Sunday, 23 May 2010
Exciting young Scottish design company Bluebellgray launched its first collection of home textile products in July 2009. Here Fi Douglas (also a fellow bookcase colour coder!) talks to me about her work and what's next.
Why did you decide to to do this for a living?
I previously worked as head designer for a large textile design company which was a fantastic experience but I had always hankered after working for myself. I decided to set up Bluebellgray to give me the creative freedom and flexibility of life I crave, I'm a bit of a free spirit and love being in control of my own destiny! Plus I absolutely love all things textile related. When I actually started out in Art School I was in the painting department but soon realised the textile department was where I really wanted to be!
What is often a challenge in your profession?
There is always a worry that someone is going to copy your idea, the challenge is to keep developing your ideas so you can always offer your customers something fresh and new!
Who and what has influenced your work?
A love of nature and being outside, I'm constantly amazed by how beautiful flowers are, I love that they make the world a happier place just by looking so colourful. My head of department in the textile department at The Glasgow School of Art was very influential, he really encouraged me to push forward with my watercolour floral look.
And what about your current inspirations, can you tell us a little about what inspires your creativity?
I'm currently being inspired by the gorgeous blossom tree which is perfectly in bloom outside my bedroom window! Nature is just constantly inspiring, spring and summer bring new inspirations every year, winter makes me want to hibernate! I'm also inspired by artists such as Klimt, he has some amazing floral landscape paintings and a great use of colour. I think my creativity also comes purely from a love of colour and pattern and something inside me just wanting turn my thoughts and ideas into paint/textiles.
What advice would you give budding crafters thinking about setting up their own business?
Don't be scared to say no to things if they are not right for you, trust your instincts, they are usually always right.
Is there anything new for the future? Where do you see/hope the business goes?
I have some new Ceramics, more chairs and I'm branching into lampshades. I see the business continuing to develop with beautiful new products but still keeping things small and exclusive, I'd love to take the business to some new export markets like Japan.
Who is your favorite designer?
He's a photographer rather than designer but I completely adore everything by Tim Walker, he is, in my eyes, a complete genius!!
Where do you work? Do you have a studio? Whats it like?
I have a studio in my house, it works well at the moment but I think I'll outgrow in the next few months. I have white walls with all my current inspiration pinned up so I can look at it every day. I have a desk for painting which gets lots of sunlight in the morning and another desk for my mac. The rest of my house is very colourful but my studio is all white.
Where did you study? Did you start your business straight after?
I studied at the Glasgow School of Art and graduated from there in 2005. I worked in the industry for 4 years before deciding to start my own business.
I'm crazy for anything on the turquoise/blue spectrum, cobalt, indigo, azure............I would have painted my whole house 'pitch blue' by Farrow & Ball if my boyfriend had let me!
Check out Fi's beautiful products on her website www.bluebellgray.co.uk