Inspiring : Sarah Bagshaw {surface design}

sarah bagshaw - turquoise pop

sarah bagshaw – turquoise pop


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.


sarah bagshaw - green and yellow print

sarah bagshaw – green and yellow print


“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.


sarah bagshaw - bunting

sarah bagshaw – bunting


sarah bagshaw - print and digital

sarah bagshaw – print and digital


sarah bagshaw - drawn and digital red and blue triangles

sarah bagshaw – drawn and digital red and blue triangles


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!”


sarah bagshaw - green blocks phtographucs and digital

sarah bagshaw – green blocks photographics and digital


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!”


sarah bagshaw - i am the black gold of the sun

sarah bagshaw – i am the black gold of the sun


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.”


sarah bagshaw - 80s all over

sarah bagshaw – 80s all over


Sarah’s work has appeared in several recent trend reports, and she has been interviewed for a number of design blogs, including PatternBooth and Pattern Observer.

You can find more of Sarah’s work on her own site,


Surface design : Felicity Booth


Felicity Booth is an artist and surface designer who has worked in a wildly varied collection of jobs, including in her “hippy chick”days when she worked as a caterer at music festivals, and then wrote a guide book while on archaeological digs in Albania. Now she teaches Textiles at the Norwich University of the Arts.


Felicity Booth - brown centipedes

Felicity Booth – brown centipedes


As a child, Felicity always enjoyed making things but didn’t really shine at any art and design subjects at school. “My art teacher told me not to try and be a fashion designer as I would end up designing socks – I still hate her for that!” {teaching is a terrible responsibility and an absolute privilege – see what lasting impressions you make? – jg}
“Mum taught us all to sew and knit from an early age and I remember knitting doll’s scarves – badly with wobbly edges where stitches got dropped and then made up again. As a teenager I used to go to jumble sales and buy clothes to alter or cut up and remake. Half my wardrobe was created out of old sheets dyed black and made into baggy New Romantic shirts and dresses. I remember wearing a jumper upside down on my legs with a some kind of wrap over the top like a skirt…”


felicity booth - centipede gold

felicity booth – centipede gold


“I was a bit of a hippy chick when I was younger and worked for a few years helping to run a festival catering stall called The Laughing Buddha, in the 1990s. We went to Glastonbury and WOMAD and other festivals and served really delicious vegetarian Vietnamese food to hungry festival goers. One of the funniest experiences was when I painted up some beautiful menu blackboards and a fold out signboard to stand at the front of the stall. I found a great image of Budai to work from and came up with a fetching yellow, green and red design that I was very pleased with. It wasn’t until I unfolded the sign at the front of the stall on the first day of Glastonbury that someone pointed out that Buddha was spelt wrong! Oh I felt very, very stupid. Now I always get someone to check my work before going public.”

“I also worked with an amazing bunch of archaeologists who were digging in Albania and working to set up heritage parks around some stunning ruined ancient cities. I ran a project bringing Albanian students studying archaeology at the University of Tirana to study at an English University, and helped write a guide book to a breath-taking mountain city called Gjirokastra. I met hundreds of interesting people in Albania, some privileged and some really struggling, many honest, open and welcoming, a few terribly corrupt and scheming. Albania is a very colourful place, well worth a visit if you can – make sure you visit Butrint and Gjirokastra.


felicity booth - amonites

felicity booth – amonites


felicity booth - windows 2

felicity booth – windows 2


“These days I teach at Norwich University of the Arts on the Textile degree. My main role is helping the students with research and writing their dissertations.


“Since I finished my Textile MA last year I have been putting work into exhibitions and trying to work out how to be an artist, run a design business, teach, be a mum all from a rural village in north Norfolk UK – surely it must be possible mustn’t it?”


felicity booth - centipede

felicity booth – centipede


Felicity Booth’s surface designs start with photography, capturing the light and shadow patterns cast from shining lights through stencils cut into different types of paper and Perspex. She often uses highly reflective surfaces and sometimes coloured cellophane to give a stained glass window effect. The photos are then manipulated in Photoshop using layers and various filters to make the patterns.

Especially inspired by textile artists Alice Fox and Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor for their methods of working and their aesthetic, Felicity also looks to a huge range of other artists – Richard Long and Maya Lin for ways of working and themes in their work;  Franz Marc, Gustav Klimpt, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser for colour; Van Gogh, Lucienne Day; the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and many more.


felicity booth - lion purple

felicity booth – lion purple


Her best piece of advice? “There are so many bits of excellent advice out there. One I saw recently on the textile magazine site in an article by Carol Naylor has been singing away in my head ever since I read it. I had it in mind when I re-vamped my website this week:


“Always show your best, as you will always be judged by your worst.” “


felicity booth - onions

felicity booth – onions


You can find more of Felicity Booth’s work – her surface designs, as well as her artworks in various mediums – on her website.


Surface design : Parris Wakefield Additions

As far as I am concerned, digital glitch is a very much under-explored area of creative inspiration. I love it! There’s something about those smooth colours and clean yet somehow wonky edges that is very seductive. Husband and wife team Sarah Parris and Howard Wakefield, of Parris Wakefield Additions are wallowing in its possibilities with their fabulous surface designs on a range of cushions, fabrics, rugs and wallpapers.


parris wakefield - bliss2

parris wakefield – bliss2


Currently based in Suffolk, both have backgrounds in graphic design, and they first met in 2000. Sarah joined Howard’s studio in 2001 as Studio Manager, but then gradually become more and more involved in creating the graphic images; “They developed into a personal creative outlet for us and we would release them as free desktop wallpapers – which became very popular and we were asked on numerous occasions to do something more with the images so we tested them on fabrics and could instantly see the potential.”


parris wakefield - bliss3

parris wakefield – bliss3


Describing themselves as “huge lovers of colour”, they take their inspiration from just about everything around them – nature, art, fashion, the street. And they are proud that all their products are manufactured in Britain.

Other influences include Jim Lambie, Katarina Grosse and Dan Flavin for their use of colour, as well as David Hockney and Gerhard Richter. These last two very famous artists are major influencers on their designs, for their incorporation of digital technology into their work. For Parris Wakefield, “The combination of design craft and technology is exciting.”


parris wakefield - destiny - set

parris wakefield – destiny – set


parris wakefield - destiny3

parris wakefield – destiny3


Despite previously working with such prestigious clients as Dior, EMI, Givenchy, Pringle of Scotland, New Order, Pulp and Suede, when it came to sharing their surface designs at design trade show Tent in London, Parris said it was “quite nerve-wracking; self doubt creeps in and visions of nobody stopping at our stand filled my head.” But there was nothing to fear. “Seeing people stop and smile and enjoy our designs is the ultimate icing on the cake… with a cherry on top!” And for Wakefield, being approached by an establishment such as SCP to stock their cushions is a thrill. “I have always admired their pioneering attitude and their endorsement is for me, quite phenomenal.”


parris wakefield - field - large lampshade

parris wakefield – field – large lampshade


parris wakefield - marthe2

parris wakefield – marthe2


Lastly, I asked Parris Wakefield for their favourite piece of advice, and they gave me this.

“Never assume something will get done and everything takes longer than you expect.” – Esme Lynch.


You can find more of their wonderful work on their website, You can also follow them on Pinterest, their BlogTwitter, and Facebook.