Artist's Profile

Karen Tye Bentley
Karen Tye Bentley

I was always interested in anything arty while I was growing up and, after indulging myself at Newcastle-under-Lyme College of Art for a couple of years doing a general art and design course, I settled down and specialised in ceramics. Living on the doorstep of the Potteries, it seemed rude not to. For the next seventeen years, ceramics was my life, and I worked my way up to be Group Design Manager for a large multinational company. Although I loved my job, I would always walk around the trade fairs and think how wonderful it would be to design pretty things like all those lovely cards!

In 2003, not long after the arrival of my first daughter, with many changes in the ceramic industry and a not too subtle nudge, I took the plunge into the world of freelancing, that long thought about idea became a reality and I have never looked back. I still design for the ceramic industry, but I love the fact that I am able to design for different products, bouncing ideas from one to another while still keeping an eye on the commercial aspect of the design.

I enjoy working to customer specific briefs, but I relish the times when I can work on speculative designs and have a play with new ideas. As one of my daughters once said "It can't get much better than being able to do colouring in all day".

A large part of my work is now in the greetings market, and when one of my friends, Kay Dale, became a Flamingo (formerly Phoenix) Partner she suggested that I send a few of my designs to see if they were suitable. With such lovely quality products and hearing about what a great team Phoenix are to work with, it didn't take much persuading, and not long after I had my first designs published, with hopefully many more in the coming years!

I live in Newcastle-under-Lyme with my husband, two daughters, and our black labrador Charlie.

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