Victoria Hannah

Hi! I’m Victoria and until recently I was a designer/patternmaker and my life was totally consumed by fashion. In fact, I almost believed the earth revolved around it and I didn’t give much thought to anything else...until my enthusiasm working for the large companies waned...bigtime!

I worked with watercolour in art at school in Auckland and found the capricious nature of it nearly drove me to lunacy. I naively thought fashion design and patternmaking was an easier path!

At school, I was one of two top students in Art and Written comprehension but on the other end of the spectrum, I was one of two bottom students of my class in Maths...Fashion and Art...guess what they both require?

I love to write about and photograph places I have travelled to as well as help people learn how to draft and alter patterns to make their own clothes. One of my most favourite of pastimes is to visit all the Op shops in a new city I am visiting, plough through the racks of clothes to try and find all the natural fibre plus size dresses. It's so exciting! I can't wait to get back home, wash and unpick them then remake them into a fab new dress! WOW...I have a new design in fabric that no-one else has, how cool is that?

Artistically, I’m so inspired by three wonderful books I was given as a child, they are still so valuable to me, emotionally and physically. Their whimsical and quirky illustrations blend together joy, love and the all important humour.

Born Free and Living Free by Joy Adamson. These books set me on a path of undying love for cats...the bigger the better and I realised a dream of working with lions, tigers, wolves and my absolute favourites, cheetahs, in 2010 in Bloemfontein, Africa. I love all animals, except slithery ones, but my love of cats is beyond insane and have illustrated a series of cats with a dog series to follow.

Rupert Bear by Alfred Bestall. The scenes of Rupert’s house with leadlight windows and snow falling outside were always something I wanted to experience. Auckland was never going to see snow and when I finally lived in England for a few years in the 1980s/early 90s those scenes came to fruition for me. Utter magic!

Caroline and Her Friends by Pierre Probst. This book has the most enchanting illustrations of Caroline travelling around Europe with her anthropomorphic animal friends. The facial expressions on all the characters inject laughter in me every single time I pick up this wonderful book.

I have done Iyengar yoga for years and love to walk, these are my favourite forms of exercise. The bones can't take any more running these days...too many injuries! I also absolutely love Astronomy and Astrophotography but I am a scaredy cat about the dark, so I can only do it if I am with a group of people and not by myself.