What seems like an eternity ago, due to so much happening and LDF2013 literally wiping out my memory banks in order to store new creative data, I cast my mind back to a young lady who shone like a diamond at New Designers 2013. Alexandra Roberts is a very talented Textile Designer and one of my favourites to watch out for in the future. Alexandra has a beautiful collection of textiles which she has illustrated inspired by flowers and insects. She captures them beautifully and her illustrations are stunning in bright pinks, purples, oranges and yellows, reminiscent of a blooming garden. I wanted to run off waving her beautiful flowing textiles in the air with flowers in my hair and bare feet through a field, but being the restrained grown up I am, I introduced myself politely and gushed over her beautiful work. I caught up with Alexandra and asked her a couple of questions and was delighted to discover that Designers Guild had snapped her up as well as her freelancing being in high demand. I think this is the perfect place for her to develop her skills and embark on her next journey and I look forward to what happens next for this young lady.

Interview:

1) Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the outskirts of a small town called Shrewsbury, living a very country lifestyle I have always had that influence of nature and it’s quirky manner around me.

2) Who has been your biggest influence?

My mother always gave me my biggest drive; her own passion of textiles has been imprinted in me from a young age. We would spend weekends creating items of clothing for various occasions, to be a success in her eyes is such an accomplishment.

3) Were you creative as a child?
From day one I was creating all sorts of weird and wonderful paintings, at the age of three I drew an unusually detailed swan, for my age, whilst waiting at my older Brothers parents evening, this took the surrounding teachers by surprise and I continued so throughout my young school life.

4) When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

Throughout school I always knew I wanted to embark on the path of design, however I was torn between fashion and graphics, but between the two I was never quite comfortable, until I discovered how vibrant the world of textiles really was, whilst studying on my art foundation course.

5) What was the most interesting part of your degree course?
It was all about third year. Third year presented us the biggest challenges, and the biggest rewards, giving us full power to explore who we really were as designers. The buzz of everyone putting their final degree show up was amazing. It really emphasised each student’s unique passion and the journey we had embarked on.

6) What were your biggest challenges whilst studying?

My experience of university was very much that of a roller coaster. My Mother’s battle with cancer proved a struggle in balancing family life and keeping on top of work.

7) What did you like most about the ND2013 Show?

The buzz of being around so many like-minded graduates all in the same position as yourself. Looking at each exhibitor and wondering where their career will take them in 5 years time. It was also a great opportunity to talk to many people from all sorts of backgrounds about your work, giving us all the chance to practice for future employment prospects and just really give emphasis of the passion we hold for our profession.

8) What are your plans now?
I am in the throes of getting some of my work sold on an online boutique store called Perry Nelvill.

9) Have you had any interest from manufacturers since the show?
I had interest from a company called ‘Nisbett&George’.

10) Are you planning on working independently or working for an organisation to get some work experience?
Working for an organisation would be my ideal, however I am gathering research together for my next collection theme, which I will be doing whilst gaining experience from textile companies.

11) How long did it take to make your final show piece.

Our final major project went over a period of three months; this started with our research trips all the way to the final show, however to have the fabrics printed it took two weeks and an extra week for an upholstered piece.

12) Tell me about your work/style.
The theme of my collection is based on insects, however this comes from my ambition to take something typically unacceptable and turn it into something desirable within fashion and soft furnishing. Everything starts from the sketchbook, where I combine detailed sketches and watercolour techniques. This is then scanned in to be digitally manipulated and printed on to fabric.

13) Are you collaborating with any other designers?

Not currently.

14) What are your favourite mediums to work with?

Watercolours and pencil.

15) Who inspires your work and why?

Timorous Beasties has a large impact on my work, for the fairly obvious link of insects. I enjoy their unusual and innovative prints, and this proves there is a market for the more un-trodden forms of nature.

16) Describe your work.
A warm bold approach to the undesirable form – with feminine strikes of clean crisp colours.

17) Who are your 3 favourite designers
Tricia guild (Designers Guild)
Timorous Beasties
Harlequin

18) What do you like about their work?

Designers Guild and Harlequin I feel share a similar bright and bold attraction when it comes to colour. Their vibrant and contemporary designs never fail to inspire me.
Timorous Beasties convey a consistency of exciting and unusual designs, many of which you have to take the time to realise the detail within each design isn’t quite as appealing as it may first come across.

Good Luck Alexandra! We look forward to seeing your new collection soon!
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