Bea & Wild – Artist Blog

We are very excited to introduce you to artist and illustrator Rachael Dodds of Bea and Wild Designs, one of the artists who will be showcasing their work at featured@ fair trader from September 1st to October 15th 2022. Here, Rachael gives us some background.

Why did you become an artist?

I grew up surrounded by art and artists, and drawing became a huge part of my life from a very young age. Creating has always been important to me; it’s part of me. Inevitably, I studied Art, Design and Technology and finally became a teacher in the subject area.

The pandemic brought about change, the tragedies, the isolation, and the limiting physical interactions. However difficult that time was for us all, it allowed me to gain space and perspective on my own life and I started to create again. This experience deeply influenced my passion for simplicity, for a sense of solitude in my art, an attraction to the small things in life that can be overlooked. During this time, I set up ‘Bea & Wild’, a small design studio in Holmfirth. I was immediately commissioned to illustrate April Green’s best-selling poetry books, Bloom for Yourself and Reaching the Sun. This opportunity led me to further explore and expand my creativity and I have since taken on other, exciting freelance illustration work, including producing artwork for IKEA.

What mediums do you work with and why?

When I’m drawing from observation, I use graphite and Chinese Sumi Ink as I love the organic, free-flowing brush work it can produce as well as the dense shading it can also deliver. If I’m working on a surface pattern, Windsor and Newton gouache is my preferred medium for its flat colour, ideal for use in digital work. I’ve recently become a member of West Yorkshire Print Workshop, where I have become a regular in the studio. Drypoint etching features currently in my work as I love the simplicity of the delicate stroke, the simple clean lines.

Does living in this area inspire your artwork?

Absolutely! Nature has always been close to me. Holmfirth, where I live, has many areas where you can find serenity and be very close to nature. The countryside is a great source of inspiration to me.

What do you like about Fair Trader and why did you choose to exhibit here?

Fair Trader is very close to my heart. It was the first shop to stock my products 18 months ago when I first set up ‘Bea & Wild.’ As an ethically-minded small business, I am committed to working with socially responsible manufacturers of paper goods and I look for those values with my stockists too. Fair Trader has the most beautifully made, ethically sourced, and sustainable products. With the supportive team of staff and the wonderful space, it was the perfect choice to exhibit here.

Rachael Dodds, August 2022

Email: [email protected]