“Don't waste electricity, don't waste paper, don't waste food. Live the way you want to live but just don't waste.”
- Sir David Attenborough
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we reduce waste and use recycled and reclaimed products wherever possible.
Through my charity prints, I champion the environment by donating money to animal charities and rewilding organisations.
I also try to make sure my art business is as sustainable as possible. Below are 10 easy ways I do this. Many are not specific to being an artist, and can therefore become good practice for any small business.
All packaging comes through a partnership with a local bike shop Tredz - they keep the boxes for me and I then cut them down, minimising waste.
My memory boxes display items that may otherwise end up in landfill.
I take care not to use any excess packaging.
All of my products are free from plastic.
The mounts I use are made from recycled material.
When sending prints to wholesalers, I wrap prints in recycled tissue paper. This minimises the amount of waste that goes back with the end customer.
I make sure I don’t waste paper, by efficiently planning what I need to print.
I send used ink cartridges to charity for recycling.
If I need to use bubble wrap, I re-use pieces that have come from other deliveries. I never buy new plastic.
I print to order and don’t hold stock, as this could lead to unnecessary waste.
And a bonus 11:
This isn’t to do with recycling, but the bank I use for my business is Triodos, which is a sustainable bank - they only finance companies that focus on people, the environment or culture.
Find out how I worked with a local primary school to turn rubbish into a giant piece of art, here.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
- William Shakespeare
There’s something beautiful about bringing nature into our homes. It’s well documented that biophilic decor, or using natural elements and designs in our homes to make them feel greener, can improve our wellbeing.
The combination of textures, colours and shapes found in nature also make captivating and unique pieces of art. My bespoke memory boxes help you to capture the spirit of a treasured park, a special place, or even your favourite season.
Although I no longer sell my smaller nature boxes on my website, I will continue to take on private and commercial commissions.
This commissioned nature box illustrates the changing of the seasons in Wales. Through curating many different natural pieces, this box gives a snapshot of the natural year in a place that is meaningful to its owner.
Perhaps you love natural home decor, and you’d like help with bringing the outside into your home? Or, maybe you work somewhere with beautiful surroundings, or with a historical garden and would love to create a display to document its botanical significance?
Get in touch today to discuss how I can create something memorable for your space.
Find out more about my commissions process here.
Note: To protect our precious ecosystems, I no longer collect shells and other natural materials from coastlines. Any shells or pebbles I use in current work, were collected many years ago.
“For every minute spent in organising, an hour is earned.”
- Benjamin Franklin
I kicked off this year by showing my work at Top Drawer London in Olympia. It took 7 hours to set up, 3 days standing all day and 1 hour to pack down with a 5 hour journey back to Cardiff to top it all off! Amazing, exhausting but completely worth it, as I had some really exciting and positive conversations with potential new clients.
This was my second year at Top Drawer, and it definitely felt smoother this time. I knew what to expect.
Have you ever had a stand at a show before? Maybe this year is your first year and you don’t know what to expect? I wanted to share my top tips for preparing for the Top Drawer London trade show, so you can arrive calm, collected and ready to meet your community.
Know your timings
Plan, plan, plan! Don’t leave it to the last minute. Think about everything before you go, to make sure it runs smoothly. Map out the set up and timings before you get there.
If you’re doing the show by yourself, make sure you bring your lunch and some water with you, because breaks are hard to come by!
Don’t be shy!
Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. Make the most of every minute of your time, and every potential customer or client who comes to your stand. If you sit there on your phone, or even if you are absorbed in making your actual product while someone is in your booth, you will miss out on potential sales and interest. Be brave, be bold and be friendly.
Search Instagram for inspo
Search through relevant hashtags and accounts. Start with the account and hashtags of the show - for Top Drawer these were @topdrawerlondon and #topdrawer and #topdrawerlondon
Study images that have been posted by vendors in previous years. This will give you a good idea of how others have used the space in different sized stands. You’ll get an idea of how other traders have added colour through paint or wallpaper, and how they’ve fixed things like shelving or hooks to the walls of the stands. It’ll spark thoughts of additional furniture, storage, seating and display ideas.
