We haven't done a Folks' Tales interview for a little while, so what better way to kick off again than with a friendly chat with Carole Fenwick, aka MaggieMagoo Designs! Carole is a surface pattern designer who lives in Leeds with her partner and dog, Maggie (namesake and inspiration for her business!)
Let's get stuck in and find out more about this talented designer who's work we love so much!
Could you start by giving me a quick biography of who you are and what you do?
I’m Carole, I live in Leeds. I create designs from my home studio, in the company of my dog Maggie. I named the business after her many years ago, not really considering the fact that everyone would then think I’m called Maggie!
Image shows a collection of cards, pins and embroidery which are heart-shaped
Tell me a little bit about your design and making process. I’d love to hear about how you formulate your ideas and bring them to reality.
I love being in nature and go out for walks every day. Another passion is folk art & embroidery (which I think is evident in my design). I have a huge vintage collection, including textiles, ceramics, books, tins, trays, coffee pots.... I’m constantly inspired by what I’m surrounded by, whether it’s flowers and landscapes, or plates and saucepans.
I tend to doodle ideas, either in a sketchbook or on my iPad. I then bring these elements into Illustrator and create patterns, change colours etc to get the idea in my head onto a product.
I also have to mention Instagram, which I love and sometimes hate! I mostly find it very inspiring; I’m in awe of the sheer amount of talent out there in the world.
A screengrab of MaggieMagoo Designs Instagram page, a medium that Carole has a love/hate relationship with!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was lucky enough to work for a large greetings card company as an in-house designer for a long time. I loved my job, but found myself longing for a bit more creative freedom, plus I wanted to spend more time making patterns and working with textiles.
What is the best thing about your job? (And the worst?!)
One of the best things about my job is working for myself and being able to create whatever is in my head; this can be hard sometimes, and I’m not always the greatest at making decisions. My most loathed thing is admin, and I seem to spend way too much time doing it (or avoiding it)!
A flatlay photo of MaggieMagoo Designs new greetings cards!
What is your favourite piece (of yours) that is stocked at Heavy Gretel?
I’m so happy with my new cards and particularly pleased that you’ve gone with the more folky style ones.
Aside from making incredible illustrations and products, what else do you like to get up to?
I find it very inspiring to visit other countries, Japan was incredible, so was Portugal (the patterned tiles that decorate the buildings are gorgeous…). I really missed going to see live music while we were in lockdown. It’s been great to be able to go to gigs again & just socialising in general with friends. Being without that interaction, has made me appreciate spending time with people I love so much more.
I really enjoy cooking and have an unhealthy obsession with Australian Masterchef! Not really sure why seeing as I’m veggie and they’re often cooking things like crocodile and kangaroo. I also crochet and embroider which I find very relaxing. Most weekends I try to get out into the local countryside and see something new. Oh, and I love a good music documentary.
Carole is digging GOAT at the moment - we'd never heard of them, but love the 70s psych sound of them!
I’m a big music nerd (did you get the QOTSA reference in the blog title?) – what music can’t you get enough of at the moment?
I’m really loving GOAT at the moment.
What are your plans for the business - any new ideas in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on building up my portfolio of surface pattern designs, with the possibility of moving away from being solely a product based business. Having said that, I keep thinking of new products I can design such as my new washi tape range, and I’m cooking up ideas for new cards… so we’ll see how that goes!
Finally: tell us a secret about your job that might surprise my readers...
I couldn’t possibly tell you that!
Well now we are intrigued about Carole's secrets - maybe if we're really nice she'll tell us! Thanks so much for such an in depth interview into your process, so interesting to read how you get inspired and make your ideas. Always good to dig deeper with our talented makers - we're looking forward to listening to more GOAT already!
We have a whole collection of MaggieMagoo Designs products right now, including those gorgeous cards! Head to MaggieMagoo Designs to view the full range.