The Monkey Puzzle Tree at Clerkenwell Design Week
Launched by Charlotte Raffo in 2017, the business combines her lifelong passion for interiors with her expertise in luxury textile and product development.
A strong social conscience is at the core of the business. The artists are paid a generous royalty and all products are made by well established British manufacturers with excellent environmental and ethical records.
Based in Leeds, the company name comes from Charlotte’s fondness for the strange but beautiful Monkey Puzzle trees. When Charlotte was born, her parents planted one in their garden, which grew with her – including eventually producing small, baby trees at the same time that Charlotte had her two children.
‘We run The Monkey Puzzle Tree like an independent record label, where each artist retains their own style, identity and creative freedom and the aim is that we can help them earn a passive income which will fund them to continue with their original work.’ – Charlotte Raffo
Artists with The Monkey Puzzle Tree:
Joel Weaver previously worked with Damien Hirst and Ryan Gander and has been nominated for the The Kleinwort Hambros Emerging Artist Prize this year. Joel creates small scale, highly detailed figurative pencil drawings with such attention to detail that the appear almost photographic.
Sarah Thornton is an illustrator and painter who focuses on the different ways one concept can be represented, mixing together colour, beauty and the natural world.
“Representation itself fascinates me. If I’m painting a blackbird, I’m thinking about his song, the way it makes me feel and the frenetic energy and interaction that can be seen by observing another species that inhabits our shared world.”
Alexis Snell is a printmaker working in linocuts whose work features strange, dark, an- gular characters that look as if they’ve just emerged from a fairytale.
“I like things that are a bit dark and strange and I’m always drawn to a good story. A flea market, a late night drunken conversation, an old advert or a matchbox might get me thinking about a new idea.”
Sarah Jane Palmer is an artist working in multiple media to express her ideas of pat- tern, eroticism and sacred geometry. Sarah exhibited at the Pete McKee ‘This Class Works’ exhibition in 2018.
“What I love is that I can create design details that a glance could miss, but that a second look might reveal.