Minnie Aurora Hedley is an illustrator and artist. Minnie was born in rural North Wales, and now lives in North London. She talks about her unique upbringing in the deep valleys of North Wales and relocation from the countryside to London.
“I have always had an affinity with nature and wildlife, ever since I was very little. I was born and grew up in an old estate cottage that was tucked away, deep within ancient woodland of the Dee Valley. It was an amazing childhood, and one that when I got older, I soon realised was very different to that of my friends and classmates. A lot of the time, my family and I would be the only souls for miles, totally surrounded by the wild terrain of North Wales; its wildlife, nature, open fields, enchanting woodlands, and of course, the wonderful country fresh air. The experience of living in that house, lost amongst the untamed countryside, is something I will forever treasure. Although I have now moved out and on, those memories of my childhood are always with me, both in my mind and in my art. Those memories of sights, smells and feelings, are constantly inspiring me even today.
"Perhaps my most vivid memories of my childhood were galloping the valleys on ponies, camping along the banks of the River Dee and attending local agricultural shows. They have all undoubtedly led me to pursue a career in illustration, particularly towards creating the artwork for children’s books. I enjoy the whole process of creating the pictorial narrative, from the initial idea on paper through to its physical form in models. And hence, my passion for creating artwork for children’s books also took me to London, where of course many of the leading children’s book publishers are based.
"I must say it was a real change of scene moving from rural Wales to London, be it for the sight of the odd foraging fox on my doorstep – something that I rather like! I love London, yet living here has undeniably invigorated my love for the countryside. Every moment free I take to nearby green spaces; parks, greens, footpaths, and Hampstead Heath. It seems by having these limited green spaces – as they are compared to the Welsh countryside – I am evermore appreciative of where I have grown up. Since moving, I made it my mission to find places of serenity; places where I could grasp some essence of the countryside and my childhood, and it has been illustrating these rural scenes that has provided me an escapism."
Follow Minnie's country creations here | @minnieaurorahedley