Among the best aspects of running The Country Quilt Shop, besides sharing wonderful fabrics with you, is learning about those who create them. And one thing we’ve learned along the way, is that England is a hotbed for surface pattern design. Our latest designer spotlight features yet another UK native, Jenny Ellory.
Ellory studied at Staffordshire University, England where she learned hand and computer drawing techniques, stitch and various print and dye processes, which she said were the foundations needed to design commercially for any product. “My first job was designing patterns and illustration for children's clothing, where I practiced a repeat pattern, and then I progressed into greetings design, which led me to other gift products and packaging. I guess with experience designing for all sorts of materials from textiles to paper and metals and plastics, I now design patterns for any surface as the repeat pattern skills are transferable, it's just understanding how to apply them and the processes involved,” Ellory told us.
We just love the latest Ellory offerings new to the shop. They are the “O Holy Night” panel and coordinating “Tiny Trees” fabric in blue and gold. We asked Ellory what her design process consists of. “Quite often I am given a brief from a company based on their market needs or trends, so that is a collaborative process with back and forth tweaking the collection as a whole to look cohesive. I also design fun collections myself for sale through my agent Pink Light Studio. Mine are based on market trends mixed with snippets of inspiration I have come across, and I have much more freedom with the themes and styling working this way and there is very little change with the collections once I am happy with how they look,” Ellory shared.
Designing a new fabric line isn’t always easy though. It can take some time, depending on the detail involved. “If I am feeling very inspired and motivated, I could work on print collections continuously through the night as I often get carried away and cannot stop until the idea is visual! Sometimes if I am struggling to make it work, I might start another concept and come back to the old one after a couple of weeks with a fresh idea,” Ellory said. She added “Some prints can be instantly available within a month, whereas others I sometimes don't see the finished fabric for over a year depending on how far in advance a company is planning their range and releasing it!”
As for inspiration, Ellory turns to the work of fashion for trending ideas. “I look at the catwalk for newness, as you need to stay competitive within the market and those trends always filter into the whole industry eventually,” Ellory told us. “I love drawing botanicals and constantly photographing flowers when out and about! I'm also a big fan of architecture and quite often visit stately homes in the UK to view their vintage wall decor, fabrics and beautiful furniture.”
Many thanks to Jenny for taking the time to give us a unique insight into the world of fabric design. And be sure to check out her new website here.