Friday, 2 September 2011

Interview with 31 Home Textile magazine, China

A few months ago I was asked if I would do an interview with Chinas leading Home magazine, "31 hometextile mag" they were particularly interested in designers that had lots of experience and been in the home interior industry for many years. So I hope that my replies to their questions were well received and I gave the younger designers lots of inspiration. Here are a couple of pics from the magazine. But I have attached the English version of the text....... unfortunately if you can read Chinese you may need some really strong glasses.

Here are the questions that they asked me and my replies..... Post your comments... if you dont fall asleep reading that is....

Interview with 31 hometextile mag.China

Brief Introduction
I am a surface pattern designer and artist based in the UK. I create original, handcrafted artwork for most interior textile, wall paper products and paintings which integrate with the textiles.

Brief description of designing style.
All my art is created by hand using goauche, acrylic and inks on paper and canvasses.
My subject matter and themes vary considerably but I am most renowned for beautiful Florals, traditional, vintage, botanical as well as contemporary and stylised,
Ornate and decorative designs with detail, and also complicated patterns (including geometrics) and large scale repeats. I love to work on wallpaper panels and borders with complicated co-ordinates.

Background, Past experience and hobbies.
I have been the “faceless” designer for over 30 years, working in independent design Studios, textile manufacturers and more recently as Interior decorator in the UK and overseas.
Born in Manchester (the birthplace of English textiles), I left school quite young to study fashion but soon saw an opportunity to work as a surface designer for some of the most talented artists at the time in studios in the UK and Europe which included Paris in France,Germany and Italy. Later I was employed as designer/producer/manager in various textile mills in UK, Southern Africa and most recently Pakistan where I lived for 2 years training local artists.
I created a prolific portfolio over the years for most of the large retailers and brands which included Dorma bed linens, Marks and Spencer to name two in the UK, and many collections for most International markets in USA, Australia, South America, Europe and Scandinavia. Designs were mainly for bed linen, soft furnishings and dining/kitchen fabrics.
Design, Art, textiles, production of textiles, Home Interiors, Architecture, decorative arts........... are all my passions and also my hobby.
If I have time to enjoy anything else it will be walking in the countryside and on the beach, listening to music, and I also have a passion for perfume especially vintage perfume from the late 19th century early 20th century.

What qualities and talents do you need to become a really good designer?
Awareness...... of the marketplace, consumer trends, culture and economy.
Knowledge...... of the product and the technical restrictions that the design has to be created for.
Originality, Skill and Quality, and always aiming to attain these.
Re invention..... constantly evolving and changing by learning new skills or approaching a task in a different way.

5)a What are the features of my Design work?
I think that a lot of the features of my design work were mentioned in Question no 2.
for example, Floral art and my ability to design a wide variety of styles and techniques,(especially detailed and intricate) All this is possibly due to my years of experience working for different markets and tastes.
Another key feature may be the ability to work on a large scale. Most young designers are more familiar with working on a computer so the end result can sometimes be a little flat and the overall format is small and repetitive.
I always try to think of the end product even before I start the design. I try not to just think of the actual surface pattern but the layout and structure and the potential styling of the item. What is the fabric, how will the design be printed, will there be special embellishments like embroidery, what will the packaging be like etc. I hardly ever create something without imagining how it will look in the consumers environment.
5)b Sources of Inspiration
I have many sources of inspiration which many remain constant, for example, nature, history of art, travel, and studying the marketplace. As a designer I am constantly looking in art galleries, shops, magazines real and online. I read newspapers to see what is going on in the world. Local and global trends are also a source of inspiration. Most recently I have been influenced by Japanese Art and the aesthetic of Japanese style and intend to incorporate this in my work. But inspiration has to be interpreted and that is where the exciting and challenging part comes in.

What Designer do you appreciate and why?
William Morris 1834 - 96. English writer, artist and designer.
On my website I have quoted him saying “ have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” ... something that I always try to uphold.

There are so many reasons why I appreciate William Morris. Not just because I believe him to be the greatest English designer of all time who designed furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, stained glass, tapestry, books. He was a poet, novelist,and translator and also considered to be founder of the socialist movement.
My particular appreciation is more to do with his devotion to preserving and protecting the skills of the master craftsmen, which Morris believed to be in danger of being lost amongst the industrialisation and mass production of goods, which was happening during this time in history. Possibly relevant today with the rise in technology? A subject which would need further investigation maybe?

7) What do you think about the function of color in your work?
Color can be the most important part of a design. One of my old tutors once said
“ you can sell a bad design in good colors but not a good design in bad colors”
Color is the first thing you see and its impact can be instant.
I have always been passionate about color but also about color combinations and how colors relate to one another and how they relate to subject, technique and texture.
Interestingly at the moment I am looking at more simple colors as I want to focus a little more on shape and form so I am trying to be more minimal with my use of color. But I find the discipline difficult as I always have a desire to experiment and add more.

Suggestions to young people who are engaged in the industry in China.

Try to embrace all the points mentioned in Question no 4
Awareness...... of the marketplace, consumer trends, culture and economy.
Be constantly looking, be involved, informed then analyze and interpret what you see.

Knowledge...... of the product and the technical restrictions that the design has to be created for. Before starting a project, check out the brief and all the requirements first. Make a plan of how the design will be created, for example, number of colours, pattern repeat, if it has to match to existing products. timescales and costs etc. If the design is just speculative for a new collection, still give yourself a brief, influences and a story of why you decided to chose the theme.
Originality, Skill and Quality, and always aiming to attain these.
Be original. When you interpret the market place and see current themes, try not to copy but try to interpret the trend by incorporating a unique element from your own style to make it different.
Skills and Quality Try to acquire as many new skills as possible. Designers and Artists are always learning. Their education is never complete and the more skills you have will enable you to achieve more. Always aspire to high quality work. This separates the professional to the amateur designer.
Re invention..... constantly evolving and changing by learning new skills or approaching a task in a different way. The Passion for Surface Pattern in the West is huge. There seems to be an abundance of designers, more than I ever experienced in my early career. If this is just a Fashion then eventually this trend will reach a peak, then plateau then drop in popularity. In my opinion designers who do not have all of the above criteria may fall by the wayside. That is why I have put Re-invention as another key attribute to consider, move on when the fashion for pattern as you know it disappears. I decided to go into Interior design when patterns lost popularity. I only decided to return recently when the fashion for pattern returned.

1 comment:

  1. Hello really nice post on Home textile products and you can find trendy designs and products here, Hope its useful for all.

    thank you


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