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April 25, 2020
2 min read
Spending so much time at home has lead me to reflect on the time, four years
ago, when the idea for The Monkey Puzzle Treewas first born.
It all started with an unexpected redundancy, a sketch on a piece of hotel
notepaper, and a conversation!
I'd loved my job (as a textiles buyer and developer) and when I was made
redundant I knew it would be hard to find another similar role in Yorkshire.
While on the school run, friend and artist Sarah Thorntonasked if I could help
her create a textile design from her artwork and maybe help her produce it.
Sarah has LOTS of art in her studio, but something about the colours and
abstract design on the painting shown above inspired me to think that this could
be the first of our fabrics
With an enormous piece of paper, a big pile of print outs, and some scissors
and sellotape I worked with Sarah to create the design that would eventually
become'Rita does Jazz' velvet.
A name has to mean something, and in my case it came from the monkey
puzzle tree which had been planted outside my parent's house when I was
The tree is now so tall that it towers over the house. In the year I was married
the monkey puzzle produced cones for the first time, and when I had my
children, baby monkey puzzle trees stared to grow in the garden.
It's a beautiful and unusual tree, but not to everyone's taste! It creates a bold
statement and has been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
In the photograph above you can see me (left) and my sister with the tiny
monkey puzzle tree in the background. We are wearing Norwegian national
costume as our dad is from Norway.
We had a name, and the first fabric, called 'Rita does Jazz' by Sarah, was vivid
and unique and beautiful.
I knew I was on to something, and so began The Monkey Puzzle Tree!
Watch Sarah and I discussing our story in this you tube video from 2018.
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