Today sees the start of a new feature on the blog. Whether you're a recent graduate looking to get noticed in the surface pattern world, or a freelancer who's been in the industry a while and wants to broaden their client base or just gain additional exposure, I'd love to hear from you!
'Creative Quarters' will aim to highlight new and existing design talent and will include a little bio and examples of your work. If you'd like to be featured, please send examples of your work with links to website portfolios, and some info about you and your background, etc... to email@example.com
I have the first of these posts for you today, and it features Frances Boyd...
Frances knew from a young age that she'd want a career in art of some form or another, and loved to draw as a child. Her Mum and Auntie are both brilliant artists so she was always surrounded by art growing up. Although she did a Textile Design degree, it wasn't until after University that she really started thinking about getting involved in design using computers, as they were getting used more and more in the design process, so she bought her first apple and hasn't looked back since! Frances graduated back in 2000 with a BA Hons in Textile Design and was lucky enough to be selected for an internship in a New York Fashion studio straight after. So, her love for surface pattern began... After spending time pretending she was Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City for three months it was time to go home, and Frances had dreams about starting up a studio in Liverpool with her best friends from University, but then life got in the way and she fell in love and got married. Twelve years and three boys later, Frances was feeling inspired and eager to get designing again and had really missed the creativity side of her life so it was the perfect time to concentrate on her career.
Frances's best friend Susan, aka The Print Tree, suggested doing a course she had just completed called 'The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design' with Rachael Taylor. Surface Pattern Design was enjoying a bit of a revival at the time, and it was always one of Frances' favourite pastimes, popping into book shops and stationery stalls to admire the beautiful notebooks and stationery. So, she enrolled and loved every minute of it! After the course, Frances decided to freelance part time and was lucky enough to be chosen by Ruth Macalister of Quincy lampshades, to have one of her designs used on a lampshade, which was a sell out! Last year Frances made the move to go full time as a Surface Patten Designer and has worked with some fab people since. One of her recent clients was Theo Williams of Another Brand. Frances was then approached by a studio in New York called Arte Flora with whom she exhibited with at Surtex. Working under the studio, and for Nicole the director, Frances gained invaluable experience and learnt so much about the industry. Living on the beautiful Isle of Man surrounded by coastal scenery and wildlife makes it easy to for Frances to be inspired. Whether it be on walks with her dog and children or rooting through antique and charity shops searching for that little gem or retro fabric. Pinterest and Instagram are also fab source of inspiration for her too. Frances has a few exciting projects in the pipeline which she can't wait to share with everyone, but is always looking for new exciting collaborations or projects. There is so much more she'd love to do...create a fabric line, another stationery collection, homeware, and her design goal would be to work with a publisher to create some illustrations for a children's book. She dreams of collaborating with a fashion designer and would love nothing more than to see her artwork used as a couture print. Frances is extremely passionate about what she does, and just loves creating pieces of art that have the versatility to be applied to any type of product. It's all she's ever wanted to do! She loves drawing and creating patterns and describes her designs as illustrative with delicate use of detail, with a very strong individual look and great colour!
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I hope you've enjoyed reading a little about Frances, and seeing a selection of her work. To get in touch with her, please visit her website here for details x x x
I don't know about you but I'm still feeling the love for the old cacti and succulents, and there still seems to be so much of them everywhere; whether its new and wonderful ways to display or hang them, cakes inspired by our spiky friends, or decorating macaroons with cute little illustrations of them, they're everywhere!
I particularly love the phrase below..kept me giggling to myself for a while when I came across that one on pinterest let me tell you.
So, in a little ode type post to the cacti, here goes a moodboard...
Selling tea towels, art prints, tote bags, notebooks and embroidery hoop art, Caroles designs have a lovely fresh feel with gorgeous florals and bright, optimistic colour palettes.
And obviously, we all like a cacti or two (says the self confessed succulent addict), so you're going to love her embroidery hoops...so gorgeous!
We couldn't have a feature on MaggieMagoo Designs without Maggie herself.
The wonderful rescue dog that inspired Caroles etsy shop gets a little of the spotlight, so look out for her below.
So, lets get to know a little about the designer behind the shop then shall we?
Grab that cuppa...
1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background...
I’ve always been creative, since being small I’ve drawn.
I don’t have an arty family, but my mum has always sewn & knitted & my dad can make pretty much anything out of wood, so I guess I have a crafty background.
I studied Printed Textiles at Leeds & was lucky enough to be spotted at New Designers by Tigerprint and I’ve been a greetings card designer at TP ever since.
I spent a couple of years thinking I’d like to work with textiles & print again before deciding to launch MaggieMagoo Designs.
In 2015 I developed a collection of designs for tea towels, stationery products & prints. This has grown over the past year and now includes more textile based products, such as purses, pencil cases & embroidery hoop art.
I love doing craft fairs & try to do events as often as I can.
I enjoy meeting people & discussing my creative process and you can’t beat the buzz of someone walking away with a piece of your work.
2. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?
I don’t seem to have much time for reading these days.
The last book I read was Viv Albertine’s autobiography (she was in the all female punk band The Slits).
I treat myself to beautiful books from time to time & three of my favourites are Olaf Hajek’s - Flowerhead, Carson Ellis – Home & Deep in the Woods by Christopher Corr, which is an absolutely stunning book.
