| Isabelle Allen
This year, it has been an absolute joy to work with gorgeous Michigan based watercolour artist, Kelly Ventura on our 2023 Christmas Range.
When I came across Kelly’s beautiful gestural style floral watercolours in those gorgeous rich earthy tones I knew we could create something beautiful together for Bespoke Letterpress, our styles seems so perfectly aligned!
We couldn’t be more thrilled with the collection we created together, Kelly’s original artworks marry perfectly with Macarena Chomik’s lettering and our signature letterpress gold foil resulted in a stunning range of gift wrap, tissue paper, cards, gift tags, gift bags and stickers.
I sat down with Kelly to chat about her career, her creative process and techniques, and her Christmas traditions. We hope you enjoy!
Welcome, Kelly! It's wonderful to have you here. To kick things off, could you share some insights into your background and tell us where you currently call home?
I am a Michigan-based artist & designer leaving my mark on the industry with my watercolor florals and patterns. You can find my artwork on a wide range of products; from wallpaper to stationery, baby clothes to dinnerware, rugs to planners and everything in between! I live in a small town with my husband and three boys, with my studio just down the street from my house. Graduating with a BFA from college, I had no idea of my career path until I blindly dove into a summer design internship in New York City and learned about Surface Design. It was here that I learned about the possibility of creating patterns for products! I moved back to Michigan, taught myself the basics of Adobe Illustrator, started building a portfolio and landed my first job as a Product Designer for a gift & home company in Chicago. After five years of creating seasonal products, I was let go from my job and began my freelance career. Fast forward twelve years and my company has now grown into art licensing, fine art and wallpaper & textiles. It's been an incredible creative journey and I'm so happy to be able to share it with you!
Your watercolour illustrations are truly captivating and exceptionally beautiful. Could you walk us through the pivotal moments in your journey that led you to pursue a career in watercolour artistry?
Were there any unique or unconventional experiences that influenced your artistic development? My beginnings in watercolour started out of necessity, as I was let go from my Product Design job in 2011. I was pregnant with my second son and needed a medium that was easy to set up and put away in between busy moments with a toddler and newborn. I began my watercolour journey in 2012, working small and a bit rigid with the brush. After months and months of creating and experimenting, I started to see my style emerging. I've continued with that same idea over the years; allowing myself to explore techniques and finding new beautiful things along the way.
Your artwork embodies a soft and feminine aesthetic. Would you be willing to delve into the mediums and techniques you find most compelling when creating your pieces?
I fell in love with watercolour in 2012 and have slowly refined my style and technique over the past ten years. The process of layering watercolour is fascinating to me; it's a tricky medium to control at first, but pretty magical when you get it figured out. I always allow time to play and experiment without an end result in mind; this is where those mistakes and happy accidents can turn into pure magic!
Your recent collaboration with Bespoke Letterpress for their 2023 Christmas Collection is absolutely stunning. What inspired you to partner with them, and could you share some details about how this collaboration came to fruition?
Alischa reached out to me late last year with an introduction and opportunity to collaborate. Though I hadn't heard of the Bespoke Letterpress brand before, I was immediately pulled in by the beautiful product assortment. The colour, the patterns, the quality. I've since, placed orders and gifted so many of the products to family and friends and couldn't be more thrilled to have my own work as part of the line up this year!
When working with Bespoke Letterpress, what aspects of their brand or company resonated with you, and how did you find the collaborative experience?
I was so flattered when Alischa reached out to collaborate last year. The beautiful use of colour is the first thing that drew me in with Bespoke products. Our pattern aesthetics and colour palettes feel so aligned and I knew this was a product collaboration that was meant to be!
Among the products in your collaboration with Bespoke Letterpress, do you have any personal favourites?
How do you plan to incorporate these into your Christmas season this year? I love that our patterns feel festive, but that the colours and designs can live beyond the specific holiday season! I think I am most excited for the gift wrap, as I love wrapping gifts, adding beautiful ribbon and fresh greens to each package.
Your personal store features an array of beautiful products. Are there any particular items that hold a special place in your heart as favourites?
Ceramics have been a new addition over the past year and I love creating these one-of-a-kind pieces. It's been such a joy to see how people are using these pieces for special occasions and in everyday life.
As a highly accomplished artist, are there specific techniques or tools that you consider indispensable to your creative process? Additionally, do you have any valuable advice or tips for aspiring watercolour artists looking to refine their craft?
Create as often as possible, even if you only have five minutes a day. Allow yourself time to play and experiment without an end result in mind; this is how your style will start to emerge!
Finally, we'd love to hear about Christmas in your family. While Christmas in Australia is known for its summery celebrations, what's it like in Michigan?
Are there any cherished traditions you and your children uphold year after year during the holiday season? Michigan is a snowy wonderland at this time of year! We are always wishing for a white Christmas and love to sled, ski and spend plenty of time relaxing with our family. My boys and I always make homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve and bake them on Christmas Day.
You can see more of Kelly's work and shop her incredible collection on her website here.