Designer Sessions: Studio Flock
Northmore is certainly our most intricate creation colourwise, using an incredible 26 different hues throughout. As part of our Designer Sessions series, we spent time with its creators, Jenny Wingfield and Rachel Parker, to discover the inspiration behind this beautiful creation.
Since its inception in 2013, Flock has been pioneeringfabulous British design seeing it win acclaim from influential journalists as a brand to be noted. Founded by Jenny Wingfield, the studio is famed for bold and colourful geometric fabrics and has worked with graduates, designers and artists from the partnership of Touching Elbows to collaborations with Métier and Sunny Todd Prints. DiscoveringRachel Parker at New Designers, Jenny knew her bright and colourfulNorthmore digital collage would translate into a fabulous fabric and work exceptionally well as a beautiful rug.
How would you describe your style and what has influenced your design?
JW:Both Rachel and I are drawn to bold and playful colours full of energy and life. I like colours that are saturated and less gender-specific and Rachel loves to layer colours and shapes to create unexpected combinations. I'm intrigued by awkward and irregular patterns and love design full of movement, in particular blocky designs that don't feel too rigid.
RP: Working digitally allows me to be experimental and bold with colour choices, but most of my designs start the old-fashioned way, with a sketch or hand-drawn mark. I love embroidery, in particular cross-stitching and so I'll often start designs on a grid and manipulate them from there, or scan in areas of stitching and start drawing over the shapes to create hand-drawn grids. It's about finding the right balance between rigid lines and freedom of colour.
Can you tell us a little more about your design for FLOOR_STORY and exactly what inspired it?
RP:My Northmore design evolved from scanning in pieces of embroidery and drawing over the stitches to create a handmade grid. I was influenced by a wide range of things in its creation, including architectural shapes and the rhythm and repetition of hand embroidery, but mostly I wanted to create a design that was wild,colourful and free. Layers upon layers of shapes were built-up, resulting in a highly dense design that still manages to feel light and fresh thanks to the rainbow colour palette and use of white tones.
What attracted you to working with us and more importantly, the process of rug making?
JW: Since beginning Flock and receiving our very first samples, laying out huge fabric lengths on the floor, I have always adored seeing the patterns in their flat, full width forms. Quite often the patterns are distorted into the fold of a curtain or the curve of an armchair. It's actually quite luxurious to be able to absorb the pattern in its purest and most simplistic form. I had always wanted to see Flock designs translated this way, where the focus is all about the shape of the design. The opportunity to work with Simon was not to be missed. I was keen to learn more about the intricacies of rug making and absorb even a tiny amount of the insane level of knowledge Simon has about his trade.
Was there anything you learnt about your own processes when working on the collection?
RP: Northmore is a design I lived with for a while, so it was fascinating to look at it from a fresh perspective. Translating the pattern into a design that would be suitable for rug making was a real challenge. The original digital format had let me be wild with colour and this proved a little problematic when the time came to strip back the design to its base elements, as so much was about overlapping tones and digital pixelated effects.
Editing those hundreds of colours down and effectively re-drawing the design, really made me analyse the shapes and tonal areas. Elements of the pattern that had been natural during the original design process had to be deconstructed and discarded, and I had to strike the right balance between an acceptable final colour count without losing the essence of the design.We really wanted to create a new interpretation of the original design and embrace the positives of working with new materials on a dramatically altered scale, rather than seeing the production specifications as restrictions.
Can you describe your new rugs?
JW: The Northmore rug is an incredible work of art, you can truly see the craftsmanship in the finished piece. I feel it is a rug that could work in so many rooms and styles of home, It has a classic quality thanks to its slightly muted colour palette, yet is completely modern too, because of the playful shapes within the pattern. The combination of New Zealand wool and pure Chinese silk with the beautiful deep pile gives a feel so luxurious that it just invites you to fling off your shoes and wriggle your toes in it.
How do the rugs make you feel?
RP: A labour of love and I couldn't be happier with it. Northmore is a design that has developed and grown over its years with Flock and this is such an exciting new chapter for us. I really think the finished article tells the stories of all the artisans that have played a part in making it. It's amazing to see the design that started life as small scanned stitches, now beautifully depicted in huge scale. Northmore feels like a celebration of the creative process where digital design meets craft.
JW: Jealous! And I need one in my home! We are super proud of the rug and thrilled that it is even more beautiful then we ever imagined possible!