Handpainted Birchwood Flowers and Beautiful Seasonal Decorations Designed & Made in Somerset U.K.

Hello and thank you for visiting my profile - this is the bit about the hands and the heart behind the work...

I am a Yorkshire girl (born on Ilkley Moor) but have been navigating my way around the South West of England for the past 20 - 30 years and have returned to live in my favourite county of Somerset which I am delighted and proud to call my home. 

I have a background in the Arts and after studying for a BA in Surface Design at Bath Spa University was fortunate enough to be offered a position running the newly installed Digital Textile Design Lab where I am still based today - running workshops in digital fabric printing and laser cutting with our wonderful students - our future Designers.

While studying for an MA Design: Fashion Textiles I began to develop my first small range of decorations, selling primarily at local events and tentatively setting up a wee Etsy shop. I began making Birchwood flowers when RHS Rosemoor and The Bishop's Palace, City of Wells contacted me with invitations to produce work for their annual Snowdrop Festivals; rising to the challenge I have been making and selling Birchwood Flowers and Somerset Paper Flower Cards ever since and love adapting and evolving my range through the seasons; as a trained surface pattern designer and a lover of plants and gardens, working with flower and foliage motifs is an absolute joy!

Although my designs are mostly very stylised I work from my own photographs and drawings - sketching out an outline before scanning it into the computer, or working digitally directly with a photograph. I use Adobe Illustrator to generate my digital files and will embellish my initial ideas by drawing on my love of Art Nouveau, Deco, and The Arts and Crafts Movement to add flourishes and form to my motifs and designs.
I have never quite fully understood how I became so attracted to or involved in working with digital technologies - I believe they, and with thanks to the visionary tutors who nudged me in that direction, found me and an affinity I had not immediately sought or imagined has now become my practice.

I work primarily with sustainably produced Birch Wood and a gorgeous heavy grade Somerset Paper locally sourced from nearby St Cuthbert's Mill in Wells. I run my own laser cutter (a large shiny red beast LS1290 known affectionately as Major Laser!) which is housed in an elegant if slightly crumbling converted Victorian Brewery. I approach the cutter very much as a craftsman's tool - rather like a Potter relates to the wheel. Gaining an understanding of both machine and materials is key to my work -  it is an ongoing relationship as I discover more about the process and emerging creative possibilities for consideration.

Each decoration is cut and finished by myself - occasionally having a little help with painting and packing at busy times such as Christmas; Natty Deco is just me, I do not pretend or refer to my business as a 'we' and have no desire to outsource or expand to the point of losing contact with the delight I find in making and exhibiting my own work. Great attention is paid to detail and each decoration is designed and made to last for many years, with the intention of transcending trends and fads - I strive to make beautiful and affordable pieces with lasting charm.

Where possible all of the packaging I use is recycled or recyclable and I am currently in the process of upgrading all of my external packaging to be produced from recyclable or biodegradable materials. 

I exhibit my work regularly at events around the South West and the U.K. and my decorations have been safely shipped and joyfully received all over the world. My online listings change throughout the year in line with the seasons - you may like to consider checking in periodically to see what is new and available online. 

Thank you for your interest in my work - please do get in touch if you wish to visit me at an event or in my Somerset workshop

Maggie Powell

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