“It’s a very visual theme, water,” says Mary Fellows, this month’s cover artist. “I thought about it in my head for quite a long time, and then when I sat down to work on it, it was that unexpectedly hot weekend in May, so I wanted to do something summery and pretty.”
We love the way Mary layers bold graphics and fonts with more intricate patterns and details to create the attention-grabbing designs that many people in Lewes will be so familiar with. “I’m used to screen printing,” she says. “With screen printing you can create lovely big solid chunks of colour, but when you use other types of print, especially digital, sometimes those areas of colour just don’t work as well. By putting those layers and textures in, I’ve found a better way of working within the restrictions of the process.” Over time she’s built up a library of patterns, drawn by hand and digitised, which she can draw from when she’s working on a design. “I have my favourites,” she says, pointing out the matchbox-strike honeycomb pattern layered across the Viva masthead, which she’s borrowed from her illustration Waste Not Want Not.
This is Mary’s fourth Viva cover; it follows her Rodin’s The Kiss in a snow globe in February 2010, her festive Babycham reindeer design for Christmas 2013 and her retro soapbox-style cover for our ‘Keep it Clean’ May 2015 issue. Since we last spoke to her, Mary made the big decision to shut up shop at the Needlemakers and relocate her business to a new premises, Sun Studios, tucked away on Mount Place. “I loved the shop,” she says, “and I still love the shop, but there was just never enough time to get everything done. Now I don’t have so many people coming in, I’ve got a bit more time to be creative and make things. I’ve been able to get my hands on some clay again…”
One of her new ventures now that she’s moved into Sun Studios is designing and producing promotional mugs for local businesses. “I get asked to do commissions a lot, but because I’ve always screen printed my designs onto transfers, I’ve had to do them in batches of 100. Now I’ve started working with a digital printer, which means that I can print just a couple of sheets at a time, so I’m able to offer people small runs of mugs.” Mary designs the artwork herself, at no charge, and the company simply pays for the mugs. “I like that challenge of creating something that is essentially a promotional product, but that someone actually wants,” she says. If you’re interested in commissioning a design for your business, or to see Mary’s other products, go to maryfellows.co.uk.