Becky Creed Lighting at Holloways of Ludlow

Lighting designer Becky Creed, whose work has been at Design Essentials since October 2014, has recently landed herself an exhibition at Holloways of Ludlow in London, where her Turned Paper lighting collection is featured as part of their window display.




Becky’s unique lighting designs won her a place in the final of Delight in Light 2014, a competition which aims to showcase some of the best up-and-coming talent in contemporary lighting.




Her work will be displayed alongside 4 other finalists’ designs, and she’s also been given a feature on the Holloways of Ludlow website. Check out the Holloways of Ludlow blog here to find out more. Well done Becky!



Read our first ever conversation with Becky on our blog!

To see Becky’s entire Turned Paper Collection, visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @BeckyCreed1.


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Michelle Thompson in London

Design Essentials favourite Michelle Thompson, a local artist and illustrator, has recently been making waves in London with her brand new designs.

Michelle has been very busy lately, and was asked to create an exclusive collection of collages to promote the Mayor of London’s Cultural Tourism Event. Her designs were featured on the invitations, promotional material and can even be found on the London Gov website! We’re very impressed… Check it out here.







Michelle has also been working with clothing brand White Stuff to create the artwork for their latest campaign, using nature as inspiration for the designs. The designs can be seen in White Stuff stores and on their website, as well as in the White Stuff catalogue throughout Spring 2015.






To see more from Michelle Thompson, come into the Design Essentials shop or visit our website to see our own collection of Michelle Thompson designs and original prints.


Rose Hill Designs at Harrods this Christmas

The lovely Rose Hill, whose unique pop-art inspired designs we have been exhibiting at Design Essentials throughout 2014, has developed an amazing new range of cards which will be sold in Harrods this Christmas.

Rose herself has said ‘I’m very excited that the British Museum sold out and has re-ordered.’ She previously exhibited a commission range of wild animal designs at ZSL London Zoo, and has worked with celebrity clients including designer Charles Saatchi and Sadie Frost amongst others.

Alongisde Harrods, the British Museum as well as 60 other independent card shops will be stocking Rose’s card range. Following on from her successful ‘Make Your pet Famous’ concept, Rose’s Christmas cards feature pets accessorised with Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

One of our personal favourites is this gorgeous Henry Bengal cat design, complete with a cute jumper, glasses and Santa cat – the perfect quirky choice for cat lovers this Christmas.



cat christmas cards // £3.25 each


Don’t forget, we’re still one of the only places stocking Rose Hill Designs, including the bestselling David Bowie and Paul Weller designs and a selection of animals. See the entire Rose Hill at Design Essentials collection on our website by following this link. You saw it here first!!

We chatted to Rose during the summer to find out a bit more about her inspirations . Read it here.


Congratulations to Rose Hill on her new Christmas range and press feature in the Financial Mail on Sunday.

Read the full article here or see Rose’s Christmas card collection on her website.


To hear more from us at Design Essentials, be sure to follow us on Twitter @WendyHowell1 and like us on Facebook to keep up to date with our Christmassy goings-on!

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Design Essentials chats to Celia Bartlett

We are excited to reveal that photographer Celia Bartlett is our guest exhibitor for September. Based in the Saffron Walden area, Celia works as a freelancer, documenting everything from wildlife to theatre and events.

Celia has been taking part in the August photography challenge, posting a different photograph on her blog every day of the month. A selection of these photographs, plus some of Celia’s wonderful Tour de France images, will be exhibited at Design Essentials until Saturday 27th September.

We chatted to Celia to find out a bit more about her artistic inspirations. Here’s what she had to say….


What inspires your work?

I take my inspiration from many sources, but anything that helps me to tell a story through my images is important.


Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most?

Great light!

What has been the work that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud when I hand over my commissioned pieces to happy, satisfied clients, so that means there isn’t just one proud piece! If I really have to choose though, then the mother and baby portrait I did for day 25 of my August Challenge last year. I always enjoy going back to look at this image.


What is your most important artists’ tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

Apart from my cameras of course, in this digital age I can’t live without my Mac.

What’s the best and worst thing about being an artist?

