What inspired you to be a designer?
I’ve always been creative from a very early age and studied and specialized in art and design. During university I carried out many work placements and I was very lucky to go straight into design employment after graduating, it really is the only career that I know. I really went for it from a very young age; the creative path was the only one for me!
I never actually planned to become a ‘surface pattern designer, it just naturally evolved after studying and working within the creative industry.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by spontaneous design I’ve always really admired the work of artist Jackson Pollock, I love the energy his work brings. I’ve always been a fan of Alexander McQueen as I admire the risks he took with his work. I also love art and design from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
What is the best advice someone gave you, when you first started?
I don’t remember a particular piece of advice but there has always been a particular quote that has inspired me from a very young age.
“Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life” Confucius.
What type of products do you sell and how easy is it to get your designs, licensed?
I run my own design label here in the UK with the focus being kitchen textiles and accessories. I also have several licensed product lines from greeting cards to home décor and computer accessories. Licensing does take time it’s important to build a strong brand and identity as a designer. I believe that staying true to my own natural style has played a key part. I’ve been very fortunate that my own licensing has increased rapidly over the past year.
I have dealt with some rejection over the years, it’s important to believe in ‘you’ and never give up. Joining an agency or studio can be really beneficial in the beginning as they can help attract clients and potential licensing contracts. During module 3 of my e-course ‘The Art and business of Surface Pattern Design’ we cover this in great detail.
Have you had any mentors?
I’ve never had any specific mentors as such, I really have just been a truly hands on person and thrown myself in at the deep end. I thrive under pressure and have always been a very pro-active person. I’ve always kept in touch with my old art teacher and my university tutor.They have been very supportive and encouraging over the years and have shared their wisdom. Over the past twelve months I’ve collaborated with award winning entrepreneur Beth Nicholls she has a great natural talent for business and she has really influenced and inspired me too. I continually try to learn from others and their experience. I think it’ really important to continually grow and try to improve yourself as a designer and an individual.
What do you love about London?
I really love the design scene in London; I regularly visit every couple of
months for work and inspiration. London really is crammed with amazing resources it really is a feast for the eyes! From visiting exhibitions at the V&A to just roaming the streets I'm instantly engergised and inspired.
What is your favourite place to go and visit in London?
One of my favourite places to go is Brick Lane and the Rob Ryan shop over on Columbia Road. I'm a big fan Camden Lock too and of London based illustrator and designer Libby McMullin. I stumbled across Libby one Saturday, she has a beautiful stall there and I have been a fan of her work ever since! She has gone from strength to strength as she's just been nominated for a Henries award 'Most Promising Young Designer or Artist of 2012'.
You are known all over the world from Australia, USA, UK.... What is the secret to your success?
I do work a lot, but I really do love what I do you really do get back what you put in. I’ve always been an energetic and highly motivated person. I’ve always believed if you want something so bad you can make it happen. Being pro active is really important you have to make this things happen. Opportunities will come your way but you can make a lot of things happen yourself. You really are responsible for your own success! I like that saying, “Never regret the things you do only the things you don’t do”. I ‘d rather have tried something and failed to have never tried at all!
What are you looking forward to at Top Drawer? And what can we expect from the Doodle Wall you are doing for charity?
I’m really excited about launching my new collections; it’s actually my first time at exhibiting solo in the London area! I hope to make lots of new contacts and fingers crossed that I line up lots of new stockists.
The ‘Designer Charity Doodle Wall’ is going to be really fun too. The big doodle extravaganza is a live interactive event at Top Drawer.
We have invited an esteemed group of artists, illustrators and designers to come and draw with us on the stand. After the event the large-scale drawings will be manipulated digitally to form an innovative wallpaper collection.
Wallpapered.com are kindly sponsoring the event and all proceeds of the sale will go directly to Cancer Research, UK. I’m really excited to see the end result!
To see design have such a positive impact is such wonderful thing, if we can raise awareness and funds for the charity then the doodle wall will be a great success.
What are you showing at Top Drawer? what is your stand number?
You can find my stand (A116) at the ‘Home’ section of the show (16th-18th of September, 2012) I will be showcasing my wallpaper collection along with my textiles collection and my brand new ‘Origin’ kitchen collection that’s consists of matching quirky aprons and tea towels. I’ll also be exhibiting a small range of gifts and accessories including my fun new range of canvas shopper bags and Ipads!
What has been your best design this year?
My favourite design that I recently added to my product line is one called ‘Organic Origin’. I particularly like the colour palette and organic abstract feel that it has. It’s a versatile design too that works in a variety of scales; the design has been applied to various products from my new IPhone collection to wallpapers.
You have recently launched a magazine MOYO with 'Do what you love' Beth Nicholls, when did this idea come about? And did you design the magazine?
After the success of ‘The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design’ (the e-course) Beth Nicholls (founder of Do What You Love) and myself decided to launch magazine as a spin off to the e-course initially. We realized there was a gap in the market and MOYO is the world’s first free online magazine dedicated to the wonderful world of surface pattern design. It’s a great platform for our student’s and graduates along with being a great resource for the design industry. I designed numerous pages in the magazine (including the cover) however; I worked with a fantastic dream team of designers and layout artists. My role as ‘Art director’ (my full title for the magazine is Art Director, Editor and Founder) included creating the design vision, the initial style guide, brand identity and sign off the final styling of the magazine. Designers such as the talented Jessica Swift and Libby McMullin and my wonderful assistant Kelly Crossley also designed and created innovative designs and page layouts. The list of talented contributors is fantastic and we are very lucky! The magazine really has been a success because of the wonderful collaborative effort and dedication from the whole team. It was a fun project to work on. I’m really excited about the next issue!
We had over 11000 readers in just over three days! I really hope that the magazine continues to inspire people.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I’m so grateful for so many things it really is hard to pin point just one, as each opportunity has been wonderful. However I think launching ‘The Art and Business of Surface Pattern design’ (the e-course) was a real pivotal moment in my career. It has been truly overwhelming and so rewarding, we regularly receive emails from students and graduates, who write in to show their gratitude and they explain how the course has inspired them. To inspire someone else is such an honour it’s something that I will always find completely mind-blowing!
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