Potter paperweights key to success for duo with innovative 3D crystal

Fiona with two of the products and, below, a Mrs Rabbit paperweight
Fiona with two of the products and, below, a Mrs Rabbit paperweight

The magic of Beatrix Potter has been given another dimension thanks to the talents of a Calderdale photographer

ONCE upon a time there were four little rabbits and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter . . .

Mrs Rabbit paperweight

Mrs Rabbit paperweight

The magic of Beatrix Potter’s adorable menagerie of characters, including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Mrs Tiggy Winkle, seems to be evergreen. And now, thanks to the talents of a Calderdale photographer, the lovable creations are set to be admired by new generations to come.

Phil Fearnley and his wife, Fiona, who run an established photography business based in Sowerby Bridge, are behind the innovative venture.

The flat original artwork by the famous author has been photographed by Phil and turned into a 3D image.

This has then been etched into crystal by a UK manufacturer and the result is a stunning range of gifts - crystal paperweights and keyrings.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

The gifts feature Mrs Rabbit, buttoning Peter into his famous blue coat, Jemima Puddle Duck, Hunca Munca and her baby and naughty Peter Rabbit himself, nibbling on carrots, stolen from Mr MacGregor’s garden.

Fiona has now secured a three-year licence with Beatrix Potter for the designs which are already proving popular and being requested by a number of retailers.

“We’ve launched into all the official Beatrix Potter outlets so far, including in the Lake District, where Beatrix Potter lived, and in York,” says Fiona.

“We would love to sell the products in local retailers as well and we are now in the process of approaching them. It would be lovely to have them in lots of local independent shops. It’s all down to Phil’s clever photography, really,” she adds.

And Fiona is not the only one to recognise Phil’s talents.

Laser Crystals UK, of Poole, Dorset, who are responsible for etching the paperweight and the keyrings, were so impressed with Phil’s photography, that they have commissioned him to photograph the images for their Diamond Jubilee and Olympics crystal gifts as well.

The couple are thrilled that the licence for the Beatrix Potter products extends to three years because a new film about the life of the author who eventually settled in the Lake District as a farmer, is planned in 2013 and once again Potter mania is expected.

“The joy of Beatrix Potter never seems to fade. Everyone remembers the characters from their own childhoods and then new generations discover Peter Rabbit, but the new film will probably spark interest all over again,” says Fiona.

“Reaction to these new crystal gifts has been lovely with people telling us they want to buy the paperweights in particular as christening gifts.

Each image is created by laser blasting into the optically perfect glass which creates a unique, full 3D image of the Beatrix Potter characters which can be viewed from all angles. The dimensions of the crystal paperweights are 8cm x 5cm x 5cm.

And the stunning keyring crystals have an added dimension - they have a built-in LED light which illuminates the detailed figure, when a small button is pressed on the keyring stem. The crystals measure 3cm x 1.5cm 5cm.

The paperweights retail at £29.99 and the keyrings, £9.99.

“We have started with just four images but hopefully there will be more because they would build into a lovely collection.”

The crystals come in beautiful presentation boxes which are housed in a sleeve depicting the original Beatrix Potter artwork - and again, Phil has been responsible for the design.

Phil, 45, is well known in Calderdale - and beyond - for his photographic talents. He picked up a camera at the age of 15 and soon afterwards joined his father, Basil, in the family photography business. Originally the business was based at Clover Hill, Halifax.

Phil now works from a studio, Capture, at Bolton Brow, Sowerby Bridge, which opened seven years ago (Basil died eight years ago) and his brother Ian is also involved.

They specialise is beautiful wedding photography, portraiture and work for local estate agents.

“It’s been a lot of hard work launching the products but it’s worth it when we see people’s reactions.

“They are captivated by the detail on the figures and the fact that they can see them from all angles.

“There is something magical about them,” says Fiona.

More information about the crystals is available by visiting www.capturecrystals.co.uk