Designer/illustrator JANE FOSTER explains how the influence of the Devon coastline comes through in her homewares, fabrics, books and toys. Interview: Alex Reece


We lived in Brighton originally, then moved to Devon (Totnes first, for about four years) and now we’re based in Kingsbridge – we moved here last August. I think the beaches are beautiful. They’re not touristy at all, and every one is different. The beach in this photograph is Torcross – our seven-year-old daughter Polly’s favourite – because she loves ‘rock hopping’, as she calls it. I like to look for stripy pebbles, which I collect, then we’ll go for an ice cream or a coffee. I like the peace and hearing the waves. It’s nice to get away from emails and the pings on my phone.
The coastal influence does come through in my work – sometimes I draw fish and boats, for example – but the main thing is, I have time to think here, and then to come back to my busy studio and get on with things. My partner Jim and I have spent the last eight months building our studio in the garden and we’ve tried to make it quite coastal. The Siberian larch cladding on the outside will weather to a nice silvery colour and we’re going to have a floating deck and lots of grasses to make it look really beautiful.
Pretty much everything I sell starts with my illustrations, whether they end up on fabrics, mugs, screen prints, toys or children’s books. A company called Make International produces the mugs, glasses and kitchen textiles with my designs on them, and this autumn, we’re launching a new range of haberdashery. I’ve designed sewing kits, quirky knitting bags, pin cushions, and various other things.
John Lewis has taken those, along with other stores.
My latest craft book – Creative Craft with Kids – is inspired by things I’ve done with Polly. If I’m at the table doing something, she’ll say, ‘Can I join in?’, and do it alongside me. I have always loved making things and it’s even nicer making things as a child.
For more on Jane’s designs, see

“I like the peace and hearing the waves. It’s nice to get away from emails and the pings on my phone.”