The first in our new series exploring the lives of creative people living and working in the country.
Peonie Cole could be a Fifties Starlet, spinning her giddy way to stardom in a floral print Dior dress, or a scrappy little girl like Naughty Amelia Jane of Enid Blyton fame, or even an intrepid girl detective. There is an undeniable vintage quality to the name without it being old fashioned or clichéd, which is perhaps what attracted Catherine Beaumont to it. For it perfectly describes her range of beautiful floral textiles, homewares and gifts.
Even as a child Catherine says she was drawn to flowers, she grew up in Barnton a leafy suburb of Edinburgh and remembers it as a place of lovely gardens filled with blowsy blooms.
“I painted florals all through school, my teachers tried to encourage me to focus on the lines and develop a more abstract style but it wasn’t for me. I studied textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone where I discovered botanical prints and continued to explore my love of flowers.”
Catherine sites the iconic Liberty of London prints and more recent output of the Designer’s Guild as key influences. She also says that as a child she loved the retro-prints of Cath Kidston.
Her mother and grandmother were also both keen gardeners and have clearly been a strong creative influence. Catherine speaks fondly of her Grandmother who has sadly now passed away:
“She grew great big beautiful hydrangeas and after she died I painted them and then had them printed onto fabric. My tribute to her. I’ve included a blue hydrangea print in the first Peonie Cole collection.”
In the two years since graduating Catherine had a minor fling with London life before settling in the Scottish Borders, close to the pretty village of Foulden, intent on making her dream of owning her own textiles company a reality.
“I used to visit Melrose with my parents when I was younger and I just love this area and the wild Northumbria coast. In London we had a tiny one bedroom flat, here I have a studio and lambs in the fields all around. I’m surrounded by inspiration in the hedgerows and country gardens.”
Her founding collection of cushions, cards and homewares for her fledgling company Peonie Cole owes something to her childhood influence, Cath Kidston, but the Peonie Cole style is more sophisticated, and whilst there are echoes of Chintz the feel is distinctly contemporary. Nothing is too busy, leaving room for the eye to rest with plenty of white space and pockets of calm.
Every one of Catherine’s designs is hand painted in watercolour, in Catherine’s distinctive painterly style. She explains that she doesn’t get hung up on exact detail preferring a loose and impressionistic feel.
It’s important to her that all Peonie Cole products are produced wholly in the UK and her designs are digitally printed by a small independent company in Edinburgh onto Hopsack and sewn entirely by hand.
“Hopsack is the perfect fabric for my cushions, it’s incredibly hardwearing and very ‘white’ so the printed colours are beautifully realised.”
The result is a far cry from the mass produced cushions and bales of fabric found on the high street. They are highly skilled, unique, artisan designs professionally produced.
Only a few months into her new venture Peonie Cole products are available in a smattering of shops, north and south of the border, and also online at Peonie Cole. Catherine will also be busy taking Peonie Cole to fetes and fairs around the country.
For the future Catherine intends to indulge her fondness for upcylcing, she’s been busy adding upholstery to her list of skills and says that she hopes to expand into furniture offering one off Peonie Cole upcycled pieces. She’s also open to bespoke commissions, for furniture and weddings invitations, or anniversaries and birthdays, as she says, any occasion that call for pretty cards.
There is huge potential for Catherine to develop her textiles and we feel it’s something of a coup to have found her so early in her career before Peonie Cole becomes a household name.
To buy and more information:
Stockists: Sorella, Hexham.
Peonie Cole products are also available online at: www.peoniecole.bigcartel.com
If you enjoyed this post please ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ using the social buttons.