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A&M Birthday Gift Bag
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A&M Birthday Gift Bag

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We've partnered with the lovely Amberlee from Line & Honey to create organic canvas tote bags for International Women's Day 2021. We both wanted to create a design to capture this years theme of #ChooseToChallenge, whilst still being in line with Amberlee's aesthetic ~ peaceful, minimal & relaxing.

We've chatted to Amberlee about her creative process, everything from her inspiration, sketching drafts and the final print.

Meet Amberlee

‘Hi, I’m Amberlee and I’m the founder of Line & Honey. Line & Honey is an illustration studio, I founded it about three years ago now, and I focus on illustrations of black women. The work that I do is really centred on wellness, wellbeing & rest'.

What inspires your illustrations ~ what values, themes and concepts motivate your practice?

Focusing solely on black women, the women I am depicting are telling a story – this story is usually about our duality and bringing visibility to our narratives.

I also work in mental health and research, and the themes across my creative, clinical and academic practice is linked – it’s taken me to work out how all of the pieces of my career fit in place, but this past year, it’s really worked itself out.

I explore themes on how black women are seen, and how much of these narratives come from us. My work aims to reclaim these narratives, and show us in soft, reflective spaces as this isn’t always seen.

Drawing with mindfulness and wellbeing in mind is a direct point to us prioritising our wellbeing and giving room for mindfulness in our lives – an affirmation that we deserve space to be well.

What is the concept & idea behind the illustration you've created for A&M?

The illustration I have created for Astrid & Miyu is my response to the theme ‘choose to challenge’. The figure in this piece is seated, but poised to rise – being seated was central to this piece, because I wanted to approach the idea of ‘challenge’ by choosing to rest. In the fast paced world we are in, paired with pandemic that we are trying our best to navigate, it feels like my duty to remind us of rest. Rest is resistance and its powerful because it is the root of self-preservation. The figure is fully dressed and wearing a tailored suit to represent that power (also because I am living in loungewear right now, and wanted to live vicariously through this figure). For black women to challenge, and continue to exist in such a challenging world, we need to be well. Rest and wellbeing are at the centre of action

How do you bring your ideas to life ~ can you explain your creative process from start to finish?

Start with print – looking at magazines and books I have to stimulate ideas and get me thinking about how I want to approach the brief. The books I collect are an important part of my process, so I am always curating my bookshelf.

Then, I go to Pinterest and Instagram, usually on my desktop. Now that I am working from home, I use my spare room as an office/studio, and looking for inspo at my desk means I can start sketching ideas straight away. These are light sketches. Before an illustration is in its final form with classic line & honey bold lines, it is a scratchy pencil sketch that helps me visualise what the end result could be.

The final piece often needs a few revisions, but after a few conversations, we have a piece we all love! When creating personal work for me, or to add to the line & honey print collection, I usually go back and forth with myself – changing and adding until I am happy

My process in a nutshell, is making it minimal. I am always aiming to use as little lines as possible to create a complete piece, and this process within itself is really relaxing for me. I use it as a form of mindfulness, and it allows for me to create a space where only the necessary is present.

More International Women's Day Content...

Klarna is a payment method which allows you to buy now and pay later and is available at checkout. Once you've placed your order using Klarna, you'll receive an email from them within 2 days with payment instructions, you will also receive your usual Astrid & Miyu confirmation email. You'll then have 30 days to complete the payment online.