For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Daisy MacGowan, an illustrator and designer, who sells her own range of ethically and sustainably produced stationary, cards, gifts and art prints under the name Paper Earth Press.
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
Hi, I'm Daisy MacGowan! I'm a 29-year-old mum of one busy toddler (with another baby on the way) living with my husband in sunny Dundee on Scotland's east coast. I am an illustrator and designer and am very lucky to run my business from a lovely studio in town. I draw from nature and life which I then turn into a variety of recycled cards and stationery, as well as fair trade and organic totes and tea towels. Sometimes these designs retain a strong life-drawing feel, but often they become more abstract and simplified through the process. I try to use traditional printing techniques in my work including screen printing and lithograph.
How or why did you get started?
I started my business in the beginning of 2020 because I wanted to work for myself focusing on design. As I've got going I've learned so much. In the beginning I envisioned my practice as being more about illustration but as it has grown and developed I have realised that my passion is in designing beautiful ethical things that bring people joy.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
That is such a hard question! I love the fact that I get to think and work on creative projects every day. Even aspects that aren't strictly illustration or designing products, such as taking photos or doing sketches for my instagram are still nice creative tasks to get into. I also love that I get to chat with customers and shop owners. It has been wonderful to meet some of the nicest people through my business and get to work with them. It is such a joy to get to connect with other creative people!
How has working sustainably impacted your non-business life?
I've always been quite sustainably minded but running an ethical business has really brought things into focus for me. Now that I have a better understanding of supply chains through working with manufacturers and sourcing materials, it's really made me question the things I buy more. I want to know where and how things are made.
Can you recommend any other makers or businesses that work in an ethical or sustainable way?
There are so many fabulous businesses out there! For me I like to shop on Etsy and Folksy as a way to connect directly with lovely makers. I also like to head to markets (mostly online these days) with a sustainable or ethical theme. Right now I am obsessed with Periodical Powers hand screen printed clothing and Rosita Studio's absolutely stunning hand embroidered homeware.
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?
Shop around for small ethically minded brands doing great things. Great places to look include markets, Instagram, and online marketplaces like Etsy and Folksy. You will find that because they source their materials and make a lot of stuff themselves you will end up with something that not only was made in a sustainable way but that is that extra bit special and lovely.
What are your plans for the future?
Well 2020 was a bit of a whirlwind for me and 2021 looks even more crazy. This year I have a new exclusive collection for V&A Dundee launching in their shop, a plan to bring a little bit more manufacturing in house with some screen printing and block printing adventures in the studio, we are renaming things from 'Daisy MacGowan Illustration' to 'Paper Earth Press', plus, I am expecting my second baby on the way due in October! It's going to be a crazy year, but watch this space because some amazing things will be happening!