Featured seller: In My Backyard

Graphic designer and illustrator Katie Wilson takes inspiration from the microcosmos of life in her backyard, capturing it in beautiful, delicate watercolours and whimsical textile products. Katie is a founding member of the Felt community and can be found at many of Christchurch’s maker markets. She loves overcast days, avocados, walking her over-enthusiastic dog, dreaming of an abundant vegetable garden and collecting twigs.


What do you make?
I mostly sell prints and other paper goods based on my own illustrations. I also dabble in screen printing, creating accessories like pouches, scarves and brooches. My work generally focuses on plants and animals – the things I find in my backyard.

How did you get into your craft? Do you have formal training or qualifications?
I’ve been drawing and making things for as long as I remember, and have been selling my creations on and off since 2007. I have a degree in graphic design and illustration.



What techniques do you use? Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Right now I am really loving painting with watercolours. My mum makes a lot of the paint that I use – she collects rocks from around New Zealand and grinds them down to create her unique pigments (she has a shop on Felt too). I don’t use the paint in the typical watercolour method – I apply it quite thickly and often add other media to create texture and depth.

I also love screen printing and wish I could do more of it – I love creating multiples of my designs and seeing them all hanging up to dry.


How do you get past a creative block? Describe your creative process:
I’ve learned not to fight creative blocks, I think they are part of the process. If I’m feeling uninspired I go for a walk, do some gardening or just get out of the house and see people. I generally feel much better after that and the work flows again.

Ideas usually come when I’m doing something else, my desk is littered with scraps of paper with notes and doodles on them. I try to carry a sketchbook with me always and jot down ideas as they happen, or I tend to forget them! When starting a new project I often look through my sketchbooks and an idea for a print will jump out. From there it is usually a quick process to decide on the composition and colours. Sometimes I paint individual elements, scan them and then finalise the final layout on the computer.




Is there a philosophy behind your work? What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the outdoors and nature. I guess I hope my work encourages the viewer to look a little closer at the other species on this fragile planet.

Describe your workspace:
I tend to paint on a table in my living room as it has great light and is close to the music. I’m probably the messiest person ever – it is very cluttered and piled high with bits of paper, plants, sketchbooks, half finished paintings and art supplies. I also have a room that houses my sewing machine and fabric piles.


Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Oh my gosh – I get such great feedback from my customers, I can’t just pick one! I think the best feedback is when a customer comes back and orders from you again though.

What are you currently listening to?
My usual playlist of melancholic and maudlin tunes.

Recommend an album: Dresses by Loch Lomond.

What was the last handmade item you bought?
I recently got a brooch from madebyfran here on Felt. It’s made from matai and I love it!

What would you most like to learn, if time and money were no object?
I’d love to learn to screen print fabric by the meter, I’d also like to learn how to draft patterns, oh and I’d love to do ceramics one day too.



You’ll find more of Katie’s beautiful prints and textile products in her Felt shop, In My Backyard.

And it could be your lucky day, because Katie has very kindly offered one lucky Felt blog reader the chance to win one of her beautiful A4 prints. Just leave a comment below, telling us which In My Backyard print is your favourite and why, and you’ll be in the draw. Anyone can enter and the lucky winner will be drawn on Friday 28 February.


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39 Responses to “Featured seller: In My Backyard”

  1. Manda says:

    “In my Backyard” prints caught my eye a while ago, so I am really glad to read about the maker here! I love so many of the works, initially “Foarge watercolour illustration” caught my eye as I too love the small beautiful little things found in the garden, “Sweet Calico Cat” is also one of my favourites and I know my children would love – we love spotting the many feline adventurers that pop by into our garden from time to time. Beautiful works. I enjoyed reading this post. :)

  2. Brydie T says:

    I love the 2 birds print. The colour and the balance are excellent, plus I’m a twin and it kind of has that Gemini effect!

  3. Anna McCoy says:

    I just love Katie’s work and it was so good to read this feature. I have bought ‘Portrait of a Bird’ and ‘Portrait of a Cat’ as gifts. Just lovely. The ‘California Quail’ is gorgeous too. I haven’t see that one before.

  4. Bronwyn says:

    I love so many of Katie’s prints. I think my favourite might have to be the 2 birds, something about their unity, togetherness, flying as a pair. Or maybe since they are just so eye catching ;)

  5. I like the Hello Sunshine print, colours and happy theme

  6. nicole zwies says:

    Love the giraffe

  7. vicky says:

    The California quail print is my favourite but they are all beautiful. Very subtle but whimsical.

