We are a small studio in West London, set up by artist-designers Jonathan Mercer and Kate Fishenden.
Our focus is on hand-made design, using craft skills to create design, artwork and objects that add positively to the pattern of life, balancing home and work and creating a feeling of well-being. Our strong commitment to family, work-life balance and applied art combines to deliver a range of distinctive pattern papers, illustrations, prints and products, and a human approach to design.
Jonathan and Kate together deliver engaging workshops which are fun and rewarding - on subjects ranging from understanding your brand to printing your own stationery.
Kate’s career spans artist-designer-thinker, held together by a continuous commitment to the craft of the illustrator, designer, typographer and printer.
Kate studied Graphic Design at St Martin’s School of Art when we still needed to learn the skills of casting off type and the Apple Mac was a twinkle in no-one’s eye… Before founding Starch Green with Jonathan, Kate worked in leading design agencies with blue chip clients and commissioning illustrations from such heroes as Glynn Boyd-Harte, Ian Beck and Jeff Fisher.
At Starch Green, she works with Jonathan to collaborate on designs that enhance the day to day, often using Jonathan’s engravings as the source material. Using the process of silkscreen she has extended the range of Jonathan’s work onto textiles and into larger, colourful limited edition prints.
More recently Kate has been developing a collection of silkscreen prints based on her watercolours of flowers, pots and nature study. Her technique is evolving but primarily uses a subtle layering of transparent inks to create painterly marks and tertiary colours where the inks overlay.
Jonathan belongs to the long tradition of commercial artists who are designers, artists and craftsmen. Inspired by Eric Ravilious, John Nash and Eric Gill, Jonathan enhances the quality of life through his repeat patterns, wood engravings and illustrations.
Having trained at Ravensbourne and Kingston Art School in furniture and product design, he set out in his professional career as an industrial designer. By the mid-eighties he adopted wood engraving as his full-time occupation producing commercial commissions for leading designers, publishers and advertising agencies including Michael Peters, The Partners, Pentagram, Ladybird, BMP as well as numerous private projects.
Jonathan will often be found in the new Starch Green shed, proofing and editioning his engravings on his 19th century desktop Albion printing press and 1950’s Adanas.
Collaborating with Kate on designs for ceramics, fabrics, stationery and silk screens is a major focus these days, using techniques both ancient and modern to produce artifacts that please both their design and craft instincts.