About Our Artists

Lead Artist/Founder- Ellie Sandall

Art Stars is run by Ellie Sandall, a children’s book author and illustrator and experienced art teacher. Ellie attended The Deepings School where she spent most of the time doodling covertly in the back of her exercise books! Ellie has a BA in Graphic Design from Bath Spa University, an MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art and is qualified to deliver Arts Award at Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver levels.

Ellie has previously worked as an artist in residence for seven years across two primary schools in Peterborough. She then decided to go fully freelance, launching Art Stars in summer 2016, and now teaches art alongside writing and illustrating picture books.

Ellie is qualified in First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid, holds a DBS certificate and Public Liability Insurance, and has completed Safeguarding training.

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Lead Artist- Vikki Harold

Vikki leads our Monday classes and also supports our Thursday classes, including our Arts Award groups. Her artistic skills and interests are wide-ranging and eclectic! Vikki works as a freelance creative practitioner/workshop leader with a number of arts organisations, including Vivacity, Peterborough Presents and The Green Backyard, doing everything from painting a nightclub to making props for theatre companies to putting on festivals.

Vikki has a shop on Etsy under the name Cyan Maiden, making synthetic dreads, beads and jewellery. She also works as a carer, previously with vulnerable older people and more recently supporting a child with disabilities. She has always endeavoured to use her creativity to help bring joy to those she cares for.

Vikki holds a DBS certificate and is qualified to deliver Arts Award at Bronze and Silver levels.

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Support Artist- Jodie Swepson

Jodie supports our Monday evening classes. She was a student at Art Stars for several years, completing her Explore, Bronze and Silver level Arts Awards with us. For her Silver Award, Jodie devised and delivered a series of art workshops with pupils at Northborough Primary School, which she found very enjoyable!

Jodie is currently studying for the Level 3 Art & Design Extended Diploma with UAL (University of the Arts London). She intends to study Illustration when she goes to uni, after taking a year out to gain some work experience. She loves painting in oils and has recently been getting into digital art and animation.

Jodie is currently working towards her Gold Arts Award with us!

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Support Artist- Issy Valerio

Issy supports our Tuesday groups, and also works with Violet class on Thursdays. She recently graduated from University of the Arts London, where she achieved a First in Costume for Theatre and Screen. Issy is now working as a freelance illustrator, designing cards and prints, alongside working with us at Art Stars.

You can see Issy’s beautiful illustrated cards here- http://www.thortful.com/creator/isabellavalerio

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Support Artist- Jo Crawford

Jo supports our Wednesday classes. Having been passionate about libraries and literature her whole life, Jo also works at Deeping Library where she particularly enjoys running rhyme time at the library with preschoolers and babies, creating displays and running events. She also loves working with the volunteers and meeting the public.

Jo has been on the PTFA at MDCP for 8 years, in various roles including chair. Through this, Jo has been involved in putting on summer and Christmas fayres, egg hunts, coffee mornings, discos and shops! She also oversees the development of the school library and reads with children in school.


Jo enjoys being creative in her spare time and loves to do watercolour, linocutting, calligraphy/brush lettering, collage and crochet. Her sons are creative too, and both attend Art Stars.

Jo holds a DBS certificate and is qualified in First Aid.

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Support Artist- Clare Mulgrew

Clare supports our online classes. She has worked with children for over 20 years- initially as a sports instructor and swimming teacher, and more recently as a volunteer in a local primary school and with Little Ducklings at the Deepings Library. Clare enjoys arts and crafts both on her own and with her son, who attended Art Stars for several years. She enjoys making silver and beaded jewellery as well as crafting using maps and wooden letters!

Clare is currently undertaking her Discover and Explore Arts Award training, and has an interest in supporting children with special education needs. She has a level 2 qualification in working with individuals with learning disabilities as well as level 2 in specific learning disabilities- she has also undertaken training in working with individuals with hearing and sight issues.

Clare holds a DBS certificate, is qualified in First Aid and has completed Safeguarding training.