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Meet the Maker; Hannah Cantellow Studio & Flash On A String Designs

Meet the Maker

This week’s Meet the Maker blog is all about artwork and illustration. We chat to Hannah Cantellow Studio & Flash On A String Designs about how they started their businesses and the journey it has taken them on.

We’re at the beginning of September! A month of new beginnings and the start of a new season. For this week’s Meet the Maker blog, we chatted to makers who create a range of products, including; accessories, home-ware, art and print work. In this Q&A, we spoke to Hannah of Hannah Cantellow Studio & Jodie of Flash on a String Designs, who create art and print work. Read on to find out how they both creates and launched their businesses, the process to creating their products and the journey’s they have gone on throughout.

Pedddle: Tell us a bit about your business and how it started – e.g. where did you first become interested in producing your products/learn the skills it takes to produce them?

Hannah Cantellow Studio: I actually spent a lot of time as a child making books, writing stories and illustrating them. I remember being obsessed with colour and materials, particularly textiles in our home, to be honest nothing has changed! My own home is full of natural forms, collected objects, patterned colourful fabrics and of course books! I think it was books that really drew me to printmaking, the excitement of revealing an image, the magic of it, it’s captivated me ever since! The first print I made was probably a hand print on my parents wallpaper (sorry mum), but I recall creating a stencil screen print at school and that’s where my printmaking journey began. Since then I’ve studied Fine Art, Teaching, Printmaking and Social Sculpture at university. I’ve always been deeply connected to the natural world and it’s many wonderful patterns. I think I’ve always looked to printmaking as a form of storytelling and a way of seeing. I’d love my artwork to be that bridge that can reconnect the viewer to the natural world again, to re-inspire them, bring them joy, be outside and to connect them to their own creative being! Ultimately, this is why I started my business.

Flash on a String Designs: I have always been interested in art from a young age and practised Contemporary Media Art as part of my Bachelors Degree at University. I started designing prints as a side hustle alongside my full time marketing manager role and this naturally progressed to greetings cards. 

Pedddle: Following on from the first question, we’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what you’re inspired by. 

Hannah Cantellow Studio: Drawing, it’s absolutely essential for me, not just in creating prints and new work, but as an actual experience, it deepens my connection to the world around me and enables me to see it in new ways. Walking is also a key process in my work, particularly my landscapes, in order to really understand a place, I need to walk there, be there and feel it, it’s never just about seeing and observing. It’s about an essence and spirit that the place reveals to me when I’m there. I love it.

Flash on a String Designs: All cards are made from high quality card stock, 300gsm card which always gets good reviews on how thick and well produced it is. All materials used are recyclable and all our cards are produced and printed in our studio in Lincolnshire. I really enjoy getting reviews and messages from customers about how delighted recipients were to receive the cards and how the design and messaging were perfect for their desired wishes.

Pedddle: Do you remember your first selling experience?

Hannah Cantellow Studio: I remember my first sale, I was freelancing as a Fine Art student and was asked to design a logo and some company branding, my first commission I suppose. I remember being paid for it and thinking maybe I should have studied Graphic Design! But that’s the wonderful thing about the arts, the cross pollination between different forms of making is so exciting, long may it continue!

Flash on a String Designs: I first started selling online via Etsy approximately 5 years ago. Since then I have expanded into wholesale and our cards have travelled across the world – even to Australia and are stocked in shops as far as the USA! 

Pedddle: What challenges did you face when you first launched your business?

Hannah Cantellow Studio: I launched my business just under a year ago, in the midst of the pandemic. It sounds crazy and I suppose it was but I’ve never looked back. I remember thinking ‘what’s the point in another printmaker, there are so many already’… whilst that’s somewhat true none of them are me, I have a story to tell about the world I’m connected to and I want to share because it’s beautiful. Everyone has their own voice, yours is unique, so use it!

Flash on a String Designs: At first I struggled to try and do everything myself. I then started outsourcing things like accounting and product listings to free my time up to work on new designs for next season.

Pedddle: What’s next for your business this year – anything you’re planning, looking forward to, are there any new products/ranges etc.

Hannah Cantellow Studio: The summer has been quiet but I‘ve been busying away in my studio, I’ve created a series of linocut prints that celebrate beach combing and visiting the coast. They are the perfect summer memento and even though it’s back to school, these prints will remind you of those happy seaside memories! Next it’s all steam ahead, I’m hand-printing textiles, stocking up for Christmas and planning an exciting new craft kit! I’m also creating some beginner online printmaking tutorials, so if you’d like to dabble in a bit of linocut printing and stamping, sign up to my newsletter (Hot Pink Ink) and watch this space!

Flash on a String Designs: I am planning to expand my wholesale offering across the UK and beyond, as well as to bring out packs of cards as well as Christmas Cards. I would love to delve into the world of notebooks and stationery too!