Interview with Matthew of Bonfirecherry

Today is a very exciting day for Tiddlybobs! For the first time I've interviewed a creative business for the blog in order to inspire any of you out there who might be thinking of setting up your own. And who does this wonderful honour go to, I hear you cry! None other than Matthew of Bonfirecherry - the home of unique handcrafted prints & bags with fantastic designs. I came across Matthew's work on Twitter and fell in love from the beginning so I wanted to know more about how he creates his designs as well as how it all began.

I love the name Bonfirecherry – where did it come from?

The name originated from college 5 years ago. It was coming up to my final major project in my second and final year of Level 3 Graphic Design and I decided to produce a fictional t-shirt business had some great ideas for t-shirts but no idea for the name. At the time I was thinking of ideas for names, it was coming up to bonfire night and I came off the bus home from college drinking cherry coke, which I rarely have, and I spilled some of the cherry coke over my hand while going past a house which was having a bonfire and that is how Bonfirecherry came about. The logo as you can see I've changed a bit since. I was inspired by the cherry on a slot machine and the rest of the logo was designed by myself getting inspiration from neon lights. I did have plans to have the word cherry underneath the logo but I believe the cherry in the O speaks for itself.

An old mock up Bonfirecherry advert Matthew made in college

What inspired you to start your own creative business and how long have you been running? 

I was inspired by a college project to start my own creative business. After I finished studying I did not have the money or the job so I had to wait 2 years to get my first job to bring the fictional business from the ashes to reality, so to speak. I originally wanted to do produce a t-shirt business as I gained the knowledge and skill to produce my own range of t-shirts for people to like which I still have from college waiting to show them off to the world.

But like most things they change. During the time of getting a job, I started to dislike the idea of just producing t-shirts as there are a lot of printing businesses that produce custom t-shirts so I looked into what else I gained while in my time in college. 

One of the skills I gained during college was lino cut printing, the last time I produced a lino print was in 2007 in my first year at college when I was studying Art and Design where I produced a print based on a computer circuit book... trust me it didn't turn out well so well. I still had a notebook I had to draw/write down what I was doing during that year but thankfully I still remembered from memory the equipment that I needed and what I needed to do.

One of the first prints I produced was called The Mysterious Philosopher which was inspired by banksy and street art.

By the time I am doing this post Bonfirecherry would have been around over a year now.

You said you use lino printing to create your products. What are your top tips for someone just beginning to use this technique?

One of the tips when it comes to lino cut printing is it is not to worry about cutting yourself first time around it is normal and that you will be alright and cut yourself less and less after awhile. Another tip is to never rush and always carve in deep as you dont want your hard work ruined!

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

I've been into art and design since college I've got tons of inspiration to choose from for my prints. My prints so far have been inspired by street art, steam punk and photography. 

Which is your favourite product that you've designed? 

My favourite product I've designed so far? Has to be my camera no.2 prints as I am a lover of photography among other things so these prints appeal to me more than my other prints. What happened to Camera no.1 you may wonder? Camera no.1 is the camera design I used on the t-shirts which didn't look right as a print by itself. 

Before I got the job to bring Bonfirecherry into being a real creative business I volunteered at charity shop for over a year to gain experience and one afternoon I was going through a book of old film cameras to sell and came around this Bell & Howard film camera which really caught my attention but at the same didn't have any money to buy it so only took a picture which I later found when I was looking through inspiration for prints. I finally bought the camera the prints are based on sometime during this year off eBay which made me happy. 

What is the best and worst thing about running your own creative business? 

The best thing about running my own business has to be that I have a way of getting the ideas out of my head onto a print for people to see and buy. The worst thing about running a business, especially a new creative one, is that it isn't going to be busy all the time there is going to be quiet moments. But hey life isn't that easy is it?

Regardless of the small bad things I love running my own business. I work a part time job alongside it so that keeps me going and I get to show people my unique prints.

I have written the following at the bottom of my website that I think says a lot about my work -   "What makes these prints unique? I can easily answer that for you it's my ideas, everyone thinks and interpret things differently :)"

Thank you so much Matthew. It's been great talking to you and I have loved getting an insight into your designs!

If you too have fallen in love with Matthew's designs visit the Bonfirecherry Etsy shop and shop tip your hearts content!

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