New Year, New Collection!
With the New Year here, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of the latest Wit and Wisdom product collection - the Walking and Hiking Collection. As the designer and artist behind this group of products, I thought it might be nice to share the inspiration and creative process that brought these unique gifts for walkers and hikers to life.
I have always found solace and comfort in walking in nature. My dog, Daisy, and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to explore both the English Lake District and the Cumbrian Coastline from our base here in the harbour-side town of Whitehaven. With the wide range of sports and hobby-based products, that make up our thoughtful gifts with a wordy twist, now available on the Wit and Wisdom website, it seemed the logical next step to create a series of Walking and Hiking-themed products.
Inspiration behind the collection
One phrase that has always resonated with me is "Solvitur Ambulando", which means: It is solved by walking. This motivational Latin phrase seemed like the perfect words of wisdom to inspire and anchor a new product line, and perfectly captures the essence of the Walking and Hiking Collection.
Solvitur Ambulando - it is solved by walking.
There is something magical about being surrounded by nature, putting one foot in front of the other, and finding clarity of thought and inspiration along the way. With this collection, I wanted to celebrate the transformative power of walking and the mental health benefits it brings.
The Artistic Process
To bring the walking collection to life, I started with original pen and ink illustrations of walking boots as the foundation for the collection. Fun fact: one of these illustrations was actually drawn over 10 years ago! It's amazing how timeless these monochrome drawings are (which incidentally is why they make the perfect wall art).
My Grandpa was a keen hiker, and he always used to stress the importance of a sturdy pair of walking boots. So just as a good pair of walking boots is the foundational piece of kit in every avid walkers arsenal, it seemed fitting that the humble hiking boot should form the foundation of the Wit and Wisdom hiking-themed collection of products too.
"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking" - German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche
Bringing the Walking and Hiking Collection to life was not without its challenges. I’d gotten as far as the mug test print phase, when I encountered some unexpected hurdles. The two newer illustrations just didn't translate into a mug design. The illustrations printed far too dark and densely onto the ceramic surface and lacked the detail and subtlety that the older of the three drawings had. So I went back to the drawing board - quite literally!
It's been a while since I put actual pen to paper, opting predominantly instead for the convenience of the iPad Pro for my drawings since I purchased it 8 years ago. But having the opportunity to look at the drawings side-by-side in mug form, I decided to redraw the later illustrations the old-fashioned way, primarily to make sure all three walking boot drawings would work together as a set, but also to ensure the best possible outcome during the mug printing process too and get some of that subtlety of lineweight that comes from the analog process of drawing.
"The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared." - C.S. Lewis
Creating Gifts You Love
Now let's talk about the exciting part - the products themselves! This is my first time launching a whole new collection, as it’s usually quite difficult to find the time to work on so many products at once.
Typically I create a single art print, and then adapt that design to create the mug design. However, this time, I'd gathered together several great quotes about walking, that I decided to test as product designs and loved them all.
Including my favourite C.S Lewis quote about the joy of enjoying the great outdoors with your walking companion, which, whenever I read it, always makes me think about my late Grandpa and how much he would've loved (and probably gifted) that in relation to his hiking buddies too.
So this collection of charming and relatable walking quotes has resulted in this new Hiking Collection which consists of 4 walking-themed art prints and 7 different mug designs with 5 different wise walking-themed quotes, so there’s some words of wisdom to suit every outdoor enthusiast, and now it's up to you to choose your favourites.
"Walking can in the end become an addiction...a delectable madness, very good for sanity." - Colin Fletcher
On a Final Note
I know that walkers, hikers, and mountaineers are a passionate bunch, and I wanted my designs to resonate with their love for the great outdoors. That's why I wanted to create a collection that captures the essence of their hiking adventures, inspiring them to keep exploring and enjoy the great outdoors.
Designing and developing the Walking and Hiking Collection has been a slightly more challenging journey than usual. From finding inspiration in the quotes, to perfecting each illustration, my aim has been to create unique gifts for walkers, hikers, and mountaineers that celebrate the joy of walking and hiking.
As with all the sports and hobby-themed collections on the Wit and Wisdom website, I'll be adding more products to the Walking and Hiking Collection over time, but for now you're invited to check out the collection on the Wit and Wisdom website, and I hope that these products bring a smile to your faces and inspire you to embark on new adventures.
I don't do New Year's resolutions, but this year my dog Daisy and I will be following Dickens' advice, to 'walk and be happy, walk and be healthy', and applying 'solvitur ambulando' to any challenges we might face along the way.
Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy, walk-filled New Year to you too!
Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy, walk-filled New Year from Wit & Wisdom.