Colour, pattern, storytelling and animals inspire Mary Kilvert. The designer from Herefordshire encapsulates her skill as an illustrator and love of narrative in a range of beautiful products, from signature woolly sheep and stationery to her latest venture, decorative wallpaper.
Mary’s talent emerged early. As a small girl she made up stories, drew, and experimented with different media, including her father’s bowling trousers while he slept (or, as Mary regarded them then, a blank canvas waiting to be covered using felt tip pens).
Mary graduated from Kingston University in 2004 with a degree in illustration and after a year travelling with boyfriend Simon (now her husband) in Southeast Asia and the Antipodes, returned home.
Commissions to illustrate followed, and Mary also began selling prints of her fairytale- inspired illustrations and fabric and felt birds at small craft markets. Then, in 2008, she created Baatholomew – a fictional sheep. He formed the kernel of an idea to make little felted woolly sheep, collectables, using the dry-felting method, and each finished in a distinctive hand-knitted Fair Isle jumper.
Mary moved into the Cockpit Arts studios in London, a renowned ‘incubator’ for promising British designer-makers. She made her woolly sheep and launched a range of mugs, cushions and stationery called the Colourful Sheep Collection, which was showcased for the first time, highly successfully, at the 2011 Country Living Fair.
In 2013 Mary relocated to the beautiful Somerset artisan town of Frome, and opened her first shop. She continues to work to commission, design and make her handmade felted sheep from the studio above her shop, a former wool carder’s. She works closely with British manufacturers and local seamstresses to produce her home and design led gifts. Her products are stocked throughout the UK and internationally.
Mary is delighted to be at the Bath Christmas Market for the first time this year. Mary has Christmas all wrapped up with her growing ‘Flock of Colourful Sheep’ range. This seasonal range includes mugs, greetings cards, tea-towels, wrapping paper and Christmas crackers, all featuring Mary’s ‘Flock of Sheep in the Snow’ design, in which her colourful sheep in their Christmas Fair Isle jumpers (with hats and scarves for extra warmth!) stand against a backdrop of falling snow.
You can find Mary’s stall at number 155 in Bath Street.