We interviewed Mandy at her home in Glasgow.

Tell us about yourself. Where do you live, what do you?

I live in the Southside of Glasgow in a place called Strathbungo, which is a really nice pocket of the South of the city. I feel very lucky to live where I live.

As for what I do, I'm an artist. I'm a designer. I'm a mother and I am a creative.

What are you passionate about and what keeps you motivated?

My passions are very much linked to what I do. I had a design business doing branding and web design that I ran with my husband. We also have a print shop, and I'm very passionate about print and art.

However, I am moving away from that and am going to do more drawing — not only drawing in a studio, but going up into the hills, in the mountains. That's where my passion is, hill walking, getting out and sketching on the go. 

I've always been creative. I've always drawn or illustrated on the side of doing something else. Routine is really important to me, so I like the balance of doing something that's purely creative and something more structured to counterbalance that.

Going out and getting out into the hills and drawing outside is something that makes me excited, something that seems so simple, but it's taken me till very recently to realise that I need to find the right balance for it to be wonderful.

How did you discover Trakke and what was your first bag?

I've followed Trakke for a while, I love that they're a local Glasgow company. Being a self-employed independent and a creative, I seek out these little gems.

My bag was gifted from my husband, who has one of the rucksacks. I had been complaining about not having something that was just the right size, like a Goldilocks fit.

If I like something, then that's it, that's all I need. I always wanted one of those bum bags, people wear them over their shoulders now. I'm terrible at buying for myself - but the backpack I had was falling apart because I use things to death.

So when my husband gave me a Kelso for my birthday, which is a midsize bag I thought, "oh my goodness, this is perfect!" It's small enough that I can use it day-to-day but big enough to fit what I need in it.

Mine is salmon pink, which is nice, because I'm a colour magpie. I wear it out most days and it's never been off my back for the last two or three years.

I use it for everything. It comes with me on the school run, I wear it when I'm cycling, I wear it when I'm going up a hilI. I find it really sturdy, and I pack it with everything. It's also very good for transitioning from day to night.

It's something I can rely on, it's my go-to bag. It's great.

Tell us something you're looking forward to in the year ahead?

This year I'm really looking forward to having a bit more free time for my social life. Spending more time with my family and finding more balance because I was working a lot and didn't have much time for anything else. There are going to be more holidays, more opportunities to get myself around the country to see more things.

There's been a transition with my own work and I'm really excited about pushing that forward. I'm trying to focus more on my creative practice. The medium that I've discovered and become really passionate about is soft pastels. They're a tricky medium to use, they're really powdery and soft and brittle. But also very exciting. I like to incorporate colour in my contemporary works that are more minimal. My subject matter is outdoors and mountains and rocks and they just work really beautifully together. So I'm excited about combining those two things, going out into the hills more so I'm sketching on the go in better weather, and taking the pastels out with me as well.

I also want to make my own pastels. You get lots of dust and residue while using them, and I thought, "what if I could make my own?" It got me intrigued about how I could create a personalised palette, taking bits from the land and crushing things up and making potions I can draw with.

 I'm also excited about having the opportunity to get out more and hopefully start a walking group as well. I like the idea of sharing the experience of walking and sketching together, maybe with other creatives or just anybody interested in coming along and experiencing a nice walk together.

Here's what Mandy has been up to since the interview..

"A lot’s happened in the year since I spoke to Dan, but the main thing is that I guess I’m doing what I set out to do.

  I’m now practicing my art full-time, and feeling grateful to have the opportunity to do something I love. I’ve enjoyed some amazing holidays with friends and family over the last year, and getting out of the city as much as I can. I'm hoping for more of the same in 2024."