Read the essential information
Shows like Top Drawer send out pre-show information and guidelines, as well as posting on their social accounts and website. Read it all! Study their blog for further info, and don’t be afraid to get in touch with them and ask!
Shout it from the rooftops
Don’t actually do this. Seriously though, tell people you’re going to be there! Contact your ideal customers and clients, stockists and influencers. Let them know when you’re going to be at the show and try to arrange a time for them to come and see you and your products. Promote where you’re going to be on your own social media accounts, and share posts from the show organisers (this means they’re more likely to re-share your posts and therefore raise awareness of your brand).
Don’t forget to add your stand number and some simple directions on how to find you e.g. in the craft section, next to the food court.
So there you have it, 6 simple and useful tips on how to prepare and get the most out of displaying your brand at a trade show.
As I said, I had some great conversations about potential commissions at Top Drawer this year and met some truly inspirational people. A massive highlight of my year last year, and a direct result of me having a stand at Top Drawer, was the commission by the team at Tower Bridge to create a new drawing of the main bridge, as well as several smaller drawings of some of the finer architectural drawings.
You can read more about this commission and my collaboration with Tower Bridge here.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
2022, what a year you’ve been! A huge highlight for me was that I got to donate £330 to my charity partners through sales of my charity prints - thank you so so much to everyone who supported those causes.
In some ways this year has flown by, but as I look back over what I’ve achieved and the work I’ve undertaken, I can’t believe I fitted in so much!
Here’s what I got up to…
My first trade show: Top Drawer
I kick-started the year by leaping right out of my comfort zone and taking part in my very first trade show, Top Drawer in London. I was delighted to be featured in their Top Drawer Craft Edit, and although absolutely exhausting, being at the show was so worthwhile, as I got to meet so many of you and forged a few great commission and wholesale partnerships with brands and businesses who stopped by my stall. Looking forward to doing it all again in 2023!
Half Marathon Print Collaboration
March saw me partnering with Run4Wales to create a commemorative drawing that made great gifts for anyone who loved running the half marathon. My special edition print was later updated for the October race, as Whizzair replaced Cardiff University as the official sponsor. The print features the iconic Cardiff landmarks found along the route, including Cardiff Castle, the Principality Stadium, the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, Roath Park Lake, Cardiff University and Cardiff City Hall and I also offered a new personalisation service with the name, date and race time of the participant.
Cardiff Life Awards: Winner in Arts category
April was pretty massive for me - I won a Cardiff Life Award! The judges praised my bereavement boxes, saying:
“Katherine Jones provided 19 hugely special memory boxes which aided many to overcome grief of a loved one, whilst engaging over 25000 with online works. Powerful, everlasting creativity.”
I was so shocked, as I was up against some amazing giants such as Art & Soul of Cardiff, Blackwater Gallery, Broken Hare, Hijinx Theatre, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Rubicon Dance and Welsh National Opera.
Cardiff Life Magazine followed this up by writing a double-paged feature on me in their June edition.
RIBA Drawing Competition: joint second winner
I was over the moon in June, when I was chosen as The Royal Institute of British Architects’ joint second winner in their annual drawing competition. Andy Turk, CEO of Siderise Group, described my work as “fascinating” and Niall Hobhouse, trustee of Drawing Matter, was apparently “beguiled” by my drawings. Such lovely feedback!
Tower Bridge Commission: gargoyles and tiny windows
The team at Tower Bridge asked me to create a set of new drawings including a large scale drawing of the bridge and a set of smaller postcard sized drawings, which zoomed in on some of the often overlooked intricate architectural details.
Prints are now available from my website and from the Tower Bridge shop!
Forever Flowers: City Hospice Commission
I worked with my partner Sion Llwyd and City Hospice, Cardiff to design the display of metal sunflowers for the hospice’s unique Forever Flowers event in Cardiff Castle. Tasked with designing an eye-catching layout for the flowers to be displayed in the grounds of the castle, we wanted our design to be joyful and memorable.
