Every good design begins with a drawing. I have many sketchbooks filled with observations of plants and seeds, sketches, colours, patterns and ideas accumulated from various different sources. I collect vintage botanical and cookery books and am constantly jotting down ideas.
My designs begin as a pencil sketch, first as a rough idea in a sketchbook and then translated to a larger piece of paper. At this point I begin to work the elements into a repeating pattern. A textile design needs to flow gracefully and seamlessly across the fabric or wallpaper so that the eye travels effortlessly over the pattern unaware of the join. It should grow and intertwine taking the eye with it.
The design is next traced onto lino. Each layer of colour requires another lino to be cut. This is a traditional and slow technique which can’t be hurried. I need to ensure that the flow of the design is maintained through each step of the process. I have my favourite gouge tools which have the familiarity of friends. They feel comfortable in my hand from years of use and almost know which marks I need to make.
Having carefully chosen my colour palette, the ink is rolled to a very thin tacky consistency and then applied carefully to the lino. Ensuring the careful registration of the paper, each colour is printed over the previous one waiting for a day between colours for the ink to dry. Sometimes a design is strong as a one-colour print, and other times the composition requires two or three colours.
Once each of the layers of colour have been laid down, magically the finished design emerges. When dry the pieces of the design are cut together to form the completed, repeating, textile pattern, which appears to wander seamlessly across the paper.
I work with many clients across countless products from wallpaper and furnishing fabrics to rugs and kitchen textiles and one of the most satisfying part of my my work is seeing the finished design come alive.