  8. Stacey says:

    I love the stack of snails, and also the two turtles! They are all gorgeous though, thanks for the competition and the link to something I hadn’t seen before. LOVE!

  9. Mel McKenzie says:

    House on a hill for me – the simplicity, in colour and design, I think. closely followed by one of the rabbit ones. Got a thing for rabbits at present.
    I nearly bought some fabric from In my backyard at a market once, and have regretted not doing so ever since….

  10. Thereseb says:

    My favourite print is definitely “A meadow at the bottom of my garden”. It reminds me of late-summer days (which are my favourite) and it is so colourful and intricate. It would definitely take pride of place in my house :-)

  11. Marijke says:

    I love the whimsical feel of Katie’s work and I think my favourite would be The Meadow with the butterfly, I think of my daughter in this print and my own childhood, it makes think about the subtly of life and the beauty of a single moment in nature- ahhh peace.

  12. Amanda says:

    I love the top print – all yummy and sunny and warm. Am presently struggling through a European winter, so lovely to be reminded that spring is just around the corner!

  13. Lauren says:

    Got to be the cat! He’s gorgeous..

  14. Sarah says:

    The cat. So super cute!

  15. Jemma says:

    The two birds…. flying up to heaven. Just gorgeous.!

  16. Alison says:

    I love the ‘Portrait of a Cat’ he looks so cute and I know my daughter would love this in her room, she is always drawing pictures of cats.

  17. Renee says:

    LOVE “Village Print” – it’s been saved in my favourites because I love the colour palette and it’s reminiscent of when I lived aboard.

  18. Megan says:

    What a lovely interview to read ^-^
    Thanks Katie! Your work is so sweet and I really enjoy seeing it at the markets.
    My favourite print (that I don’t already own) is Forage.

  19. Julia says:

    Lovely to read about the creator of such beautiful work! *=”) i adore the two swallows soaring high, the cutie quail. and the blackbird sitting on his kowhai branch. Quite fond of birdies, and i love the gentle colours & the peaceful scenes! Thank you for sharing, i’m feeling inspired to rummage in my backyard now, too! *:-)

  20. Mark Catley says:

    All Katie’s work is Rad.

    I like the forage print best though….more leaves and trees and stuff!

  21. Anjana says:

    I love so many of Katie’s work but if i had to pick one it would be Meadow. Love the simplicity but detail and how well the colours work together.

  22. Amy Maxwell says:

    I Love the Forage Illustration. I have bought screen printed fabric from Katie which I used to make cushions and I get so many compliments on them . Love all your work Katie!

  23. Leanne Harrop says:

    The Meadow, is just lovely, so happy although they are all great:)

  24. Claudine says:

    I love the whimiscal nature of a Stack of Snails! BUt the colours in all of them are peaceful- lovely pictures

  25. Sarah says:

    My fav is the bird on a branch print. Love those soft greys and yellows…

  26. Juliet says:

    I love the bird on a branch print. Such a beautiful clean design in subdued colours. My daughter would love it!

  27. Aly Bennett says:

    I LOVE your work Katie. And enjoy my prints of yours very much :)

  28. Naomi says:

    I love all of your prints, just stunning! Such a unique and whimsical style. I am particularly fond of the ‘portrait of a cat’ as the cat is so peaceful and content looking.

  29. annette says:

    All of your prints are lovely. My absolute favourite is definitely your meadow at the bottom of my garden print. I am very fond of wildflowers and yours are so delicate and sweet, you make me want to learn to paint, beautiful : )

  30. Rosie oh says:

    Inspired! Love your detailed illustrations! Especially your new quail one … We have one wild one living in our backyard too

  31. sophie says:

    I really like the meadow print, reminds me of spring and happy outdoor days from my childhood holidays around scotland. Lovely x

  32. Katie says:

    Awww, thanks for all your lovely comments! :)

  33. Desaree says:

    I just purchased some gift tags, they are super cute. I love the Run Rabbit print which would be great as an Easter gift for my children.

  34. Leonie says:

    I love the two indigo birds. They feel peaceful and free. They also make me think of two halves making a whole, much like marriage! :-)

  35. Tania Alexander says:

    just love each and every image but the big fat quail bird and the two indigo birds are quite lovely and could be my favourites ……..for today lol.

  36. Monica says:

    Beautiful work – love the palettes you use

  37. Jenny Webb says:

    I have a huge garden at my cob cottage in Naseby so the prints with flowers really capture the spirit of a loved pastime xx

  38. Celia Wilson says:

    I know that I am your oldest, oldest fan – I’ve really enjoyed reading all of this….

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