If you’re a retail buyer at a cultural or heritage attraction, you’ll always be on the lookout for unique products that resonate with your customers and reflect your organisation’s own story and values.

With sustainability and conservation high on the agenda these days, beautiful gift products that support these values and give something back to a good cause are highly desirable and will always make a wonderful addition to your ranges. It’s equally important to have confidence that your suppliers’ values and ethos match your own.

With this in mind, we’ve been chatting to Katherine Jones, an award-winning artist and architect based in Cardiff, about her own passion for wildlife conservation and sustainability, and how this is reflected in her work for cultural and heritage venues.

Drawing on 13 years of architecture experience and a lifetime of passion for wildlife, Katherine’s detailed pen and ink commissions are made up of intricate line work that create an unusual and rich tapestry of patterns. She has created commissions for the National Trust, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Slimbridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge. Her work is also stocked with the RSPB and has featured on BBC Radio 4.

“Each of my pieces considers the wider picture, but I also love the smaller detail,“ Katherine explains. “From re-wilded estates, to nature charities, I explore the natural world through layers of lines and textures, to create stylish, meaningful artwork.

“I’m proud to give back through my work. Wildlife and nature are a huge part of my life, something I’ve been passionate about since I was young. As well as volunteering for a local wildlife rescue charity and co-founding a Welsh rewilding charity, I partner with four charities that mean a lot to me – Whale & Dolphin Conservation, Rewilding Britain, Hedgehog Helpline Cymru and Greyhound Rescue Wales.

“Preserving our planet is really important to me, so I ensure my business is as sustainable as possible. All my products and packaging are plastic free: the mounts and paper I use for the prints are made from recycled material, prints are typically wrapped in recycled tissue paper (or compostable clear film), and my cardboard packaging comes through a partnership with a local bike shop. I use refillable pens and all my waste products including ink cartridges are recycled. I print to order and don’t hold stock, minimising unnecessary waste. I also bank with Triodos, a sustainable bank that only finances companies that focus on people, the environment or culture.”

Case Study: Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust: Slimbridge

Katherine takes commissions for bespoke drawings of landscapes, wildlife and buildings which can be used to create unique and affordable digital prints and cards for your shop. She took us through her process with a look at a recent commission from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

“WWT commissioned me to draw their most popular site, Slimbridge. The site features wetlands and a variety of different species of birds and wildlife, and they wanted me to capture its ‘essence’ in my drawing.

“I worked closely with the retail team to agree the scope of work, including a guided tour so I could understand the most important elements of the centre and the wildlife that is special to each part of the site. I also did extensive research into the wildlife to make sure I captured the bird life that is key to making Slimbridge special. 

“The final drawing features the buildings and wildlife of Slimbridge nestled within the surrounding landscape, and has been turned into a series of six cards, and a collection of five prints at different sizes. This project combined my love of wildlife and nature with my architectural drawing style. ​It was a pleasure to create this illustration for such a wonderful nature conservation charity and to convey the important work of restoring wetlands through my artwork.”

Katherine has also worked with Waddesdon Manor to create three drawings including a landscape map for a set of prints and cards. The map (pictured) is extremely detailed and highly accurate, bringing together the different elements of the estate in an intricate and visually stunning way, with pops of colour adding depth and tone to the drawing.

The drawings are stunning and encapsulate the architecture of the Manor beautifully. It’s been a real pleasure working with Katherine on these projects and I am delighted with the finished artwork and the beautiful products we have collaborated on.

Nicola Mertens, Retail Manager, Waddesdon Manor

Find out more

Katherine works with a wide range of organisations to design and create unique collections of prints and artworks. Working to commission, with discounted rates available for nature conservation charities, her original drawings can be turned into high quality digital prints and cards at an accessible price for retail. Katherine also works on a licensing basis for products.

Find out more at www.katherinemgjones.com

Katherine will be exhibiting at the Cultural Enterprises Conference & Trade Show, ICC Wales on 13-14 March, stand 96.

Joanne Whitworth
By Joanne Whitworth
Jo is Communications & Media Manager at the Association for Cultural Enterprises.
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