From classic, cheeky to contemporary styles, Natasha hand draws her Cornish gnomes to add a fun element to any space. Decked in Cornish tartan, these little beauties are the perfect gift or reminder of this majestic and mystical county.
What made you decide to start The Cornish Gnome, and what's the inspiration behind it?
I had been in the art world as an artist for about a year (2019-20) before I came up with the idea of the Cornish Gnome in February 2020. I had been selling my art but not enough for a full time income, and so decided to invest in equipment so that I could print my artwork onto gift and homeware products such as mugs and coasters. This still did not seem to be selling in the way that I hoped, which led me to do a lot of research and brainstorming. I have always had in my mind to develop some characters for a children's book, and I wanted it to be Cornish themed so of course they had to adorn the Cornish tartan. I then thought it would add the fun element if I could incorporate Cornish slang and Cornish language. So I made a very long list of funny Cornish phrases. Then at 3am of all times one morning I decided they were to be gnomes and the first one would be Dreckly!
What did you do before creating The Cornish Gnome?
Before the Cornish Gnome I had been in primary education for nearly twenty years. I had been a teacher before having children and then decided whilst my boys were still children to become a higher level teaching assistant so that I could still get to do what I loved but also be available and present in my children's life. However, I became ill with a chronic illness that went undiagnosed for many years and was finally diagnosed in 2017. With work proving too much for me because of this, I spent my days off learning to paint and use digital art and decided to take the leap into a self employed life of art in 2019.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get inspiration from a wide range of places. Firstly, other artists inspire me. I follow artists from all around the world and when I am having a moment of art block it always inspires me to get back to it. Secondly is of course Cornwall, I have a love for the scenery, the interesting culture and history of the Cornish people. I also practice positive mindset and mindfulness and follow a range of inspiring pages on social media that keep me going along with Ted talks every now and then. Finally, it's my art colleagues. I love the interaction I have with artists on a personal level and because we are like minded people those interactions ultimately inspire me.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story on your journey so far?
The biggest challenge for me has been trying to start up a business in a year of multiple lockdowns due to the pandemic. It's very difficult to sell products from stockist stores if they are closed!! However, this has led to me adapting and using online advertising to increase sales from my website. I think my biggest achievement is that I am still here and building my business when I had only really just begun as the pandemic hit.
How would you describe The Cornish Gnome in three words?
Endearing, humorous, cute.
What is your connection to Cornwall?
I was born in the Midlands but my mum moved us to Cornwall when I was a baby. I then grew up in Newquay and left for University at 18. I came back in my mid 20's and settled here again.
Do you have a special spot in Cornwall that inspires you?
I think it is very difficult to have one special spot in Cornwall that inspires me because we are surrounded by so much natural beauty and interesting history.
What's next / any exciting plans?
Next up is adding Cornish Gnome soft toys to the product list. I am so excited to have received the first prototype of Dreckly and he will be hitting the shelves this autumn, closely followed by Proper Job, Ansum and Dearovim. I also really hope to get started on my next children's book based on another character, who that will be I'm not sure as I'm still in the brainstorming stage...it will be a surprise!!
Shop The Cornish Gnome here.