The woman behind the design studio that turns your child's drawings into award-winning art shares her inspirations
We all think our child's drawings are brilliant works of art. But thanks to Quirky Lime, they can become Junior Masterpieces.
This genius design studios takes your little one's sketches, enhances them and transforms them into a treasured piece for the wall. It's such a clever idea, brilliantly executed, that the up-and-coming brand won bronze for best interiors product in the Junior Design Awards 2017.
We caught up with the woman behind the canvas, Karen Willcox, to find out more...
Quirky Lime founder Karen Willcox
Tell us about yourself and your family
I grew up in the Netherlands, studied architecture in the UK and spent five years in Spain where I set up my design studio designing architecture books - until love brought me back to the UK. David and I live in Winchester and we have two girls Dora, 9 ,and Lotta, 7. I run my design studio Quirky Lime and currently I am really focussing on trying to make Junior Masterpieces a success.
Tell us about Quirky Lime, how it works and what inspired you to launch this brand?
Quirky Lime became a creative outlet after having children. I spend a good time producing and designing different ideas while still designing books and raising toddlers. Dora, my eldest, started drawing simple drawings and I started to play with them, edit them and create gifts for family. Then one day a friend of mine saw one and asked me to do one for her. That was the first family portrait, from that I created the Junior Masterpiece range.
It evolved and is constantly evolving. Which is what I love about it. The simple concept of using your own children's drawings to create a personal piece of art or gift. So many things and people inspire me all the time. The idea of Junior Masterpieces is inspired by the illustrators Dick Bruna (Miffy) and Lauren Child (Charlie & Lola).
Extended Family Portrait from £180
What’s been your favourite or most unusual piece you have created for someone?
That is a hard one. My favourite prints are the extended family portraits, I absolutely love them. All the children draw the family members and we collate them into one print. They are most colourful, honest and such a personal memory for a family. It is like a family photograph created by the children. These are popular for grandma and grandad's big birthday or anniversaries.
Children are so proud of seeing their work on the wall. Each one is so personal and unique that the best part of the process is the reaction when the parents see the print. That freedom young children have in their creativity is what makes the Junior Masterpieces so magical. I bring out the best of their drawings.
You scooped a Junior Design Award – how did you feel to win and how has this helped your brand?
Being able to call it an award-winning Junior Masterpiece has been absolutely amazing. It was a massive confidence boost that I wasn't the only one who believed in the idea, like a golden star to myself and my persistence. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions trying to run your own business and raising a family at the same time. I mainly work alone so anybody patting you on the back does miracles to your own belief!
It has also helped my brand a lot. The award has given Quirky Lime credibility and I am starting to collaborate more and more with other businesses which I absolutely love. I am constantly trying to find slightly 'quirky' links and love it when people come to me with new ideas to work together and design something I haven’t tried before.
Pet or Animal Drawing from £60
What's next for Quirky Lime?
I am looking for somebody to help me so I can grow, outsource my weakest parts. I launched a new product at the end of last year to help parents create the artwork for the Junior Masterpiece - a set of workbook kits. They are doing very well. These kits have everything you need to create the artwork for a Junior Masterpiece portrait. It includes a set of Stabilo Cappi pens, a black pen to draw the outlines, a workbook and discount voucher to purchase the actual print. It explains to the child what to do and provides space to draw. l will continue to bring out quirky products to encourage children to be creative and create great memories at the same time.
Nurturing and celebrating children's creativity is vital to Quirky Lime. I see the impact screens have on my children and really want to find a way (collaborations with other entities or through products and other ideas) to keep children thinking creatively in all ways. They need downtime to doodle, write stories, imagine and play - and just be children. I firmly believe we need to develop and keep fuelling the creative fire in all of our children now, even more than ever before.
Follow Karen and Quirky Lime on Instagram @quirky_lime