Costa Rica: 5 weeks in the rainforest
I had the most amazing time in the summer when Sion and I went to Costa Rica. Holidaying for 2 weeks we went whale-watching, wild swimming, took lots of boat trips and saw absolutely incredible wildlife.
For the last 3 weeks of the trip, I volunteered with Osa Conservation, a wonderful conservation charity, and helped them to take care of the local sea turtles. I was also honoured to be asked to create a mural to go on the exterior walls of their classroom building - so lovely to have left a piece of myself there and lovely to link the project to my art!
Entrepreneur of the Year: Highly Commended at the Cardiff Business Awards
As if all of the above wasn’t exciting enough, in November I was thrilled to be highly commended for Entrepreneur of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards!
I’m definitely looking forward to some relaxation time over the holidays, but I’ve got lots planned for 2023 that I also can’t wait to get started on!
Thank you so much for being here, and for your continued support.
Aaand, if you’d like to be the first to know about what’s coming up, sign up for my emails. As well as news and behind the scenes info, you’ll also be the first to be told about upcoming sales and discounts!
Sign up here!
“In the end, we’ll all become stories”
– Margaret Atwood
Making a personal memory box is a lovely process. Together, we can create something unique that holds many special and emotive objects. It’s a wonderful way to capture the memories you want to cherish and to preserve them in a piece of art that lasts forever.
For each box I make, I personally take my customers through the process and ensure they move at a pace that feels right for them. I understand completely how important it is to get it right.
Here’s a little look behind the scenes where I reveal the exact steps taken to create the special memory box I made for …
From start to finish, this box took 1 month of discussion time, and 1-2 weeks of making time. It included over 70 objects.
Step One: Outlining the process
When Trev got in touch, I sent them a personal email outlining the creation process, as well as some images of example boxes and prices.
Step two: Securing the booking
I always ask for an upfront deposit of £50 for smaller boxes and £100 for large boxes. This secured Trev's booking and a discovery video call to find out more about the story behind the idea for the box, and the objects it was going to contain.
Step three: Sharing ideas
During the initial video call, Trev shared some of the objects they wanted to include in their memory box. We also discussed the size of the box, firmed up final costs and how they were going to get their special objects to me safely.
Step four: The making
Once I received Trev's objects, I started crafting, curating and making. As I developed the designs and artwork, I had several follow-up conversations with him via email and video chat, so he could see how everything was progressing.
Step five: The memory box arrives
When the box was finished, I packaged it very carefully and sent it to Trev via a specialist art courier. The box was now his to treasure.
I get so much satisfaction when I get feedback from my customers telling me what they think of my boxes. This is what Trev sent to me after receiving his:
"The more days that passed, the harder it became to bring ourselves to tidy mum’s things. It just felt like we'd be packing away small pieces of Mum from her home and our lives. When I saw what Katherine had created for someone’s late grandmother's items, I knew we had to do this – it was just perfect.
There were several video chats throughout the whole process, which was so reassuring as we got to see that Katherine wasn't just a talented artist, but was also kind, and really cared about creating something beautiful for us. Those qualities were important to Mum.
The whole experience was so cathartic, when we got the finished box home and presented it to Dad it really felt like a bit of the grief lifted. The clearing away of Mum's items had become a real burden for us, but to see them all displayed together in such a loving and creative way is a wonderful tribute to the most beautiful of people. And thanks to Katherine, Mum will always have pride of place in our house."
You can read about this commission in more detail here:
A guide to prices
Every memory box is made to order and no box is the same. As such, the final price will depend on the number of objects you’d like to include and how intricate the creation process might be.
As a guide, my smallest boxes, which are approximately 16cm x 21cm, start at £95 and my larger boxes, which are 50cm x 50cm and above, start from £500. I can also do a range of sizes in between.
Once I’ve received a deposit, your balance can be spread out over a payment plan with the final instalment being paid on completion.
