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…
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.