In the beginning…

As a child I had a fascination and interest in art and found myself drawn to pattern and colour. Paul Smith’s wife Pauline suggested to my mother that I study textiles at the local college where she was a lecturer at the time. I ignored this advice and pursued a life with horses, riding as an amateur jockey then onto breeding and training horses.

All change.

The financial crisis of 2008 allowed me to reassess my life and after a six-month sabbatical in New Zealand, I started drawing again and soon realized how much I enjoyed art and design. On arrival back in the UK I enrolled in an art foundation course just outside Belfast gaining a distinction that took me straight onto Loughborough University to study textiles, innovation and design. At 52 I had to question my own sanity.

I graduated with a first and won the enterprise award that year for the most commercial design collection. Picked by my tutors to represent the University, I took my final collection to New Designers in London where the UK’s Universities and Colleges showcase their top students work.

The Anthropologie team were there looking for new, fresh work they could use for their products. They ended up buying part of my collection and commissioned me to do some new ones for wallpaper, rugs and upholstery.

Texprint chose me along with 20 other graduates from other UK Universities to represent British design in Paris at Premier Vision. Here I was lucky enough to sell designs to White Stuff who went on to buy lots more designs. Texprint were fantastic and after Paris, they teamed me up with designer Niesha Crosland who mentored me for the rest of the year.

Kelling Designs

On the suggestion of a mutual friend, I met up with Emma of Kellings Designs where I was immediately taken by her expertise in the use of colour. I thought it was fun and exciting the way she put pattern, texture and colour together so well.

Together we decided to work on a wallpaper design of mine, depicting 1950s fashion models with their dogs, set in Paris landmarks. Emma suggested that I could expand this and create a series that include 1960s London and 1970s New York. Emma and her team came up with a contemporary colourway for the collection and arranged for production.

How and why did the collaboration with Kelling Designs come about and how did the concept come together?

I first met Emma through a mutual friend, we met and I showed her my portfolio.

She thought my work was fresh and relevant and we agreed to use one of my existing designs as the start for a collaboration with Kelling Designs.This was a wallpaper with 1950s fashion models and their dogs set in various well known Paris locations (quite camp) Emma suggested that I come up with two more wallpaper designs on a similar theme in different decades and different cities. We arrived at London in the 60s and New York in the 70s and so I set to drawing out the new models with their dogs in the relevant locations.

I took the drafts over to Emma and her team where we edited them. Together we set out the finished designs into a flowing repeat and selected the different colourways ready for the printer.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

Most of my inspiration is taken from very traditional sources such as animals and nature, one’s interpretation, and a unique colour palette makes the design yours. If possible I like to have a conversational narrative within my work and if possible some humour as well.

Which is your favourite design?

My personal favourite is the 1950s Paris wallpaper.