Meet the Maker - Donna Enticknap, Little Vagaries

Name: Donna Enticknap
Business Name: Little Vagaries
Location: Bournemouth
Regular Markets:  No regular markets, but I’ll be at a craft fair at Lulubelle’s tearooms in Canford Cliffs on December 8th.
// Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I make illustrations, highly detailed, very small scale and intricate, and hopefully with a sense of narrative.... pictures which focus on animals and the natural world. A lot of my work is black and white, but I also paint with different varieties of tea, which gives a nice range of tones and colours. I also make hand-illustrated stones, and dabble in papercuts and print-making.

// Where does your inspiration come from?
Maps, distant lands, old stories. A lot of my inspiration comes from folk tales, poetry, or song lyrics.. the poems of Loren Eiseley and Wallace Stevens had a big influence on a lot of my recent work. Nature too.. walks in the woods, or along the beach, camping trips, the view from my window. There’s a family of foxes that was visiting my garden over the summer, and that was just perfect, getting to see them daily and study their habits.
And if I’m feeling stunted, my favourite place to go is the forest, or for long car journeys as a passenger so I can look out the window, always one of my favourite cures for creative block.

// When did you start your business? 
What I do is not really a business.. but I started selling my work back in 2008 when I opened my Etsy shop

// Where does the name come from?
I don’t really know, I’m a little vague on that point ;)

// Did you undertake any training in your craft or are you self-taught?
My parents taught me to draw when I was very young, and I studied art for GCSE, A level, a foundation course at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design (now known as the AUB). Everything else, I’ve learned along the way. At the moment I’m starting to teach myself print making, just got the tools to start woodblock printing, and I’ve been experimenting with cyanotype. Trial and error. I would also love to learn how to animate.... that’s something I wish I had studied, but let’s see how far I get.

// What was the first thing you ever sold and how did it make you feel?
The first thing I sold was a print of my drawing “Guardians”. It was a giclee print that I had hand-embellished with gold ink details, and I was very proud of it. It went off to the United States, and that made me happy, to think of my little world, travelling across the bigger world.

// Do you have any advice for other crafters just starting out? 
Just create, as much as you can. Do something every day, no matter how small. Break your boundaries, make mistakes, and push yourself. I’d like to think I take my own advice, but I forget it sometimes. I am learning, and trying to live and work more deliberately.

// What’s your favourite thing about Dorset?
Mainly, its age and history. I love folklore and mythology, and we have a lot of that in the south of England.. pookas and boggarts, the Wild Hunt..  But also the landscape; the Purbeck coast, the vastness of the New Forest, the tiny country roads and fields around Knowlton Church and Sixpenny Handley.... It’s a beautiful part of the world.

// What could you not live without?
My husband, and my cats.
And music.
And books.

// If you could eat anything right now what would you eat?
Pancakes. Or cheese.

// And finally, do you have any exciting plans coming up for your business?  Any inside scoops you can share with us? The last couple of weeks I was in Florida, I started work on a new range of silk scarves with my foxes, and some hares, using flora that I found in the Floridian garden. I’m also planning to work on a new series of tea-stain drawings, possibly of Dorset landmarks. We’ll see.

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