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There are many things about Todmorden that makes it a wonderful place. Excellent local businesses, beautiful views, a bustling local market and it's right on the border of Yorkshire and Lancashire. That's why we're not surprised that Louise Lockhart chose to call it home.
We drove to Todmorden to meet Louise, or The Printed Peanut, at her home studio. It's a colourful and cosy space, filled with her own artwork. As we enter, the intoxicating smell of floral soap greets us. "Those are the soap wrappers I designed, I use this as a stock room too." It's an amazing sight to see, almost as if you've walked into a treasure chest of kitsch design. It's nothing like the icy cold Shores warehouse back in Manchester. Products covered in Louise's artwork fill every shelf in her bottom floor studio. Mugs, aprons, coasters, prints - you name it, Louise has made it.
Tucked away in a converted mill, Louise works on all manner of projects. Private commissions and her own shop take up the bulk of her workload, but things are about to change. When we meet Louise, she's awaiting the arrival of her first-born child. An exciting time for any new parent, yet Louise makes balancing the upcoming change look effortless.
As we film b-roll of her studio, Louise gets back to her work. She's creating an illustrated map of the North West for a client. She explains that she enjoys working on projects which have a practical function and briefs that are quite specific.
The methods Louise uses for her work are varied depending on the demands of a project. She doesn't limit her work via a specific medium. Looking around her studio there are screen-printed products, risograph prints, digital drawings and on her desk lay intricate hand-cut elements from her Shores jacket design. Never one to pigeon-hole herself, Louise has created a huge following from her creative curiosity.
Her journey began when she was working in a stationery shop in Vancouver, Canada. This was back in 2012, long before branding your own artwork seemed simple online. In her spare time, Louise would create products for the shop and bring them in to see how well they would sell. Her first success was a 'pass the parcel' game featuring beautiful printed wrapping paper designed by Louise herself.
Since then she has amassed a huge following on social media and her online shop has gone from strength to strength. "I think I've been very lucky with my timing because I hit Instagram just as it was pushing on for people like me."
"It's been such a brilliant way of not only showing my finished artwork but also behind the scenes. People like to see that you're just a real person and you have a messy desk as well!"
Like many freelancers, the lines between work life and home life have been blurred for Louise. She lives above her studio and is of course very active online - which doesn't have the regular opening hours of a retail shop. Having her studio downstairs creates a transition between home and work, but she admits that she does find it hard to shut off. "Because I work in my own house it is hard to stop working at the end of the day. I'm trying to be more diligent about having a 9-5 routine but it isn't really happening."
As she leads us upstairs to her kitchen area, we find more Printed Peanut artwork. This time a rug which hasn't been up for sale. "Some products don't make sense from a cost or shipping point of view" she explains, which is understandable, yet we can't help thinking about the interior possibilities if Louise were to partner with a fulfillment company. It would be all too easy to get lost in the possibilities for Louise. Her work is timeless and can be applied to so many products that there has to be a cut off somewhere.
Luckily for us, that cut off didn't include leather jackets! The design that Louise has created for her Shores collaboration is a 6-panel print. It covers the entire back panels of the jacket and swipes under the sleeves.
Louise's creativity truly knows no bounds. She draws inspiration from everywhere; old school packaging, daily life, the beautiful area she lives in. It seems there's never a moment that her creative cogs aren't turning. Adapting to online changes, building an extensive product base, offering product to both wholesale and direct customers - we have every faith that Louise will be able to handle anything life throws her way, particularly as motherhood creeps closer and closer.
To learn more about what Louise is currently up to, check out her instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/theprintedpeanut/?hl=en