Fenland firm goes global with iconic Paddington bear Jubilee image
A Fenland firm has been put in the spotlight thanks to one of the most iconic images from the Queen's recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
An image created by artist Eleanor Tomlinson of the Queen holding hands with Paddington Bear, entitled 'Jubilee Ma'malade Tea', as she walks away with a corgi at her side has become a huge hit with Royal fans.
Now Presiman Designs, a specialist fabric producer located in Guyhirn, is busy reproducing the poignant image on to tea-towels and cushion covers that are being bought by people across the world including Canada, Australia, Japan and Singapore as well as closer to home in Europe.
Presiman Designs is run by husband and wife team Angela and Simon Williams, and has been going for the past five years with the ability to print its own unique fabric designs for the past 18 months.
What started as a hobby for Angela re-upholstering furniture has become a thriving business and has seen both her and Simon give up their jobs in the corporate world to focus on running their own company.
It all began with Angela upcycling furniture but it really took off when she created a bespoke Alice in Wonderland dining table and chairs for a friend. From there demand spiralled and the couple have not looked back.
Over the past 18 months they have installed printing machines that are capable of producing fabrics from designs created by artists including Eleanor Tomlinson among others.
But it doesn't stop there the firm has the ability to turn any image into a fabric design, so if people want something they have draw themselves or other artwork they want as a soft furnishing then Presiman can do that.
Angela, who is self-taught when it comes to arts and crafts, said: "We have been creating fabrics for the past 18 months and it has been a really exciting adventure to come up with unique designs for people to use in their homes. We have been surprising the artists we work with with designs we have created using their artwork, it has an amazing journey for us and for them. It gives them a way to get their artwork out there and enjoyed.
"Not everyone wants to have the same soft furnishings as everyone else bought from a national chain store, and that's where we come in using creating fabric designs that help make homes more individual.
"We have been working with Eleanor for the past 18 months and have a really close working relationship with her.
"As soon as I saw the 'Jubilee Ma'amalade Tea' image posted on Eleanor's social media I knew we had to do something with it. I contacted her and she immediately said yes and from there we have been busy printing tea towels and cushions with the image on - we really didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for."
The image went viral being shared across all social media and as a result demand for Presiman's products has gone crazy.
Angela, who explained her and Simon are both quite arty and enjoy crafts, said: "We have had orders from all over the world and they are still coming in. We're about to start making tote bags with the image on and I'm sure they will be hugely popular too - people have been waiting for us to have them ready. I think they like the idea of carrying it around."
The bag will not only have Eleanor's iconic Paddington image on it, but the lining bears her other Jubilee artwork making it a very colourful piece.
Angela and Simon also work with other artists including Stella Alexander, Helen Rosenthal and Philippa Edwardson.
Angela said: "They all have their own unique style and it is fantastic to be able to use their art to develop fabric designs. We have a range of materials that we use to create the fabrics choosing the right one for the right produce. We have our own in-house designer who plays around on a computer to come up with patterns using the artists work and it so much fun to watch them taking shape.
"We still produce the Alice in Wonderland designs that started it all off and I still upholster furniture, but I don't have so much time for that these days as the fabrics have taken over."
Angela said one of their next big projects will to be to create fabrics using a clutch of hand painted images created by an unknown World War Two soldier.
She said: "We found all these beautifully painted drawings when we were clearing out Simon's mum's home. She had bought them at an auction and we believe they are the work of a soldier from Scotland, but we have no idea who he is. He basically drew pictures capturing what he was seeing during the war and they are beautiful.
"We hope to use them to help raise money for a charity such as SSAFA."
Angela concluded: "The past five or six years have been a real rollercoaster ride, but we absolutely love what we do - it is amazing to work with so many talented artists and to create something new and exciting from their creations."