My Collection with Basil Bangs dropped last Summer but it continues to be a sell out across their standout collection of Beach Parasols, Love Rugs, Bags and table ware. With the Aussie Summer looming it seemed time to revisit what was one of my favourite projects to date by posting the Q&A published at the launch…..
With thanks to Krista and Mike (you bang!)
We’re wondering if we’ve met London-based textile artist and our new artist collaborator Amelia Graham in a past life. Known for their geometric patterns and bold colours, her prints take their cues from modernist architecture, African textiles and post modern art…all the things we adore ourselves. Perhaps its this mishmash that resonated so strongly with us when dreaming of working with Amelia. Seriously, the girl was on BOTH of our “I’d love to work with….” lists.
In a really lovely turn of events, it seems that the feeling was mutual and rather serendipitously our emails crossed in space asking each other out for a ‘collaboration date’. We totally dig Amelia’s vibe so to work together has been a real treat!
To celebrate our new print 1964, we joined Amelia Graham to delve a little bit deeper…
Each of your designs is named after a year. That’s pretty specific! Are you thinking about events or people when you’re looking for inspiration or does the design come to you first?
Classifying them by decade was a way to group them according to look and the inspiration behind them. They have nods to époques or genres without being wholly referential to them. I hope they have an essence of a particular time, interpreted in a contemporary manner. The 70s series for example took its cue from Brutalist architecture and Optical Art.
Tell us about ‘1964’. We’re thinking it’s a little bit tribal, a little bit Mad Men. What were you doing around the time you were working on this print?
Absolutely! Come to think of it I probably was watching Mad Men at the time. I wasn’t conscious of my design being influenced by that, sometimes it takes an outsider to make such an observation! The costume design on Mad Men is so on point, so evocative of the mood of the characters … Yes it’s definitely 60s psychedelia meets Dutch Wax Print, with nods to other ethnic print genres.
If you were working around that time who would you most have liked to collaborate with?
Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier were both still around in the 60s, although I’m not sure their purist sensibilities would have allowed for such a riot of pattern! Luis Barragan created the Cuadra San Cristóbal equestrian estate in ’68 – the colour and light!
You’re interested in modern architecture and seeing your work in new applications. We’re thrilled to be working with you on our umbrellas and Love Rugs. What made you want to work with two crazy Aussies?
I love the ethos of the brand: artistically driven and collaborative design married with innovative and functional craftsmanship. The result is a product that is beautiful and considered but also goes the distance. You’ve been consummate professionals and have such good energy, it’s been a pleasure to team up with you!
Ed note: naaw, shucks. We’re pretty chuffed too!
As well as developing your own textile label, you’ve done a lot of commissions for the fashion industry. How does the briefing process work when you’re commissioned to create a print for fashion? Are you given a colour scheme? Mood? Theme? Or is it all up to you?!
The starting point is normally the season, sometimes the client will have strong ideas about what they are looking for but more often they choose one of my existing prints as a starting point and we work on creating something unique for them with my handwriting. Colour follows, as does scale, and placement.
You’ve said in the past that textile designers are sometimes the ghost-artists of the industry. They’re used to seeing their prints in magazines but the kudos goes to the fashion designer. Is there a certain amount of creative freedom that comes with the territory?
Yes absolutely! There is freedom in creating without a brief for off the peg designs, I can work organically and create something without perimeters, so in that sense it is a truly artistic process.
You’re working with young children at home. What could you absolutely not live without?
The answer is in the question- them!
Do the kids ever have input into your design process? What’s been the best/ most interesting reaction to something you’ve created?
My four-year-old recently put in an order for a cushion, which was a combination of two prints he chose himself, and it really worked – an amazing bit of pattern clashing right there!
What’s been your favourite medium/ piece to showcase one of your designs?
Designing a rug for the W hotel was pretty cool, as was the fine art pieces for the Marina Bay Sands- these were large scale prints embroidered by my partner Ellie Mac who I work with under the guise of EvA (Ellie Vs Amelia) I love collaborating with her, it’s such a creative process.
If you’re heading out of London for a weekend at the beach, where do you go?
I’m a Brighton girl, so it could only be there!
What’s on your summer play list/ reading list for the road?
Submission, by Houellebecq … BBC 6 music…
Do you have a favourite sunny spot for a long Sunny lunch?
St Teresa in Rio… or more locally Hampstead Heath with its rolling pastures, wild woodland and panoramic views of London.
Whose work are you feeling inspired by right now?
I love the paintings of Ester Stewart, Andrew Kuo and Santtu Mustonen.
Do you have any advice for other designers out there?
Be true to your own design aesthetic, authenticity is key.
A few years from now, where else would you like to see Amelia Graham prints?
In the future I would love to work with architects creating large scale works for modern interiors or exteriors.
And finally – your WWF name?
Ha ha! No idea.. The Geometric Kid?!