Born and bred in Bristol, England, Colleen Pugh backpacked her way to New Zealand just under three years ago and has remained in Dunedin ever since. She’s known for her hand lettering, illustration and quirky wit, but she started her blog, Dear Colleen, with no real plans of it becoming a business. It was intended to just be a creative outlet to share ideas and designs, but quickly her word play posters caught on and started popping up everywhere.
Her time spent backpacking and ‘travelling light’ really changed her attachment to ‘stuff’. Her only real collection now is six paintings by Wellington-based artist Devon Smith. But Colleen’s studio and personal space is far from dull. She favours bright colours; her current pick being green, but tomorrow it will be something different.
Her working space is mainly retro, whitewashed timber, with zingy pops of colour here and there. You won’t find mindless ornaments cluttering up her studio. Almost every knickknack or vintage piece of furniture – if it’s not a sentimental gift from her boyfriend – has been salvaged from a garage sale or found at the Salvation Army. And, of course, her studio is full of her sketches. Colleen and her boyfriend, who is also a designer, choose to keep their home free from their own work though, as it allows them to clear their minds at the end of the working day, as they curl up in front of their wood-burner to escape the chilly Dunedin winter.