Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hallo, I’m Megan Price, and I’m the designer and screen-printer behind Mr.PS.
I’m based in Salford, Greater Manchester, North West England. The place where vegetarianism in the western world and the ideas behind the Suffragette movement started, the inspiration behind Coronation Street, the location of the Salford Lads Club (the backdrop to the much copied iconic Smiths album cover), is now where Mr.PS calls home.
Having trained in Illustration at university in London, I am currently following my passion for print by developing the Mr.PS range of tea towels, bags and mugs.
Colourful screen-prints are inspired by vintage signs, the great British seaside, as well as a love of tea and cake, all my favourite things.
As well as running Mr.PS, I also work to commission for design and illustration for print and web. You can keep an eye on what I’m up to or past projects by checking out my blog.
I like… dancing in the kitchen to the radio, riding my bicycle down hills, meeting mates for dinner, laughing til it hurts, sitting out late in a pub garden of a balmy English summer’s eve, singing out loud to myself in the car. The scent of roses, the taste of Green & Blacks Maya Gold, the purring of a happy cat, doing the Guardian quick crossword, collecting contemporary and vintage china, catching up with far-away friends.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I try to turn off my computer at the weekend, (always a struggle) and spend some time baking and pottering around tending to my plants out in the yard.
I live in an exciting city near some beautiful countryside, so it’s great to get out and about and explore. Sometimes I visit gardens and walk in ancient woodland, and always try to pop in to a farm shop to pick up some local produce along the way. Otherwise it’s great to take a walk along the Manchester canals and be inspired by the surrounding history.
At the moment I am spending a lot of time renovating our new home, a big red brick Victorian house which is hard work, but exciting. Currently there are lots of dusty, slightly annoying jobs to do, but I’ve been out and bought the paint and now I can’t wait to start decorating!
What first made you want to become an artist?
My mother is an artist and I had a creative childhood. I was always making things, needlepoint rugs for my dolls house, tiny purses out of felt, little stuffed toys.
Growing up, all the grannies, aunts and uncles were sent ‘Made by Meg’ birthday cards, with my own-design logo on the back. In the late autumn, the Christmas card production line would begin, we had an old mangle which was put to use for lino-printing.
As a teenager, I gradually took over most of our kitchen for my crafting experiments. Buckets filled with tie-dyeing t-shirts; making candles by melting wax in saucepans on the hob; the food processor became the pulper for making paper.
I learnt to screen print on our kitchen table, and would turn it upside down to stretch out lengths of fabric over the legs to do batik. In fact the old kitchen table has continued to be central to my creative activities, as I now have it in my studio.
So it was never a conscious decision, it is just what I do. I always knew I would go to art school, but never what my specialism would be. As it is I still try and challenge myself to learn new skills and try new directions for my creative output.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
The day starts with checking my emails in my home office. It’s great to wake up to Etsy sales, because of the time difference between the US and the UK you can be earning money as you sleep, which is always a good thing!
Then I head up to my studio, the walk takes about half-an-hour, which is a good time to plan the day ahead. I try to either have a print day, screen-printing posters and tea towels for stock and wholesale orders; or a sewing day, hemming edges, folding and packing; and head out mid-afternoon to the post office to send out everything off.
My studio is based in a former cotton-spinning mill, so it feels quite appropriate that I am making tea towels there. Sometimes when I am sitting at my industrial sewing machine I imagine all the rows of women that would have been working away at looms and it can be quite startling.
Running a creative business is such a continual thing, my brain is always ticking away with design ideas and plans for new products. There is no 5 pm shutdown, you can essentially be working constantly, inspiration can strike at any time. You may have the need to get a design down on paper late at night, because that could be when you finally work something out.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
When my husband and I married, we sat down with my mother’s fabric box and chose pieces for her to make into a quilt. It’s a mixture of new fabrics, and scraps that hold memories from when I was growing up.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Terence Conran – The House Book. Currently in use for our renovation project.
Nigel Slater- Real Food for weekday suppers
Nigella Lawson- Domestic Goddess for weekend baking.
Gina Oschner- People I Wanted to Be I originally bought this as I loved the jacket illustration, it’s a great selection of short stories.
Daisy and Angela Ashford – Love and Marriage partly for the nutty stories (written in 1919 by two young sisters), partly for the brilliant Ralph Steadman illustrations.
Die Hard 4
Spaced (not a movie but a cult Channel 4 series available on dvd and online)
The Pingwings (again, not a movie, but film animation available on dvd)
Lauren Laverne’s show on BBC 6music
Au Revoir Simone
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Don’t get downhearted if it takes a while to make your first sale, or if it feels slow. It really is a learning curve to find out what works, and different approaches work for different sellers.
It’s worth spending a bit of time writing good product descriptions. It can really help to sell a piece to describe it fully, rather than just giving a list of measurements, for example.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I like the Treasury, it’s always exciting to see that little gold star when you look through the lists. It’s a good way of discovering products and shops that you may not have otherwise discovered.
At the moment buyers can tick that an item has been sent, but it would be great if this was dated and you could also include a message to the buyer. Then the buyer and seller would have all the relevant info together in the one transaction page.
How do you promote your work?
I post pictures on Flickr, tweet new listings, and contact design blogs with new products. I’ve been lucky to have been picked up by a few blogs by surprise, and also to have had my tea towels, mugs and bags featured in trade, national and international magazines.
In ten years I’d like to be…
still making a living by working creatively, still curious to try new things, still healthy and happy. Fingers crossed!