Having worked as a designer in London for 20 years, Paul Farrell decided to pack it in and start creating his own artworks. Now, after four years going it alone, he's established quite an impressive range of products. And he's proving that if you put your mind to it, designer-makers can see their creations sold in some of the trendiest shops in the world.
The latest products in his range include the knitted Woolf pillow, black and white bear cushions, an on-going series of wildlife prints, and his set of Tree Towels. The latter are sold at Heals of London, and he's even seen his work on sale at the Paul Smith shop in New York. His creations are on sale in dozens of stockits around the UK, you can also get hold of it on his Big Cartel site, and at Rockett St George (opens in new tab).
Based in Bristol, Farrell is part of the Spike Island screenprinting studio, where he can make some of his works by hand. In other cases, he seeks out skilled workshops here in the UK to print and manufacture his products. From a design on his Mac to a finished product, there are plenty of challenges.
"My time as a graphic designer taught me to treat every item, brand or commodity as though it has a life and a connection with the public. Advertising it is as important as the product itself so I try and create items that have a story to tell and hopefully that makes them more appealing as whole package with market value, such as the Woolf cushion, or the Tree towels."
"As you can tell from what he designs, nature has a big influence on his creativity. It's been like that since he was young. "I would always go out and entertain myself, be it in the countryside, parks or zoos. From an early age I was in awe of the variety of shapes, sizes and colours in nature," he says. "I get a great lift from being outdoors and away from cities, and made it my aim to understand what I was looking at be it flora or fauna."
While the graphics are simple and bold, the tricky part is working out how much to spend making each item, and then how much to charge. From the Tree towels at £8.99 to the Woolf pillow at £75 and on to prints at up to £300, everything needs to be carefully priced for Paul's customers. "Custom comes from mainly the UK," he says. "The challenge that I welcome is finding the right cost for each made item - the experience and knowledge that one can gather in a short space of time is staggering and rewarding. I also attempt to have everything manufactured in the UK as ethically soundly as I can."