a mirror the words or a Shave For A Penny written round the bottom and the handle broken off is a current favourite. Each picture is a personal story about the time when I make the image but the viewer does not have to know that although I hope it comes through a little bit.

More people appear now as part of a whole scene, not portraits, I build up a series of ordinary small episodes which are part of how we live against the backdrop of our own history which we walk past every day. I have been working for a long time now so it is interesting to look at drawings I made in Brick Lane during the early 1980’s for instance.”

How has your work developed?

“Slowly. I can still see the connection with work I made in the 70’s I think we always return to themes that interest us.The main difference is working with different kinds of paint and printing techniques .It is important to challenge oneself not become someone who likes to show off technique in a flashy way rather than use it to convey a message about the subject.”

What does 2017 hold for Chloe?

In 2017 Chloe is working on a series of coloured etchings at The Thames -Side Print Studio in London. Later in the year she plans to travel to Venice with friends to continue her occasional series of mono-prints that she makes from drawings. These drawings are “about daily life against the backdrop of that extraordinary city”.

Posted on

An Interview with Catherine Kleeli

“As a child – I was always drawing, painting, glueing or sticking. I have never felt bored as my Mother always used to say “find yourself something to do” which fostered a creativity in making things” – Catherine Kleeli

Catherine Kleeli has always been a keen creative and maker of things. Today her work is stocked by over 150 galleries, gift and card shops around the UK mainly in the form of her beautiful greetings cards which she is proud to have been told are “cards worth keeping”.



Her beautiful animals are original stitched collage. Her characterful creature compositions exude texture and curiosity that are proving to be increasingly popular. “Life itself in its magnitude of wonder is Catherine’s  inspiration. Nothing is off limits be it animal, human, the natural world or a breathtaking landscape”. She describes her style as varied, evolving, curious and eclectic. Working in a sunny studio she has christened ‘The Head Space”, she can translates the greenery, birdsong and wildlife that surrounds her into her collages.

What does Art mean to you?

“When I’m looking at art: Happiness, enrichment, fulfilment. When I’m making art: means focus, bringing a meditative state and a contemplative feeling of calm (if things are going well) or frustration (if not).”

How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

“I run 5km three times a week with my husband and daughter which means an early 5.45am start. I find the benefits include dogs being exercised, family enjoying a mutual interest and keeping fit physically and mentally. Breakfast is a ‘muesli’ thing, made by my husband who is Swiss. Lovely and homemade with nothing but oats, seeds, nuts, natural unsweetened yogurt with a mixture of fresh fruits. Love it and keeps me full till lunch without snacking. Oh! and don’t forget the lovely freshly ground coffee – 2 cups!”

How would you describe the Artist’s role within society?

“Invaluable to the health and well-being of mankind. To be valued and appreciated as deep thinkers who pose and answer questions on life’s big issues through their visual creations. Artists can move, disturb or bring sheer joy and pleasure through their visual genius.”

What are your plans for 2017?

“First of all to produce more animal collages as they are proving very popular for both my greetings card range and prints. I will be experimenting and introducing a new, slightly different range to my greetings card business.

With regular visits to art galleries and exhibitions, I hope to factor in time to paint and get back to fine-art printmaking.

Finally I will take some special family holidays – visiting Stockholm, Spain and the Caribbean later in the year.”