Emily makes and sells original jewellery and art in her store, which includes cute hand painted necklaces and brooches as well as funky greeting cards to send to your family and friends.
We kicked off the interview by asking Emily a little bit about herself. She told us from the age of four she has always wanted to be an artist.
“Many (many) years later and that’s exactly what I am! I paint, I photograph wildlife and I make jewellery.”
Emily was born and raised in South East London before moving to North Devon. She now lives on the edge of a pretty little village with her family. The perfect place to find artistic inspiration!
She started her journey in the world of art by studying Fine Art Painting at an Art college. “I always saw myself as a painter by trade but sadly not many people had room for my large colourful abstract canvases on their wall, so I had to rethink!”
Larryware is a name we hadn’t heard before and we were interested to find out the story behind it. Emily told us: “I made a robin friend in my garden who I called Larry
who I photographed every day. During this time my mum got very ill and died in 2012 and Larry helped me through my grief.
“He disappeared one summer, and I decided to make a necklace using one of the photos that I had taken of him. I researched online how to create this necklace, which started my love affair with YouTube. I enjoyed what I made for myself so much that I decided perhaps I could make this for others too.”
“I create wearable art! Hence the name Larryware! So, it’s entirely a robin’s fault!”
Looking at the products available on Larryware, we can tell that nature and colour are important. We asked Emily where she gets inspiration and she told us that it comes from the “natural world” where she looks for “various in colours, shapes, patterns and moods.”
“I’ve always loved design too and bright bold colour. When I combine these two things in my work it’s absolutely perfect.”
The weather is another thing that influences Emily’s creativity. “On dull days I focus on putting paint to paper and on bright days, it’s paint brush down and out with the camera to capture what I see around me.”
We love the colours and patterns that she used in her work and we were keen to find out how she decides which ones to use. Emily told us that her “colour palette has always been spontaneous.”
“I look at the subjects or say the holidays I am creating for, say Christmas and red and green, and use that as much as I can. Although I can be extremely unconventional too!”
“It also depends on what medium I use, what surface and of course, the mood I’m in. Sometimes I even use the music I’m listening to inspire me. Serene sounds bring in the blues, happy pop music brings on the red and fast dance type music brings on the greens!”
“It’s just one of those things. I’ve always thought in colour and aligned colours to days. For example, Saturdays have always been yellow, and Wednesdays are always emerald green (but never just green!)”
Christmas is only a couple of months away and like many crafters, Larryware has started to make and sell festive products. We have already spotted lots of beautiful decorations on her Etsy store and she told us that she “hopes to add more soon!”
If you’re looking for a special present for a family friend, Larryware is a great place to look because everything is made to be unique. This means that you can give a present that no one else in the world has.
“When you’re an artist and you’ve been to art college, spoken constantly about your work and why you do this as a career, not to mention the thousands of personal statements you write, you begin to value originality. It’s important to recognise what makes you unique and unlike anyone else.”
“Even when I first started using my own photographs for jewellery, I still always believed that everything I made should be unique, so no photograph should be used again, every image should be different.”
“But that proved very difficult as I began to get requests for the same pictures used and that’s why I started to paint again! I knew as soon as that particular brush stroke or pen dot hit the surface, there would never be the same one made quite like it again.”
“The products I sell are truly unique pieces which will never be repeated. To me it makes it much more special.”
As well as making her own Christmas crafts, Emily also enjoys scouting the internet for decorations that other people have made. “Every year I always manage to purchase new decorations, I can’t help it, I have a lovely big sitting room to decorate so I’m always on the lookout for unique items. In other words, I like to own the only one.”
When she isn’t running her craft business, Emily is an “avid bird watcher” and describes herself as the one person that everyone should go on a nature trail with as she knows “all of the bird songs and most of the wildflowers.”
“This didn’t happen all through books, it was simply going out and observing! I love gardening, especially wildlife gardening. Most of my garden is planted out in wildflowers and native trees and I get so excited every year to see all the wildlife I’ve attracted!”
“I also love exercising, I’m what you would call a gym bunny, and my favourite type of exercise is running. I don’t race, I don’t try and beat my time, I just like being outside and moving and feeling good! I love visiting new places and walking new routes.”
“I am so incredibly lucky living in North Devon, I have both Exmoor and Dartmoor on my doorstep not to mention the atmospheric Atlantic coast and simply miles of coastal paths. I simply love being outside experiencing the sheer beauty of nature.”
When it comes to plans for the future, Emily is taking things one day at a time and continuing to do the things she loves.
“No-one can predict what’s going to happen and I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Six years ago, I would never have dreamed I would have lost my mum. She didn’t see my Larryware business only my painting and photography.”
“I can’t believe that Larryware has been running for 6 years now so here’s to the next 6 years!”
After what we can only describe as a wonderful interview, we had one final question regarding insurance. We asked whether craft businesses are aware that they need insurance and she told us: “I think you’re only aware you need specialist insurance when you attend craft fairs which is something I did quite a lot in the past.”
“Insurance in an absolute must whether you sell online or at shows as it gives you the green light to trade. Without it, you put yourselves and your customers at risk.”
“Plus, there are many extra things that you need to think about, for example, if you sell toys to children that have small parts or if you sell to customers internationally.”
“As I started my business without a clue on what I was doing (true story!), I was unaware of all the things that I needed. I only found out about things like insurance from fellow artists and word of mouth. But I’ve found this is quite a supportive world and it’s one I wish to stay in for a very long time to come!”