Corinne Thompson is sculptor/mixed media artist based in the beautiful Kent countryside. She specialises in whimsical clay and resin sculptures of animals and people.

Who or what inspires you and your products?

I’m a country girl to my core, which is where my inspiration comes. It’s what I’ve always known: the colours, the sounds, the smells and the sights. I’m also interested in folklore, particularly because its roots are deep in nature, which is why it weaves its way into my work.

When did you start your business?

My career as an artist didn’t start until later in life. I’d been creative since I was a child, but was always steered into getting a ‘proper job’. But the calling never went away, so when I went on maternity leave with my first child, Felix, a friend of mine who was a member of an art group invited me to submit some paintings to an exhibition they were holding – and so I did, complete with imposter syndrome. I was so surprised when I actually sold a few pieces, but that was all the encouragement I needed! I soon set up in a little cupboard-sized studio in our house at the time, where I had little room to even put the canvas on the easel. With the birth of our second child, Edie, we moved to our current home, where I have a purpose-built studio in the garden, which is perfect. It’s given me more space, which has allowed me to be able to both paint and sculpt.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a small business owner?

I’m a busy mum of two, and as well as juggling the family and my creative business, I also run a small livery yard, as well as looking after our own menagerie of animals. It’s pretty full-on and definitely one of the hardest parts of running a small business, but I feel so lucky that my work involves the things I’m passionate about – it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!

What is your hero product or one that means the most to you, and why?

My favourite product has to be my sculptures. I don’t have a favourite one as they’re all so individual, but I enjoy making them so much. The materials I use give me so much freedom with the forms I can create. I work with resin and air-dry clay, which is sculpted on to a wire armature. It’s like larger-scale model making.

What tip (or tips) would you give anyone looking to start a small creative business?

I think the key tip I would give to anyone starting a creative business is to keep your passion. Avoid churning out products, as not only does this take away from the enjoyment for you but also customers love to see passion and enthusiasm. It’s easy if something sells well to focus everything on that – which is true to a point – but don’t lose sight of what you enjoy!

Look out for Corinne’s wonderful art within the Country Living Christmas Market.