I know that you’ll walk away feeling motivated and refreshed after reading this interview and seeing this quirky East London studio so I’m just delighted to share it… But first, a little background… I recently had the honor of interviewing Vicki Murdoch, the creative lady behind the Silken Favours brand who recently launched her first collection of scarves at the prestigious Liberty of London. I first found out about her via Liberty and this video, which made me want to learn more since I fell in love with her scarf patterns and colorways. I want to purchase one to frame or turn into a giant cushion for my sofa.
In her video, I caught a glimpse of her work studio and simply had to learn more, and see more, so I approached her for an interview and was delighted when she said her friend and photographer, Martin Zahringer, would be happy to take photos to share on decor8 that haven’t yet been online before so I hope that you enjoy these views. Vicki is an inspiring young woman, just barely 30-years-old, this gorgeous talent is one to watch for sure! Would you like to meet her? Of course you would… so let’s get started, shall we?
Hello Vicki, can you tell us where you are from, where you live now and what you do? Yes, I’m from Aberdeen, Scotland, live in London and I’m a designer.
How did you get into design? I moved to London twelve years ago to start a career in modelling, I was lucky enough to travel the world for a couple of years, living in Tokyo, Cape Town, Sydney and New York but then settled in London and went on to study textiles at Chelsea Art School. When I graduated I worked for a few companies but realised very quickly that I wanted to design for myself, so created ‘Silken Favours’ which started as a bespoke scarf service and I then went on to design my new range.
How did you get to work with Liberty on your collection? I went to their Best of British Open Day in April 2011. They give you three minutes to pitch your designs, they then give their expert advice, which I took, and added a dog scarf to my ‘heart collection’. I was then told they would be in touch. Two weeks later I got an email inviting me back for a second interview and a week later they placed an order. So it all happened pretty fast.
What are you goals for the future regarding your pattern designs? Do you see them in interiors? I would love to design for interiors, For my final degree show piece I created an environment inside a 1960s Cheltenham caravan (photos above), which I named the ‘Catavan’. Every print was cat-inspired – and I used over thirty designs – on upholstery, curtains, wallpaper, flooring, pillows and dresses. I did a short course on upholstery so I could revamp old chairs using my prints. Basically I would love to see my patterns on most objects.
What inspires you about your studio space? I live and work in a large, light-filled warehouse in East London which is shared with five other people. I’ve been here for four years now. We are all creatives and lead busy lives and we each have our own studio space within the warehouse so there is always something going on. It’s not as noisy and party-filled as it used to be, through our own choice and the small threat of eviction.
What motivates you to work freelance? I love being freelance, I was a freelance fashion model for 5 years then a student for four years and now I’m a freelance designer. I don’t think the structure of a 9-5 would suit me. I suppose I’m just used to being freelance so I get on with it. I know you have to put certain amount of pressure on yourself to get things done, but also not to beat yourself up and enjoy life when you can.
What do you do to find inspiration? I find a lot of my inspiration from nature, I had an epiphany once out running in Victoria Park, “All I want to do is dance and draw”, I ran back home very excited and started drawing, the dancing isn’t going as well.
What inspires you about living in London? Lots of things: my friends, Victoria Park, Kew Gardens, the markets, Hackney Farm, the V&A and small up and coming galleries.
What are your favorite interiors and fashion magazines? 1970s ‘Ideal Home’ and ‘House and Garden’, Nest, Wallpaper, Casa Vogue, Amelia and LOVE.
How does a designer get their line into a store like Liberty? The Best of British Open Day, the next one is Saturday, August 20, 2011.
What do you think matters most when it comes to working for yourself? Focus, Determination, Belief and Enjoyment.
What are some trends in pattern design that you find inspirational? Mirrored opulence, nature, animals and anything 1970s.
Thank you so much Vicki for this peek into your life and studio, I’m sure decor8 readers are all going to be big fans of yours now after seeing you in action in your fun space. Thanks again!
(Photographs: Martin Zahringer)
I have some brand new bedding for Autumn to share from Aura by Tracie Ellis, a Melbourne-based interiors brand that I have fallen in love with over the months due to their sumptuous bedding. I did a double take the moment I saw the Autumn “Ankita” bed linen collection, especially the chevron duvet shown below – I want, want, want that! Ankita is an ancient Sanskrit word that means ‘marked for prominence,’ but also Ankita is a rare, Indian-inspired beauty.
Their linens are inspired by faraway places and the colorways are meant to, “recall ancient cultures and quieter times,” making this collection feel so inviting – it’s meant to calm, transport, soothe and turn the bedroom into a sanctuary, “Ankita transports a bedroom into a past of spiritual ease.” Doesn’t that sound just lovely?
In addition to these photographs above, you can view the entire AURA by Tracie Ellis catalog online here in their flipbook where you will find more bedding in addition to table linens, cushions, fashion accessories and more.
Now to go to their website to check out that chevron patterned duvet… :)
I recently came across Greek design firm 157 +173 Designers founded by Babis Papanikolaou and Christina Tsiragelou who both studied architecture and set up their studio in Thessaloniki. Their goal is to, “Design and manufacture products of unique aesthetic value and quality. All ideas are meticulously tested and redrawn before they are finally converted into full scale objects, destined both for extensive production and/or for limited edition release, but always with the care of a handmade object.” I really like their wood lighting, it’s quirky and I appreciate that their design has a sense of humor.
You can purchase a few of their pieces at French shop Serendipity in case you are interested.
(images: 157 + 173 Designers)
Hello everyone! I’ve been a bit behind on Etsy Take Five Tuesday, I guess you can call it a Summer Pause because I’ve been very busy and unable to do them as regularly as before but in the Fall they will resume again on the regular weekly schedule each and every Tuesday but until October they’ll be a bit hit or miss as I have a lot of travel coming up and lectures to give. How are you doing today everyone? Are you good? I hope so. I have some lovely things to share with you from Etsy today, I hope that you enjoy my finds.
First up, my friends Berit and Kerstin from Snug Studio in Hannover, Germany recently opened their shop doors on Etsy and I couldn’t be happier! I love visiting their little shop around the corner from me and enjoy their work so much. I think you’ll really love them, too.
Next is Yael Fran down in Argentina who has a billion things in her shop from Keds to stickers, coloring books, prints, iPhone holders… This lady has her designs being printed on everything and it’s so inspiring to see!
Now let’s peek in on the work of illustrator/designer Kaye Blegvad who was born in London but now based in New York. Her feather illustrations-as-garlands really caught my attention today. Aren’t these garlands so unique and pretty?
You simply can’t miss Villarreal Ceramics in Arizona – in fact, if I didn’t live so far away I’d place an order this second for some of her feather plates and cups. Beautiful things, I really enjoy this shop…
And finally let’s visit the work studio of Kelsey Oseid in Minneapolis, also known as Kelzuki, who draws the patterns found on state birds and turns them into state-themed prints. The colors are chosen based on the color of each bird. Very clever and a lovely housewarming gift, don’t you think?
Other great Etsy goodies that I found this week:
- Hand carved deer head bowls from Mexico
- A fantastic little fox coat
- Lovely lace rocks for paperweights or simple decoration
- Gorgeous collage work from Croatia
- Beautiful salt + pepper bowls
I hope that my Etsy picks for the week put a smile on your face. :) I’ll be back later with more to enjoy and a special interview and studio tour of a London-based surface pattern designer along with a special Parisian shop tour will come up soon too – perhaps later in the week, I’m still working on them for you. Prepare to be inspired!
(images linked to their sources above.)