My Inspirations …
Ever since the age of ten years old my beloved Auntie Betty inspired me to be creative during my annual summer holiday stay with her, from painting to embroidery, from cooking to sketching. Her love of the countryside particularly the Cornish landscape was to become a major influence in my life. So much so – I moved to Cornwall from Buckinghamshire in 1996 (a few years after Auntie Betty) with my husband and young family, we haven’t looked back since.
In 1998 I began an Adult Education ‘Working Design’ evening class followed by City & Guilds Creative Studies with a brilliant tutor Valeri Bennett. Following on from this, I went on to take my City & Guilds ‘Creative Embroidery’ which I loved.
I have always shown an interest in textiles and colours. My sister always said I had a great eye for colour when I was young.
Auntie Betty and my mum ‘Ruthie’ – always loved being creative too. My mum painted beautiful silk scarves, painted in watercolours, and did masses of crocheting. My oldist sister has a great eye for interior design, and my other sister was a talented fashion designer. So it does run in the family. My children and nieces are very artistic. I can see it flowing into the next generations, it wonderful.
I think any form of art is therapy; I adore painting furniture, being creative with colours and textures. I’ve had no formal training I’m very lose and whacky, I give it a go “there are no rules’ is my mantra.
Trained artists such as Val and Hayley will work out the colours, plan and relate back to the colour wheel; I know Haley loves working with certain colours and Val is very precise. I suppose I’m saying, I’m the messy one out of all of us!
This helps the chemistry within Sweetpea & Betty – we have one extreme to the other and it shows how anyone can use the Chalk Paint!
Annie Sloan continues to be a great inspiration for me. Annie has encouraged me to play and experiment with her Chalk Paint on many surfaces from wood, plastic, glass to fabric. She’s opened my eyes to the colours of buildings both externally and internally in a big way. Just look at my Pinterest!
I created Sweetpea & Betty in the summer of 2010. I managed to persuade my sister, Tricia that it would be a great idea!
Tricia was, and still is, a very encouraging and supportive sister, who just looked at me (like I was mad) and said ‘OK, lets do it!’
So by November 2010, we were Open, with hardly any stock, on a steep learning curve: never ever had any experience in running a shop or been in retail, we giggled our way through the first few months, a lot of laughs and a lot of hard work.
We wanted to create Sweetpea & Betty as a bubble stepping into a girly, arty, pretty inspirational space – that was escapism.
Four years on – I continue to absolutely love running Sweetpea & Betty.
We have expanded to 5 Arwenack Street in Falmouth, giving us more storage. Val and Hayley are an integral part of the team, now running their own workshops, sharing their skills as artists.
I am a Stockist as well as a Distributor for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I distribute across the whole of Cornwall to approximately 9 other shops.
I love the website and social media. I would like to continue to develop this area and who knows I might even open another shop…