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Local inspiration: Jan Erika Design

As we enter a second lockdown, it is important that we show our support for local businesses who have been forced to cease trading. It’s the small local businesses, the pubs, restaurants and the independents, that add character to our towns and who need our support now more than ever before.

Over the following months, we’re going to be showcasing some of the fantastic local businesses that call Surrey home, and we hope you will lend them your support. 

Jan Erika Design

A former professional cellist, Jan Erika changed careers to become an artist and now creates bespoke multi-media artworks from Tannery Studios on the outskirts of Ripley.

Creatives are often noted for having more than one string to their bow but for Jan Erika the meaning of that phrase is quite literal.

Jan originally trained as a classical cellist, but after hanging up her cello bow to have children, she decided to follow a different creative path.

Proving that art isn’t just about that which can be hung on the wall, she is now stamping her mark on pretty much any surface you can think of.

From huge murals to gin bottles, jackets, tabletops and rugs – there’s not much this Surrey artist won’t work with.

Music is still a major form of inspiration for Jan, who has worked with the likes of Paul Weller, and she’ll usually crank up the music when she’s painting. We chatted to her to find out more…

G: How did you become an artist? 

J: I did art at A-Level and got into Art School but decided to do a degree in classical music so until two years ago, I’d not painted in 20 years! At 38 and after having my two boys, I started painting again and realised that was my true calling.

G: You’re based in Ripley – what is your studio like?

J: Tannery Studios is a gorgeous brand-new development right on the canal. It’s a lovely bright workspace with views of the canal behind me. I’m one of several studios there and have just done a spectacular 50ft mural on one of the huge walls in my signature style based on the canal and village life in Ripley.

G: Where do you find inspiration?

J: From what’s around me really and music. I might play the same song 35 times over when I’m painting a particular piece as that song will get me in a certain mood or will make me think about a certain thing. Whether I’m painting a floral piece or an abstract piece, the song will trigger a mood and I’ll paint to it.

G: Tell us a bit about your collaborations.

J: Locally, I have a collaboration with The Gin Kitchen in Dorking where we work on the shop floor in Fortnum & Mason and I paint bespoke art requests onto their gin bottles. I do a few pre-painted to sell but the rest are done on the day. Stephenson Wright is another local company I’ve partnered with – my first collaboration actually – painting tabletops and stools for their interior design showroom in East Horsley.

I also have a range of hand-painted water bottles online with English Heritage, which are based on the gardens at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.

Further afield I’ve painted a range of tableware for US company Juliska and I’m also launching a range of rugs with Matthew Wailes, a luxury rug producer based in Chelsea, on November 1. There will be five of my creations in the collection.

G: Do you have any favourite projects/collaborations you’ve worked on? 

J: I loved working in the USA with Juliska and my most recent work in Tannery Studios was definitely the most satisfying.

G: Why is art so important in the home?

J: Art is really key to a home. It can bring joy, colour, warmth, character, it can set a certain mood. Remember art doesn’t have to just be something you hang on a wall, as many of the projects I work on prove, it can be implemented into many aspects of your life.

G: What are your favourite places in Surrey to relax and or gain inspiration? 

J: In Surrey, we’re massively spoilt by fantastic places to walk, breathe and be inspired. St Martha’s, Newlands Corner and Leith Hill are amongst my favourites.

G: What other local businesses do you love? 

J: Apart from the incredible Tannery Studios l really admire the love and atmosphere at Nest Café in Ripley and the work of my talented interior design friends Stephenson Wright, who have a studio at The Old Post Office in East Horsley.Jan Erika Design can be found at Tannery Studios, Tannery Lane, Send, Woking GU23 7EF. Visit www.janerikadesign.com and follow @janerikadesign on Instagram.

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