Insights : Tom Pigeon

In the first of my Insights I asked Kirsty of Tom Pigeon a few questions to get an idea of where she came from and what makes her tick.
1. Who are you?
Kirsty Thomas, founder of design studio Tom Pigeon and also social project Make Bank.
2. Where are you?
Currently in my studio on the east coast of Scotland but I will soon be relocating to Liverpool – we are returning to our spiritual home after almost 14 years of country living.
3. What does a typical work day go like for you?
I am usually in the studio by 9 and the morning is generally filled with emails, posting orders and admin. I try to keep the afternoons free for design work or collaborative projects I might be working on (that doesn’t always work but thats the plan). I usually leave the studio around 5.30 but am not very good a switching off so might carry on working for a while when I get home. My weekends are sacred though so no work then!
4. Summarise your creative journey to today
Long and varied! I studied a design degree in Salford in the 1990s and then worked across the industry for many years. I’ve run a fashion business, worked for streetwear designers and retailers, done window display, fashion merchandising, worked as an art teacher is high schools and special schools and didn’t start working for myself until we moved to Scotland in 2007. I then ran a craft business which gradually developed into Tom Pigeon, a more design led business. And thats where I am now!
At the beginning of 2019 I also established a social project called Make Bank which aims to tackle creative poverty in UK schools and allow equal access for all to the creative industries. Its been hard work setting this up alongside Tom Pigeon but the support from fellow creatives and reaction of teachers and students has been overwhelming.
5. What has been your biggest creative business challenge to date?
Time. I think working for yourself is a challenge for all sorts of reasons but is hugely rewarding when you get it right. I love trying new things, exploring new projects and am not very good at saying no to new opportunities so I often find myself running out of time and having to juggle a lot of things at once. That’s a challenge but also really exciting. I am privileged to do what I love for a living and am very aware of how lucky I am to be in this situation.
6. Give us a recommendation (music, film, book, favourite shop……  anything goes)
I have two favourite places that make me really happy and I visit them as much as I can.
– The Barbican – I love the architecture but more than that I love just sitting a watching all the different people that pass through the building. I love that it attracts such a wide range of people and that all are welcome to just come in and use the space as they wish.
– The Miro Foundation in Palma, Mallorca. This place is really special – I love the position of the buildings amongst residential tower blocks looking out over the sea, and I am totally in awe of Miro’s mid-century studio (designed by Sert)… still full of his materials, objects and paintings. Inspirational.
7. Favourite thing about what you do (in one sentence)
I get to work with amazing people, places and processes and am now able to help a future generation of young creatives – the balance of these two things makes me very happy.
Thanks Kirsty x
Image credit : Laura Meek
Written by Alison on 29 July 2020