It was while studying at art college that UK designer Sarah Bagshaw had her first serious encounter with pattern love. It all started when her Mum gave her some patterned 1960s bath towels that she’d had as a child; and Sarah’s work abruptly altered direction.
“I have been making pattern paintings since my degree in Fine Art back in the early ’90s, but it was only in the past three or four years that I have been making specific surface pattern design work. I started to work on a smaller scale and selling work on Etsy which is where Lesley Merola, owner of Hunt+Gather studio in the US found my work and suggested it would translate well to textile design.”
Being discovered by Hunt+Gather was incredibly exciting for her, and has been the catalyst for many things. More recently, Sarah has become a freelance designer for Lush Handmade Cosmetics, which she loves. “Their briefs are always fun and allow me to be as wild and whacky as I can!” Other clients have included 3M and Patternbank.
Working with a vocabulary of simple abstract shapes and lines, Sarah first creates the basis of her patterns with a variety of basic techniques – linocut, collage, bits of photographs, and painting – before scanning them in and then working “quite playfully on Photoshop until the piece is ‘finished’.” Building her images up in shifting layers of colour results in patterns that sometimes appear translucent, sometimes solid, but always vibrant and bold.
Surprisingly for someone who is so prolific, she told me she doesn’t actually have any designated work space of her own. “I sometimes use the art studios of the university I work at, but more often than not it is done on my knee, the dining room table or lounge floor!”
Despite her success with Hunt+Gather, becoming a full-time surface designer is still a little way off. She has been working as a university lecturer in general Art and Design/Education for the past 15 years, and has young children to care for as well, so there’s hardly a quiet moment to plan out her business future. “I have a huge list of things I need to focus on and learn to do…teach myself Illustrator, do my own tax return for example, but working as a lecturer for four days a week and having three young children I am not good at working through my lists. I used an accountant local to me for my tax return and although I’ve signed up for a Skillshare course on Illustrator I still haven’t found time to do it!”
Perhaps it’s because she’s too busy cleaning 😉 . When I asked her if there was something quirky or curious about herself that she’d like to share, she said “Erm, I love vacuuming – but it has to be with a Dyson so I can see all the dirt.”
You can find more of Sarah’s work on her own site, www.sarahbagshaw.com.