I met Penelope Jordan at this year’s TENT and immediately fell in love with her quirky brand of 3D textile design, which cannot help but make you smile, so I was over the moon when she agreed to answer a few questions for me.
Penelope, what’s the most important thing to know about you?I always try to strive for perfection through my work. Everything I create I’m extremely passionate and enthusiastic about. I am constantly developing new ideas from one design to the next.
And what inspires you to create?
An obsession for linear lines fuels original ideas, which are built upon with other imagery, ranging from colour combinations in foliage to mechanical machinery.
What inspired the work you showed at TENT specifically?
This was a collection of original ideas reproduced on a larger scale to display the three-dimensional aspects within my work. The larger the piece, the more impressive it became!!
Describe your design process from idea creation to final production.
Inspiration is taken from original sources of imagery, and then experimented with using different types of fabric in a repetitive way. Formulae start to develop through a series of designs, which are constantly improved upon through problem solving, resulting in a finalised product (textile art piece).
What’s important about the production process to ensure the quality of the product?
Exact measurements, a keen eye for detail, an instinct for colour and PATIENCE! … Every art piece is a challenge to complete, but results in something spectacular!
What influences your choice of colours?
Conflicting colours that would not necessarily go together in a traditional fashion, but would highlight certain aspects of the design to give a three-dimensional feel, adding depth and relief, but not distracting from the original shape and orientation of the design.
How did you get into textile design?
From a younger age, my initial interest was in fine art – I liked conceptual art that would have meaning or evoked an emotion, but would also have an aesthetic beauty to it.
I also had a passion for stereogram images in particular and would sit for hours observing the 3D patterns created until it made me dizzy!
What’s next? What does success mean to you?
I want to expand my collection of pieces I showed at TENT, adding new designs to my website. I want to reproduce these for clients through a bespoke service where they are able to choose the scale and colours to match in with their interior space.
Success I see as achieving goals step by step. Being able to produce artwork that inspires and interests people to own a piece. Remembering that it’s impossible to accomplish everything all at once!
Describe a good day and a bad day in the life of Penelope Jordan?
Good Day: motivation and determination to tick everything off on my list! Finishing a piece in particular gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement.
Bad Day: power cut!
What advice do you have for aspiring textile designers?
Log all designs, even if you think they are rubbish. In the future they could spark ideas, which may lead to something extraordinary. Most importantly, don’t give up.
Anything else we should know about you?
I continue to dream about my next crazy design. I’m always pushing boundaries.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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