This week mydeco met Maxine Sutton, the creative force behind Blackbird, a lovely little boutique in the seaside town of Margate. We instantly fell in love with her quirky designs, and wanted to know more…
Where did you go to school, and what did you specialise in? What roles do you do now in addition to your textile design and art pieces?
I studied fine art, painting as my first degree and returned to do an MA in mixed media textiles at the Royal College of Art after I’d had a family and my youngest had started school. My career as a textile designer maker has involved a variety of roles and activities; such as commercial design commissions for companies like Anthropologie, teaching and lecturing, designing my own label products, running a small contemporary craft shop and making, exhibiting and selling the stitched and printed artworks that are the basis of all my work.
What inspires you generally and for your current textiles collection?
Stitched cloth and the processes themselves, of embroidery and screen printing, are my creative vocabulary and also also my inspiration. In terms of imagery, it’s ordinary everyday surroundings, objects, animals, plants and architecture. I am interested in the domestic landscape and family narratives and what home, home making, and the objects we choose to surround ourselves with means to us all. The new collection brings together a broad range of imagery based on daily activities like walking my dog, and the immediate surroundings of my studio in Margate, Kent.
Colour palette for 2013 – what are your focuses for the summer?
I don’t work all that seasonally and don’t really adhere to trends. I tend to collect colours from around me in notebooks and refer back to them when I am in the studio and starting to print. For instance the dirty yellow against the grey in the current collection was inspired by the gorse bushes and slate rocks in a place we stayed at in Cornwall last year. I hope that my collections work all year round. I have always used a fleshy sort of pink in my work, I call it ‘germolene’ pink, and I am feeling very drawn to other shades of pink at the moment, so I might experiment with some deeper pinks in the new work I am planning.
How does your process work – idea, sketch, colour version, play around, then final piece?
I usually work very directly with the cloth. With artworks, its sometimes a found piece of linen or wool blanket. I use hand drawn, paper cut stencils and colour is a part of the process right from the start. Embroidered lines and details are worked into and on top of the printed forms and then sometimes more layers of screen printing are added – until the piece is resolved.
How do you see the range evolving?
There will be much more embroidery featuring in the new work and products, I’m dreaming of giant, madly embroidered light shades. I’m also I am working on a headboard commission at the moment which is great fun and so I am considering introducing some larger, made to order upholstered pieces.
I'm the Editor of the mydeco.com blog, writing about the interiors that inspire me most. I love bright colour against neutrals, and have a soft spot for themed rooms. Quirky accessories are my favourite and I love nothing more than finding something bold and beautiful to make a room really stand out! Read more posts by Laura.