If you have any questions, or would like to talk through your requirements, get in touch here.
“Katherine’s superb, high quality drawing of Dyffryn House perfectly captures the very essence of Dyffryn and its Grade II listed mansion house. It brings to life a family home that was once at the heart of a thriving estate and community. We are proud to showcase Katherine’s stunning collection in our gift shop.”
- National Trust Retail Team, Dyffryn Gardens
As well as from my website, my prints and cards are stocked by retailers around the country. My prints provide a unique addition to the range of gifts for small independent retailers, National Trust houses, the National Museum of Wales and Tower Bridge in London. They can be found in gift shops, galleries and home décor shops throughout Wales and beyond.
"Katherine’s artwork has proved a great addition to our range of local art. Her line drawings present elegant, intricate and unique views of popular sites and the Castle line drawing is particularly popular. We have even given framed prints to international dignitaries as a keepsake of their visit."
- Retail Manager, Cardiff Castle
My original pen and ink drawings can be turned into high quality digital prints and cards that are an accessible price for your customers.
I manage the whole process, so you and your customers can get exactly what you need quickly and easily.
I create, print and mount the drawings....
and then pack and ship the prints.
Nature is a big part of my life and I work as sustainably as possible. All of my packaging is plastic-free, biodegradable and compostable.
I’m absolutely thrilled to share that I have a new charity stockist. The amazing RSPB now carry my Long-tailed tit, Blue-tit and Peacock butterfly cards. To date, it’s been one of my biggest wholesale deliveries.
I’m so excited to be working with this wonderful charity. As you know, I absolutely love watching birds flit in and out of my little urban garden.
The RSPB do such important work in the UK and around the world, carrying out conservation work that you can even see from space. Through science, species, places, people and policy, they protect habitats, save species and help to end the nature and climate emergency.
Click here for my current list of stockists.
Would you like to stock my work? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me by clicking the button below:
Exciting news - I have teamed up with BBC Gardeners' World to offer one person the chance to win a commissioned piece worth £350. To enter head to this link or click the image below.
Entries will close on 20th October.
I absolutely love doing house and building commissions. It’s really mindful and relaxing – sometimes having to focus on drawing such tiny roof tiles for example, really makes me slow down and concentrate only on what is in front of me.
I thought you might like to have a quick look at some of my recently completed house portraits and private public building commissions:
500-year old Cotswolds house:
A privately commissioned drawing of this stunning 500 year old house in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.
“We LOVE it so much! Thank you x” – @oneoldtown
Torispardon, Scottish Highlands:
I was commissioned to draw this wonderful home as a surprise for my friend who designed it. A fantastic example of what happens when you mix old and new architecture, this amazing home was featured on BBC Scotland’s Home of the Year Show.
St. John the Baptist Church, Cardiff:
This drawing of St John the Baptist Church in Cardiff city centre was commissioned by a customer who got married there, and gave it to their partner as a wedding anniversary gift.
I always love learning about your lives and hearing your stories about the places and buildings that mean so much to you. If you’d like an original drawing of your home, university, wedding venue, or your favourite city, please get in touch!
See more examples of my private commissions here.
“Our experience of a place, knowledge of it, the emotional attachments we form to the people who live there, all affect how we think and feel about a particular place”
– Carol-Anne Davies, Chief Executive, Design Commission for Wales
Lovely to see my drawing of Cilely Colliery featured alongside the wonderful article written by presenter Will Millard describing his emotional response to the abandoned space.
We, as humans in this post-modern world, rarely consider what lies beneath our feet. We see, and celebrate, our world on a horizontal axis only. One that is mostly surrounded by open air, and, for at least half a day, sunlight. When we do venture underground, it is hard to engage with the actual physical and emotional feeling of what it really means to be under the earth. The London ‘underground’ for example, is a well-lit, efficient and sterile tube sealed from the actual element that makes up its name. Being underground, and being able to touch and tunnel through earth, is a different experience altogether. It is claustrophobic and hot; dark, and often quite primal. Your senses are warped, you lose your sense of time and your spatial awareness; you adjust to hear better than you could ever see, your sense of direction is more instinctual, your movements are restricted, yet efficient and effective. Then the release back into the air and sun feels like a rebirth – you can actually smell fresh air when you come back up; you are suddenly so much more aware of how the air moves. Freely breathing and openly seeing somehow feels like an all-new privilege, and not a right to be taken for granted.
