When and why did you decide to be a designer?
When I was 16 I travelled up from my family home in Cornwall to visit 100% Design. I was just about to go to art college and trying to decide what I wanted to do career-wise, after sessions with the school careers adviser usually ended up at the conclusion of “I just want to make things!”. As I walked around the show and visited designer’s stands I knew that I wanted to be a designer-maker. I was always making and drawing as a child and after hours of messing around in my mum’s sewing room with her vintage sewing machine and fabric remnants, I knew that textiles was my thing.
What are your main creative influences?
Vintage Scandinavian textile and ceramic prints, modern architecture, nature and the great outdoors and the talented people around me.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Most of my patterns are inspired by nature. I do a lot of photography and draw motifs from these images, simplifying shapes to create bold repeat patterns. For example my Botanica range featuring birds, leaves and butterflies was inspired by a trip back home in Cornwall to the Eden project and the geometric repeat cut-outs on my latest range Oli were inspired by the helicopter-like seed pods that fall from sycamore trees.
Who is your favourite designer? What aspect of their work do you most admire?
There are so many, Lucienne Day, Tracy Kendall, Susan Bradley but at the moment I am loving furniture designer Russell Pinch’s work. I really admire his attention to detail, use of natural materials and pure craftsmanship.
What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?
Working with felt. Since I fell in love with it 6 years ago at University I have been hooked ever since. I love the way you can manipulate it, cut, punch, perforate it, without it fraying. It’s natural tactility, robustness, sturdiness and durability makes it a joy to work with. The felt I use is 100% wool and coloured in my signature colour palette using environmentally friendly dyes. It’s also sustainable and biodegradable.
Where are you most creative?
In my new studio with the radio on and a cuppa!
What is your workspace/studio like? (perhaps send a picture if you have one?)
I moved into my new studio at the end of last year. It’s a great space. All the walls and furniture are white and quite uniform to create a blank canvas for all the brightly coloured felt that surrounds me. I have moodboards, tear sheets, doodles, photos and other inspiration in front of my desk on a shelf to help keep the creative juices flowing.
How do you describe your style?
Bold, colourful, tactile, simple yet sophisticated.
What are you currently working on?
I am launching my new 2010 collection at the moment which will be on show at 100% Design in September. The collection features new products such as the Oli rug with coordinating throw and coasters, the Scale stool and Flutterby cushions. I’ve introduced new colours to the palette and the new Oli pattern has a more unisex feel where as some of my prettier cut-outs such as Botanica and Bloom are more feminine.
When you first started out, what was the best advice you received?
A tutor once told me that in the real world as a designer you need to spend 30% of your time designing and 70% of your time telling people about what you’ve designed. How true.
What advice do you have for other designers starting out?
Exhibit, exhibit, exhibit!! No one will ever know about your work if you don’t show them.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
When I first started out I used to work into the night but now 5 years on I think I have managed to get my evenings and weekends back. I have work experience students in on placement that help to run the studio and share the work load at busy times. I find if I don’t do ‘normal things’ like cook, garden, visit galleries in my spare time then I can’t be creative in the studio, so it’s so important to have a good balance.
What are you other passions?
Cooking and growing fruit and veggies! I noticed my first red strawberry this morning on my way down to the studio and I can’t tell you how excited I was! (must get out more!)
What is your favourite food?
What is your greatest weakness?
Green and Blacks Organic 70% cocoa chocolate, oh and stripey tops!
Trousers or skirts?
Out of the two I’d have to say trousers but at the moment I’m loving summer dresses, there are so many lovely prints out there at the moment.
Selina Rose's Bloom Rug and Coasters now available online at Roost Living.