Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc.)
I was born and brought up in Yorkshire and France. Always having a natural instinct for anything creative and especially colour, I targeted a career utilising these skills. Initially wanting to be a painter I developed a love for textiles, part of my Yorkshire heritage I suppose and utilised this medium to express my design skills. Following art school I studied Textile Design & Marketing and French which provided the platform for an international career in wool fashion apparel and interior textiles.
After graduating I worked for M&S in Paris, before moving to London and working in the Apparel division of Coats Patons Ltd. I then returned to my roots in Yorkshire where I embarked on what has been a happy and successful career in the Wool industry. Working for the International Wool Secretariat (Woolmark) followed by Wools of New Zealand has given me a valuable insight into both the apparel and interior markets.
In 2016 I took the decision to set my own design business, the aim being to translate my paintings into rugs transferring the textile knowledge of creating transparent production pipelines synonymous with natural fibres. In addition to this I also work in a freelance capacity for the designer carpet market for companies such as Crucial Trading the essence is to marry the very best of nature with the very best in design.
With over 30 years experience in the wool industry my role has always been one of a colourist and creative director, providing design and styling trends for the textile industry and specifically knitwear, fabrics, carpets and rugs. My work has involved close collaboration with spinners, dyers and manufactures to perfect products for targeted markets. Creating new and inspiring products, adopting the philosophy of offering a genuine point of difference has been key to the success product launches. I love to design for the discerning customer focusing on natural quality as much as style.
Understanding and appreciating the benefits of New Zealand wool has been a pivotal factor in my work. The Laneve certified wool offers ethical and environmental assurances by its traceability to source and transparent production pipelines. Laneve wool is also the cleanest and purest substrate for dyeing. It can replicate any colour in the spectrum and has a real clarity of lustre.
As well as corporate forecasting commitments I have been involved with a number of recognised international colour forecasting panels, including CMG ( US ) Decosit ( Brussels ) and ICA ( International Colour Authority which identify future trends. In 2001 I was honoured to received the inaugural Contractworld Design Award at Domotex Hannover and in 2009 I received the UK Skills Hero for Fashion and Textiles Award.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
Eclectic! I love to combine old and new – antique and contemporary. I live in an 18th century cottage on a farm close to the Yorkshire Dales. A simple and quiet sanctuary to escape the hectic life I lead. An appreciation of anything handcrafted utilising natural materials. Being brought up to create and make my own things from clothing to home furnishings has meant I can surround myself with what I like and what makes me feel good. Colour is an important component and integral to my well being – as with all of us it creates emotional reactions that are key to establishing moods and feelings. Colour is part of my make up – what I feel and what I am. I love having plants and flowers around to bring rooms to life and also surrounding myself with books, paintings and memorabilia.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Nature. Having a love of colour my passion for being outdoors, especially walking and gardening is a key catalyst behind the inspiration I bring to my work. The language of colour transcends all tongues and is a communication tool people from all walks of life can understand and relate to.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
More people are appreciating the value of colour and natural materials. An increased awareness of Provenance and Performance of products, coupled with practicality are satisfy modern living needs
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2017 and beyond.
Provenance – natural integrity, source of materials and production pipeline
Performance – usability, well being, environmental & sustainable considerations
Practicality – Functional, long lasting good looks and maintenance
Price – value for money
Pattern – colour and style
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to product design, what would it be?
Simplicity – “the less is more” philosophy is a good design trait.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Key to measuring the success of oneself against peers and to recognise the value of new innovation. Forward thinking – how we create points of difference is key to the introduction and defining of new tends.
What projects are you currently working on?
A number of carpet and rug collections for the residential and interior decorator markets.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To continue working in a profession I love and be able to inspire new ranges for the market
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:
Your most treasured possession?
A victorian sewing table, because it belonged to my mother.
Your favourite holiday destination?
South of France and Northern Italy
Your favourite book
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Your favourite food and drink?
Mediterranean inspired dishes and red wines
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
I love all sports, walking, gardening, sewing, cooking and modern ballet but most importantly sharing these pursuits and spending quality time with close friends.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I can’t imagine doing anything else and thankfully don’t have to.