After completing a degree in 3D design at Brighton Poly I illustrated for the Body Shop, painted murals and then changed tack and taught primary aged children until the birth of my daughter. We moved to Bermuda for 3 years where I sold collages and paintings through local art galleries. When we returned to the UK, I painted botanical images for a ceramics company and then when my son began full time school, I started up The Square Card Company which later became Kali Stileman Publishing.
My children are my greatest inspiration and my fiercest critics. They have come up with lots of ideas and it was Finn who designed the monster and peacock cards when he was ten.
Recent projects have included writing and illustrating books for Random House. peely wally was a surprising success and was shortlisted for the red house book awards 2012 and has been selected to go in the bookstart bags that all children in the UK receive at eighteen months. time for tea polly wally, the sequal, has been released recently. I have also illustrated the big book of nursery rhymes and the big book of my world which to date has been translated into 26 different languages and won the rightstart gold medal toy award for 2012.
the national literacy trust have chosen big book of my world for their london literacy champions project. This means that over the coming months 1700 copies of the book will be distributed to families across London. The project aims to help develop children’s early literacy by connecting community volunteers with local families with children aged two to five years.
Recent projects include designing calendars and family planners for a german company for 2014-17, an increasing range of wall stickers with stickerscape www.stickerscape.co.uk, and cushions for ‘we love cushions’ www.welovecushions.co.uk I have recently finished 5 books for pre school children with ‘make believe ideas’ www.makebelieveideas.com, which was a super project.
I remarried in 2011 and now live near Dorchester with my husband our 4 noisy teenagers when they are not at Uni two loopy dogs and a growing flock of childens, ducks and a recent addition of a goose…..life is good!
I grew up in Dorset in a remote little village “where everybody knows your name”. Escaping to the big city, I studied in Canterbury for a year, and then studied English and Drama at the University of Sussex (still pretty rural!) I lived on the seafront in Brighton for three years and had the time of my life there.
After completing my degree and teacher training, I missed the comforts of home and the beautiful Dorset coast, so I moved back to the house I grew up in and had a great time being a kid again living with mum and dad. I met my wonderful husband Dale in 2012 and we now live together in a little house which we renovated together from the bare bones. We live with our two twin cats –Monty and Rupert- and a part-time dog -Sybil). We’re expecting our first baby in April.
I have been working as an English Teacher in a secondary school for the last eight years and by a strike of fate (magic) I found my job here with Kali -so now I do a bit of both! I’ve been here for over a year now, and I take care of the public side of the business -including social media and publicity. I love the creativity and variety in my role, and most importantly I love the things we make!
It was a bright and sunny day; I was working as a receptionist at the local veterinary surgery, when I took a phone call from a lovely lady regarding booking a dental for her dog. We chatted for a while and giggled about the trials of pet ownership and various other life challenges. Later that week she came in to admit her dog for surgery and we struck up a friendship – the lovely lady was Kali and life hasn’t quite been the same since!
I love working at the studio, it’s a lovely calm space with delightful views of various chickens, ducks and geese and the omnipresent canine members of Kali’s family. Mostly, I look after the techie back-end of online sales but can also be found having a quick boogie while packing cards, to Kali’s appalling taste in music!
While I am not working with Kali, I enjoy running with my dogs and kickboxing. I instruct kickboxing several times a week, my classes cover all ages and abilities, ranging from 5 year old trouble makers to 60+ year old ladies wanting to keep fit and all the ranges of hard-core sparring and grading in-between. Watching the growth of students in ability and confidence is extremely rewarding.
Chrissie is one of my oldest dearest friends. We lived together when we were doing our foundation course in Winchester and she went on to have a long career designing fabrics for a host of international brands and then overseeing the technical development and manufacture of knitwear for the likes of Marks and Spencer, Boden and Fat Face.
When she decided to take a break, I jumped at the opportunity to pull her in to work with us. With over 20 years’ experience in retail, Chrissie is now in charge of our research and marketing, liaising with all our lovely shops and agents.
Chrissie works from her beautiful home in West Sussex where she is also developing her passion for gardening and garden design. I should also say, I named my daughter after her, they both share Airlie as a middle name!