Guest Artist – Xanthe Bonsall
by Matthew Taylor
3 months ago
Xanthe now sells screen prints and lovely fabric pouches through her successful online shop, and has collaborated with brands on several items, from coffee labels and cafe graphics to cycling kit - and now notebooks.
Below, Xanthe explains how she got into selling her work, describes how the support of fellow designers has boosted her knowledge and her business, and shares an insight into her upcoming collaborations.
"I was really lucky to have the opportunity to go back to college as a mature student... I completed a degree in Textile Design at Leeds Arts University and it’s the best thing I've ever done. I started my business during the second year of my degree and graduated earlier this year in the midst of a global pandemic, which was interesting to say the least.
It still amazes me every time I make a sale, or get sent a photo of my work on the wall of somebody's home... It all began when I started putting things up on Instagram to keep a visual diary of my progress throughout my degree. I gained a few followers and people asked if they could buy my work, which was such a surprise to me.
I'm incredibly lucky that I've had the opportunity to work with some cool independent brands so early on in my career... I love seeing how my work applies to different products and it helps me think outside of the box when I'm exploring new ideas (scroll for more).
My designs are enjoyed by people who love colour, pattern and are a bit nostalgic for the 80's and 90's… I've just completed some design work for an independent cycling brand based in Leeds called Paria, which I'm really excited about. We have winter mens and women's jerseys being released soon, and some more cool stuff hopefully coming out next year. One day, I'd love to do a huge mural somewhere - but I can't paint to save my life.
The pandemic this year has been particularly tough for my fellow graduates… It's been very hard for people looking for graduate jobs, but the silver lining has been the wealth of information and extra support given online from other designers. I managed to bag a new dream stockist for my work, all because of another designer who shared my work online over the summer, which I am very grateful for.
I’ve learnt so much over the past six months… For instance, a wise man taught me how to paste-in-place on InDesign, and it has revolutionised my life.
My limited-edition design for Ootrey is for shape and sweet lovers alike… I really like shapes and exploring how they interact with each other, so I just started building up a load of them and ended up with a nice pile of liquorice allsorts."