We are so happy to announce Claire Wall as our September Designer of the Month!
We recently caught up with Claire to learn more about her design processes, inspirations and her latest venture, Play with Pattern Design Club – A new initiative to get children excited about print design from an early age.
Read on to find out more from Claire in her own words!
What is your studio name and location?
I work under the name of Claire Wall Designs from my home studio in Essex.
Where did you study?
After studying Art and Education at the University of Warwick, I spent several years inspiring the next generation of artists as a teacher before returning to pursue my own passion for design. I more recently developed my skills as a surface pattern designer through online courses at the University of Arts, London and the Make It in Design school.
What first sparked your interest in print design?
My interest in print design was sparked at an early age. I inherited a love for pattern and colour on fabric from my Mum who is a dressmaker. As a child, we spent many hours in shops searching for the right fabric for her next exciting creation. These trips allowed me to see and feel a wide range of prints and styles. As I grew up and travelled, I would still always make time to visit fabric shops to bring home a new print for my Mum.
Describe your style in 5 words
Joyful, colourful, bright, bold, nature-inspired
Describe your design process
The initial inspiration for my designs often comes from nature. The first idea for a print or collection may come from close to home such as a flower in my garden or ideas from further afield from my travels. My husband and I love to take many photos when we go away and these often turn into new designs.
Once I have my inspiration, I always love to begin my design process by drawing, painting or screen-printing my ideas. All my designs begin using these handmade approaches and I value this time to experiment and explore before turning the motifs into vectors on illustrator.
At this point, I will often develop a colour palette that I think would suit the feel of the motifs but sometimes the colours will inspire the whole design. Arranging the motifs and adding colours is such a fun part of the process. Seeing your ideas come alive on the screen is always an absolute joy! I often also at this point recolour my artwork in a number of different ways. It is amazing to see the difference a subtle change in colours can have on the feel of a piece.
Finally, I love the freedom of having my own studio as it allows me to explore using my designs on a range of final products. They often initially end up on fabric for my own clothes or in my home and then I enjoy developing additional product ideas such as planners or cards to sell online.
What is your favourite part of the design process from inspiration, drawing to the final printed fabric/product?
My favourite part of the design process is selecting and using colour. Finding and combining the right colour palette really brings me so much joy. I particularly love to use bright and bold colours in my prints and pinks and yellows often feature heavily!
What is your favourite medium to work in and why?
I love drawing and working with a range of drawing tools. Most regularly I can be found with a variety of black pens scattered around my desk or maybe some black ink and brushes. The black lines enable me to turn my work into vectors simply and effectively before adding colour.
What / who are your major influences?
My work is often influenced by Scandinavian folk art. I love the interesting floral motifs and use of bold colour. The work of Marimekko and Orla Kiely has also inspired elements of my work. When I started designing, Marimekko’s use of colour and Kiely’s strong, bold motifs were an important influence on my prints.
Today with the power of social media, I am in a community with many amazing print designers from all over the world who regularly encourage and motivate me to continue to develop my work and processes. The surface pattern design community is a great one to be part of.
Best exhibition/museum/research trip/inspirational place
I love to visit exhibitions and museums but my inspiration often comes from being in nature. My favourite place to visit is a small seaside town in Suffolk called Southwold. We have been going there on family holidays for as long as I can remember and I always return home with hundreds of ideas that I want to create after these trips.
Favourite music/ podcasts when designing
I love to listen to podcasts or audiobooks as I design. My favourites are usually something that will make me laugh or that is motivational.
What is the ‘Play with Pattern Design Club’?
The ‘Play with Pattern Design Club’ is an online club for primary-aged children, set up to inspire them to be creative and make their own pattern designs. In this unusual year, when children have been at home much more than expected and creative opportunities may have been more limited, I wanted to give parents simple activities for their children to keep them creating during the summer.
What inspired the Play with Pattern Design Club?
The idea was inspired by my wonderful niece. At the beginning of the year, she was painting in my studio while I finished off some designs. She was so interested in what I was doing that we ended up creating her own design, which I turned into wrapping paper and fabric from Fashion Formula for her recent birthday. As a keen sewer, she has already turned the fabric into a cushion for her bedroom. Also a
What is happening next in the Play with Pattern Design Club?
What do you hope to accomplish in the future as a designer?
I hope to continue to encourage and inspire creativity in young people through the ‘Play with Pattern Design Club’ and further upcoming online classes for kids.
My dream is also to use my patterns to make a bigger impact in the world. I am planning to start my own range that donates profits to enable children around the world to be educated and attend school.
Do you have any tips for new designers starting out?
My tips for a new designer is to just keep going and do something towards your dreams and goals every day!
Other useful Websites and Links:
Main artist website: www.clairewalldesigns.co.uk
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireWallDesigns
Sign up to the Play with Pattern Design Club Here!