Holly Greenwood is a print and pattern designer based in Yorkshire. She graduated from BA (Hons) Textile Design at Leeds Arts University in 2019 and returned in 2022 as a Creative in Residence for a six month residency.
The Creatives in Residence scheme at Leeds Arts University provides a platform for recent graduates to realise their ambitions and develop and work on a specific project as a resident within their course area at the University.
Here Holly tells us about her experience as a Creative in Residence:
"When I started the residency, I had just taken the leap and decided to go full time self-employed with my business. Before this, I was working part time in a school to support my business in the early stages. Going full time, although this was the dream for me, it was also extremely daunting! Starting the residency was the perfect timing as it gave me structure and a desk space to do my work in a creative environment.
I run my own business, Holly Greenwood Design, where I create and sell art prints, greetings cards, stationery, kitchen textiles and more. My designs are initially hand painted with gouache paint, and then digitally edited into either a repeat pattern for my fabrics, or curated to fit the purpose of each product. My paintings are inspired by the beauty of nature. I take photographs of any beautiful scenes or flowers I see whilst out and about and then come back to my studio and paint them. I am to create beautiful, illustrated, high quality products to add a splash of colour into your home!
Alongside the product side of my business I do some freelance print design for different companies, and I also create bespoke illustrations for customers, drawing things like pet portraits and wedding stationery."
Images: Holly Greenwood Designs
"My goal for the residency was to design a brand-new print collection to be used on multiple products, build a website, and put together a wholesale catalogue of my products to send out to potential stockists. The print collection started by me painting big detailed floral paintings, each one a slightly different type of flower or season. The paintings were titled, British Wildflowers, Spring has Sprung, Summer in Bloom and Tropical Paradise. These four paintings were then scanned in and digitally printed into art prints. I also put them into repeat patterns so they could be printed onto textiles.
I am really happy with how I managed to complete the goals I set out for myself for the residency. I think just having the space in a creative environment like the uni studios were exactly what I needed to really focus and take the time to design a collection for me. When you work as a freelancer and create art for customers, it can sometimes be hard to balance designing new things for your own business. I think the creative in residency scheme gave me the time and space to help me hold myself accountable to setting out goals and meeting my own deadlines. The facilities at university also helped massively, having access to reprographics was amazing for testing out new designs and prints. The print room staff are also amazing, giving me tips on how to create my work! I also attended some printmaking inductions to refresh my knowledge on the different printing processes and have a go at techniques I wouldn't otherwise have access to. I also hired out a photography studio to photograph some of my new products that I designed whilst on the residency! Another amazing facility that as a small business owner, I would struggle to finance outside of university."
Image: Holly Greenwood Designs
My day as a resident
"A typical day at my residency would go as follows. Arrive at university nice and early, grab a coffee from dot the lions… (another huge bonus of the residency, having amazing coffee everyday!) Then I would head up to my desk space in the textiles studio. I was lucky enough to be given a desk to myself to work from within the textiles studio! This was fabulous as I really felt included and part of the course again, and I would chat to other students and we would all share knowledge and talk about our work which I really enjoyed. I would then sit down to my laptop and go through my emails. I would then maybe get out my paints and do a couple of hours painting for my new collection, definitely my favourite job! Maybe after this I would stop for lunch, and then in the afternoon I would work on my laptop editing designs, catching up with freelance work and any commissions I had on, creating and scheduling content for social media. At 3.30 I might head down to reprographics to collect any printing for the day, to test and see how my new prints were looking digitally printed. Finally, I would head home, walk my dog and do a couple more hours of work on the jobs I couldn’t do at uni such as packing my online orders ready to go out to customers."
Images: Holly Greenwood Designs
"The residency has helped me so much in my own practice. Firstly, having a creative desk space to work from was incredible, and being back in university I really felt a part of the creative community again which is something I felt apart from after graduation. Seeing so many talented artists work on a daily basis makes it such an inspiring place to work! The workshops are incredible as well, I used the photography studios to shoot my new products. I went to the print room where I attended screen printing sessions, and used the heat press to trial fabric prints. I used reprographics, I also went in the library when I had focused work that needed to be done. I also booked onto some online talks about blog writing, website building and talks from creative professionals which were so inspiring. I was also asked by textiles if I would like to take part in the end of year show, which was so kind and I absolutely loved doing that. I helped set up the show which was great experience and being able to show the work I had created during my residency was such a lovely end to my time at uni."
"I am always working on something new, currently I am working on expanding my textile product collection. My tea towels have been super popular so I want to expand my kitchen textiles range. I also love doing wedding stationery for customers, so this is another part of my business that I will really be pushing! I am also planning on attending my first ever trade show within the next year, which is so exciting and equally daunting but I think this is the next natural step in growing my business and expanding stockists."