Fabric8 Finalist Profile: Sarah Johnston

JUN 5, 2013 updated Apr 26, 2021


Meet Fabric8 finalist Sarah Johnston, an artisanal textile maker based in Glasgow, Scotland. Voting on the final fabric collections opens tomorrow, June 6th! 


I run a small textile label, producing screen printed fabrics inspired by nature. For most of the designs for my label, Marram Studio, I start by taking photographs outdoors to get ideas and then draw and sketch in pen or pencil before working on the artwork in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator using a Wacom drawing tablet.





The Geek Chic theme for the Fabric8 contest is about as far away as you can get from my normal style of floral screen printed designs, and I loved the idea of challenging myself to do something new. I knew I wanted my Fabric8 collection designs to be very crisp and precise, so it seemed best to work digitally. I only did very rough doodles on paper before starting to draw in Illustrator. 


Sarah's studio in a former school building in the south of Glasgow

I like to listen to music when I'm designing, so I often have the radio on in my studio– lately I've been enjoying the new Daftpunk album and Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye. I like such a varied and eclectic mix of music, and there's all sorts on my iPod: Motown, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, cheesy 80s pop, Foo Fighters, 90s Britpop, etc. One day I might be listening to David Bowie or The Killers and the next day something really cheesy like Wham or Dolly Parton– it really is that random!  

Glasgow City

Glasgow city centre

 I currently live in the south side of Glasgow, Scotland, although I'm originally from the Orkney Islands, a remote group of islands off the north tip of mainland Scotland, in Stromness, the little fishing village in Orkney where I grew up and still visit several times a year.


Stromness, the Orkney Islands, Scotland

I like visiting the glasshouses in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens to look at all the beautiful tropical flowers so I think it would be interesting to visit somewhere like the Amazon rainforest to see some of these exotic plants and flowers in their natural habitat. I would also love to go on a road trip in the USA and see some of the amazing sights like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park.

I watch quite a lot of horror films so perhaps it's not that surprising that I wouldn't want to meet the characters! I would like to meet Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory– he is just such a brilliantly weird, geeky and mad character and it's one of my favorite shows. Also I would like to meet Max from 2 Broke Girls– her sarcastic one liners are the best!

I could be here all day talking about textile designers whose work I love! I really like the 1950s designs of British textile design legend Lucienne Day and I've always liked Tricia Guild's sense of colour too. I think the designs Fiona Howard has done for Sanderson are gorgeous. I love discovering new designers on Etsy and design blogs too– there are so many talented independent designers out there right now.


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