Interview: Tipperleyhill

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Tipperleyhill is run by two best friends, Roz and Abi. They paint quirky animals, skulls, and colourful art. I was lucky enough to interview them about their work and business. 

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you? 

Very well thank you. Abi and I love this time of year as all the Summer Fairs and Markets are happening and we really enjoy getting out and about and chatting to customers about our work, especially when the sun is shining!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Abi and I both studied textile design at University, but our friendship began whilst working together at a textile design studio in New York. We grew to discover a mutual love of colour, pattern, illustration and the arts. Some time later, on returning to England to have our families, Abi settled in Leicester and I moved back to London.

I adore your business. What made you decide to set up Tipperleyhill? 

Abi and I missed working together, so worked out a plan to see each other more often which would enable us to explore our creativity together. Supporting and encouraging each other stops those creative blocks and moments of isolation, if we are not together we can share ideas and progress remotely and often post pieces to each other in a sort of ‘art consequences’.

What does your online shop sell?

Our print collection includes over 30 different animals in various outfits, which we are constantly expanding. There is always another breed of dog or animal to add to it! Abi illustrates the animals in black ink and Roz adds the pattern and colour to their clothes. Each giclée print can be personalised by hand with your choice of phrase; from aspirational quotes for kids bedrooms to cheeky, sometimes sweary ones for the adults.

We also paint much larger scale canvases; combining our individual style and flare to create splashy florals, dreamy landscapes and vivid abstracts. Both of us work on each piece at the same time, layering up mixed media and using different paint techniques, in a unique way of creating; calling these “art jam sessions”. 

Why did you call your business Tipperleyhill

We work together on each and every illustration and painting we do, so decided to join our second names together, ‘Tippetts’ and ‘Berkeley-Hill’. We wanted something unique and it means when you put our name into a search engine, only one comes up!

How has your creative process changed since the start? 

We were chatting about that recently and would agree that we have cultivated what we term as an ‘editing eye’. Scanning and printing work is costly, so we need to be really sure everything is just right before we send it to print. Some things just don’t make the cut.

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft? 

I think art is like anything, the more you do it, the better you get. Everyone makes mistakes, or has days that are more successful than others. You just need to keep doing it and you can’t help but learn and improve. There are days where you can feel less creative and having each other to push the other person on and encourage is invaluable. 

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Have you always been into design, illustration and craft?

Yes ever since we could pick up a pencil or paintbrush. We are both passionate about the arts. The times when we have felt least ourselves and unfulfilled are when we haven’t been creating something. Even when we were busy with looking after young kids we always needed a creative outlet.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Pre social media, we did artwork and might be thrilled with it, but it wouldn’t necessarily get an audience and might sit in a cupboard somewhere and get forgotten. It’s great with WhatsApp and Instagram as we can share what we are doing with each other and reach a wider public straight away. Getting feedback let’s us know if we are on the right track and pushes us on. We have so many lovely comments from Instagram, and often make sales through it or it leads people to our website.

Who inspires your business?

We both have a passion for colour, art, pattern and interiors, so we love connecting with other artists, designers and makers, visiting art galleries and listening to audio books and podcasts. 

Do you have any favourite pieces that you adore at the moment? 

There is a bright, floral canvas that we have both painted in mixed media that the two of us love at the moment. We enjoy living with our artwork on our walls before it sells. It gives us a chance to see it in different lights and often a piece is never finished. We’ve been known to add elements and change pieces while they are on the wall. Our paintings have so many layers and stages of development.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram page?

We want to do more art courses, and have more posts showing videos of those happening. Many people don’t have the confidence to paint and often were not encouraged at school. We believe anyone can be creative, they just need the right teaching and encouragement.

What’s your typical working day?

Everyday is different. Once we’ve dropped the kids off at school, we usually give the house a quick clean up and once that’s done get down to work, so answering emails, fulfilling orders and replying to comments on Instagram. We are both happiest though when we are painting together, but if we can’t do that we post each other pieces, one starts and the other finishes it off. It’s unusual, but it works for us.

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What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

Juggling time with the kids around and trying to fit everything in around the school day. It’s getting easier now the kids are older.

Do you have any exciting plans for this year?

We are very excited to have our first stall at Chelsea Physic Garden this year for their Christmas Fair in November. It will be such a lovely place to show what we do and meet other stall holders and makers. It’s important to share experience with people at these fairs and learn from each other. 

We also are working on a new collection of Zodiac prints in collaboration with the astrologist Francesca Oddie. It has been great fun so far and we can’t wait to get this new work out there. We are very proud of them.

What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?

It’s takes a while to work out your own style, so you just need to keep drawing and painting and work out what is most successful. The more you do the better you become.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own business?

Learn from every experience at a fair or art event even if it was not as successful as you’d hoped. We find each event teaches us something new. Be positive and you will be open to opportunities round the corner.

What’s next for Tipperley Hill? 

We want to see our work in more magazine features and collaborate with bigger stores such as John Lewis or Oliver Bonas on print ranges for them. We also want to grow the list of interior designers we work with. We love creating bespoke pieces of art for their clients houses. Our mission is to encourage the addition of colour and fun to a space with art.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

Do what you love and you will love what you do. 

You can see all of their work in a growing list of shops and galleries around the UK including Hilary and Flo in Sheffield, Chirpy Store in Leeds, Push the Boat Out in Putney, Moy Mackay Gallery in Peebles, Bridie Grace Designs in Leicestershire, Mimi V Artworks in Balham, Wistow Gallery in Leicester and a Botanical Home in Twickenham. You can meet Tipperleyhill at a stall, pop up or art fair. Follow @tipperleyhill and @tipperleyhill_pets on instagram or check out their website tipperleyhill.com for more details of where to find them.