With Love 2016: From Illustration to Creation

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Helen Simms

For Mother’s Day this year, we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the fabulous British Artist & Illustrator Helen Simms in creating our ‘With Love’ gift. She lives and works in a small village in Buckinghamshire with her husband Chris and two dogs – Audrey and George and is inspired by nature, fashion and the fluidity of watercolours and inks.

We chat to Helen about how ‘With Love’ came to be…


What was your inspiration for the With Love design?


Helen Simms blossom imageI have the most amazing Mum in the world – fact! She is always thinking of others before herself, is always there for us when we need her and has taught me a lot about love – both in terms of how to be a Mother (which I’m delighted to say I’m expecting to become for the first time in early May!) and how to be a daughter – having watched her care relentlessly for my dear late Grandmother over the years. I wanted the design to be a bit of nod to both my Mum and Grandma.Helen Simms Sanctuary in progress 3

As such, I was initially inspired by the beautiful blossom in my village! I wanted to create something that felt fresh and that reflected springtime and new life. The blossom always seems so hopeful to me and serves as a reminder of the happy childhood and upbringing my Mum and Dad provided me with.

Having done a little bit of research, I also found that in Japan, the custom of Hanami festivals is a chance to celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and is, for many, a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view. This seemed quite fitting, both for Mother’s Day and for Sanctuary’s products – providing a little indulgence and a chance to relax and renew to those that deserve it most! Likewise, the orange/ yellow peace roses on the top of the box represent my Grandma as this was the flower that my Grandfather planted for her in their garden when they were first married and it remained special to her throughout her life.Helen Simms Sanctuary in progress 2



 How long did it take you to design & create the With Love design?

I first went to Sanctuary HQ for a meeting in early April 2015 and I don’t think the finished design was signed off until late July. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Katie and the Sanctuary team. The process was very much a collaboration and they were incredibly receptive to my ideas, which I think allowed them to develop and grow gradually towards the end result – which I’m pretty happy with, if I do say so myself!


How was this project different to your previous work?helen simms studio

My previous commissions had largely been for fashion and beauty illustrations and had therefore been mostly figurative. Katie had noticed some of my personal work which featured florals and was more inspired by nature, rather than fashion, and got in contact. Since doing the project I’ve been developing my floral work and I think it’s made me loosen up my style a little too.

What was your favourite part of creating the gift?

I loved the idea of creating something so personal. Whenever I was thinking about the different elements of the design, I had my own Mum and Grandma in mind… not to mention all the other special women all around the UK who would also be receiving this as a gift!

What’s it like seeing the finished gift come off the production line & being gifted to Mums all around the UK?

Absolutely fantastic! I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve already been into Boots to see it and have even had my relatives in Scotland sending WhatsApp images of themselves posing in front of them! I love the thought of something that I created being given to so many Mums this Mother’s Day!


See more of Helen’s beautiful work at HelenSimms.com or follow her on Instagram @HelenSimms

Photography by Binky Nixon Photography


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