‘Hi, how are you?’, was the sentence that kept taking me by surprise when we had just moved to New Zealand. The kiwis really know how to make you feel welcome and their natural, laid-back but active and fun-loving culture suited me better than I could have imagined.
Nevertheless, to leave all security, friends and family in the Netherlands and build a new life from scratch in rural Hawke’s Bay was a decision we did not take lightly. Shortly after arriving and seeing all the sheep farms and affiliated services of the wool industry, it felt to me as if the puzzle pieces were falling together. I had come here with the idea of doing something very kiwi, something that would help me root in my new home country, and wool seemed such a logical choice.
Writing and storytelling had been my main occupation up until then, but I had always had a passion for design and interiors and I love creating things. So I took up a blank sheet and a pencil, and started sketching quite intuitively. I wanted to create something representing my love for New Zealand, for the natural lifestyle, but also the amazing qualities of wool. I decided to call the label the Artful Sheep - placing the sheep at the centre-point, as the hero of the story. So not surprisingly, the first design was also inspired by this amazing animal (did you know that a sheep enduring stress will produce poor quality wool? It really all comes down to balance between humans and nature - and I love that). 'Eye-to-Eye', the first design of the Artful Sheep, zooms in on the head of a ram, on an angle that places the spectator literally eye-to-eye with the animal. The head is surrounded by 'strands' of the wool in different textures, representing the diverse quality of wool. This design is meant as a respectful tribute to an animal that many take for granted. Sheep are amazing, they are truly 'Artful' in every way.