This is the fourth in our series of profiles of the eight finalists in the Fabric8 contest, a competition from Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics to discover a handful of the world's best amateur textile designers. Today we're introducing UK-based designer Mandy Kippax. More interviews will be up next week, so please stay tuned!
Finalist: Red Poppies by Valley_Designs, Mandy Kippax
I live in Stocksbridge, a steel town in North Sheffield and have lived here all my life. Stocksbridge is in a valley near the Peak District National Park and is surrounded by countryside.
I completed my BA in surface design at the University of Huddersfield in 2010. Since then I've been creating patterns that would be suitable for fabrics and stationery. I was quite focused on designing for paper products but earlier this year, I thought I'd try some textile designs for a change and a challenge. I heard about the Fabric8 competition when I was just browsing on Spoonflower and decided to give it a try.
When I'm not designing patterns, I enjoy walking in the countryside, especially during spring and summer because I find all the different flowers and colors very inspirational. I like to paint or draw flowers from photographs that I have taken. I try to be creative with my camera too and enjoy trying to take pictures from unusual angles and capturing interesting textures.
I don't do a lot of sewing or crafting since I'd usually prefer to spend time designing. I attended a ceramics class awhile ago, though, which was great. I made a few practical pieces like a vase and two plant holders. I love to do anything fun and creative.
My favorite film is Moulin Rouge because of all the amazing sets, vibrant colors, and interesting costumes. The final scene is excellent! A few of my favorite songs are "Pencil Full of Lead: by Paolo Nutini, "Are You Going to Be My Girl" by Jet, "Mondo Bongo" by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, "No One" by Maverick Sabre, and "A Night Like This" by Caro Emerald.
I like a lot of the designers and illustrators mentioned on the Print & Pattern blog. This isn't a complete list but a few fabric designers that I find inspirational or quirky include Louise Cunningham, Fiona Howard, Hennie Haworth, and Brie Harrison.
I was sitting in my living room reading emails on my laptop when I got the news that I was one of the Fabric8 finalists. My first reaction when I heard was "Wow, me?!" I had to read the message several times for it to sink in. I was surprised just to be in the top 100 so to be in the final 8 was a massive surprise! It is so exciting to be a finalist!
I created my red poppies design using colored inks, then I sprinkled rock salt onto the wet ink to create some texture. I continued to develop the design by adding more poppies, Ieaves, and stalks. Once I was happy with the painting, I made it into a repeat pattern using Photoshop and added a linen-style fabric texture. For my collection, I've been thinking about floral designs and what colors I may use. I haven't put anything on paper yet but when I see an image that inspires me I keep it in mind. I think I'll have to visit the botanical gardens and watch the Chelsea Flower Show on t.v.!