Today's guest designer-maker is textile designer Lorna Syson. It was her amazing, tactile, sculptural fabric wall flowers that first caught my eye-who says wall art has to be one-dimensional? She sources organic fabrics from the UK wherever possible as she believes design, environmental and social aspects should work together. Lorna launched her business in 2009 with the help of the Princes Trust and won the Shell Live Wire Grand Ideas Award for her eco-conscious designs in 2010. Her bright, bold bird prints and midcentury style graphic designs are already selling out at her new studio location at Cockpit Arts and I'm delighted to have her on the blog to talk us through her creative process today...
• Introduce yourself to us!
I’m a textile designer for high end interiors for both commercial and residential buildings.
• Describe your style…
I would say my style is modern, quirky with a vintage twist.
• What do you love about the medium you work in?
I love manipulating textiles, the weight of the fabric, and the way it has been constructed means the same fold can take on so many different forms.
• Where do you find your inspiration- who or what inspires you?
The wallflowers, were inspired from a trip to the Eden Project. I love the modern feel of the botanical gardens and spent a couple of days testing out my photography skills and sketching. I went in late summer and the dahlia and chrysanthemum flowers were in full bloom. They were so beautiful. Because I make a real effort as a British designer to get everything made in Britain I thought it was only right to keep the British countryside as my inspiration, you can see this with my most recent print collection. I turned to the British countryside especially hedgerows, the Bradbury print looks at the negative spaces in blackberry bushes and my new bird family specifically looks at British songbirds.
• You've worked for the likes of Diane Von Furstenberg, Topshop and Next. What have these experiences taught you and how will they help shape your business?
My experiences working in these larger companies really helped me understand how the textile industry works in both high end and high street. They have also given me a place to aim for. The way Diane Von Furstenberg was expanding when I was there was extremely inspirational.
• How do you structure your working day?
I get into the studio between 8 and 9am. I firstly try and get through my emails, check the business financials and then assess my list for the day which I wrote the night before. I don’t see the point of forcing myself to do something if I don’t feel it so if accounts is at the top of my list and my brain isn’t switched on I do something creative to get myself in gear.
• We all get creative block. How do you combat it?
I try and take myself out of the situation, if it’s a block I know my brain will keep working over it subconsciously and when I least expect I will be out somewhere, on the tube, reading the paper and something will come to me.
• Share your favourite tool with us.
I love my new fabric scissors, they make cutting fabric feel so easy, like a knife in soft butter.
• Describe your dream creative space…
|Image by Betty The Crow via Etsy|
It would be spacious, with amazing views and everything in it’s correct place properly labeled, but still looking good, I’d fill it with vintage furniture and bureaus.
• What's the biggest lesson you've learnt on your creative journey so far & what advice would you give to a newbie?
I learnt that everything takes time so it is important to be patient. I’ve also learnt that no matter how much you plan things never work the way you expect them to.
• Take us on a crawl of your favourite shops. Where do you like to shop and why?
I love Bermondsey Street, my favourate shop is Lovely and British and they stock most of my range along with gorgeous vintage furniture and accessories. On Friday mornings they have an amazing vintage market in Bermondsey Square and some of the best restaurants I have ever been to.
• What's on your bedside table?
I have ear plugs, my phone charger and a glass of water…Nothing overly interesting.
• Complete the sentence: "If I could learn a new skill it would be..."
Silversmithing. I have recently moved studios to Cockpit Arts and I am so inspired by designers such as Jennifer Kidd for such beautiful high quality work.
• You're planning your last ever meal and celebrating with a dinner party. You have 6 seats around your table-who would you invite to join you and what would you serve up?
It would have to be my boyfriend and my dad in the first two seats, they have supported me whole-heartedly from university to now and I would not be where I am without them.
I would also invite my closest friends, when I’ve had huge projects and am having to cancel dinners to meet deadlines they volunteer their time to come to the studio and keep me company.
I would serve homemade bread, a roast dinner and a chocolate brownie for desert.
• Give us a song! Which one song helps you whistle while you work?I find when I need inspiration I need something upbeat to get my dancing in my chair. At the moment Olly Murs gets me moving without me even realising.
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