Inspiring Woman Series - Lou Tonkin

Inspiring Woman Series - Lou Tonkin
On a sunny Friday afternoon in May we took a drive through the Cornish countryside to meet Lou Tonkin. A much celebrated artist and print maker. Her work is inspired by nature and she creates captivating artwork which is loved all over the world.
I met Lou when I first moved to Cornwall 8 years ago through my husband who met her when they were at art school together. A kind, warm soul with a passion for arts and nature. It was more than a pleasure to sit in her world and get to know her more.
We visited Lou at her garden studio in Cornwall.
Photography by Imogen Rosemary 
Find Lou's work- 
Lou wears our Harriet Blouse and Farley dress 
When did you turn your passion and love for nature into unique art work?

It was actually the artwork that started first, I studied illustration at Art college & became self employed soon after finishing.
I’ve always had quite a practical working ethic, a ‘grafter!’ I enjoy my work honestly, but the very nature of who I am, the wild spaces I spend my time in, they make me the most happy, I’m immersed in nature for most of the time, this immersion quite naturally flows into my artwork. The details in nature are my muse & inspiration.
You’re a mother of three beautiful children, has your journey through motherhood changed your artistic approach?

I think any mother would say ‘how could it not! ‘ I’ve always valued being self-employed alongside bringing up my children so I could work the hours around them, this has meant many late nights & early mornings in the past but I’ve been there every day to meet them from school and to see all of the developmental stages that were so important to me. My print work has never been divided from my home life in the way that many jobs would be from other family lives, they’ve lived it & I think it’s given them understanding & confidence. I’ve had to make work thrive around them which has meant them attending many many trade events through their childhood! sometimes they would grumble but largely they enjoyed it & they got to be nurtured as part of a wonderful creative community.
They’ve seen me work, they understand the value of work, of how to make a living, they’ve seen the tears & frustration from wrong directions & the achievements.
My most recent work/family decision was to only open my website once a month & then close it again when my order book is full, sales or access to my work hasn’t changed but now I have a much better working routine to enjoy with my family, it’s brought a calmness which wasn’t there before.
I can’t help but feel proud when they say how well I’ve done. They’re opinion matters to me & I think so often as a mother we see our children grow but having to work alongside bringing up your children, I think it’s quite a wonderful & unique experience for them to see how you’ve grown as a human and I think both sides are very important.

What do you love about living in Cornwall?

The nature, always the nature for me. & the diversity of the landscape. We live on the very soft, lush green south coast, but there’s also the rugged north coast within an easy distance or beautiful moorland & a rich history that we’re very much a part of.

What clothes do you feel most comfortable to create  in?

Linen, natural fibres, long skirts that make me feel good! & comfortable easy linen tops. I’m only 5ft 1ins so I like tops & skirts that can be nipped in the middle with a good belt to give me shape.

Do you have a favourite Naked Generation piece?

Just one??!! Impossible to choose!

The Farley dress has the be the ultimate comfort dress & I long for a Farley jacket!

The Bonnie dress too, looks so comfortable, I can imagine myself walking out across the moor in it.

The Florie blouse was my ultimate favourite, those sleeves!

I love the length & the flattering v neckline of the Daphne dress.

Empowering beautiful clothes for real women.