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Meet the Maker; Judy Musselle Art, Molly Designs & House of Marsha

Meet the Maker

Meet our featured stallholders and get to know their creative businesses.

Judy Musselle, The Key

This weeks featured stallholders gave us a glimpse into the world of running a small business. We got to know them each a little better, discussing how they discovered their craft, trading at markets and shopping small.

Introducing Judy Musselle Art, Molly Designs and House of Marsha.

Judy Musselle Art creates paintings, prints and jewellery inspired by magical surrealism and folk tales. Molly Designs specialises in illustration work, transferred onto stationery, cards and notebooks and even tote bags, with the aim of being low waste and planet-friendly, and House of Marsha creates bold and colourful pop icon illustrations using sustainable paper.

Read on to hear from the makers themselves in this week’s Meet the Maker Q&A!

Pedddle: Where did you first develop the skills it takes to produce your work, and run your business?

Judy Musselle Art: I’ve always enjoyed creating art in one form or another. At art college, I specialised in illustration and printmaking and went on to have a successful freelance career working for greeting card companies and book publishers as well as regularly showing my work in exhibitions. I was later employed as an artist-in-residence in numerous schools and on community art projects. Over the past 40 years, I have continued to learn and challenge myself, always trying out new methods.

Molly Designs: I’ve always been a creative soul; my only interest in all my education has been art and all the creative directions you can go with it. I studied photography and then surface pattern design at university in hope that I could utilise these skills to build my own business but always found being “employed” getting in the way. In August 2019, I took the plunge to leave my full time job and embrace a new journey with Molly Designs

I started by putting all my energy into producing work for weddings; mostly wedding stationery and table plans, etc. it was going well and I was generating enough work to get myself known locally in Rugeley. But since the pandemic hit, obviously weddings and everything else got cancelled. Which meant I had to reevaluate what I can do instead and adjust. 

House of Marsha: I started House of Marsha earlier this year. The pandemic really made me reconsider what I wanted out of life (cliche anyone?) so I quit my job as an analyst at a city law firm to finally pursue my passion. I’ve always loved designing and creating things and COVID gave me a kick up the arse to try out doing it professionally. Coupled with a love of interiors, producing wall art seemed like a natural route – who doesn’t love a gallery wall?

Pedddle: What are the inspirations behind your work?

House of Marsha: My illustrations are a nod to popular culture and I base my designs on people who I consider to be icons – think fan art, but fancier. I create my designs digitally on a tablet and use a great printer in Leeds. I took my time choosing the right one – it was imperative to me that they were sustainable and could supply high quality paper. It’s great to be able to tell my customers that their prints are on paper made from 100% recycled consumer waste.

Judy Musselle Art: I am particularly inspired by fairy tales and their dark undertones, as well as dreams and childhood memories. I currently work mainly in acrylic on canvas, building up layers of saturated colour and gradually developing the landscape and enchanted characters in the composition. I try to create an otherworldliness in my work as well as a sense of narrative which probably transpires from my years as an illustrator. My paintings are available as limited edition giclee prints and framed canvas prints. I enjoy developing ideas and working in different mediums and have recently created a series of ‘castings’; three-dimensional wall and table art made from resin then hand painted. Every piece is completely unique!

Molly Designs: I love the ocean and marine life; orcas are my favourite animal. And with that in mind, I decided to dedicated my time into researching the state of the planet and what we can do to help it. Fast forward through all that and now my business is devoted to raising awareness about our planet’s health. My products consist only of eco friendly materials and I try my best to be as low-waste as possible within my practice. Additionally; I use my social media accounts to illustrate earth health awareness. 

While I am building a small business to sustain my living expenses; my passion lies with ensuring each and every person is saving the planet one less plastic bag at a time. 

Pedddle: What do you like most about markets?

Molly Designs: I love markets, because even if its a new market you’re attending, you’re always made to feel welcome and a part of a community. The neighbouring stall holders are always so supportive of each other and we are like an army of small businesses. Of course, I love that I can promote my brand as well being able to convey my passion to my customer audience, which I don’t feel is always accessible via online selling. 

House of Marsha: I love the buzz and the camaraderie with other stallholders – it can be daunting going it alone but you really feel like part of something special when you get to know other traders. I used to help out on my uncle’s market stalls as a kid and used to have the best time. It actually inspired my brand name – House of Marsha. Marsha owned a shop at the market and sold all sorts of weird and wonderful clothes, jewellery and homeware. I’d sneak off from the stall and spend ages there exploring – she must have found me annoying but never let me know about it!

Judy Musselle Art: Before taking part in markets, I was regularly selling my paintings at exhibitions and galleries but rarely meeting the buyer, which felt a bit impersonal. For me the best thing about being a stallholder is meeting the customers in person, talking about the concepts behind my work and hearing about their own interpretations and stories. I now sell limited edition giclee prints I am gaining more understanding of the customers’ expectations and building a small but loyal client base. I am also becoming more confident in pricing my work applicably.

Pedddle: Why is it so important to support independent businesses?

Judy Musselle Art: I think it’s really important to shop small as opposed to shopping with the huge corporate retail companies, because as well as purchasing something unique and fairly priced, by buying from a local maker you’re supporting your community and helping to encourage creativity and individuality.

Molly Designs: Molly Designs: It is beneficial for the general public to shop small because often these business arise from peoples big dreams and while we are deemed “small” business, we hold great passion for what we do. There seems very little passion among those working within the corporate world and I believe its vital for our wellbeing if we all support small businesses, one way or another.

House of Marsha: On one end of the scale, you’re putting a smile on someone’s face – that’s always a lovely thing to do. But at the other you’re putting food on the table. People depend on us as consumers and I think we’ve got a moral duty to spend our money in ethical ways, if we’re in a position to do so.

Pedddle: What’s next for your business in 2021/2022?

House of Marsha: My aim is to get my brand out there and do more in person events. I want to get savvy on social media marketing – I’ve got a feeling I’ll have to finally download TikTok but I draw the line at joining in on a viral dance trend. 

Judy Musselle Art: I am slowly learning to get the hang of online selling and using social media. I have an Etsy shop with a limited range of products and my hopes for the next couple of years is to paint more,

Molly Designs: I’m looking to expand Molly Designs by applying for wholesale agency’s and taking my business further with markets etc.