3. Who are your design heroes and what inspires you?
I’m inspired by pattern, colour and nature.
Walking Maggie in our local woods is a great way clear my head & become immersed in the natural world.
I’m a big fan of mid century design, heroes include Stig Lindberg, Robert Stewart, Lucienne Day and Josef Frank.
I collect vintage ceramics, prints, books & textiles and this is a great source of inspiration.
Scandinavian style with its clean modern simplicity is another influence.
Sometimes it’s more about the space around shapes, which makes a design work.
There are so many illustrators I admire Aitch, Olaf Hajek, Teagan White…
4. Tell us about a typical day for you...
When I’m working from home my day begins with coffee in bed, Instagram and 6music. I’m slightly addicted to Instagram (my partner would say this is an understatement!), there’s so many amazing designers, illustrators, photographers, stylists…I can easily lose hours!
Then I do emails, admin, packing orders, social media stuff.
If I’ve got a fair coming up, I need to sort out stock, wrap products, pack everything up etc.
By this time of day Maggie is staring at me beseechingly, so we go out for a walk, which is always a good break.
I fit in a bit of designing after this.
When I’ve got a lot on I’ll work in the evening, quite often that’s when I feel most creative.
Then my boyfriend & I will try to meet up between 9 & 10 and we’ll watch a music documentary, or a box set & I’ll do some embroidery.
5. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?
An idea usually begins with something I’ve seen, it could be anywhere - on Pinterest/Instagram/in a shop/a magazine/an exhibition.
Often it will be in the back of my mind for a while before I do anything with it, but I’ll be collecting images & pinning stuff during this time.
I think I need this processing time.
I then do some drawing/mark making and this gets scanned in & manipulated in Illustrator or Photoshop.
Sometimes things come together really quickly, other times I need to leave things & come back a few days later.
My current collection grew organically, it began with 3 patterns, which I put onto screen & printed by hand, these were then developed into designs for textiles & stationery products.
These initial designs have been added to over the past year & have now grown into a substantial range of products.
I’m currently working on a new range with a more illustrative feel & different subject matter, which I’m quite excited about.
6. When did you open your etsy shop? And how did you come up with the name?
I first opened my shop in 2013, but only had 1 product for sale.
I didn’t really have any idea of what I wanted to do, so I let it close after a few months. At the beginning of 2015 I felt more focused and spent the first 6 months of the year developing a cohesive collection.
I reopened my shop in August 2015 with a full range of products.
The company name was inspired by our little terrier Maggie. She’s a bit of a troubled soul as she was badly neglected for the first year of her life, but we adore her & we’re so glad we’re able to give her a good life.
I’m a big believer in adopting rescue animals & giving them a second chance.
7. What’s the most popular item for sale in your etsy shop?
And your favourite?
The toadstool & cactus designs are the most popular.
My favourite has to be my embroidery hoops.
I find it relaxing sewing on an evening.
8. What art do you have on your wall?
I have a big pin board in my studio with lots of illustration & pattern I find inspiring.
We have a couple of vintage prints, there’s little bit of mine & friends work, prints from Hannah Matthews & Cactus Club, a Scouts Honour calendar, a tiny but perfect Sarah K Benning embroidery that I got from Renegade craft fair, a few gig posters and lots of family photos.
9. What are your top three blogs?
Print & Pattern is fantastic & I love that Bowie Style gives upcoming designers a platform to show their work as it’s tough to get noticed.
She’s been kind enough to feature my work a couple of times.
It’s also great for keeping up to date with current high street trends.
Another one is Brown Paper Bag by Sara Barnes.
She features lots of quirky illustrators, gorgeous textiles & ceramics on her blog.
It’s a wonderful blog & I find it really inspiring.
I use Pinterest & Instagram loads as they are fantastic for finding inspiration.
10. What do you do in your spare time?
When I have time I go for walks in the countryside around Yorkshire, my boyfriend is always discovering new places for us to explore.
I love being surrounded by nature, or being by the sea.
There’s nothing I like more than trawling through a car boot, flea market or charity shop, searching for treasure.
On a recent trip to Berlin I went to the Mauer Park flea market in Prenzlauerberg, which had everything you could ever want from a market, crafty/arty stalls, junk stalls, vintage stalls, food & drink – I was in heaven!
I love live music & try to see a band at least once a month.
We have some fantastic independent venues in Leeds.
I like to cook & my guilty pleasure is watching Masterchef (my partner doesn’t understand why I want to watch people cooking things like brains, with us both being vegetarian, I can’t really explain it myself to be honest. Perhaps it’s the art on a plate aspect…)
I also like to crochet, but I haven’t had the time to do that for quite a while, embroidery has taken over, and there’s only so many blankets a household needs.
11. Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Roald Dahl books have always been my favourites
12. What are you currently passionate about or fascinated by and how is it inspiring your work?
I’ve started exploring embroidery hoop art & I’ve found some incredible work by other designers to be inspired by (and be in awe of their skills) Chloe Giordano, Sarah K. Benning & Memorial Stitches, Yumiko Higuchi & Liz Payne are a few creatives I admire. I like that embroidery is a traditional skill that’s being reinvented in a contemporary way with such a vast range of styles & subject matter.
Carole very kindly sent me a lovely photo of her workspace to share with you all too.