Meet the Maker: Mustard & Gray

Can you start by telling us about you and your work?

Hello! I’m Zoe, one of the co-owners of Mustard & Gray. My passion for making and design has been with me for as long as I can remember. After completing my degree in Product Design, I immersed myself in the design industry in London for several years. However, the call of my hometown, Shropshire, led me back there, where I transitioned into becoming a Design and Technology Teacher. It was a role I cherished, but with the arrival of my son, I felt the need to explore a new direction in life.
It was during one unforgettable weekend at Festival Number 6 in North Wales in 2016 that I met Vicky, and our friendship was sealed amidst the backdrop of fabulous food, eclectic music, and the challenge of camping on a 45-degree slope! Our shared love for adventure led us to become travel buddies, exploring Europe and the UK whenever we could break away from our day jobs.
It was during these adventures, under the starlit sky and around crackling campfires, that the seeds of Mustard & Gray were sown. We were inspired to not only create products that we loved but also to craft a new way of life. Thus, in December 2018, Mustard and Gray was born. The following year was spent in a whirlwind of designing, planning, and finally launching our small business.
At Mustard and Gray, we don’t just design homeware, gifts, and stationery; we aim to create experiences, weave stories, and evoke moments of delight. Our workshop, nestled in the heart of Shropshire, is brimming with creativity, and every product we produce is a reflection of our surroundings, infused with a touch of whimsy that sets us apart. After all, you don’t come across many flying giraffes in Shropshire!

What’s your favourite product you sell?

Picking a favourite product is tough since both Vicky and I are passionate about everything we design. However, if I had to choose, I’d say I’m really proud of our “Over the Hills” collection, which we’re launching at the showcase. Personally, I’ve been using the mug from that collection every day for a while now, and it genuinely brings me joy. It’s become a part of my daily routine, adding a nice touch to my mornings. So yeah, while I love all our products, this one definitely stands out for me.

Can you tell us about the work involved in making your products?

Our production process is characterised by a meticulous attention to detail, particularly during the printing phase. Most of our products are printed in-house. We strive for perfection in every aspect, especially when it comes to colour accuracy. This means we continuously refine and adjust colours until we achieve the desired result.

In our Shropshire workshop, our small but dedicated team handles as much of the production process as possible. However, when we require specific expertise or additional capacity, we turn to local companies or ethically sustainable suppliers. This collaborative approach allows us to maintain the high standards and integrity of our products while supporting our local community and ethical practices.

How do you get inspiration for your designs?

Our process for making our products typically starts with drawing inspiration from our surroundings. Whether it’s taking sketches or photographs during our wanderings, we’re constantly absorbing the beauty and essence of our environment. My passion for wild swimming often leads us to discover new places within the county, which in turn fuels our creative process.

Once we have these initial sketches and images, we move on to the digital stage. Here, we refine and develop our designs, experimenting with different colours and compositions until we feel they’re just right. This stage is crucial as it allows us to bring our vision to life and ensure that each product captures the essence of the inspiration behind it.

What will people find to purchase when they visit you at the Shropshire Artisan Showcase?

When you visit us at the Shropshire Artisan Showcase, you’ll find a diverse range of products. We’re excited to introduce our latest collection, “Over the Fields,” featuring lampshades, mugs, placemats, cocktail shakers, coasters, AGA toppers, and cushions, all inspired by the beauty of the Shropshire countryside.

In addition to our new collection, we’ll have a selection of our bestsellers on display, including our popular beer steins.  We look forward to sharing our creations with you at the event!

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