Live a life more colourful…
Isn’t life drab enough? Why not give yourself a boost from the moment you wake in the morning…?
I believe that textiles maketh a room, inasmuch as they humanise it. It’s hard to feel comfy and warm on a cutting edge concrete bench. Very often they have actual cutting edges. I love when a pattern seems to fall off a chair or a stool, tricking the eye and creating what I think of as a positive energy between the sitter and the settee. So I design textiles big and bold, and colourful. Who’d have thought that such a powerful pick-me-up would be so readily and easily accessible?
I chose Irish Linen as the ground for my fabric designs owing to its long and illustrious history, its imperfect beauty, its durability and friendliness to the environment; and to support an age-old industry in Northern Ireland. That’s ticking quite a lot of my boxes. And because it reminds me of my Grandmother. She had a wonderful collection of Irish linen that I have been lucky enough to inherit. I think of her every time I touch it. This is why I aspire to create a collection that transcends trends, that will last, that may be passed down the generations, just like my Grandmother’s to me.
“One sits more comfortably on a colour that one likes.” – Verner Panton
In an effort to be kind to our long suffering planet, and to reduce wastage and the number of trucks whizzing to and fro, my fabrics are printed to order and are despatched directly to you from William Clarke & Sons, the oldest surviving linen mill in Ireland. Another box ticked.
Why I design textiles
Mostly because of hope. Hope and new beginnings…
If you had told me that I would be designing textiles for a living even 3 years ago, I would have asked whether you’d fallen and hit your head on the way over to see me. You see, it’s more like textiles found me rather than the other way round. Looking back, it’s almost as if it was inevitable that I would end up doing what I’m doing, despite my best efforts to do something else entirely.
For a little over 10 years ago, in her infinite wisdom, the Universe decided that my life had really been far too mundane and was in need of a bit of a shake up.
I think the Universe got a little over excited with her project. It started slowly enough when, after less soul searching than I might have imagined, I decided to change career and study Art History. But then escalated as in what felt like the blink of an eye, I was suddenly jobless, my marriage of many years broke down, I was being treated for breast cancer, and I had to move house. Four of the five most stressful things that can happen to a person in their lifetime, and I had them all at once. And I developed a frozen shoulder. That last one seemed a little petty on her part. Feeling more than a little battered by all of the above, recovery was slow.
“Colour is the place where our brain and the Universe meet.” – Paul Klee
It was during this time that I went to see David Hockney: A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy in London. I reeled from room to room, captivated by the myriad shades of purples and reds, yellows and greens, blues and browns, my eyes hardly wide enough to encompass the variety and intensity of colour. Pulsating, healing, revitalising colour enveloped me. My spirit soared. I finally truly understood Paul Klee. If just looking at colour could have such an effect, what might intentionally surrounding myself with colour do? I was inspired to embrace a life more colourful, right down to my underwear.
“Color is so important. I mean, color can raise the dead.” – Iris Apfel
Not long after visiting the exhibition, I was sitting with my mother in the café at my favourite interiors shop, when I spied an ad for a job vacancy. I have had a passion for interiors and interior design for as long as I can remember. My mother was a doer-upper-but-never-quite-finisher of houses, so my love of all things interior was ignited early, along with an amazing tolerance of dust. I decided to apply for what I thought would be a nice, gentle job at the fabric showroom. And so it was.
But it was also something else, for here I fell hopelessly, madly, in love with textiles. Here is art that I could touch, wear, curl up in, sit on. Here is everyday art… for everybody.
Here began my life in textiles. One small step and giant leap later, I am designing textiles for interiors and telling anyone that will listen of the magic of colour. Embracing a life more colourful gave me hope in the darkest of times in my life. I’ve found my true colours. I am delighted to share them with you and hope that you too, have found yours.
“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colors; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.” ― Kahlil Gibran
If you would like to know the story behind the first of my designs, have a read of On meaning. Or, you can sign up for my monthly Musings column where I share news on my practice, on the magic of colour, inspirational gems from around the internet… and other things. Or just get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
All best wishes