Sarah Thornton is an illustrator and painter who focuses on the different ways one concept can be represented, mixing together colour, beauty and the natural world.
"Representation itself fascinates me. If I’m painting a blackbird, I’m thinking about his song, the way it makes me feel and the frenetic energy and interaction that can be seen by observing another species that inhabits our shared world."
During her Fine Art studies at the University of Leeds, Sarah was involved with The Leeds 13. This artist collective became infamous after their project 'Going Places' hit headlines; they'd pretended to holiday in Spain using their student grants.
After her experimentation with conceptual art, Sarah turned to painting and illustration to express her photographic memory and creative childhood to bring to life the natural world in a riot of colour and form.
"I aligned myself with those pioneering women artists of the past, looking at the things around me for my inspiration, nature, flowers, motifs that brought comfort and beauty into my world.
You’ll find me staring at a bullfinch or a hydrangea, then the next minute I’ll be admiring the design on a manhole cover. Everything inspires me but I find myself constantly returning to repeated patterns, birds and floral motifs.
I want to make things that help people feel better; life can be very harsh, and we all need a little comfort, somewhere to rest our eyes. "
Sarah was drawn to Charlotte's style and individuality during their shared time at the University of Leeds, and their relationship was cemented by their children becoming firm friends. She had already begun to apply her artworks to textiles and prints to make her mark more clearly and enliven people’s homes.
"It’s always been one of my dreams to expand my working practice to incorporate high end fabrics. I knew that Charlotte's ethos and desire matched my own, but she has that special, organisational science brain along with creative, think outside the box vision. I knew immediately that our brains connected and we could create something really interesting."
The result of this creative collaboration is "Rita Does Jazz", a vibrant, vivacious print full of colour and packed with feather-like strokes. Sarah’s original artwork was scaled up, cut up and rearranged multiple times at Sarah’s studio to find the perfect pattern which communicated the energy of the original.
"I’ve learnt a lot over the last year and Charlotte has been really hands on in helping to choose and develop my art. I knew what I wanted to see, but without Charlotte’s clever arrangement, literally her ‘order’ interacting with my ‘chaos’ we could have never pulled it off."
Explore The Monkey Puzzle Tree products made from Sarah's original artworks