Based mainly on the edge of the moors surrounding her studio, Catriona’s pictures feature the local landscape, animals and birds that abound in this beautiful part of the world. She is delighted to be able to follow the path that was mapped out for her as a small child with a gift for drawing and really does produce her works from a freezing garret in an ancient stone house, like the artist she once dreamt of being.
The Old Hall where Catriona lives and works
Catriona studied History of Art at Warwick and worked first in London in a West End gallery, followed by several years in publishing, including top glossy, The World of Interiors. When she moved up to Derbyshire, she started making her art in earnest and found the group of Peak District producers of art and produce a good way to show her work. Peak District Products had originally been founded by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire to promote her Farm Shop at Chatsworth and other local artisans. She was a great champion of all things Derbyshire and of hens in particular. When the Duchess of Devonshire retired from being the much loved President of Peak District Products, Catriona was commissioned to paint her a picture of her new abode, the splendid Old Vicarage at Edensor, in the grounds of the Chatsworth estate. Catriona is still a member of Peak District Artisans, as the group is now called, and organises an exhibition of the work of about 30 members’ work, including hers, each Spring in the Stables at Chatsworth. Catriona has painted many commissions around the UK and further afield featuring a range of houses from cottages to castles and pets from spaniels to snakes with a lot of black Labradors in between. In tandem with her commissions, she produces her own artwork from her imagination and inspired by the wildlife around her, be it the curlews warbling over the house to the hardy plants in the garden.
For years, Catriona had been eager to put some of her artwork onto 3D objects but lacked the time to make this a reality. A family friend had started making her pictures into tapestry kits (Fernsby Hall Tapestries) which worked very well with the simple shapes and earthy colours transferring successfully to this medium. Catriona loved the idea of a family business and Flora managed to galvanise her into making this happen.
Dog & Dome mugs in the garden of the HQ
After studying History & Ancient History at Cardiff University and Museum & Gallery Studies at St. Andrews, Flora went off to New Zealand, a land known since childhood since her Grandfather/Catriona’s Father lived there. After returning from a year spent interning at Auckland Museum, whilst funding this working as firstly an au pair, then a Dental Nurse, Flora came back with a good knowledge of Maori artefacts and teeth! She had been plotting to turn some of Catriona’s work into products, so started looking for companies that printed onto fabric. After having some cushions and tote bags made up, she and Catriona started a company called Cat & Curlew. Flora learnt some basic design skills and designed a logo for the company as well as a website. Looking for full time work at the time, she took a job at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Moving to London and full time work meant Cat & Curlew was put on the back burner for a while. Flora was fortunate to be given the opportunity to learn some graphic design whilst at RIBA which she loved and started playing around with projects outside work. Having grown up in rural Derbyshire, Flora was finding the quick pace of London life slightly draining and was ready to move out of the city. At the same time, she and Catriona had been talking more seriously about going into business together properly, so Flora left Fulham Palace, where she had moved after RIBA and came home for a couple of months to set up the business and print the products. There was much deliberation over what to call the company but finally Catriona and Flora decided on 'Dog & Dome'. Flora then moved to Marlow with her fiancé and the business was launched. She worked part-time as Manager of a small local museum for a couple of years, but in February this year, she left her job to concentrate full-time on Dog & Dome.
Catriona and Flora in Norfolk, one of their favourite places to visit
Flora says “It is such an exciting but daunting time and my advice to anyone who is thinking of taking the plunge into their own business, is go for it or you might otherwise regret it.”
Catriona says: “Flora is the business and brains behind Dog & Dome whilst I come up with the pictures. Flora has always been incredibly supportive of my work and she is the first person that I show when I have finished a painting, followed by daughter Amelia and husband Peter, who all have comments to add on the finished painting. We luckily find we are in agreement most of the time about which elements of particular paintings would suit translation onto a three dimensional product. Flora is very adept at interpreting my ideas and very long suffering when I am being a diva about the position and colour of a cut-out animal or bird.”
Flora has the last word and says “It is a joy to work with Catriona and so wonderful to feel passionate about going to work every day.”