I must say I was utterly thrilled when the postman knocked at the door on World Gin Day to hand me a parcel with a sticker on which I instantly recognised. It was my delivery from the lovely Katy at Leo and Bib, and the parcel contents? Gin related goodies obviously. Beautifully packaged with exceptional attention to detail, it seemed such a shame to waste even the wrapping, so I did the best I could not to make too many rips…my Granny would most certainly have been proud!
What was inside was truly stunning, three gorgeous gin prints and a string of gin bunting…perfect for a World Gin Day celebration!
I was so taken by her pieces, I decided that I had to find out a little more about Katy, her work and of course let you guys all know about it all too!
Based in Somerset with her husband and three children, Katy gave up work when her first child was born in 2005. She decided to become a stay at home mum and brought up her little-ones around things which she enjoyed…creativity, books and lots of play. Now her children are older, Katy continues with these hobbies alone, with what her nephew refers to as ‘sticky art!’ Katy was inspired to begin illustrating following on from a crafty day with her children which involved making collages from book paper and drawings by her son of two dancing characters which Katy says seemed to have such life to them. A few days and drawings later, Katy’s brother encouraged her to set up a Facebook page, which she added a few little designs to. Overnight she gained 300+ followers.
“It was a little crazy and ignited the idea that perhaps I could turn it into a business to make a bit of money whilst still being at home for the children.”
Leo and Bib took it’s name from a play on the word bibliophile ‘a person who collects or has a great love of books‘ and because in the early days, Katy’s work centred more around two little characters, a girl and boy.
So where does the inspiration come from?
“A love of day dreaming and the make believe world of imagination and nostalgic dreaming…”
…and apparently a love of old paper. Katy has a huge stock of books, paper, postcards packaging which she has sourced over the years from thrift shops, secondhand shops, community recycling centres and car-boot sales. She has the best intentions of sketching out ideas and working through them before committing to collage, but impatience often gets the better of her, “sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!” she says. Sometimes, just choosing the right paper to use is a long process as there is so much choice. Once it’s chosen, that’s when Katy can start building up her pictures, hand snipping and glueing, shading and illustrating and hoping not to make a mistake which leads to screwing it up and starting over again. As a self confessed perfectionist, Katy says,
“The hardest thing about working with collage is when you commit with glue you have to stick it in exactly the right place. If it’s a tiny bit out you have to refigure the whole picture.”
Well I for one would not change Katy’s obsessive ways when the results are as marvellous as this. Now us lot already know how wonderful gin is, but what inspired Katy to create gin art? Well it all started with a commission, where she drew a Gordon’s G&T for someone. It was turned into a print and proved to be quite popular (I can’t think why?!) She has only just added the Bombay Sapphire and Pink Gin designs after a gin loving friend inspired her. So what are Katy’s thoughts on our favourite tipple?
“I would like to say I’m a big gin fan but more of a wine and fizz drinker. Although after being given a bottle of rhubarb gin for Christmas I’m becoming a convert!”
Well there are some beautiful gins in beautiful bottles out there Katy, I’m sure some of this gin posse can make a few suggestions to help expand your collection even further.
If you fancy getting your hands on some Leo and Bib gin goodies, either visit the website, or pop along to The Gin Collection section of Leo and Bib’s etsy page. Katy’s creativity does not begin and end with gin, so be sure to have a look around at all of her other beautiful pieces including prints, cards, wedding or engagement gift ideas and many other personalised items.