INVESTIGATING SURROUNDING LANDSCAPES WITH SOPHIE FORSTER
This month’s theme explores the impacts of Lockdown, calling on emerging talent to look for the positives that have come out of these challenging times and consequently, how these experiences have inspired design.
Carry on reading to discover what our designers think about how lockdowns will shape the future of the design world!
INTRODUCING THE DESIGNER
I’m Sophie Forster, a textile designer who specialises in printed textiles. The majority of my inspiration comes from my surrounding landscapes, whether that be the stunning Cornish views or the rolling hills of my home in Somerset. I appreciate their colours and traditions, hoping to capture and express characteristics through my painted designs.
Predominantly I work by hand, painting seamless repeat patterns and artworks using gouache. Recently I have delved into lino printing. I appreciate the organic forms and textures they produce.
How much do you think the pandemic and lockdowns has influenced your design work?
Lockdown has dramatically influenced my design work. I spent the majority of the 2nd and 3rd lockdown at home away from the inspiration, equipment, and the creative community at Falmouth University. As a result, my work became self focussed. Lockdown was a bleak time, and creating was one of the things that kept me positive. I focussed the majority of my creativity on capturing the glimmers of hope that came from the lockdown and reminiscing on the previous good times we shared.
Where did your interest in design stem from?
My interest in design originally came from the satisfaction and relaxation that accompanies making. I was an only child so being able to keep myself busy and entertained was crucial. Initially I enjoyed making items of waste into pretty things, for examples fabric scraps became appliquéd landscapes and used newspapers became papermache bowls with painted decorations. Over time my skills have developed and refined but I still design for the same reasons – almost as an escape.
Do you think the ways in which lockdown has changed our lifestyle will continue to influence the design industry? What are your trend predictions for 2022?
As a result of lockdown we have become a lot more thankful and appreciative for the simplicities of life and truly realise what is important to us. The slower pace of life has allowed small businesses to flourish and individuals to explore their own creative side. I think we have all come to realise it’s more important than ever to ensure we are surrounded my pretty things that bring joy. Hopefully this new appreciation will carry on long after the pandemic and lockdowns have concluded.
I believe 2022 trends will be focused on the small pleasures of life such as nature and community; accompanied by a sympathetic colour way which will reflect peace and regrowth as we begin to move towards freedom.
What helped you get through lockdown?
Staying creative kept me sane throughout lockdown. Suddenly inundated with so much extra time and no deadline pressures, I experimented with new techniques and mediums that I just didn’t have time for previously. I discovered a new love for lino printing and the unique, natural finish it creates as this varies drastically from my previous precise paintings. I also delved into pottery, which I’ve come to the conclusion isn’t for me!
Previous to lockdown, I was intimated by the idea of trying something new as I risked ‘wasting time’ if it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. However, now I’ve learned that beautiful things can come from experimentation. That’s definitely helped me grow as a designer.
What inspires you most on a day-to-day basis?
The majority of my inspiration comes from the beauty of landscapes, structures and peoples interactions. I’m a people watcher and aim to capture the atmosphere of a landscape and reflect it through my designs – hoping to tell a story along the way. I create a romanticised version of landscapes and experiences to reflect happier times.
When spending so much time at home within the last year, what did you realise you were grateful for?
Throughout lockdown I realised how grateful I was for my abilities to create and explore. I spent days upon days painting with no time restraint and no pressure to produce anything ‘worth while’. I was grateful for my home on the edge of Exmoor and the beautiful surroundings that supplied me with endless inspiration, even when looking at the same view time after time.
What’s your go to stimulus when you start to create work?
Alongside the Exmoor views, my creativity is often influenced by the website “window-swap.com”. It shows real, unedited views out of windows all over the world. Some of the windows reveal stunning landscapes with dramatic natural structures whilst other simply show a street in a quiet town. I use these views to inspire my designs. Often I create quick sketches focusing on the shapes, colours and sometimes textures of the views, and other times I reflect on how the view makes me feel. I aim to capture feelings of pure relaxation and appreciation for natural beauty alongside the chaos and buzz that accompanies busy built up cities.