New designer Molly Hutchinson has only just graduated Buck’s New University’s Textiles and Surface Design BA (Hons) course, and with her first collection under her belt, she’s already set to appear as part of Red Shed Graduates at the London Design Fair next week. We caught up with her to find out what makes her tick…
I always thought I would go down the traditional printed textile route – I love pattern and mark-making. But after being at university, I discovered an interest in poured materials and solid surfaces and realised that I love the challenge of translating mark-making and pattern work into these materials.
For me, ideas come from my environment. Photography is a fundamental part of my design process and documenting colour combinations, interesting textures and aesthetically pleasing compositions is where I start the development of any new collection. Equally I absolutely love fine art. Gallery spaces are my favourite place to get inspired and I find it easier to look objectively at my own work when my inspiration has come from somewhere outside of the textiles and surface field.
DE:HABITUATION is a collection of Jesmonite tiles and larger-scale pieces that explore incidental mark-making techniques. Habituation results in parts of a landscape going unnoticed because they are no longer new. The collection, created for an interior setting, is designed to delay the occurrence of habituation through hand-craft techniques that continuously produce unique and unexpected outcomes. In a time when technology is rapidly developing, and in many fields replacing people, design that celebrates the uniqueness of the human touch is becoming increasingly popular. The collection responds to this trend, demonstrating it has not been mass-produced through its incidental processes.
Having observed parts of my environment that get overlooked, I wanted to make them the decorative parts of a space that people focus on. All of the colours in the collection are found, selected from my photography of the wear and tear that I documented in Marseille, a beautifully colourful city, and my primary point of inspiration for the collection. I used mark-making as a means of exploring pattern and composition, and had loads of fun experimenting with action painting and instinctive mark-making to produce one off compositions. Alongside these, I experimented with how I could achieve these incidental processes in Jesmonite. I then narrowed down these experiments to 5 design ranges that encompass both unique fluid designs, through colour and relief, and structured geometric patterns that can be used independently or as an interchangeable collection.
I wanted to make the collection about hand-craft techniques. Bearing the marks of being made by hand but with a refined finished and aesthetic, each of the pieces is hand-dyed and individually cast in handmade moulds.
One of my favourite parts of the design process is material experimentation, getting stuck in and testing out ideas, even when they don’t work! But I also absolutely loved styling and photographing the collection myself. I wanted to be playful and conceptual in the approach, capturing how the ranges interact with each other and the qualities of the pieces themselves, in a more ambiguous way than a product shot. Then using these to develop a lookbook for the collection was really enjoyable because I could further develop the aesthetic I wanted into another medium.
Getting to know Jesmonite as a material, how it works, how it takes colour and can be manipulated in different states was a challenge at first but part of the enjoyment of using a versatile material. It was also a challenge to decide what product to create with it, because there are so many different ways Jesmonite can be used.
I am always drawn to design that appears effortless – even though it is clear the level of craftsmanship required to create it. The fact that it is simple is so impressive in my eyes because it takes a lot of confidence to produce simplistic design with nothing to hide behind. Colour is also something I always look for. Whether it be a sophisticated use of neutrals or a bold use of brights, colour is something I always appreciate.
I am most proud of the confidence I have gained over the last few years, being able to cope in situations outside of my comfort zone and overcome challenges so that I can continue to pursue what I love doing.
To believe in what you are producing and to really think about what it is that you love about design. It has really helped me to try to objectively look at why I am attracted to certain styles to then be able to focus and produce what it is that I am enthusiastic about.
My favourite colour changes all the time! But I do always seem to gravitate towards turquoise shades.
Molly Hutchinson will be exhibiting at the London Design Fair 22 – 25 September 2016. Register for your ticket here.
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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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