From a young age, Emily Nash designed her own animal themed Christmas cards, making sure to personalise each one. Being a farmer’s daughter, she had plenty of inspiration living around her every day.

“I find animals easier and more fun to draw, paint and create, as I am familiar with their features,” she admits.

The mind behind Emily’s Designs has recently graduated from Dumfries and Galloway College with a Higher National Diploma in Art and Design.

Emily’s Designs is a growing collection of hand drawn greetings cards; framed original drawings; commissions; lino prints; low relief pieces and printed kitchenware all in the theme of farm animals and dogs.

“I have always wanted to have an art based career,” she said. “But it wasn’t until I was 16 that animals became my speciality.”

Her home life may have been her main inspiration but she has also not had to look far for another.

“A lot of artists inspire me, but I have to say Helen Ryman – a very talented local artist – is at the top of my list,” she said.  “I love her bold brush strokes and vibrant colours. Whenever I see her work, I always want to grab a paintbrush and start painting. Her animal work has to be my favourite.

“I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to paint with her a few years ago. And it’s a bonus that Helen lives only a few fields away from our farm.

“Most of my inspiration comes from living in the Machars, being surrounded by the countryside and helping on the farm. I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful area where I can walk out of my back door and instantly have new ideas for different artwork.”

Her signature pieces are now her 3D work, which, thankfully, are also her favourite to create.

“I don’t know what the end result will be,” she admits. “They are created using polystyrene and mod rock and then painted using acrylic paints.”

So far, on her finished list are Friesians, Hereford Bull, Blackface and Scotch mule sheep.

“They seem to be an attraction as people always want to feel the faces or added texture,” Emily said. “I personally haven’t seen anyone do anything like it before and like the fact each piece I create is unique and original.”

Her first design for her greeting cards – a Highland cow – was so popular that  it has become the logo to Emily’s Designs and the animal was used to create framed originals, linos and textile designs.

“I have lots of ideas for the future,” she said. “I plan to do a lot more 3D/low relief work. I would also like to transform old furniture with paint and my fabric designs and create a range of soft furnishings.”

Any artist block is usually removed by a quick sketch or moving on to another piece.

She said: “I usually know when I’ve finished a piece after I ask my family and friends their opinions. Although sometimes I get to a point when I don’t want to do anymore in case I overwork and ruin the piece.”

Emily is looking at possible avenues for funding but knows she is in the perfect place to thrive.

“Wigtownshire is filled with talented artists and craft-makers,” she said. “It is slowly becoming known and more popular for its arts and crafts.”

Featured in Issue 4 (Autumn 2015)

Picture: Stephen Jolly Photography

• Emily’s work can be found at:

– The Old Colfin Creamery, Portpatrick
– House O Hill Hotel, Glentrool
– Cafe Rendezvous Wigtown(cards only)
– From Ewe to You, Millaries, Sorbie
– The Arty Bit Kirkcolm
– Saint Ninian’s Tearoom and Gift Shop, Isle of Whithorn
– Whithorn Story Tearoom and Gift Shop, Whithorn.

She is still doing art and commissions in her spare time, as well as developing fabric and other printed items.

Her next event is The Kist, during Wigtown Book Festival.