Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spotlight on the dog house

                                                 on a camping holiday with Max and Molly

Jane MaCleod lives with her fiancé, Martin, in Edinburgh, Scotland along with their 2 rescued greyhound dogs, Max and Molly. How important are Max and Molly in Jane’s life? They are the inspiration for her etsy business, thedoghouse.

Four years ago Jane was on a totally different career path. Training as a junior doctor, she had little time for anything in her life but “work, study, and sleep”. She decided to take some time out when she reached the point of burnout and disillusionment with the entire health service. It was time for a little “soul searching”…

During this period, Jane began volunteering at the local greyhound re-homing charity, Gracehounds, and as she explains, “Being around these graceful & gentle creatures awakened a long forgotten creative side in me &, spurred on by the desire to highlight their plight at the mercy of the cruel racing industry, I started expressing this through the medium of screen printing & 'Max and Molly Designs' was born. It's important to me that my work not only raises awareness about greyhound rescue, but that I donate a portion of my profits back to the charities that directly help these dogs.”

                                                                                    Jane's dog friendly work space

Jane starts with the pleasant task of observing and photographing her pups being adorable! Better let her describe the technical part…”I use digital photographs of the dogs to create 'stripped back' images in black & white. I make my screens from old tights (stockings) stretched across recycled embroidery hoops, onto which I paint the monochrome images (along with any text I want) freehand with fabric glue - this is the most creative part of the process. I print by applying non-toxic fabric ink to the screens, transferring my designs onto ethically sourced T-shirts, cushion covers & totes etc. The technique I use results in 'imperfections' & slightly rough, rustic prints, with each one being slightly different to the next, but I embrace these qualities & strive to maintain a handmade look & feel to all my products. (For anyone who'd like to learn more, I have written a wee tutorial series on how I make my prints, which you can view here.)”

                                                                                       A step in the process

As you can imagine, when Jane is not working on her prints and her online business, or on raising awareness of the plight of greyhounds and promoting what fantastic pets they make, she can be found outdoors with her dogs. And that includes annual camping holidays! Vegetarian cooking, baking, gardening, spending time with Martin, friends, music, the craft du jour, also make their way into her days. I suppose compared to her stint in medicine, to her this seems like a laid back schedule … Oh, did I mention she has a dog walking business from 9 to 5 on weekdays?

Jane sells her work in her Etsy shop, as well a Folksy shop, geared more towards the UK market. Martin, it turns out is a very talented website developer and is currently in the process of helping in the construction of her own independent online shop, scheduled to open later this year. And you’ll find Max and Molly sharing photos of themselves on Jane’s blog and Facebook page.

A few other things Jane would like to explore more deeply include photography, as well as working out some of her designs as lino-cuts, & experimentation in other printing mediums. “I could imagine setting up an arty wee café, where people could come & hang out with their dogs. Working with animals has become a way of life for me, so I think they would always have to be there one way or another!” (I just have to say here, that I love it when Scottish people use the term “wee”, so cute!)

                                                 something for everyone
Jane believes that she has created her dream job, and that inspiration & ideas come to her while she’s doing what she loves best, out walking with the dogs, & particularly during the time spent with her greyhounds. Can it get any better than that!


  1. Sounds like you are doing what you love and that's great!

  2. Jane, Max and Molly are adorable, so wonderful that you found each other and they lead to your career "incarnation". All I can say is, You Go, Girl.

    Another wonderful read, thank you, Betsy.

  3. wonderful reading how you found your passion and avoided a life of burn out....good for you and good for the animals!

  4. love when people create their own dream jobs! great interview!

  5. So nice to get to know the "rest" of the story. I love Jane's approach to what she does, and of course the pups are fabulous too!

    Martha aka colorpoetry

  6. Someone else who has escaped the medical profession for a life of art :-) The dogs are gorgeous and your print method sounds fascinating. Another great interview Betsy, I love hearing all these stories.

  7. This is such a touching article. I love how you are living your passion and expressing it in everything you do. So inspiring. I wish you the best!

  8. an excellent interview with Jane and her two adorable dogs! glad to say I have met them all in person and Jane is a truly wonderful, caring lady! best wishes!

  9. What a lovely blog, what a great story, what super dogs! My friend Klara from Klara's Crafts has 2 Geyhounds and is involved with the Rescue North West. I had never really come across Greyhounds before and am a great fan now.

    I also really like your creative side and amazing activities.... want to be a 'fan of you'
    as well.x

  10. What a great story,
    Love your simple designs Jane

  11. inspirational hounds! A great read, too.

  12. Jane, you have found your passion and it shows! Loved reading about you! Great interview, Betsy!