Women Who Create / Ami Lou Sharpe. This fortnight we welcome Ami Lou aka sosoyoyo to the women who create series. Bringing us bright and playful illustrations and designs sosoyoyo combines a love of the slightly cheeky with colourful and modern designs to create prints, soft toys, greetings cards and pins.
Tell us a little about your background…
I grew up in Derby. Then did my degree in Theatre Acting at Bretton Hall, after that I studied Graphic Design at Shillington College, Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been working as a designer for the past 12 years and have managed to incorporate my love of children’s illustration into my career too. I started Sosoyoyo because I wanted to turn my illustrations into products. Sosoyoyo has been on the back burner for about 5 years but after having my daughter in 2015 I realised it was now or never, I had to bring my ideas into fruition.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?
I’m an avid list maker and try to stay on track by giving myself specific tasks to achieve. To stay happy while I work, I listen to creative Podcasts, like Blogtacular or Design Sponge’s ‘After the Jump’; they inspire me and provide good company when working alone.
What two things can’t you live without?
Obviously the first one has to be my family. They’re my world. Creatively though, a good fine liner pen is a definite ‘must-have’.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
Seeing other people make and create something with passion inspires me no end. It gives me the energy to believe in what I’m doing and keep going.
What is the meaning of ‘creative’ to you?
To me, it means putting your imagination into action. Some people say they’re ‘not creative’ but I believe everyone is. Creativity is a wide spectrum of being able to paint a gallery-worthy masterpiece to finding a clever way to get your kids to eat veg. They all require imagination and effort.
If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?
I adore the work of Camilla Prada. I’d love to collaborate with her on designing a new plate.
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day-to-day process?
A simple blank piece of paper, the possibilities are endless.
What is the best thing about running your working for yourself?
After having my daughter I wanted to be able to work from home, running Sosoyoyo as well as my design business allows me to do that. I also love the buzz of selling something I’ve made.
What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?
I produced and directed a play whilst living in Australia. It was probably the biggest thing I’ve done and the most out of my comfort zone. I’d love to do it again, but it’s harder now I have a child.
What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business journey ?
Connect with other like-minded people. Working on your own can be tough, you need to get out there and realise you’re not on your own. I joined Studio NL’s “Hustle” group last summer, hearing inspiring stories from other creatives has spurred me on no end.