Name: Rebecca Stoner
Today on the blog we are treating you to an interview with Dashwood designer Rebecca Stoner! Rebecca has designed our latest fabric collection Prairie, and we talk to her about her career, designing the collection and where she gets her inspiration…
How did you get into surface pattern design?
After working in admin and accounts for a few years after leaving school and feeling very unfulfilled, I decided to pursue my dream of having a creative career. I went to University and studied a degree in Art & Design, specialising in Textile and Surface Pattern Design, followed by an MSc in CAD (Computer Aided Design) for Textile Designers.
I graduated in 2005 and was immediately accepted onto the Visual Enterprise Scheme which supported Arts Graduates in setting up their businesses within the Creative Industries. It was during this time that I set up my business and exhibited at my first Trade Shows:
BCTF and Top Drawer.
Initially I began designing my own fabrics and manufacturing products such as cushions, bags and home accessories from them but after a few years I began to focus purely on the Surface Pattern Design side of my work. Gradually I began doing more freelance work for companies and also carried out a lot of Public Art commissions.
In your words, what is your design style?
I would say my style is quite organic, detailed and often delicate. I use a combination of hand drawing and hand printing to create my designs. I love colour and I enjoy spending time experimenting with different colour palettes.
Is this your first fabric collection?
It is my first full fabric collection in my own name and I’m very excited about it! I have created designs for fabric before but they have usually been one-off designs and mainly for other studios or companies.
This is the first time I’ve had my own name on a collection and it feels great!
Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?
Everywhere! Since I began my degree at University and discovered the world of Surface Pattern Design, it’s as if it opened up a whole new way of looking at the world – through patterned glasses!
I see pattern, colour and inspiration in all different places, some being more obvious than others. I love walking in the countryside and I’m always stopping to take photos of flowers, leaves, grasses and even shadows, much to the annoyance of my dog!
Did something in particular inspire ‘Prairie’?
Well I’m slightly addicted to Pinterest and love creating moodboards on there. I began pinning images of lace, crochet and doilies and the more I pinned, the more I wanted to create a collection inspired by some of the beautiful patterns found in the different techniques.
I loved the idea of looking at traditional textile techniques such as crochet work and lace and developing a collection of contemporary designs that could be printed onto fabric and then used again in traditional techniques such as quilting and dressmaking.
What was the process of designing the collection like?
I began by doing lots of detailed hand drawings inspired by the crochet and lace images I had found and then I scanned these in and began to create the actual designs from them on the computer.
By the time I submitted the designs to Dashwood the collection was more or less finished apart from a few tweaks that were needed. David helped me to make the collection even stronger by suggesting a couple of colourway changes and adjustment of scale on a couple of the designs but apart from that it was ready to go!
What’s your workspace like?
I work from home and I’m fortunate in that I have a dedicated room as a studio space. I have 2 desks, one for my computer and clean work and then another desk that is my ‘messy’ desk where I get to have fun drawing and hand printing. I’ll often have BBC Radio 4 on or some music, depending what mood I’m in and whether I’m drawing or working on the computer.
My rescue Lurcher dog, Bertie, keeps me company and ensures I take regular breaks by pestering me to go out for walks! Working from home all day can often mean long periods of time alone so he’s great company and forces me to get outside.
Do you have a favourite design from the full collection?
This does change from time to time but at the moment it is the Scattered Flowers design which is the one with the organic/folky flowers dancing around on the blue background.
What are you looking forward for the rest of 2014?
To seeing my fabric in real life! I’m really excited to see what different things people are going to make using Prairie.
I’ve already had people contacting me, saying how much they love the collection and what they’d like to make with it.
Quick fire round!
(We ask all our designers these burning questions!)
What’s your favourite magazine?
I’ve recently discovered UPPERCASE Magazine which is full of great articles on design, illustration and all things creative. It has some beautiful images and photography in there and is a complete feast for the eyes!
What’s your favourite blog?
There are many but if I had to name a few it would be Print and Pattern (of course!), Pattern Observer and Love Print Studio Blog.
What’s your favourite exhibition or event?
I recently went to Angie Lewin’s “A Natural Line” exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and I was completely blown away. I love her work and have followed it for a long time but this was the first time I’d seen it up close and I left feeling totally inspired.
How do you take your tea?
Tea, quite strong, 1 sugar and probably too frequently!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a big project for York Hospital where I’ve created surface pattern designs that are going to be laser cut out of metal, powder coated and hung on the walls as decorative panels. I’m also working on some greetings cards designs. I love that my work is so diverse and that no one day is ever the same.
Thanks Rebecca for answering our questions and giving us a sneak peak into your life and work!
You can click here view Rebecca’s Prairie Collection for Dashwood Studio and find all our stockists on our blog sidebar. If you get your hands on the Prairie collection and get crafty and make something with it, we’d love to see it – please send us an email and we’ll feature it on the blog!