I’m going to take you on an adventure! We leave and cross the Wild West of America and canoe through the Wilderness of Alaska and then head off to the Jungles of Borneo, riding high on the back of an elephant and it all happens with designs created by Rupert Davis of Dare & Do. His illustrations have created moments of escapism, fantasy and adventure that set the scene for every young girl and boy, so they can imagine going on their very own ‘bear hunt!’
Rupert has an eye for detail and this has enabled him over the years to create everything from large theatrical sets, to private themed parties to smaller scale book illustrations.
It was with the illustration projects that Rupert’s light bulb moment came and he thought ‘I can do this for myself!’ He’d long held an affection for the American illustrator N.C. Wyeth’s work, famous to many for the superb paintings he created for the ‘boy’s adventure books’ such as Kidnapped, Robin Hood, and Robinson Crusoe, to name but a few.
Above – Rupert’s illustrations
As a child they had fired up Rupert’s imagination, playing cowboys and indians or pirates on the high seas. Once he became a father himself he could see that children just didn’t spend the same amount of time outdoors as he had growing up in rural Hampshire. So it was with his illustrations that he decided to bring them into the home.
Now Dare & Do are in full production producing fabrics, wallpapers and beautiful home accessories. One very important part of the company’s ethos is to source ethically and from British companies. It took some time to find the right suppliers taking Rupert far and wide across the country. The bone china mugs come from the Potteries, wallpapers printed in Cheshire, fabric from Lancashire, lampshades from the West Country and cushions printed in Brighton. ‘This all took time’ said Rupert ‘and was somewhat of a learning curve, I never thought I’d learn so much about pattern repeats in fabric!’
I love the fact that Rupert still finds time and takes great pleasure in hand printing all the charming prints they sell. He feels the need to make and create and still keep in touch with that element no matter how large the business becomes. Caring about quality and originality is at the heart of his business, whilst not losing the personal touch.
Above – Rupert screen prints one of his designs
Above – The finished poster
I was first introduced to Dare & Do by designer Kate Page of Page & Barber. Rupert had approached Kate as she runs a local business and he felt she had a real flare for design and a high quality finish to her work. She was ideal and commercially the first promoter of his work.
Above – Kate and Rupert discuss fabrics
Kate has enthusiastically endorsed Rupert’s fabrics saying ‘It’s great to have fun vintage designs in bright mono colours and the natural linen cloth makes it very useable whether for children’s rooms or a gentlemen’s study with the motorbike design. The designs are playful and and add a touch of character into modern and period homes alike.’
It’s true, no matter how old you are there is something to capture your imagination and head you off on your own adventures. I say this with confidence as I drink my tea from my beautiful mug, riding high on a pink elephant!
Details of Dare & Do www.dare-and-do.com
Supplier of fabric and design service www.pageandbarber.co.uk