I met the effortlessly cool and incredibly lovely Joy Bates aka Seven Gauge Studios at Pulse’s Launchpad last month and to be quite honest, she had me at ‘yellow and grey’! How could I not fall in love with products designed by someone with same colour obsession as me?! And you have to touch them to believe how incredibly soft and tactile they are. After a quick chat at Pulse, I was keen to pick Joy’s brains some more…
What is the most important thing to know about you?
I’m a completely self taught designer and I’m not a morning person!
We share a love of yellow and grey – what is it about that colour combination?!
It just always looks so fresh…
And what inspires your work more generally? The colours, the patterns, the materials…
I love and am inspired by mid century design. I also collect vintage fabrics and old knitting patterns – these are a constant source of inspiration. Magazines, books, exhibitions can also spark an idea for a pattern or colour combination – I love my Pantone app, it’s great for recording colours when I’m on the move!
Who are your design heroes?
Sir Terence Conran; he changed the way we shopped for the home when he opened the first Habitat shop in the 60s – there was nothing like it up to that point. And Orla Kiely; I have such admiration for her sense of colour and wonderful patterns.
Talk me through your design and making process from how you have ideas, how to develop them, and how your products are made and finished?
I gather tear sheets from magazines, create little mood boards and roughly sketch pattern ideas then graph them out on a computer. I knit small samples and experiment with different colour combinations – I drive myself crazy at this point deciding on the final one! Then I knit the product samples on my machine, wash them and finish by hand. The blankets and large cushions are sampled at a factory.
What does a really good day and really bad day at Seven Gauge Studios look like?
A good day can be designing a new pattern, deciding on the colour and being happy with it or could be getting a large order – that’s always a good day. A bad day is sitting at my computer battling with my accounts!
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
You need determination and hard work, hold your nerve and stay true to your ideas. Share your knowledge and people will be generous in return.
What are you most proud of?
I think my latest collection and the fact that it is made in the UK.
And finally (although I think I might already know the answer!), what’s your favourite colour?!
Actually, it’s orange but yellow is a close second!
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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