M2 is a creative collaboration between my mother-in-law (and renowned potter) Helen Martino and I. It began with Helen’s imaginative and expressive surface patterns and my keen eye for design and love of stationery, and has evolved into an innovative way to showcase the designs and creations of other disciplines in a way that is accessible to anyone.
I started my career designing swimwear prints for Olympic teams for one of the sportswear global giants, and went on to have a successful career in designing swimwear and lingerie for several brands. When COVID hit the UK I was made redundant and so, like many others, had to rethink where my life was going.
At the same time my mother-in-law Helen was also having to rethink how and where she showed her work, as galleries and open studios were being closed and she could no longer showcase her work in the traditional way.
So, after putting our heads together, we decided to combine our talents and passions.
Having recently renovated my family home, the journey began when I commissioned Helen to create a multi-piece ceramic wall hanging to take centre-stage in my open plan kitchen/diner at the heart of the home. I was inspired to use my print design background to collaborate with Helen on the piece, creating an expressive surface pattern inspired by a modern Scandi design aesthetic with a timeless appeal.
This is the design that inspired me to use my background to have the artwork recreated as a repeating pattern by a friend and print designer, and to apply the pattern to a new discipline: printed stationery.
To launch the new venture, we have combined our skills and created M2 - a stationery and ceramics collaboration!
Designed and Created Ltd. is about showcasing makers, artists, and designers within the UK, and I am also keen to ensure that we also support the brilliant companies in the UK that are still using traditional production methods.
After much searching, I found the ideal printing company for this new project right here in the UK – Calverts Coop. Specialising in the traditional technique of offset lithography, Calverts has been printing using this method since 1977.
Using this technique, the printed image is first transferred from a plate to a rubber ‘blanket’, and then from this onto paper using pressure. Inks are mixed individually to achieve accurate colour representation.
As the environment is so important to Designed and Created, ensuring the production was environmentally friendly was a key factor in choosing a printing company to work with. Calverts are committed to ‘green’ printing, having been officially certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and is ISO 14001 certified along with all their paper being fully recyclable.
So you can now have a slice of this Scandi inspired abstract pattern in your home; either as a three-piece ceramic wall art for any room, a beautiful notepad for your home office, or a Scandi Christmas with the matching wrapping paper!
Our aim was to show how beautifully designed pieces can often influence and create other designs, as design itself is always evolving. We wanted to make design accessible to all and to also give back and showcase the talent we have here in the UK making, designing, and creating amazing things. M2 is about us being a part of that community within Designed and Created, telling a story of how two women have inspired each other in tough times, and showing how design can move across creative disciplines and be equally stunning.
In the future, I hope to do more collaborations with other artists to see how other creative disciplines can inspire my designs, and make them visible and accessible to a wider audience.
We hope you like these products as much as we did making them and that you enjoy learning about the talented makers, artists, and designers in our community.
With each sale, Designed and Created are donating to charity of the year 2020 Create Arts. This is a brilliant charity that is dedicated to empowering lives through the creative arts.