I am loving the work of design duo Sarah and Howard, a pair of graphic designers who have turned their hands brilliantly to the world of textiles and home furnishings. 'Thank goodness' I say, because their work is really something a bit special, and despite being in only their first year of this new adventure, are already turning heads and making a big impression. Of course patternbooth needed to meet them...
patternbooth: What made you set up your own studio in the first place?
sarah: We have run a graphic design studio for many years and Additions is a new venture for us which was born out of a frustration that we couldn't find the sort colourful abstract accessories we wanted for our own home. Digital design had almost become a dirty word, everything was hand drawn, illustrative, vintage. We simply wanted something different.
patternbooth: I love your designs, they are so colourful and beautifully layered. Where do your designs come from?
sarah: We have always found this question a difficult one to explain. Our inspiration is wide and varied, and so are the patterns we create. They all begin with a colour palette we are drawn to - the colour palette can come from, for example, a piece of art, a photograph we have taken, or a fashion editorial. The patterns are then all produced digitally, and that's the fun part - the designs almost take on a life of their own. When we saw the Gerhard Richter show at Tate Modern last year, he talked about his work and mentioned 'knowing when to stop' and that description fitted perfectly with how we design our patterns. We keep tinkering until we sit back an say 'that's it'.
patternbooth: You draw colour palettes directly from works of art. Who is your biggest influence artistically?
sarah: Art is such a vast arena and so important to us that there is not one person, but we admire Gerhard Richter, David Hockney, Henri Matisse. They all use fantastic colours and have embraced new techniques and tecnologies which kept their work exciting.
patternbooth: Everyone loves to know where other people work...what is your studio like?
sarah: We live and work in a beautiful barn conversion in the middle of nowhere in the Suffolk countryside. We have a great space in the attic, we can shut it off at the end of the day, and work around the school run. It gives us a good work life balance which is important. We are so used to working from home now, I am not sure I could do it another way.
patternbooth: You've said this is your first year with your new venture. How many collections do you have?
sarah: This is our first collection, but we have alway produced patterns like this for our clients as part of our Graphic design business and Additions was natural progression.
Back in 2009 we started creating an image each month as a free download digital wallpaper. This was an outlet for us to experiment and see what worked. 'Garden' and 'Bliss' both were originally one of our downloads of the month. Some of the designs we can instantly tell would work in interiors and so we take these forward. At the moment it is important to limit the collections and maintain a high level of design.
patternbooth: What is the most rewarding and the most challenging thing about having your own studio?
sarah: The reward is that as we have control over our work - The freedom to create without a clients brief
The most challenging is the nitty gritty of producing the designs as a product - sourcing the right manufactures, getting the costings and timings right. We are learning as we go, it is an exciting journey.
patternbooth: What is your top tip for someone just starting out?
sarah: As this is our first collection ourselves that is a very good question. But our philosophy is believe in yourself, be original and go for it. Always admit if you don't know something and never be afraid to ask for advice.