Featured Seller: Zenipa

Owls and tigers and lambs – oh my! Auckland-based designer Nicola McPherson is one half of the sisterly collaboration that is Zenipa. Nicola hand-draws her quirky animal images, which she and her sister Ruby then screen-print onto t-shirts. The result? The truly imaginative bestiary of the Zenipa t-shirt range.

How did you get into your craft?
I studied graphic design at Unitec. I soon learned that my personality doesn’t suit sitting behind a computer, so I took a class in print-making and never looked back. I absolutely love ink qualities and especially the transfer of ink onto different materials.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I’m not a qualified screen printer but I have a Bachelor of Design in Visual Arts.

What are your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Light and water – these are so powerful and magical when exposing my screens.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by pattern, animals, & nature, going for forest walks or on holiday. These things definitely spark creativity for me. Visiting my Nana on Waiheke is one of the best ways to clear my mind and gather inspiration.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Not really, I guess. I start with a slight idea or outline and the rest is whatever feels right at the time. I do think that each animal could be linked to the next.

Describe your workspace:
Messy! I definitely cleaned up for you. Screen printing isn’t exactly a glamorous craft. I have taken over my brother’s pool table and everything is printed in my parents’ shed.

Five words that describe your mind: Crowded, positive, happy, thankful and scary!

Your favourite response from a customer:
“I’m buying the tee in part to inspire kids’ creativity, by wearing it to school.”

What are you currently listening to?
Alanis Morissette, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos, Janice Joplin and Air. I have a playlist that I always listen to in the studio. I’m starting to get sick of it! I wish I had the time and money to have a mass-download session.

Your favourite childhood movie?
Pippi Longstocking. I want to be her, with all her animals and a big empty house.

What are you reading now?
I’m reading a book my mum gave me: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

Your hero/heroine: Art-wise – Julia Pott.

Do you have any pets?
I only have one neglected fish but we also have a family dog, Macs, and my sister’s cat, Fluffy. There are also Peni and Big Foot (the sheep) floating around along with the horses, Spike and Blossom.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
My name would be Nip and Pube combined – so Nipube (it’s my and my little sister’s nick names) …and we would be able to see through our inky screens.

What was the last handmade thing you bought?
I think it was a sack bag from a cafe in Gisborne. It’s so cute and I use it all the time. There’s also a calendar by Scott Lenhardt called “24 hour woman,” that I would really like…

Favourite quote?
It’s not really a quote, but this is a saying that I quite like:

Advice from a tree…
Stand tall and proud
Go out on a limb
Remember your roots
Drink plenty of water
Be content with your natural beauty
Enjoy the view!

Nicola has kindly offered one of her gorgeous Zenipa t-shirts as a gift for one of our lucky commenters – and the winner gets to choose which one! Leave us a comment below and you’ll be in with a chance to win. The draw is open to New Zealand residents only until midnight on Friday 1 March.

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44 Responses to “Featured Seller: Zenipa”

  1. Carmen W says:

    Great work. I love the Tiger :-)

  2. dee says:

    wow, so much talent!!
    i love them ALL – but especially the stag head.
    keep it up!

  3. Emma says:

    Wonderful read and awesome designs!

  4. Dide (Ems Mum) says:

    Love your work, how about some cushions. Would look fantastic in my lounge.

  5. Michaela says:

    These are amazing!!! I can’t wait to see more of your designs!!

  6. Tam says:

    Amazing talent! The pirate-y owl is rad

  7. Katie says:

    Love your pool table to printing table conversion! Cool t-shirts :)

  8. mishayla says:

    awesome work nip! ! love the stag design, yuo have inspired me ! :)

  9. Joan Pascoe says:

    I am really collecting owls so love the owl.Great work.

  10. Becks says:

    Love the stag head design. I agree with one of the other commenters – these would look awesome as cushions too! very cool

  11. Kerri says:

    These are amazing! I particularly love the stag :)

  12. Sarah L says:

    Cool to see a such amazing prints coming from such an eclectic studio space – fav is the stag

  13. Naomi says:

    Love these illustrations! Especially the Moose head one! Fantastic work!

  14. Melanie says:

    Gorgeous designs, especially the pirate owl, and great collaboration with hour whole family, even your bro letting you take over his pool table! What a legend :-)

  15. Sally says:

    Great stuff! Love the lamb, is it OK to suggest an alpaca design?!

  16. I love the stag head. Beautiful work! Creative and inspiring indeed! well done you!

  17. Lauren says:

    Great designs!

  18. Amanda Joblin says:

    You have such a great original idea going on , I am always trying to find a t-shirt with something different on it. Not easy to find this sort of thing, yours are really nice, would be pleased to be able to wear one!

  19. Christie says:

    What an awesome craft! The designs are so unique and original ^-^ Very cool.

  20. margherita says:

    I agree lovely work and very original and classy. And the “monk” book is great, isn’t it.

  21. Cari Hampson says:

    These are beautiful images, loving the detail. great stuff :)

  22. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful work girls!

  23. I would love to win one. The owl is fab! Elaina

  24. Steph ebzery says:

    I love love love the tiger!! So pretty

  25. Kirstie says:

    Love the pirate owl! I wish I could shrink this down for my little boy.

  26. Kirsten Anderson says:

    Love the intricacy of your designs. Ze moose and ze owl are my faves.

  27. Elle says:

    Love the pirate owl, and the tiger, such wonderful details!

  28. Megan Webber says:

    You are so very clever Nicola! I have really enjoyed reading this feature. Your designs are lovely and your converted workspace is neat ^-^

  29. Ginny says:

    Your t-shirts are absolutely gorgeous – I love love the owl!

  30. Carly says:

    Cool designs!!

  31. Lou says:

    Beautiful work! The level of detail in your designs (and thus the image transferred to print) is inspiring. I would be proud to wear one of these beauties! Cheers :)

  32. Annika says:

    I love your reference to Pippi Longstocking. The German Pippi TV series’ theme song had a line in it that went something like this: “I create/change the world around me in a way that I like/enjoy”. Seems to me that you’ve achieved this with your art!

  33. Lesley Webb says:

    Gorgeous – love the designs – I’m always in awe of illustrators!

  34. Tanya says:

    So talented, I admire artists that use their natural gift to make a living

  35. paula says:

    Your work is inspiring! so talented and professional. Would love to gift a tee to my husband, then we could both wear it <3

  36. Kate says:

    Ooohhh, am loving Ze Panda and Ze Pirate Owl.

  37. Ngaio says:

    Stunning art work, you have a really distinct style. Love it! Keep up the good work.

  38. Ali Hughes says:

    These are gorgeous!!! Such talent!! x

  39. Marie says:

    I’d love to win a shirt – they’re lovely.

  40. Amy Chiles says:

    I am in love with your work! Mr Pirate Owl is my fave!

  41. Anna Riederer says:

    Pure awesomeness

  42. Katrina Deed says:

    What an inspiration!! Beautiful detailed drawings – the work is stunning but the photo of Nicola obviously so happy in her work proves that if you are passionate about the work you do, it shows in the finished product.

  43. Marion Bridge says:

    I’m so happy you’re happy creating and using your lovely talents.Nana

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