I'm loving the work of Sarah Newman and her brilliant company Design Bark. Using wood and wood veneer as her canvas Sarah creates striking pieces of furniture and lampshades by combining the natural wood grain with her screen printed bright, angular patterns. Recently showing her wares at TENT London Sarah has been busy producing new pieces for her collection and was still able to fit in a chat with patternbooth.
patternbooth: Sarah your work stands out wherever I see it, how do you come up with your designs?
sarah: Well, this is hard to define as geometry and pattern are all around us, its sensory overload if you let it! I try not to force my design path and let it come naturally. It can be a new building, a shadow, a sculpture, or letting go of all inhibitions and simply having a play in illustrator
patternbooth: your work is quite varied, from the starkly geometric to more decorative patterns, who is your biggest influence artistically?
sarah: Ok, there are a few and from several era’s, so I will just list them and you will probably see many similarities in all their work!
Josef and Anni albers, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Theo van Doesburg, Le Corbusier, Donald Judd, Sarah Morris, Marrimeko...The list could go on….!
patternbooth: It's obviously a lot of hard work making it on your own, what made you want to set up your own studio?
sarah: It’s great as a creative to be autonomous, to have free reign to let your mind go crazy and go with it, but it can get a little scary at times, it’s like revealing your soul. But it’s also hard sometimes to remain focussed and motivated which is why it’s also nice to work to commission where people see potential in something perhaps you hadn’t thought of doing.
patternbooth: you've already mentioned a bit about this in your last answer, but what do you think is the most rewarding thing about having your own studio?
sarah: Its simply all the kind things people have written on their blogs actually! Like I mentioned previously, putting your creative self out there is like bearing your soul, and I can’t believe the response I’ve had. I remember my first show as DesignBark, I was so nervous, but to have such a positive response was overwhelming.
patternbooth: what is your studio like?
sarah: It’s a shared studio on a hire basis in Bermondsey, South London. You can see it here actuallyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84bTRstADho&lr=1
patternbooth: how many collections do you produce a year and why is that?
sarah: Being a newbie I did a lot of trade shows last year and this year I decided to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture. I knew I would always go back and do Tent as it is just such an interesting platform to exhibit at, so I mainly focussed on that. I have an organic approach to growth, but get ancy if I’m not designing/researching/ brainstorming etc!
patternbooth: It's been great talking to you, but before you go, what is your top tip for someone just starting out?
sarah: Cliché as it sounds…be yourself! Be true to your creativity, and network like there is no tomorrow!