Hillsborough Gardens is a spectacular delight for the senses. Flowers poking in every direction, each vying for my attention.
It was July 2015 when I first visited Hillsborough Castle.
I was invited to illustrate the House and Gardens for a special giftware range. Feeling excited, nervous and a little overwhelmed, I gripped my pen to steady my thoughts.
How am I going to fit all this beauty into a rectangular tea towel?!
Lavender began to fill my nose. Bees dipped in and out of verbena like a pick 'n' mix party.
Hydrangea bushes exploding with flowers drew my attention towards creeping wisteria at each side of the House.
Ah Ha! This will be my starting point.
I used watercolour, pen and ink to sketch flowers and foliage that 'popped' in front of the building. Purples and pinks were my favourites.
The most challenging aspect of this project was deciding what to eliminate.
The design had to fit different sized products such as tea towels, tote bags and mugs so there were lots of practical elements to think about.
Lots of head scratching (and many cups of tea) helped me to be ruthless when really I wanted to go wild with my paints.
Producing Hillsborough Castle design has been a career highlight to date. Learning to simplify and depict beauty was a challenge but utterly satisfying to see the finished products on the shop shelves.