"As a child, my main interest was making things. When I was 4 or 5, I started receiving art gifts from friends and family. Everyone knew that I was really into creative hobbies - drawing, painting, sewing, cross-stitch, knitting and crochet, so art tools were an obvious choice of gift. I used to love the ‘make your own teddy’ sewing kits, as well as the really complex 'painting by number' kits. Then, when I was a little older, I was gifted an easel, canvasses and paint, so that I could paint in my bedroom. These gifts increased and nurtured my interest in art.
"It wasn't until I was about 6 that I realised I had a talent for creating art. I painted a picture of a baker standing in front of a row of shelves with buns on, and I vividly remember everyone being so impressed - my mum even framed it and hung it in our home. So by the age of 14, I knew that I wanted to go to art school and pursue a career in art. I got an art scholarship when I was at secondary school, and then I worked at an events catering company in London for a year after I graduated.
"I got my first solo show at Clapham Art Gallery the following year and have worked as a professional artist ever since. I have a studio at home which I work from. Although I’m very sociable, when I’m making art, I like solitude with the company of the radio.
"Even though I'm now an adult with children of my own, my interests still remain the same as when I was a child - I love making things. There's a huge sense of achievement when you start off with a blank canvas and an idea at the beginning of a week, and then having a finished piece of work by the end of the week. Exhibiting the work is great too - as after months of hard work it’s amazing to see the work hung in a gallery space. Then it’s time to reflect and start the process again.
"So, this Christmas, think carefully about what you buy your loved ones - one gift could encourage them to follow their passion. I love buying my children’s friends arts and crafts gifts, with the hope that they will be inspired just like I was.
"A great gift for me would be a really reliable radio so I can listen while I’m working or a neat little camera to snap anything that inspires me when I’m out and about. Oh, and all artists need a hand cream for our hard-working hands! Also on my wish list is a new watch so I don’t lose track of time when I’m working. As I’m often on the go, a bag for my make-up and bits and bobs would be lovely too! Head to Very.co.uk and give a gift that helps someone find theirs."
Plus, shop our edit of gifts that that will ignite a passion for art below:
Kate Spade Pen And Pencil Set, £39.99 from Very
Inspire a budding artist with this Kate Spade New York's black stripe pen and pencil set, which makes letter-writing, note-taking and sketching that bit more chic. We love.
Kate Spade Personalised Alphabet Notebook, £11.99 from Very
Whether your loved one wants to organise their life or brainstorm some artwork ideas, this Kate Spade Personalised Letter Notebook will help them out. The gold foil letter on the front cover is an extra luxurious touch.
Whistles Mini Verity Back Pack, £180 from Very
This leather backpack from Whistles is perfect if your loved one is after a chic bag to store all of their artistry tools (think sketching pads, colouring pens or yarn). Because they really don't need to substitute on style when storing said tools.
Roberts Uno Digital Radio, £159.99 from Very
Like Jo Barrett proves, listening to music when you create art is a great way to relax, and help your loved one produce something spectacular. Plus, this retro radio will look great in any home, whether modern or vintage.
Nikon D3500 Camera, £479.99 from Very
Artwork comes in all forms, including photography. So this Christmas, gift someone with an artistic eye this slick Nikon camera that shoots crisp photos and movies. They'll love capturing special moments of their life with this nifty piece of tech.