For our new series, Talking Design, we interviewed Rachel Parker, a Surface Pattern Designer from the Midlands, about her start in the world of pattern, her personal style, and her pattern predictions for the year ahead!
How did you get started in pattern design?
I took an Art Foundation course at DMU in Leicester where we tried a bit of everything – ceramics, painting, silversmithing – you could even have a go at glassblowing but I chickened out of that one. After lots of experimenting I realised that I was happiest when working with fabrics, so I began to think about a career in textile design. I hadn’t ever really considered designing patterns as a career option but suddenly I was seeing them everywhere! I moved to Norwich to get my degree in Textile Design and haven’t looked back.
What’s your favourite pattern trend right now?
I’m loving the jungle/botanical theme that seems to be everywhere at the minute, especially really dense leafy patterns that have little animal’s hidden in them. I like patterns that surprise me and invite you to take a closer look. That being said, while I like to keep an eye on trends I try not to get too fixated on them unless it’s something that resonates with me. The aim is to look ahead and provide my clients with the next big trend rather than showing them something that the market’s already saturated with.
Describe your personal style
Scandi but with a whole bunch of patterns thrown in. My designs are characteristically colourful so I like clean lines, white walls and natural materials that act as a canvas for my textiles and wallpapers. I’m a bit of a sucker for buying colourful homewares; bright yellow lamps, zigzag throws, pink kitchenware – so I need the interior to be something calm that will showcase my things rather than try to compete with it.
What’s your number one tip when it comes to choosing a pattern to fit in with your home decor?
If you’re nervous about introducing pattern to your home you could try starting with something that can be easily changed, for example cushions or a rug. Start with a few small pieces and build it from there. Personally I’m all for pattern clashing and just throwing different colours together. Ban the beige!
What are your pattern trend predictions for next year?
Geometrics are always going to have a place in our homes and designers will always be drawn to creating them, but I think we might move away from regular repetition and see a trend for more unusual composition, hand drawn grids and disrupted colour blocking. (Well, that’s what I’ll be doing anyway.) The trend for sustainable materials and mindful purchasing is hopefully here to stay, so I’m expecting to see that filter through into other areas of design – patterns that make use of natural textures and handmade marks. Hopefully pineapple patterns have had their day.
Do you have a favourite design event / show?
New Designers is always a good one, it’s inspiring to see what the next generation of graduates are bringing to the table; my career started by meeting Studio Flock as an exhibitor at the show back in 2012 so it feels quite nostalgic to me. London Design Fair (formerly Tent) is great because it brings together lots of different aspects of interior design under one roof and it’s interesting to see how trends can filter through into all areas of the home.
What’s your favourite range from Walls and Floors, and why?
I love the teal Varenne metro tiles, the colour is perfect! I’m basically obsessed with green interiors at the moment so if I was decorating my dream home it would be those, plus I’d try to sneak in some Wood Green Smooth Gloss tiles somewhere because the colour makes me happy. I’ve also seen the Maalem tiles used in some beautiful projects, they seem a great way of introducing some playful pattern to your space. Vintage, colourful and eclectic ticks my boxes.
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We’re very pleased to have spoken to Rachel! For a regular dose of pattern, inspiration, and her sproodle Louie, follow her on Instagram.
You can also check out her website: RachelParkerDesigns.co.uk