Hannah Dale Shares Her Wrendale Designs Story
Wrendale Designs started its days as an ever-expanding range of endearing animal illustrations, brought to life from Hannah Dale’s kitchen table, and today it’s a renowned and much-loved British home and gift brand.
As we launch a very exciting new collection of Wrendale Designs, fragranced by Wax Lyrical, we wanted to hear more about how Hannah first began creating the Wrendale world and what was most important to her when it came to adding a little aroma to her animals!
Q. When did you first start illustrating Wrendale Designs and what is it about animals that captures your imagination?
I’ve always loved wildlife and nature, and studied zoology at university, so I think I have a slightly different perspective from other wildlife artists! During my degree, I spent a lot of time doing fieldwork, which often meant spending many hours on my own in the countryside taking observations. I would take a sketch book with me, and that is really what got me hooked on trying to capture the unique character of animals.
Q. What were the first products that you designed and how did you find the process of taking your illustrations and creating homeware and gifts?
My illustrations first found their way on to greeting cards, and shortly after that we started producing stationery and slowly added product lines one by one. I am an absolute greeting card and stationery addict so this was an obvious first foray for us. When we start to develop a new product, the starting point is always ‘Is this something that I would love to own’ – we are always trying to think about how we can make our giftware better than anything else on the market, whether that is in the materials we use, or the extra thoughtful details we always try to include.
Q. Which are your favourite animals to illustrate?
I do always get very absorbed in whatever I am painting at the time as the character starts to come alive on the paper, but I do love to paint foxes. I love the colours and their characterful faces. We have a family of foxes living close by and we are always so excited when we catch a glimpse of them – they are such beautiful and charismatic animals.
Q. Are you still creating new animal characters?
Yes! I am always working on new pieces to keep the artwork fresh.
Q. You’ve acquired so many Wrendale fans over the years, do you develop new product ranges with them in mind?
Absolutely – we are very lucky to have such lovely customers – I absolutely love hearing their feedback and we do listen to all the suggestions. We often ask them on social media if they prefer a particular design, or what new illustrations they would like to see on a clock for example. It’s invaluable feedback for us.
Q. What do you love most about home fragrance?
I am a huge fan of home fragrance and have always bought the Fired Earth collection by Wax Lyrical. I love the gentle light a candle provides, and there is nothing better than walking into a scent filled space. It is the easiest way to transform a room and change the atmosphere which is so important when you want to switch to relax mode after a busy or stressful day.
Q. When it came to creating home fragrances to complement your collection, what was most important to you?
It was very important to me that the fragrance had a fundamental connection with the artwork. It needed to be more than just a candle with a hare slapped on the packaging – there had to be a reason why that particular illustration was used. I came up with the idea of theming the fragrances around ‘hedgerow’, ‘meadow’ and ‘woodland’ and then designed the illustrations around this. We then picked floral and natural elements from each of these different habitats to develop the fragrances and it all came together beautifully.
Q. Of the three new fragrances in your home fragrance spring collection -Woodland, Meadow and Hedgerow - do you have a personal favourite?
They are all gorgeous but I think hedgerow is my favourite – one of my favourite times of year is May, when the hawthorn is in full bloom – this is what we tried to capture in that fragrance.
Q. This fragrance collection has been created in products which can be reused in the home, such as the trinket and egg cup candles, can you tell us more about this and why it was so important to you for this collection?
We always try to make anything we produce a little bit special, and I loved the idea of having something beautiful to keep once the candle has been burned. We are always trying to find ways to lower our environmental footprint as well, so not having a throwaway vessel was perfect. The ceramic has a wonderful translucent quality to it when you burn the candle – it just glows and creates the most amazing soft light.
Explore the new collection here.