Living Dreams with Emma Lonsdale

Born in the small Lancashire town of Kirkham, not far from the coast, I spent my childhood baking with my mother and wearing dungarees. My father, a carpenter, has always been an inspiration to me. His eye for detail and enthusiasm for all things well made had a very profound impact on me in my very early years. High standards and respect for quality and craftsmanship are necessities in the Lonsdale household.

I studied art throughout my education, including an art and design foundation in Blackpool, then Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan. I recently moved from Manchester to Cheshire where my husband and I have taken on a 1930s ‘house project’. The lovely thing has been untouched for 60 years and in need of a complete makeover. The house has great character with original features that we intend to keep and renovate sympathetically. My favorite feature is the hallway and landing with its beautiful stained glass window, looking gleamingly gorgeous when natural light beams through. As a child, I dreamt of becoming an artist and to have a creative career. I remember my first paintbrush set, given by my parents whilst holidaying in Bournemouth. It set the tone for my life and I am intensely grateful, I am able to do what I dreamt of doing already in my early years. It became a special treat to visit the Daler-Rowney stores, to be allowed to  indulge in the vast array of brushes and colourful tubes of paint, the handcrafted papers and professional equipment all got me hooked.

Beside art, my other love and passion in life is dogs. I adore them, all of them in their variety, size and shape. Ruby, my miniature Labradoodle is a great companion, always there, always attentive, always happy. A brisk walk in the fresh air with him inspires me to get motivated and focused to spread my imaginary wings. Our adventures together and observing other dog owners is what inspired the Sunday Walk fabric, created for Skandium.  Dog owners and dogs have such a likeness, it is weird… Walking my dog inspired me to create dog-walking characters, capture their relationship and the too often humorous similarities. The fabric organically developed with the characters  interacting to form a repeat, eventually becoming a conversational pattern until it had the right ease and flow.

My friends and I often dream about our fantasy dinner party and the guests we would invite. On my list would be an eclectic assortment of individuals, Sonia Delaunay, as I am a huge fan of her fashion illustrations, her use of colour and pattern, Graham Norton as I love his frankness and humour, Kevin McCloud for his passion for design and personality on the Grand Designs shows, Lucienne and Robin Day so I could quiz them about their careers and creative partnership. The list does go on, enjoying my imaginary companions and our possible dialogues to no end…

I appreciate people to be honest and upfront. I enjoy a good giggle as it makes me feel good inside and out. Humour plays an important role in my life and artwork. I try not to take myself too seriously, however, I can be a bit of a stickler for attention  to  detail, pushing myself to achieve high standards, never settling for second best solutions. Being committed and dedicated, and having interests and passion, are key qualities I look for in people, hence my enjoyment in having collaborated with Skandium. I enjoy listening and observing and can often be found sipping a hot chocolate watching the world go by. Chocolate dreaming is an important motor for bringing out the best in you.

I am not a collector but if I was, paintings would be my thing and chairs, oh, I do love them! Chairs tend to have so much personality… And experience, having watched lives go by, they could tell us stories! My husband (a fine art photographer) is the magpie in the relationship and our loft is full of old Polaroid’s and camera memorabilia, symbolising our joint attention to detail and endlessly enjoying observing. I also like to have a beehive and become a trained beekeeper. Preserving our natural surroundings and protecting the species (I am obsessed with honey) is always and will be top on my list.

Since becoming a homeowner and the prospect of parenthood, travel and holidays have become fewer, however I love to read and plan for future adventures, baby in rucksack and all. France is a place I adore. The culture, food, fashion, accent, the lifestyle, is what I truly miss. I used to work and live in Paris for a while. Maybe one day I will own a bijou apartment there. Let’s dream!

See the Emma Lonsdale fabric collection here.