Say "Hello!" to...
Sawers & Hardy
Jessica Sawers-Warren (Author), Nicola Hardy (Illustrator) and her daughter Ellie Hardy (Graphic Designer) are a London-based family collective grown from a mutual love of words, art and all things creative.
Three women who grew up writing, painting and dreaming together decided to combine their skills to create a
series of children's books.
Let's meet them!
29 year-old Walthamstow resident Jessica formed the initial concept for Wild Collections back in 2016. She's always loved writing, but is actually a musician by trade. Backing vocalist for artists such as Boy George, Jess can be found playing piano and singing at jazz bars across London by night.
"Growing up, I found immense joy in reading and being read rhyming poetry - naturally I know most of Dr Seuss' work by heart. My love for animal collective nouns started with a simple Google search; if you're interested I'll get you started:
I've always considered the Owl my spirit animal - so starting with 'The Parliament' was a given. When I looked further into collective nouns, I discovered that many emphasise the animals' behaviour; a Bask of Crocodiles or a Flamboyance of Flamingos are just a few examples. I couldn't help but create characters in my head to match; and so it had to be a series.
As a child, I loved learning new and complicated words; something that I still see in many kids now! However, in my time as a primary school teacher, I encountered one of the hottest topics in education at the moment: "The Word Gap".
In short, educators are seeing a rapid decline in the variety of vocabulary used by primary and secondary school children, both verbally and in written work. Most complex vocabulary is now reserved for classic novels and academic texts, and the amount used in young children's literature is almost 0.
Read more about it here:
Wild Collections is my way of addressing this issue through heartwarming stories, and I've loved every step of our journey so far.
A prolific artist, fashion designer & jewellery maker living in Rutland with her family and 3 dogs, painting in a little studio at the bottom of her garden. She met fellow fashionista Jackie (Jessica's Mum) in 1984, and they formed a life-long friendship that transcended generations. Nicola's nature-inspired artwork has been sanctioned by the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London.
"The project began with Jess’s wonderful poems. Ellie, with her astute graphic eye and layout skills, prepared the story boards - that’s when I stepped in.
Many hours were spent sketching the characters and their environment until gradually the right format was reached and all of us were happy. I was always so keen to get the Owls spot on for Jess, as she really does love them!
I see each book as an exciting and fun project, trying to get children absorbed and interested in the tales each one tells."
Ellie is another Walthamstow-dweller who inherited her mother's creativity and eye for detail. She specialises in graphic design and has a particular passion for print, layout and illustration. When she's not carefully placing critters on the pages of Wild Collections books, she's creating & selling her own prints and illustrations based on beautiful colours, clean shapes and graphic patterns.
"Working with print, layout & illustration are all main passions of mine so designing a book series as beautiful and witty as this one is an absolute delight!
I've always loved children's books, some favourites being, 'Five Minutes Peace' by Jill Murphy, 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea ' by Judith Kerr and 'We're going on a bear hunt' by Michael Rosen', to name a few!
I thoroughly enjoy the full process of the project right through from initial sketches of page layouts to final decisions about the print process and creating other marketing materials.
The fact that my business partners are my Mum and life long friend is a bonus. We all work closely with one another to make sure the end result is one we are truly proud of."