An Interview with Angie ParkerAn Interview with Angie ParkerAn Interview with Angie Parker

An Interview with Angie Parker

Every now and again you find something special that makes you stop in your tracks. Angie Parker's textile work is one of those amazing finds that makes you want to find out more about the story behind the product whilst admiring the craftsmanship and beauty of her woven textiles.  

Angie Parker is an award winning designer and a weaver of some of the most visually striking and beautifully crafted rugs which are made in the UK. Her distinctive and intricate floor art and fabric creations are hand-woven using long established patterns, such as Krokbragd, which she combines with her instinctive and daring approach to colour. It is the creative process of importing a contemporary element to the time honoured techniques of rug weaving and the responses from the viewer which most excite her.
I caught up with Angie after her new collections were showcased at Decorex earlier this year and asked how the show worked as a launch ground for her collections.

'Decorex far exceeded my expectations, and did so in an entirely unexpected way. My realistic aims were to build up contacts with interior designers and press with a view to building up commissions for my practice in the future. 
After a series of conversations about possible manufacturing options with industry specialists (something I've previously rejected), I began to realise that I needed to think differently about the direction of my business, and the second I made the decision it felt as though the floodgates opened.
'Since the show, I've cautiously set about having samples woven overseas with a view to having a manufactured collection alongside the niche range of rugs woven by myself.' explains Angie.
'Without Design-Nation, I wouldn't have been in a position to show at Decorex due to the high costs involved. 
As well as making the show affordable, the support from the other members on the stand was a real bonus, both professionally and for morale.
'I presented a small collection of Krokbragd Rugs at the show. This is a traditional Scandinavian rug weaving technique which lends itself perfectly to the playful use of colour which my work is generally recognised for. The feedback to the work was fantastic as my pieces were rather different to anything else on show. Also, the conversations with interior designers, buyers and journalists were very supportive and encouraging and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of sharing knowledge and contacts in the industry.
'I also received some great press on the back of exhibiting there. I was included in The Evening Standard LDF Highlights, and was selected for Campaign for Wool's Wool BnB project. This in turn led to exposure on social media through the likes of Elle Deco, GQ magazine and the Crafts Council, amongst others, and also a brief appearance of my Prang Rug on Granada TV's This Morning programme during a fashion feature!
'My latest project (running alongside the manufacturing) is, quite by accident, a collaboration. New work for The Devon Guild of Craftsmen's  'Spotlight' exhibition in Jan 2017 is a series of handwoven block weave rugs.
'As a starting point for any new collection I tend to look firstly to my surroundings. In the past this has included the time I spent living in India, and the colourful graffiti in my Bristol neighbourhood. This time I've looked more at the blocks of colour used to paint the render on Bristol terraces which I see on my walks into the studio through Clifton, Windmill Hill and Totterdown.
'The initial designs for this collection bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the work of Dot One, the project of designer Iona Inglesby, which analyses the 0.1% of unique DNA to create personalised prints and textiles. Whilst being prepared to ditch the designs (which I really liked), rather than step on another designer's toes, I decided to contact Iona to suggest a collaboration for this piece. Luckily she was receptive to the idea. We've agreed at this stage that as well as the pieces based on Bristol's cityscape, I will also weave my own DNA for the Devon Guild show and see where it leads. I have to say we're both pretty excited about the possibilities though....'
Angie continues, explaining that, 'It's really important for designers such as myself to have a high quality platform like Design-Nation to utilise, whatever stage they are at in their career. The exhibiting opportunity and support on social media has been hugely beneficial to my practice this year, and above all, as usual, the support and friendships from other members is invaluable when working in a tough industry, which seems to be getting tougher in times of economic uncertainty.'

For me reading about Angie's work and being fortunate enough to have seen first-hand her craftsmanship, and use of pattern and colour, made me realise that Angie Parker is a name that we will be hearing about for years to come. 

Design-Nation supports the growth of emerging and established designers to showcase their works through exhibitions and also through the online portfolio of craft, design and product.

More details of Angie Parker's collections may be found here.

Photos courtesy of the artist.

Written by Andrew Tanner
Brand Ambassador, Design Nation

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An Interview with Katja BehreAn Interview with Katja BehreAn Interview with Katja Behre

An Interview with Katja Behre

An interview with Katja Behre – the designer behind the innovative surface design and product brand Elli Popp

Elli Popp has been a design practice that I have had the fortunate opportunity to see grow over the last years. Elli Popp is undoubtedly one of the UkKs most interesting and innovative brands to emerge from the interior scene. Elli Popp’s work features a range of neo-romantic designs blended with the balancing use of colour, shape and theme. Often influenced by nature, Elli Popp offers a nostalgic relief through elegant yet contemporary motifs within an ever urbanising modern world.

One of Elli Popp’s continuing philosophies is to create designs and products specific to the client’s requests and needs. I caught up with Katja post-London Design Festival where she showed as part of the Design Nation collective.

‘Being part of LDF was great for press activity’ explains Katja. ‘We had two displays as part of Decorex and simultaneously showed two new works in Brixton.’

As part of LDF Elli Popp showcased the Cosmos Mural, a dramatic wall surface which engages with interior spaces almost as a portal to another world. Rich colours and textures combined with a theatrical ambience allows the onlooker to escape reality and be part of a more harmonious world.

‘Cosmos is a vintage, nostalgic, contemporary interpretation of Space. There is something to explore in different ways....enjoy the journey.’

The Cosmos Collection is available in two different ‘universe collections’: Les Voyages Fantastique which uses hues of soft blues, greys and imaginative rock landscapes and ‘De la terre a la lune’ (from the earth to the moon) which utilises dark ambient colours that provoke mystery and calm. In addition to wall coverings there is a unique collection of cushions.

Katja is currently working on the 2017 collection which she explains will follow in the footsteps of previous work, delving into her imagination and celebrating her ability to inspire onlookers who view her works.

Elli Popp is one of the Design-Nation designers who show work as a collective and offers an online portfolio for craft, design and product. ‘Design-Nation is a fantastic platform for creatives to meet and share spaces as well as knowledge and experience. Since being a member I have met amazing people and showed along them. It offers opportunities to everyone.’

More collections by Elli Popp may be found here

Written by Andrew Tanner
Brand Ambassador, Design Nation

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