As founder of de Winton Paper co, she has created hand painted designs for brides all over the world as well as illustrating for numerous books, publications and brands. She also leads workshops across the country and we are really honoured to have her teach a Christmas Card Watercolour Workshop in November at Boringdon Hall.
We got to know the talented Harriet a little more…
Tell us about yourself and your journey to this point…
My name is Harriet de Winton and I founded my hand painted watercolour wedding stationery business ‘de Winton Paper co’ about 4 years ago. I have spent my adult life working in creative industries, starting out as a theatre designer, moving into styling and illustration until I had a light bulb moment – helping my step sister to create her wedding invitations. I loved it so much I decided to turn it into a business.
How has your business evolved over the years and what are you most proud of?
The most important decision at the start was choosing to hand paint all my artwork in watercolour. There are plenty of very talented graphic designers out there and I wanted a unique selling point. This turned out to be the best thing I could have done as the process of painting is so relaxing and great for general wellbeing, it has also led to teaching all kinds of water colour and calligraphy workshops. I am most proud that I have a successful business that I get to do full time but that I also that I – on the whole – have a great quality of life and look forward to Monday mornings.
What do you most enjoy about the creative process?
The act of painting is relaxing and therapeutic, but I love the collaborative process: working with my couples and bringing their ideas to life. I feel extremely lucky to call this work.
Describe your create work space / studio…
My husband (Ant of Farwood Photography) and I both work from home. We have managed to create a routine for ourselves (helped immensely by our husky Kala who requires two walks a day). My work space is in the dining room/conservatory which has a magical view from Haldon Forest over Exeter and Exmouth. It is full of natural light and although the conservatory gets cold in winter, it is a wonderful work space. Ant and I meet in the kitchen for lunch, we’re so lucky we get to have our meals together and chat things over. We both work in the wedding industry so have a lot of opinions to contribute to each other’s work, whether they are asked for or not!
Talk us through your typical day…
Kala wakes us up around 7 and we go on a quick morning walk. Coffee and Breakfast in the kitchen before heading through to our respective studios. I try to create something for Instagram each morning, I can really connect with my clients and share the painting process through live painting on my insta stories (The Boringdon Hall painting is on my story highlights). Then I start work on the various commissions, answer emails, have consultations with clients (either on the phone or they come to the house). Being self-employed means we are free to dictate our own hours – my escape from work is tennis: I often play in the middle of the day as I tend to get inspired to paint in the evenings. I don’t fight when inspiration hits but I make sure I take breaks if I am likely to work evenings or weekends.
What’s your biggest inspiration?
I love pattern; be it on a Seville tile or an embroidered smock. Folk art and plenty of colour really excites me. However, all of my favourite designers look to Nature for their ultimate inspiration so I guess I do too. In our rural setting we are spoilt with ever-changing surroundings.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve mentioned the tennis, so the other thing people don’t know is I spent most of my youth playing the piano and singing. If I had had the discipline, I would have followed a career in music, but had my head turned by all the other opportunities presented at Uni. It is still something I love and we have just had my childhood piano delivered to the house, it sits at the other end of the studio and I am summoning up the courage to get back to it.
What’s your greatest achievement?
Being happy with the choices I have made and the way life has turned out so far.
Our Christmas Card Workshop with Harriet De Winton is on Sunday 25th November. A chance for some creative escapism, whilst learning some skills to create some truly original cards or gifts in time for Christmas. Book your place here.