Thursday, 10 April 2014

Prairie - a glimpse of summer!

We are totally in love with Prairie - Rebecca Stoner's very first collection for Dashwood Studio. Rebecca takes inspiration from vintage lace and crochet and uses an airy and delicate colour palette in this, her first licensed fabric collection.




We saw the designs for Prairie on paper what seems like an age ago and have been wishing the time away so that we could finally see them on fabric. During this time much discussion ensued regarding the link between the design process and the end use of a fabric.
 
http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/1057%20Prairie.aspx
 
 
We love to see what our fabric 'grows up to be' once it's left the HQ nest. It's one of the questions I can't help but ask people as they carry away a little stack of patterned loveliness! 'What's in store for it?', 'What is it destined to become?' We wanted to know if this is something that fabric designers also consider when putting together a collection.

http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/1053%20Prairie.aspx

Rebecca's clever lookbook for Prairie is so full of brilliant ideas for how to use her fabric that it seemed almost as if she created each design with its end use in mind. We thought we'd ask her if this was the case and she very kindly offered to answer that and a few more question for us...




Why design?

To be honest, if I wasn’t working in Design I’ve no idea what I’d do! I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else now. I did work in an office doing admin and accounts for a few years after leaving school but it didn’t fulfil me at all so I decided to go to University to study Design and I’ve never looked back!


 
From what do you take inspiration?

From all different things in everyday life. I’m particularly drawn to botanical inspiration such as flowers, grasses and plants but I often find inspiration for patterns and colour palettes in the most surprising and unexpected places. I’m always snapping photos of things that catch my eye when I’m out walking or visiting different places so I have a visual reminder of it when I’m back in my Studio.




It’s lovely and really informative to see your Pinterest board of inspiration for Prairie. How long had the idea of Prairie been in your head before it became a collection?

I created the first design for Prairie back in September last year, which was the Doilies design and just a one-off design but as soon as it was finished I wanted to create a whole collection based around it. I’d already started pinning lots of images of lace, crochet and doilies on another board so once the first design was finished and I started working on the full collection I created the Prairie board and the story just grew from there.

 



Who are your favourite fellow fabric designers?

This is such a hard question to answer because I have so many! There are lots of very talented designers out there creating some really amazing work so I just can’t name only one! Not initially a fabric designer but a Printmaker that has gone on to produce her own fabrics, Angie Lewin is one of my big design heroes. I love her work and recently went to an exhibition of her Prints at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it was breath-taking. I love the detail and colours in her work.

Of course I love the work of all my fellow Dashwood Studio designers too and I feel extremely proud to be included in such a great team. I’m also really enjoying the work of illustrator and pattern designer Rebecca Jones at the moment, whose work I think is beautiful.

 http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/Prairie%20Fabric%20Stack.aspx


How do you choose a colour palette?

It varies really. Sometimes I have a colour palette that I love and I want to create a design or collection using it but most of the time I have an idea of what kind of colours I want to use but put the colour palette together once most of the design is built. As a lot of my designs start off as hand drawings, I tend to initially design in black and white until the design is well underway. I’ll then put the palette together and start adding colour to the design. I always take into account the feel of the design I want to create as colour can have such a big impact on a design, both positively and in a negative way.

I love Pinterest and often discover some gorgeous colour palettes on there (I have a Colour Love board on there!) and sometimes one will just grab me and I think “I must create a design using those colours!”
 
http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/1052%20Prairie.aspx
 
 

You use design software but talk about the importance of hand drawing – how do you marry the two together?

I begin most designs by sketching out ideas and motifs in pencil and then when I’m happy with where it’s going I start drawing over them in black pen. I then scan these into the computer and take them into my design software where I can start constructing the actual layout of the design and colouring it. Sometimes I’ll hand print some textures or motifs using different block printing techniques and then also scan these in and use them in the same way.

 


 
What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen made out of one of your designs?

Well this is the first time I’ve had my own full fabric collection so you’ll have to ask me that question again in a few months once I’ve seen all the lovely different things people make! I did used to design and print my own fabric that I then made into cushions and home accessories but I’m sure all the talented sewers out there will be far more creative and adventurous than I ever was with the fabric!






Do you envisage what your fabric will become when you are in the design process or is it purely about the pattern at that stage?

With Prairie I did envisage what kind of products the patterns might become and I knew right from the start that I wanted it to be used for fabric. For example, when the pink Stitchy Circles design was finished I said straight away “I’d love to see that on a little girls dress!” and similar with the Ditsy Floral too. It will be fun to see all the different ideas people come up with and what they are inspired to create.

 



Do you sew yourself? If so what do you sew?

As I mentioned before I used to have my own range of cushions and home accessories made from my own fabric which I manufactured myself. I exhibited at Trade Shows and my products were sold in different shops and galleries. I’ve also been known to sew my own Roman Blinds and Curtains too!

In the last few years since I’ve decided to concentrate purely on the surface pattern design side of my work I’ve hardly sewn at all so it will be nice to dust off the sewing machine and be able to sew for pleasure again and not feel under pressure to create products to sell.

 

It is very clear from your Prairie look book that you didn’t predominately have quilting in mind for this collection? What do you say to people who think that medium weight cotton is only fit for quilting?

I think the fabric could be used to make all different kinds of things. You only have to look at all the wonderful things that have already been made with the other Dashwood fabrics to see what’s possible. Using my Prairie fabrics I really want to have a go at making my little niece a summer dress, myself a top and a Roman Blind for my studio. That should keep me busy for a while!

The very first thing Jacqui made with Prairie,
this beautiful little girl's dress.
 

What’s next?

Well I’ve enjoyed the process so much that I’d definitely love to create more collections for quilting fabric but I think I’ll have to give Prairie a chance first! I’ve got lots of ideas for new collections though!  
 
http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/1054%20Prairie.aspx
 

I’m currently working on designs for some gift and stationery collections and I’ve also got a big commission on at the moment for York Hospital where I’ve created designs that will be lasercut out of metal, powder coated and installed on the walls of the Breast Imaging department as decorative panels, so I’m really excited to see how they turn out.

 

 




It’s been such an amazing start to the year and Prairie has brought me lots of exciting new opportunities which I’m really grateful for so I’m just excited to see how things develop over the rest of the year.

 

http://www.fabrichq.co.uk/1051%20Prairie.aspx


We'd like to thank Rebecca for taking part in our little interview and to wish her the best of luck with this, her first collection with Dashwood Studio.  We're sure it's going to be a hit!
 

2 comments:

  1. This collection is so gorgeous. Really interesting to read about the design process too.

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  2. Thanks so much for the lovely feature, it was great to chat with you! I love the gorgeous dress you made and can't wait to make one for my little niece. I hope everyone enjoys the fabrics. Rebecca x

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