Meet the Makers: Amy Grimes of Hello Grimes
Welcome to the first in a new series of maker interviews produced by The City Story.
The City Story: Hello Grimes is a year old. How long did you think about setting up shop before actually doing it?
Amy Grimes: I studied illustration at university, and so I've been creating work for a lot longer than I started selling it under the name Hello Grimes. In 2017, I started to post my work online and considered setting up shop when friends and family discovered what I was drawing (mainly through Instagram) and kept asking to buy them as prints. Since then it's sort of snowballed into selling them in person, through a website, at craft markets, and then eventually through wholesale to retailers; it was definitely an organic progression and not planned at all but really happy with where it's led!
TCS: Your illustrations have a very clear nature theme – do your surroundings/neighbourhood inspire you?
AG: Definitely! Some of the prints are inspired by places I've been (Rockpools was inspired after a trip to Cornwall), but a lot of them are also imagined or inspired by books. As you can tell, it's pretty much all landscapes and plant illustrations, so sometimes it's just somewhere I'd rather be when London feels too urban.
TCS: Can you name a few illustrators whose work you admire?
AG: Right now, I absolutely love the work of Rachael Dean and also Heikala – they both use paints and more traditional techniques rather than digital illustration, which is probably why I admire their work, because it's different to how I create images. Their works also have beautiful tones and colours, which I find really appealing.
TCS: Name a favourite place for a weekend getaway.
AG: I recently went to Rye in Sussex for a weekend, which was great as it's near the sea but the inland countryside is also beautiful. It was also one of the hottest weekends of the year, which helped – I love anywhere near the sea and think there are so many beautiful places in Britain that I still need to discover.
TCS: Would you say London is an easy place to be an independent maker?
AG: I would say that it's a great place to be to meet loads of other makers and designers; the community of designer-makers here is really great, and everyone has always been friendly and open. I've met so many interesting people through various craft fairs and markets, and it's always nice to see such a variety of makers, all with completely different styles and products. There are also plenty of different markets and fairs to choose from, which is great as you can keep yourself really busy. For anyone that hasn't done a fair or market before I'd say go for it, the community of people involved are so supportive and in a city as big as London, you will always be able to find people that are interested in what you do.
TCS: Could you tell us your favourite borough in the city? Why do you like it?
AG: I live in Brockley, Lewisham, which I love – it's got loads of green space and doesn't feel like London sometimes. There's also a really good community atmosphere here, especially in the summer when there are loads of street parties and open studios to visit. In general, I love it south of the river as there's loads going on and it feels more creative.
TCS: Is Hello Grimes going to expand to apparel or other products any time soon?
AG: I'm actually launching some new textile products this week at One Year In, which is part of New Designers – I've designed some botanical and leafy fabrics that are hand made in the UK into pencil cases, makeup bags, and A5 notebooks – they will be available on my website next weekend; really excited to see if people like them! I would love to create a whole range of homeware/interior products in the future, but right now I'd like to focus on creating a small but considered range and see how they go.