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le Cheval Fou family photo

Hello and welcome! I’m Maria Atton, the woman behind Le Cheval Fou.

Read on to find out all about Le Cheval Fou.

Let’s start with what I do… I create original art, prints, and paper products suitable for the whole family. All my creations are unique, quirky, affordable, and intended to raise a smile without breaking the bank. Everything I sell through Le Cheval Fou is handmade with love (by moi!) and designed to brighten your home and life. The perfect treat for yourself, your children, family, and friends.

I’m an experienced graphic designer with more years under my belt than I care to admit, and a weakness for paper and stationery, in particular, notebooks (which I seem to collect!).

As a graphic designer I have spent my entire working life designing for other people. And even though I have been running my own design business, Tigerlilly Designs, since 2006, the name Le Cheval Fou and the concept for it is something that has been at the back of my mind the entire time.

Why did you start Le Cheval Fou?

Despite already being self-employed and having a creative career as a graphic designer, I felt like I was constantly designing for other people and not for myself. The main idea behind launching Le Cheval Fou was the desire to create for myself. To create things that I truly love and not something that I had been given a design brief for. Le Cheval Fou allows me to create have fun and experiment and to make things that are more me which is great.

Where does the name Le Cheval Fou come from?

That’s an interesting question. I am not French, nor do I speak French (other than a few ancient GCSE phrases that seem to have stuck) but the name Le Cheval Fou is indeed French. In English it translates into The Crazy Horse.

The name came from an inside joke between myself and an old friend where I was called a crazy horse, we translated it into French, which sounded much more sophisticated and that was that. The phrase was forever more stuck in my head, waiting to be put to good use.

So what are my business values and why are they so important to me?

My business values are incredibly important to me. Le Cheval Fou and Maria Atton are one and the same and so the values that I take forward into my business are also my personal values. They are the underpinning reasons behind everything I do and create, they give me purpose and focus and help to ground me when I inevitable question my motives and progress. 

Let me explain…


The ability to be flexible and enjoy quality time with my sons while making a living doing what I love. In particular, creating designs that are suitable for the whole family, including my own.


Being able to be creative without any external pressures (such as clients) is a liberating experience and so much fun! Everything I sell is created by me, for you.


I believe art, and design in general, should make the viewer light up. It makes me incredibly happy to know that my creations are brightening someone else’s home. The ‘I’ve just made a sale’ happy dance is real! Maybe one day I’ll show you…

What next?

My ambition for the next year or so, is to continue developing my range of products and to make deeper connections with my customers. Actively engaging with people as they look to decorate their homes, buy the perfect gift, or just treat themselves to something unique is one of my main focuses for the coming year. 

I also want to sell more! Who doesn’t? 

The feeling you get when your phone makes that magical ‘perching’ sound is just amazing. It’s so lovely to see my designs being bought and sent to people all over the world. I want that to continue so that I can continue to create and spread joy with my quirky, fun art.

I hope that you will join me on this journey, I think it’s going to be quite a ride! So if you want to keep in touch, stay updated on new products as well as get the occasional freebie and discount then please sign-up to my mailing list…I hope to see you there!