A "cuppa" interview with illustrator Celia Hart.

My blog will be one year old this week and I have been reflecting on how it felt to post my first entry, it was a bit like talking to the ether! I cannot tell you how exciting it was to get my first comment but then again you will no doubt have had the same feeling yourself. I wanted to create a place where I could share inspiration, a meeting place of like minds and also I wanted an inexpensive and easy way to link to my website information about work and products etc.

Working from my studio, a.k.a. my dining room can be lonely at times and apart from dog walkers and neighbours, opportunities to meet new people are few and far between. Since I have started my blog however, I have found a whole new world of artists, gardeners, writers, dog walkers, designers, quilters, bookbinders and all round lovely people who have enriched my life and brought great joy and that all important ingredient to the life of any creative individual, that is inspiration; so for that ladies and gentlemen I thank you and invite you all to share a “cuppa” with my special guest artist Celia Hart, otherwise known as Magic Cochin from her blog Purple Podded Peas. When I first saw Celia’s blog I felt so inspired that I went out and bought myself some lino! This will be my third such interview to date so whatever your nationality, wherever in the world you have traveled from, pull up a chair and pour yourself a nice cup of tea on this Saint George’s Day.

Q1) How do you take your tea and in what kind of cup do you like it served?

Today I’m drinking Clipper Organic Everyday Tea with semi-skimmed milk, no sugar; in an Emma Bridgewater Birds mug – this one has Fieldfares on it.

Q2) If you could choose anyone, past, present or future, who would be joining us for tea.

I’d like to invite William Morris and David Hockney to join us to tea. Morris was one of the first designers I really got enthusiastic about, I think we could chat to him about gardens and wildflowers; textiles and furniture; poetry and illustration; typefaces and book binding. Hockney could tell us about how he uses a computer to help him work on his paintings and about the optical instruments used by artists in the past. I think they’d both be partial to a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake – don’t you?

Q3) Tell me a little about your background in art and design.

I went to Brighton College of Art & Design, my degree course was called ‘Visual Communication’ – which covered typography, graphic design, illustration, photography, advertising, etc. It was just before the advent of Desk Top Publishing so everything I’ve learnt about digital illustration and DTP has been hands on, for ‘real’ publishing projects. Today I use my computer as just another tool to achieve an end result – for instance my prints start as a sketch, the designs are worked up digitally, then they become hand-carved blocks before I print each colour by hand.

Q4) Where are you based and does it influence your work?

I work in an office and studio which is attached to our house. The building was once a Victorian billiard hall and it is within a walled garden. My latest set of prints are inspired by working in the garden this spring and include our six hens. I tend to think about a possible print for a long time before actually starting work – this is an indulgence, as by contrast commissioned work is usually done to a very tight deadline with no ‘thinking time’ allowed. I love going for long walks and the things I see as I walk inspire ideas for new prints: hares and deer running over the fields; the textures of trees and field furrows; a flock of birds landing in a hedge.

Q5) What have you been doing/working on today?

Today I have been completing some digital illustrations for a GCSE Spanish student’s book for a major UK publisher (sounds boring – but I enjoyed working on these ‘vector’ illustrations). Later I will finalise the pages of the May edition of the village magazine – I’ll also need to take a photo for the cover, which will mean going for a walk to search out a good ‘May’ scene. Sadly, there’s no time for printmaking today, but there are prints hanging up in the studio ready to be numbered and signed. And I need to get the framed prints ready for an exhibition in Norwich. I should think I’ll fit in some gardening too, I usually do.

Q6) I hope that you have brought along something wonderful to show us, what is it?

(Let’s pretend it’s July) I’ve brought some Purple Podded Peas from my vegetable garden – one of the ten varieties of pea I’m growing this year. I’ve also brought along a cast iron fish which sits on my drawing board, I bought it in Japan. It’s both a brush rest and paper weight. I think the pea-pods and the fish are both beautiful and useful so Mr Morris would approve! And both sometimes appear in my prints too.

Well thanks so much for being my guest Celia, I know we have lots in common, we share a love of William Morris and David Hockney, of Japanese prints and country gardens. I am very envious of your walled garden, that is my idea of the perfect garden and something I have tried to create here. I am sure your work will continue to inspire and delight fans old and new.


  1. Great interview! I'm already a fan of Celia's linocuts (and deeply envious of her walled garden!)

  2. Thank you Valerie - that was fun :-)

    There's another invitation for everone back over at Purple Podded Peas.


  3. I've enjoyed my St George's Day cuppa and reading your interview with Magic Cochin. I've also enjoyed some time at Purple Podded Peas.

    Happy blog anniversary:)

  4. Congrats on your One Year Blogiversary! Both you and your blog are a pleasure, and it's been a treat visiting you and seeing your beautiful art. Do keep it up!