What we see here though, and when we consider the legacy of south Wales coal especially, is a world in a cross section and scale that heads directly down in its importance. It is that cross section that still continues ‘hidden’ beneath our feet – and yet, holds so much of the historic value. We have largely removed the pit wheels that would have hung in the air in every direction across the south Wales coalfield, alongside many of the old buildings and pit chimneys. Much of the folklore and culture of mining exists today only in stories, old films, images, and the scars of the last living generation of underground workers. Yet the real area and arena of work, lives on, for now, in a darkness locked deep below our feet.
When many of the mines closed after the strikes, the coal board removed the buildings and repurposed their materials and machines, but they simply capped- off the shafts themselves. Leaving the actual workings intact, and the tools and chambers behind in the dark, ossified for only the length of time it would take for a timber prop or roof support to rot through and collapse. Surprisingly, the process of collapse has taken far longer than the miners back then might have expected. A metaphor in itself, for the enduring resilience and spirit of the Welsh miners.
Thank you for your evocative words Will.
“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living” – Sir David Attenborough
I couldn’t let August go by without writing about our amazing trip to Costa Rica! I still can’t quite believe we finally made it after the last few years – we were supposed to go in 2020!
The rainforest is the most magical place – Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the Osa Peninsula where we stayed for the whole trip, has over 2.5%. There was wildlife everywhere you looked, and I was definitely in my happy place!
For the last three weeks of my trip, I volunteered with the amazing Osa Conservation – a non-profit dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula.
I mainly worked with sea turtle conservation, which involved collecting eggs from new turtle nests to protect against poachers and predators and then releasing the babies when they hatched.
Every morning I woke up at 4.30am and spent the morning on the beach looking for turtle tracks. We’d find the new nests and excavate the eggs. Once we had all of the eggs, sometimes over one hundred of them, we would relocate them to the hatchery, where 50-70 days later they start to hatch. One morning I was lucky enough to see a big mother finishing laying her nest, which was really special as they usually do it overnight. They are absolutely incredible animals and I have so much respect for them – they have to make it against the odds in order to survive. It’s estimated that for every 1000 babies, only 1 will make it to adulthood.
In the afternoons I spent my time climbing up and crawling inside trees. At one point I was surrounded by hundreds of vampire bats – it was terrifying and amazing at the same time!
Other activities included hiking the rainforest, working on the organic farm, helping with reforestation projects and painting and drawing murals too! At all times I was surrounded by crazy amounts of wildlife. One morning I was collecting turtle eggs and nine scarlet macaws flew overhead. I turned to look at the ocean and saw a whale from the beach!
Costa Rica is such a special place and gives me a lot of hope and inspiration for a country that really values their wildlife and landscape.
There are some wonderful people doing wonderful things there, and if you are interested in conservation, I urge you to check them out at www.osaconservation.org.
You can see more of my adventures on my instagram page.
Thrilled that my Welsh Industrial Revolution boxes formed part of the “Objects” exhibition at Blackwater Gallery, Cardiff Bay – a dynamic display showcasing 40 individual artists in a broad spectrum of mediums.
The exhibition explored the question of how we view and consider objects in the context of “Art”, by examining the notion of objects as seen in everyday life and through the lens of the mundane, extraordinary and emotive.
My Industrial Revolution boxes include curated objects and images that tell the colourful story of this aspect of Wales’ past.
Browse and buy more of my “Storytelling” boxes here.
I’m an artist who creates beautiful memory boxes and intricate ink drawings to help you connect with the people and places you love.