Best? I love doing what I do. Sadly I have to say, the worst thing is being undervalued. So many people think that photography is just for fun and expect images to be handed out for free. Actually, I am trying to earn a living just like everyone else!


Just to indulge me, favourite Take That member?


And your favourite drink?

My life revolves around tea, and I’m rather partial to a good G&T too.

Thanks Celia for answering our questions! Celia’s work will be displayed in Design Essentials from 1st September.


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Design Essentials Chats to Rosehill Designs

Rose Hill is a London based designer who was introduced to Wendy by Paul Rutter, a mutual friend in business, who told her there was someone’s work she would like to take a look at.

Safe to say she loved it, and in no time at all she had placed her first order. Rose’s pop art inspired style, with its bright colours and retro feel, makes her work a great fit for Design Essentials, bringing something unique, affordable and quintessentially British to the shop.

In addition, Rose has recently been commissioned by ZSL London Zoo and Harrods to design a range of  products. She is also the creator of ‘Make Your Pet Famous’, where owners can send in photos of their pets to be turned into quirky designs for Rose’s cards and notebooks.

Rose’s work has also appeared in magazines & a book soon to be published, plus will feature in a new film called ‘Kids in Love’ starring Cara Delevingne (a model I am completely obsessed with!).

Sounds like a very busy schedule! Let’s get on with the questions, shall we?

What inspires your works?

everything inspires me! I LOVE pop art, especially artists like Roy Lichenstein, Andy Warhol and Peter Blake. My work is influenced by many different eras, the 50s and 60s in particular. People recognise my work instantly because of its distinct style. I’m a born and bred Londoner, and looking at my designa you can see they’re very British and have a retro, Pop Art feel to them.

Design Essentials Dogs Greetings Card - Pug

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most?

I love to combine hand drawn images with digital skills, as it gives extra depth to the illustration. Coming from a textiles background, colour and pattern are very important to me, and so is humour!

What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I couldn’t do what I do without my Wancom tablet. It’s a pen connected to my computer, and all my illustrations are hand drawn using it. Actually, mine has just broken… I don’t know what I’ll do until I get my new one!!

Design Essentials Portraits Greetings Card - Blondie

Whats the best and worst thing about being an artist?

Being an artist is AMAZING. I love it, because there’s nothing better than letting people see the world through Rose Hill tinted glasses! The best thing is being able to express yourself and do what you love, and actually get paid for it! The worst thing about it is all the email and admin, as it means you don’t get to do as much of the art itself, which is the thing you started the business for in the first place.

To date what’s been the work you are most proud of?

I’ve just completed a very exciting commission with ZSL London Zoo, which is a brand new collection of illustrations using the animals from the zoo! You can go and see the range in a Pop Up shop on 15 Carnaby Street. It’s their first Pop up shop, and I’m very excited about being one of the chosen artists to design a collection for them. It’s definitely my favourite collection at the moment.

Design Essentials Jack Russell Note Book by Rose Hill

And please just to indulge me your favourite Take That member?

Sorry, I don’t like Take That!! I’m really big into my music, though. I love bands like Steppenwolf, Johnny Cash, The Black Keys and the Rolling Stones.

And your favourite drink?

Mojito for sure, but I really like an espresso Martini too. Yum!


Thanks again to Rose for taking the time to answer our questions. Check out her work, which is available now at Design Essentials. Cards start from £2.50 and notebooks from £3.75.

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Design Essentials Pop Up Shop

mary-portas-pop-upThe search for pop up space started over 12 months ago when myself and another retailer Nikki Finnemore from online boutique Curious Orange trawled the streets of my beautiful home town of Saffron Walden. We hoped to receive one positive response to our enquiries to host a pop up shop for a 2-4 week stint in one of the many vacant premises. This was not the case and despite the pop up space having gained traction from Brighton to the well trodden roads of the Kings road and vacant shops in Rochester love nor money could not secure us a space.

I was totally dumbfounded at the reaction, as we walked from agent to agent without any success. The shock as is often normal for me wasn’t tears, but hysterical laughter at the frustration of our mission. There was I thinking that pop-ups could be one of the saviour’s of our High Streets. Continue reading