Portrait of Judith from Deer and Sparrow
When I created Myokko, I could not have imagined that I would meet so many beautiful people, creators, entrepreneurs, often juggling family and professional life. Women from all walks of life, dynamic and courageous, who have chosen to lead their children's education and/or their business development at the same time, always having that little sparkle in their eyes when we talk about and discover their creations. Enriching life paths that often branch off in totally unexpected directions.
I thought it was time to share a little bit of these beautiful encounters with you.
Today, I am very excited to talk to you about Judith, creator and founder of the brand "Deer and Sparrow". Our paths crossed during my adventure with Etsy and the creation of the "Etsyswiss" team. Judith has meanwhile become the captain of this beautiful Etsyswiss team.
I wish you a nice discovery and good reading. If you prefer the interview in French, you can click here: interview in 🇫🇷.
❉ Judith, who are you?
Hi, I’m Judith and I’m the artist, designer and illustrator behind Deer & Sparrow. I’m from Northern Ireland, UK and now live just outside Zürich in a town called Weiningen.
❉ What was your dream as a child ? What did you want to do for a living?
When I was really young I wanted to be a school teacher or a secretary because I wanted all the amazing stationery supplies they had access too, especially the big boxes of coloured markers! In my teenage years I wanted to be a meteorologist, an architect and then a graphic designer.
❉ How did you fall into this creative world ?
I’ve always been creative. My favourite thing to do as a child was to draw, colour and create. At high school I had really good art teachers who were very supportive and helped me prepare my application for Art College.
In the UK to access a degree in Art you first need to take a foundation course in Art & Design. This was such an amazing year, each week I got to work in a different discipline and really work out what area I wanted to focus on for the degree. My final year of my degree was focused on Visual Communication and Photography.
While I was at university I discovered an amazing paper shop and asked if they need staff, which they did! That was the start of my journey into the small business world and card making. After university I worked full time for the paper shop designing and making handmade Wedding Stationery which we won awards for.
❉ What people, projects, environments and circumstances inspired you?
Deer & Sparrow is all about helping friends and family to connect in creative and colourful ways with ease, and my biggest source of inspiration is found in the ways and places people connect. There is such joy in relationships, in living in a community and being part of something. There are the obvious opportunities to connect such as birthday, milestone celebrations, traditions (big and small) and the places were memories are made (could be at home, on a beach, in the mountains, on holiday). Then there are the everyday moments which really make up life and I find such inspiration in those.
❉ The Name and Logo of your company are really special. Can you explain in a few words what the Deer and the Sparrow represent to you?
It’s a long story so this is a very brief version! Deer and Sparrow was created at a time that was especially hard in my life and the animals are taken from Bible verses and represent sure-footedness and provision.
❉ What was your first product?
My first product was a handmade greeting card. That design has been retired as I hone my style.
❉ What is your flagship product today?
My flagship product is my Switzerland shaped “Grüezi” ornament.
❉ Who would you like to introduce it (your flagship product, that is) to?
Yes, of course, it’s a Switzerland shaped ornament with the word “Grüezi”. I stain the wood a gorgeous dark brown to echo the colour of the chalets in the Swiss Alps and then paint the word “Grüezi” in white, with two red hearts replacing the dots above the “ü”.
I wanted to create something that was meaningful and also easy to post to help people connect. It’s has been amazing to hear how the ornament has been used. The most popular gifting of it has been to connect people who live here (or used to live here) with friends and family in other countries. It’s also been given as a gift to those who have obtained Swiss citizenship, as a leaving gift and the personalised option has been used to mark occasions such as engagements and births.
❉ I love, among other things, your creations based on resin. Can you explain in a few lines the process of creation? Because apparently, creating is not always synonymous with safety. It can sometimes be quite dangerous.
Yes, I work with epoxy resin. It’s a fascinating medium to work and the effects that can be created are very special indeed. I use the resin with pigments and heat to create heart ornaments, trinket dishes, key-rings and artwork. I apply the resin to wood bases in a liquid form which I then manipulate it with various heat tools and after 24 hours it cures to a hard, shiny finish. Each individual item is completely unique, and I absolutely love that!
Epoxy resin is a chemical and although I use a high-quality non-toxic resin I am very careful when using it. I always work with a full chemical face mask on and double nitrile gloves in a well-ventilated space. Some people will think this is a little over the top but I use it frequently I find it best to be better safe and sorry, and really it’s not that much effort to avoid possible side effects. I did once get a chemical burn from the resin, some got on my arm and it took quite a few weeks to heal – now I use longer gloves.
Resin is also a very sensitive medium, it doesn’t like extremes of temperature or too much humidity, which can be really limiting. There are so many ways to use resin and I have so many ideas for new products but like most makers time is my limited resource.
❉ Do you have a place in nature where you go to recharge your batteries?
Yes, the seaside. I love to walk along the shore line, cup of coffee in hand, feet in the water and listen to the sound of the waves. Access to the sea is a little limited in Switzerland, so here I go to the mountains to hike and admire the beautiful scenery.
❉ Can you tell us about a place you think is a must-see in your region? A trail, a place, a restaurant or something else.
There are quite a few lovely walks in my area. The one I would recommend the most is the walk up through the forest to the Altberg Tower. From the tower there is a great view of Zurich, Uetliberg and the Alps behind. There is also a restaurant there which does a delicious coffee with schnapps.
And that's it, this interview is over. If you liked this interview and would like to know more about it, do not hesitate to contact Judith. Here are the different platforms where you can find her:
Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/deerandsparrowstore
And don't forget to share this article around you, on FB or even on Pinterest! If you liked it, of course ;o) Or to react by writing a comment below.
I would like to finish by thanking you, Judith, for having so kindly lent yourself to this little interview. Thank you soooo much!
See you soon! Corinne
PS: Here are the gift boxes we had prepared for you for Christmas 2021.