The second Art Market in Holmfirth came to close last weekend (see my previous post on this here) and the winner for the best contemporary craft award went to surface pattern designer, Amy Stubbs. I caught up with Amy to chat about her work, inspirations and goals for the future. Time for a brew?
Judged by What I Always Wanted
Image credit: Deborah Bancroft
Hello there! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a British printed textile designer based in Manchester, specialised in digitally printed silk ties, scarves and handkerchiefs for both mens and womenswear. I studied Textile Design at Falmouth university in Cornwall, later graduating to become a freelance textile designer. My work is influenced by the places I visit and the people I meet along the way, combined with an abstract approach to design. I often mix unrelated themes in my artwork, not always sticking to the same concept, I like the idea of unstructured themes. My work is greatly influenced by 1950s colour blocking often featuring bright colour splashes or limiting my own colour application to individual designs.
Who/what inspired you to become a surface pattern designer?
I have always been fascinated by textures and surfaces, wanting to preserve them or give them another purpose. Surface pattern designing allows me to do just that. I can celebrate these found surfaces by documenting them in my design work and sharing them through a wearable fashion form. Pattern can be found in absolutely everything, it’s just having a creative mind to present it in such a way that makes it appealing and aesthetically pleasing!
My family has been a huge inspiration to me throughout my choice in career. I come from a very creative family; my dad is a Graphic Designer and my mum was a fantastic needleworker. Combined, they set me up perfectly for becoming a surface pattern designer! I never doubted I would become a creative, but I definitely knew I didn’t fancy an academic route!
Describe a typical day in your studio/work space.
First things first, a cup of tea is always in hand! Once I have this sorted, I can get cracking on design work. Generally, I work from a theme set by myself. This can be anything from a word, to a place, or an object – just something to give me a structure at the start. After that, I can start to merge elements of inspiration around this theme (or sometimes introduce something completely irrelevant!) until my design work starts to take shape. Depending on what creative mood I’m in I will either start my design work with a hands on approach, getting my hands dirty, through painting, drawing or collaging, or if I want a very clean-cut design I will draw directly into CAD. There are advantages for both methods but it will normally depend on the feel of artwork I am wanting to achieve.
My designs will form around the product in mind – I will have to imagine the design on either a scarf, handkerchief or tie and consider this if I want it to be an engineered design (placing motifs in particular places) rather than an all over pattern fill. Once my design work is complete, I get my designs digitally printed onto silks by sending my file over to large format printers who specialise in textile printing. The silks are delivered back to me and I construct the product either through machine stitching, hand stitch or hand rolling a hem. The finished product is then packaged and ready for sale.
Name three of your favourite British designer-makers.
Esme Winter – A surface pattern designer specialising in printed papers including notebooks and wrapping paper. Her work features one colour prints with a geometric theme.
Laura Slater – A surface pattern design specialising in hand printed interior textiles. Her work uses colour blocks with edgy abstract motifs. I have one of her lovely lampshades hanging in my hallway!
David Howey – Specialises in lighting made from found objects, mainly vintage including a 1930s carpet cleaner!
Surface pattern designing aside, what else inspires you?
I am greatly inspired by photography, particularly black and white. I love to include elements in my design work and enjoy painting my own colour into copies of them, replicating a method that was traditionally used. I use photography in many ways in my artwork. It can be used as a way of documenting the places I have visited, for later use in design themes, or used directly into artwork and of course for promoting my work through studio photography.
What are your goals for 2014?
My aim for 2014 is to continue developing my silk ties, which are my most recent product. I had success with them at the latest Art Market so wish to promote them throughout next year with the launch of a new collection for Spring/Summer 2014.
Where can we find your work?
You can buy my work online at www.amystubbs.net via email or at Crafty Praxis in Huddersfield. I also have a current exhibition at Staircase House in Stockport featuring a selection of my silk scarves. This runs until the end of January so plenty of time to view it!
Finally, because I’m feeling Christmassy, what’s on your wish list this year?
I would absolutely love a David Howey lamp – any of them! They are all so wonderfully unique that I would find it so hard to pick one.
Thank you so much Amy for sharing and congratulations again for winning the award! If you would like to support UK designer-makers this Christmas, visit Amy Stubb’s website for more gift inspiration.
Images courtesy of Amy Stubbs.
P.S Explore the blog for more UK designer-makers
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