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Muddy Meets: Sarah Jane Humphrey, Botanical Illustrator

Obsessed with all things plant-related? Us too. We caught up with owner Sarah Jane Humphrey on working as a creative and business owner when you're also a busy mum.

Cornwall is absolutely stuffed full of amazing local businesses doing interesting things, socially, economically and culturally – and so many of those businesses are created by awesome women. You just need to know where to look. Inspired by the themes of International Women’s Day, we’ve done some digging which has led to some refreshing chats… here are some of the women we spoke to.

Sarah Jane Humphrey is a Botanical Illustrator, working from her studio at home in Falmouth, in addition to running her shop, Botanical Atelier. She works on a wide range of commissions, anything thing from private plant portraits to working with large brands. In 2018, she was awarded the Gold Medal in the 2018 RHS London Botanical Art Show.

What is your day to day working life like?

It is actually very different depending on what aspect of my business I’m working on. Generally there is at least one Botanical Illustration Workshop to teach a week, a couple of days working on new illustrations in my studio and the rest of the time is spread between my shop and family.

What are you/ your team doing to promote women/equality

At Botanical Atelier we champion many all-female brands. I fully appreciate how hard it is to build a business and be a full-time mum, and have supported a number of local and international female-led businesses through my shop.

What’s it like being a female creative?

I love it! As a woman, I feel I can offer strength and resilience yet at the very same time delicate and sensitive elements to every piece of artwork I produce. I can’t speak for the rest of the UK but I feel I have been greatly supported as a female artist/creative in Cornwall we seem to be surrounded by so many other women carving equally amazing careers.

Is there more to do in terms of equality/parity in Cornwall generally?

It would be great if the local schools could offer free childcare! That has always been one of the greatest challenges running my own business, and something men often don’t have to consider in their working day.

What’s the general vibe among female business owners in Falmouth?

I think we are all there for each other, working with unique collaborations, sharing different skill sets with each other. There are also some great networks amongst all-female groups, which is great as sometimes you do need a female perspective or recommendation.

The town has an amazing community of strong women in business. We are supportive of each other and a great inspiration to other women about to embark on new ventures. I myself wear many hats as a busy mother of three, an illustrator and dealing with the day-to-day workings of running a business. However, the rewards which make it all worth it are that I get to be my own boss, living by the sea and inspiring my children to be creative and strong.

Falmouth is fast becoming a destination town beyond the natural beauty of our local landscape. There has always been a wonderful creative energy that runs deep through its roots and I feel Falmouth is the perfect town for independent businesses to stretch their creativity and explore new directions of entrepreneurship. Living and working in Falmouth with such a fantastic eclectic melange of residents, I like to offer a style of business that will enthuse everyone, from learning a new skill or making a lifestyle choice and becoming connected with nature.

What do you enjoy doing to make the most of living in Cornwall?

I live by the beach and enjoy sea swimming all year round, I’m also a keen paddle boarder.

Go on then, speaking of Cornish beaches, do you have a favourite you can share?

My favourite view is the top of Tavern Beach in St.Mawes, as for beaches there are many!

Lastly, where is the best place to get coffee near you?

I love Beacon Coffee, on the Falmouth High Street.

Want more? Join one of Sarah Jane’s workshops at the Potager Gardens, the Tate St.Ives, Barbara Hepworth Gardens plus her weekly programme at Botanical Atelier.

Find more ideas here

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