In the beginning...
Emma Airnes is the illustrator, designer and creative talent behind BumBumBee Creative here at bbbeecreative.com.
Born in Fife, Scotland, Emma literally cut her teeth in a creative environment – probably on a paintbrush since our mother (yes, proud big sister here) used to leave them lying around. As you’ve probably guessed, our mother was also an artist, as was her father before her. Cliché as this may sound, it’s fair to say inks and paint are in Emma’s blood and creativity is part of her DNA.
You may think coming from a long line of artistic types provides a solid foundation for any creative, but the reality is, it can be all the more challenging to discover, develop and emerge with your own style, let alone turn that style into a distinctive and exquisite brand. But that’s exactly what Emma has created with Bumbumbee Creative.
Emma Airnes graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design with a BDes (Hons) before taking up teaching in the Art & Design Department at a leading High School in Scotland.
After having her first child Emma turned her attention to the nursery suite market. Being a designer herself, it was the natural progression to want create a vibrant nursery space that reflected Adam’s growing personality, while still retaining all the magic, wonder and innocence of childhood. Adam was soon joined by his little sister, Rosie who added her own joyous, raucous, colourful dimension to life for all concerned.
Over that rich, fullness of time Bumbumbee Creative’s nursery range was born and continued to expand as Emma became increasingly busy creating ‘something different’ for those who were left uninspired by some of the more generic pink or blue offerings available in stores across the UK.
“I wanted to create pieces that were little works of art in their own right, things you would keep forever, not throw out once you redecorate the nursery,” says Emma. There just seemed to be a lack of ‘individuality’ and ‘quality’ in the wall art and mementos in the nursery market. This is the most precious time and as parents, we want to cherish those memories for a lifetime. That’s when, in May 2020, I decided to launch Bumbumbee Creative.”
Which brings us on to the name Bumbumbee! Well, the Bumble Bee is a symbol – a busy worker, working hard for the collective hive, going from flower to flower, gathering pollen to create something organic for us all to enjoy. It also serves as a reminder that we need to take care of our wildlife and our planet. The Bumble Bee, as we know, is under threat and we must do all we can to protect this busy little worker.
“Yes but BumBumBee? Where does a BumBumBee come from?” I asked (because I knew you’d want to know) …
“Well, have you tried talking to an inquisitive two-year old about Bumble Bees? Adam couldn’t say ‘Bumble Bee’ but he’d get so excited when he saw the bumbumbees. So often those child-like interpretations just stick in a family – and I just thought what a lovely reminder to see the world through children’s eyes.”
A joyous innocence and a connection with wildlife, nature and the environment, flows through Bumbumbee Creative’s range of nursery designs. It is Emma’s hope that while you enjoy her creations, the seeds will be planted, fostering compassion for the wildlife and an appreciation of the abundance of nature around us. Even the smallest one can change the world for the better.
While Bumbumbee Creative’s beginnings may have been in the nursery market, that’s only part of the story. Emma’s work is a visual exploration of line and pattern through a mixture of traditional materials and digital techniques.
As a child, Emma, along with our brother [also a dab hand with a paintbrush] took on the responsibility of saving the swamp-dwelling frogs and their spawn before the motorway was laid over the top of the beautiful countryside where we grew up.
With that in mind, you could say it was the natural, almost organic, progression for Emma to develop a brand that focuses on a respect of the environment, bringing the wonders of nature into the home – sharing that love with the next generation.
Exploring the outdoors with Adam and Rosie provides a treasure trove of discovery and inspiration, leading to a reimagining of birds, flora, and fauna.
The Fife Coastal Path and decorative use of pattern are a signature part of her work across prints, cards, notebooks, and enamel mugs.
Processes and experimental mark-making play an important role in her creative development, and this is also something she looks to cultivate in others through teaching.
Bumbumbee Creative's range now includes the stunning Coastal Series
“Daily walks along the coastline where I live kept us all sane through the various lockdowns. The beauty of a seascape and its inhabitants is that it is always changing, from day to day, season to season. The scenery and the wildlife in Scotland is a never-ending source of inspiration.”
Emma Airnes, Illustrator & lover of nature.