about arty&leo

claire atkins of arty & leo designs

My name is Claire and I started my business Arty & Leo Designs in 2010 after graduating as a graphic designer.

Growing up, I always loved drawing and creating – my favourite toys for years were a mosaic puzzle and a tangram set.

Last year, I found myself needing to be more hands-on in my designs and I started experimenting with jewellery making. While most of my ideas still begin their life on a computer screen, there is something about manually attaching the backs and physically holding the finished objects that give me such a thrill.

This lead me to open my Etsy shop. This shop is me. I don’t create anything that I wouldn’t wear myself and somewhere down the track I would love to expand into home decor pieces.

The use of wood as a material in my jewellery, gives me a connection to my Granddad, who was an avid carpenter.

My memories of him are strongly tinted with the smell of sawdust and the sound of his deep Yorkshire chuckle. It amazes me that he could uproot his young family and travel to the other side of the world.

Once here he set to work building a new life for my Grandmother and their two girls.

To this day, my Grandmother’s house is full of the furniture that he made with his own hands, while the coffee table he made for my parents now has it’s place in my little flat.

I have always regretted that I was unable to spend more time with him before he passed away and so this is my homage to him.

One of my favourite moments is getting the pieces back from cutting, opening the box and breathing in the burnt sawdust smell that the laser leaves behind. I hope that the people who receive my packages will also savour that first unwrapping, and perhaps even catch a hint of the smell that always reminds me of my Granddad.

Wrapped up in my memories, sustained by coffee and good tunes, I hope you enjoy my pieces as much as I have enjoyed creating them. Hopefully, they will be a part of the new memories that you create.

x C