A SKIPTON artist who has honed his illustrative talent since leaving art college is to showcase his work closer to home.

Stephen Lennon, originally from Bradford, attended art college in Bradford and Reading. He did freelance work as an illustrator in London before taking up positions at such institutions as The National Gallery, in London, and the Royal Horticultural Society, at Wisley, Surrey, as a book buyer.

In 2012 he moved back to Yorkshire and for six years ran a plant nursery in Cracoe with his partner. After selling the nursery Mr Lennon set up Umbellifer, which combines his two great passions - art and gardening.

He creates greetings cards and limited edition prints, working from home. He also has an online shop and sells to retail. In spring he intends to grow his business further at a trade exhibition at the Yorkshire Event Centre, in Harrogate, where his brand will make its debut at the British Craft Trade Fair.

For the first time ever in 2020, to celebrate the new decade, BCTF will open to the public for one day only on Saturday April 4, ahead of the trade show opening on Sunday April 5 to Tuesday April 7. Visitors will have the chance to browse and buy from an unrivalled selection of products, straight from authentic British designer-makers and small independent companies.

Speaking about what the future holds, Stephen says: “Setting up and running a small business from home is never stress-free but living in a town like Skipton with the Yorkshire Dales on my doorstep is all the inspiration I need to create my botanical cards and prints.

“It is a great feeling to know that my work is designed, drawn, printed and packed in Skipton, keeping my environmental footprint to a minimum and helping other small businesses along the way. My business is growing steadily with my cards selling from small shops, garden centres and visitor attractions as well as through my own online shop, Umbellifer.co.uk.

“BCTF will give me the opportunity to showcase my work to many retail buyers and I hope to make the most of that opportunity.”