Interview between writer Matt Reilly and Illustrator Jo Burrows (Bykerlass) about the fabulous Geordie Poetry Range of cards and Geordie Poetry Gifts August 19 2014
The collaboration between creative writer Matt Reilly from Low Fell and Jo Burrows (Bykerlass) strangely enough from Byker, created this amazing range of cards and gifts which have already been purchased by most of the leading retailers in the North East.
The range is printed on heavy 300gsm card is larger in size than our regular cards and is printed with a satin finish. The cards are pure quality for both design and wording any recipient wouldn’t be disappointed. They are available to purchase at £2.75 free P&P from our website.
Here’s some info about Jo and Matt
How long have you been working on this range? Jo: Well I have to say that we initially talked about this idea in October 2013 but I was up to my neck in Christmas orders so we started properly in January. Matt has been really quick to respond to briefs but I have had to fit this range in around my other products and business activity.
Matt: I have written rhymes for cards for friends and family for years, and have been an admirer of Jo’s cards and gifts for a long time, so it has been great to bring those two things together in our collaboration on this range.
Is this range going to develop further? Jo: We have more products and cards in the same ilk which are lovely and will be ready for Christmas (watch this space). We also have another region of dialect inspired poems to publish too! (We’ve been really busy)
Matt: In a word ... Yes! It’s a really fun range to work on, and Jo and I work really well together, so I’m looking forward to developing this range (and the other regions) even further.
Whose work do you most admire in your given field?
Jo: I love Caroline Gardner. I love the way she stays classy and keeps innovating whilst everyone else is behind her trying to keep up. I really try to model myself on her each time my work gets “interpreted” it makes me dig deep and innovate with new products and ideas.
Matt: I have two inspirations when it comes to writing rhymes for cards: the comedian and writer Spike Milligan, and Purple Ronnie’s creator Giles Andreae. I’ve always loved the type of poetry that appeals to everyone, from eight-year-olds to 108-year-olds, rather than the really cryptic stuff I read at college. For that reason, I wouldn’t call myself a poet. I’m a creative writer who loves to write daft rhymes! Even so, I take my work very seriously.
What’s the most difficult part of creating the cards?
Jo: For me its doing Matts lovely words justice and choosing the right look and feel - I still need my customers to recognise my design style whilst offering something new and innovative.
Matt: It might sound obvious, but the most difficult part for me is finding the right words. I can write rhymes quickly and easily, but it’s never my aim to just write a rhyme. I’m always trying to write the perfect rhyme, with the perfect rhythm. I’m really happy when I find that rhyme and rhythm combination. I love all of the cards Jo and I have collaborated on, but there are a couple of them that I’m really proud of.
What is your usual creative process?
Matt: Jo will send me a creative brief, outlining a Geordie word or phrase that she wants to use on a card. Then it’s ‘thinking cap’ time! I approach the writing in different ways depending on where I am: I usually jot things down in a notebook, but sometimes things come to you in the most random of places. One rhyme came to me almost fully formed when I was sat on the Metro, as it crossed the River Tyne, so I quickly typed it as a message on my phone and sent it to myself! When I’m happy with the rhyme then I’ll send it across to Jo so she can work her design magic!
Jo: I usually look at the words and match a look or image to the words - if its a celebration the artwork needs to be joyous for instance. I usually have a specific look in my mind before I start designing a new range.
What draws you to creating these regional dialect cards?
Jo: I love my accent and love quirky words and love being able to celebrate accents (not just Geordie) in a positive way - being proud of where you are from is a great British trait.
Matt: I spent my early years in Manchester, so when I moved up to north-east England it was like learning a new language. As a writer, you can’t help but fall in love with a region that has such a rich vocabulary all of its own. When you look at them, Geordie words and phrases lend themselves perfectly to rhyming. I feel like these rhymes are my chance to pay tribute to the place I now call home.
Click here to see Matt’s website – www.mattreilly.com – he is available for commissions and collaborations.