Ursula graduated from Glasgow School of Art in the early 90s with a BA in Environmental Art. After working in community arts for over a decade, in 2012 she decided to establish her own design practice and reconnect with contemporary designers and makers. Ursula went back to study for an MA in Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, which was hugely inspirational and established Little Axe in 2014.
Ursula’s work is all about nature, plants and animals, flora and fauna. She focuses mostly on rare or endangered species, particularly the ones that are disappearing from the environment due to climate change and habitat loss.
Ursula wants her work to convey meaning and she is particularly interested in our relationship to nature. Her wallpapers feature dense foliage, rare animals and rolling seas.
The early textile collections were based on the wild habitats and shorelines of Ursula’s native Scotland. But more recently Ursula has made collections inspired by the Spice Trade in the 17th century, featuring more exotic plants such as the Vanilla Orchid, the Black Pepper Vine and the Cloves plant. She is currently working to commission on a new series of block printed designs inspired by the plants of the foothills of the Italian Alps.
Little Axe began at the kitchen table where Ursula produced hand block printed designs for Wallpaper and Textiles. Ursula has always admired traditional crafts and aims to use locally sourced materials, and ensuring that all of her products are handmade in Britain. Initially, Ursula sold products at local Craft Fairs but after showcasing with Handmade in Britain at Kew Gardens in 2015 her business began to grow steadily.
She now receives regular commissions for restaurants and interior designers.