    Enjoyed the interview!

  5. I love Celias work!
    Fascinating to see how she uses the computer with the development of her lino cuts. Her garden looks beautiful and I love that mug!
    Thanks Valerie

  6. What a lovely interview, Valerie. Congtratulations on your blog's 1 year anniversary--my how time flies!

  7. Oh yes and Happy 1st Birthday to your blog!

  8. I enjoyed your interview with Celia! It's so interesting to know what's going on in an artist's world.

    Wishing you a fantastic happy 1st blogversary! It's an honor knowing you!

  9. good morning Valerie,

    I just found you via linkedin. Your work is lovely - I see you're from the UK...somehow I find that I am naturally drawn to all things English. Someday, I hope to travel across the pond and bring my sketch book with me.

    I've added your blog link to mine to share with my readers.

    Terri Conrad

  10. Oh, I so enjoyed this interview! You asked terrific questions. Most enjoyable!!

  11. I really enjoyed reading the interview and nipped over to Celia's website, too! What wonderful lino and woodcuts. Couldn't help thinking how many of those designs would look great translated into fabric as the medium. Happy blogaversary! I look forward so much to your tasty posts! Isn't it Shakespeare's birthday today as well? I'm rushing to get another cuppa tea in a nice bone china mug myself!

  12. Happy blog anniversary!
    Thank you for an enjoyable interview with Magic cochin.

    Michala x

  13. Lovely interview and wonderful to find your blog through Celia. Happy one year blogiversary!

  14. That was a lovely way to spend teatime on St. George's Day.

  15. A great interview ,Celia's prints are lovely. Well done on your anniversary of a year of blogging, it has been an interesting journey shared with many of us.

  16. Well what a gorgeous interview. I bought some lino at the Trentham Quilt Exhibition just three weeks ago - I am even more inspired to start hacking away now...oh but I started a new quilt today. I just need more hours. xx

  17. Hello and a very Happy Anniversary to you!

    It is always a delight to visit with you. This interview was marvelous. I am so glad to have been introduced to another kindred spirit.

    I just continue to marvel at how blogging allows so many creative people to connect.

    Next stop ... over to see Celia Hart's site.

    Thank you. xo

  18. I really enjoyed visiting Celia's blog and your interview with her. Congratulations on your first year of blogging and it is always a pleasure to visit here and see your beautiful work!


  19. Congratuations on your 1st blogiversary x
    I can relate a lot to what you said about why and how it feels to blog.
    Hope you have a super weekend x

  20. happy first year to you and your blog. it really is quite an experience this blogging is it not! wonderful interview too, always fascinated to learn more about others artists & their creativity

  21. What a lovely "interview" and chat!
    I've been following Celia's blog for probably two years. I wonder how I missed yours???
    You are bookmarked now and ,once I've glued this collograph and torn down some paper I'll have a leisurely read.

  22. Congrats on your one year anniversary, thanks for this latest interview with yet another talented artist. Your blog is wonderful,thanks also for encouraging me to do a blog myself...Happy Spring, it is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Maine and I hope it is the same for you in Blighty!!! Love, Patricia

  23. I'm full of admiration for your amazing illustrations.
    I also love the photo of the chickens in the garden....so very English.

  24. Happy Anniversary! I recall when you were a brand new blogger!

    What a wonderful interview and thank you for introducing us to this artist! Her lino prints are wonderful!

  25. Lovely interview with a very talented lady. Congratulations on your first anniversary. I started this time last year too and have just had an anniversary giveaway. When I started my blog I never thought I would do it for a year but time has passed so quickly and I am really enjoying it.

  26. It took me round about a year to get my first comment, so yes, I can relate to your thoughts and feelings on coming up to your first anniversary. Congratulations, you have had an outstanding success, but no more than you deserve. An excellent interview. I must catch up on those I have missed. Well done, indeed.

  27. Congratuations on a year of blogging! Thank you for sharing--I'm what my children would call a "newbie" at blogging. So far I've met so many truly talented and amazing people.

    I am so glad to have found you. You are inspiring!

  28. greetings Valerie,

    May I bring my cup of peppermint tea (straight up!) in an antique (English) china teacup, and oh to spend a spring afternoon in the company of William Morris in a garden, sketching.

    Blogging is a wonderful (sometimes the only) way we can stay connected to the world at large as we quietly create in our studio. Happy anniversary.

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  30. Sorry - can't spell!

    Yes - fun interview! (I've got to grow me some purple podded peas). Her chickens look quite happy ranging in your gardens. Mine are very grouchy since I am not letting them out until the baby plants get a bit larger so that they are not so tempted to scratch the spring gardens up. :-)

  31. A great interview! Love the photo with the sketchbook and computer! :)