This month, our Designer Of The Month Award goes to Eleanor for the most hits on her Blue Kaliedoscope Coasters! You can find more of her fabulous coasters in the ContemporaryLab shop.
CL: How would you introduce yourself to our readers who may have not come across your work or before?
I am a Scottish textile designer and upholsterer working under the name of Fun Makes Good. I specialise in making graphically led products for the home.
CL: Can you talk a little about your design process?
When designing a new product I start with a bit of visual research, looking at found patterns and colour, anything from origami to sailing boats. I then begin with sketching ideas, combining shapes and patterns till I formulate something that I am happy with. I start on paper and as the design takes shape I move into digital using illustrator. I usually have a finished product in mind, so on the computer I can scale up the design to fit the product. If I am designing a new piece of upholstery often the chair helps to shape the design, ie its curves may suggest one thing or its strong lines may suggest something else. If working for a client, they will often suggest a starting point and I develop it from there.
CL: What comes first – the materials or the design idea?
Usually they evolve simultaneously, if I am working on a new piece of upholstery, the material choice can help shape the design. I like to use a mix of materials, leathers, soft cotton satin and wools. The combination of textures can be integral to the design of the upholstery.
CL: How do you choose your materials?
I like to use as many locally sourced and produced materials as possible. Scotland has a great heritage of textile manufacturing and it’s a privilege to have access to so many great materials.
CL: What part of the process excites you the most?
I love creating bespoke designs specifically for customers. I enjoy the collaborative process, combining ideas to create something totally unique for their home.
CL: What are your values and ethics when it comes to designing?
I try to use locally produced materials and natural products where ever possible. Creating something unique that will be cherished and enjoyed for years to come.
CL: From all of your pieces which is your favourite and why?
I think my favourite piece so far was when I was asked to design new upholstery for a set of 6 mid century dining chairs. I had the opportunity to design a set, something which I had never done before. To see the design working together was great, each chair was slightly different from the next and it was so nice to have such freedom.
CL: What are the benefits of being a designer-maker?
It’s great when someone says they like your work and would like something specially made for them. It’s a great compliment to be asked that.
CL: What are the disadvantages?
The disadvantages are you have to be very strict on yourself to do work and keep motivated. Sometimes you just want to shut up the studio and get away from it. However the fact is your time is flexible and that’s a very rare thing!
CL: What do you enjoy doing apart from designing and making your products?
I love getting outside and into the countryside. I have been doing lots of hill walking and recently found somewhere to go sailing.
CL: If you weren’t a designer what would you have liked to be?
I briefly dabbled in cake baking, making cakes for cafes and I like baking at home. Perhaps I’d open up a design shop/café!
CL: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
Be passionate, be positive and work hard.
CL: Who is your favourite designer?
I love the bold textile work of Lucienne Day but I also admire her and Robin collectively. How they worked independently and also collaboratively and supported each other. They were the perfect team.
CL: And finally, what is your favourite colour?
Right now I am having a green moment but tomorrow I will probably say orange!
If you would like one of our bespoke pouffes or you have a piece of furniture you would like re-covered, we would love to help! Email or call Emma, our project manager on:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 07769656737
Happy Diamond Jubilee! Don’t forget about our Bank Holiday Weekend Sale!