cherith harrison makes unique gifts with animal themed prints

Cherith Harrison makes unique gifts with animal designs

Homegirl London pays homage to Cherith Harrison.  This Edinburgh based printmaker and designer produces eye-catching animal-themed unique gifts and kitchen accessories.  Her quirky and contemporary collection features red squirrels, stags, Scottie dogs, birds and more.  These adorn everything from bone china mugs, cooking aprons, cotton tea towels, blank greeting cards, stationery notepad jotters plus tote bags and purses.  Her passion for wildlife started when she was eight and caught a baby wild rabbit; she’s been obsessed ever since!  I spoke to Cherith Harrison to find out more.

cherith harrison stag tea towel and red squirrel mug

Stag Mug and Stag Tea Towel

Meet Cherith Harrison

Cherith studied Graphic Design at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated in 2005 with an Honours degree in Visual Communication.  She tells me – “In 2006 I got my first ‘proper’ job at a design agency called Threebrand Design.  It’s a wonderful company that specialises in branding and packaging.  Over the next eight years, I got to see the business grow from seven members of staff to eighteen.  I worked on numerous exciting projects and most importantly I got to develop my creativity.”

cherith harrison portrait picture

Cherith Harrison

Animals have always been Cherith’s favourite subject matter to draw.  She explains – “I used to spend my spare time at the Edinburgh Printmakers, screen printing my animal illustrations onto different surfaces such as paper, wood and fabric.  I would use the fabric to make cushions and purses.  Pretty soon friends and family started making requests so I made more and started selling my items at craft fairs across Edinburgh.  In 2010 I took a three-week stall during Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and after seeing how well my products sold, I knew I wanted to make my hobby into a living.  It was a hard slog, selling constantly and remaining upbeat when the weather was terrible but I surprised myself at how much I loved selling.”

cherith harrison red squirrel apron and red squirrel mug

Red Squirrel Apron and Red Squirrel Mug

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival kick-started Cherith’s business.  She tells me – “I spent the next fifteen months sourcing manufacturers to make my products.  I knew that I would no longer be able to make items myself if I was going to start selling to shops.  Using my savings I was able to buy in stock for my first trade show in Glasgow, in January 2012 – I guess that was the date I officially began trading.”

cherith harrison scottie dog mug

Scottie Dog Mug

Cherith is a one-woman business who often works alone from her Edinburgh home and outsources PR and logistics.  She’s just started connecting with other creative talents – I’m now spending three days a week at Entrepreneurial Spark – a business accelerator hub based in the west side of Edinburgh.  This will give me access to business mentors, free office space and the opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals, which in turn will enable me to develop and grow my business further.”

cherith harrison stag tote bag

Stag Tote Bag

As a creative person, Cherith admits – “I would love to spend every waking moment drawing and designing.  However, running your own business means you also need to focus on other time consuming and boring jobs which are equally essential and sometimes stressful.”  Luckily this is outweighed by the positives, Cherith tells me – “I’m continually flattered by the fact that people are buying something that I’ve designed, something that they like it enough to spend their money on.  I get a great buzz out of knowing that!”

Cherith Harrison Collection

Cherith explains her animal designs – “I guess my obsession with animals began when I was about eight years old and managed to catch a wild baby rabbit!  I was obsessed with them … always watching them from our kitchen window and wanting one of my own.”  Her passion for animals has continued – “I love studying animals’ characteristics, watching how they interact with other animals and their surroundings and observing their different personalities.  I’m inspired by Britain’s nature and wildlife.  I love taking what most people consider to be traditional and making it into something quirky and youthful. Inspiration comes from flicking through nature and wildlife books and trawling the internet for images of animals, especially Pinterest.”

cherith harrison wild baby rabbit tea towel

Wild Baby Rabbit Tea Towel

Cherith talks me through her collections – “My bestselling lines are my Red Squirrel and Stag designs.  When I first started out I really wanted to launch with bold designs of iconic animals.  I like to go out and take pictures of animals I’m going to draw but there aren’t many stags in Edinburgh and red squirrels can be fairly difficult to spot!  So – it was a case of drawing from wildlife books and google searches.”

cherith harrison stag tea towel and red squirrel mug

Stag Tea Towel and Red Squirrel Mug

The adorable Scottie dog celebrates her Scottish roots.  This cute creature adorns everything from a tote bag to a bone china mug, tea towel, and greeting card.

cherith harrison scottie dog tote bag

Scottie Dog Tote Bag

Her other big obsession is birds.  Designs feature a good mix of her feathered friends – bluebirds, robins, owls, and hens.

cherith harrison blue bird tea towel and mug

Blue Birds Tea Towel and Mug

Her designs are hand-drawn, Cherith explains – “I begin a new design with quite simply, an 8B pencil and plain piece of paper, sometimes I’ll use a biro.  I start my drawings by looking for patterns within the subject matter.  This helps give the overall image a sense of character, beauty and vibrancy.  I deliberately exaggerate those patterns through scale and colour.”

Buy Cherith Harrison Products

If you’ve fallen in love with Cherith’s animal designs, you can buy these direct from her website at Cherith Harrison. To give you an idea about price points – bone china mugs are £10.95, cooking aprons £18.50, cotton tea towels £9.95, blank greeting cards £2.50, stationery notepads and jotters £3, tote bags £10.95 and purses are £14.50.

Author: Homegirl London.  Photographs and Thanks: Cherith.