My designs are mostly inspired by the natural world and as a child, I also loved the colourful, psychedelic illustrations of the 60s and 70s, so the use of bold colours and shapes has become one of my signature styles. I spend hours drawing every week and still have ambitions to create more fine art.
I gained A Levels in Biology, Art, Textiles & Dress (Textile Science & History of Costume and Dressmaking) during sixth form at school in Surrey, followed by an Art Foundation Course at Croydon Art College. Eventually I graduated from Middlesex University in 1992 with a BA (Hons) in 3D Design & Jewellery which included a few months at The Fachochschule in Dusseldorf, Germany. During my studies, my eyes were opened to the more experimental work of designers such as Issey Miyake, however, the realities of making a living soon meant that I was working in a fiercely commercial world where my creativity was initially a bit more limited.
As a graduate, my first job was Head of Events and Visual Merchandising for Cabouchon jewellery. As luck would have it, the company was rapidly expanding at the time, which gave me a great deal of business experience. My job involved travelling mostly in Europe, setting up events at luxury hotels and working as an in-house stylist on company films and brochures, which took me to places like South Africa and enabled me to work with companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. Eventually my desire to go back to being an independent artist took over and I quit my job and went travelling in order to make a change. I lived in Sydney for a year and worked as jewellery designer there, re-branding and designing new products for a small manufacturer.
On my return to London I freelanced for about two years as a couture jewellery designer for Erickson Beamon. During this time my Dad had a terrible stroke which was a very difficult time and reflecting on life in general, I decided it was now or never and I took the plunge and started my own business. I totally self funded my business and it was a bit crazy but I learnt a lot of lessons along the way. Initially I created a small jewellery collection which I sold to Selfridges, Whistles and TopShop Oxford Circus in London and a boutique in Tokyo called Arki. Since then it's been a journey of many ups and downs but mostly ups!
My illustrations have also been commissioned by Fortnum & Mason, Dylon and Camden Graphics to name a few. I have written and illustrated lots of stories for children which are being prepared for publication.
I grew up in Surrey, England and won several art competitions, between the ages of 4 and 15, when I won a BBC Design Competition in 1984 to create the storyboard for an Alvin Stardust pop video.
Coming from a family with a history in manufacturing, engineering and building, a desire to design and make things has definitely been passed down through the genes. See www.thomashaywoodandsons.com