For British textile designer Beatrice Larkin, creative inspiration comes from all sorts of places. “There are no rules about it,” she says, “so I try to always keep my eyes open.” With a penchant for broken lines and organic, curved edges, Bea is known for her ‘softened geometric’ designs. “I create geometric patterns, but there’s always a slight edge to them that creates a calmer, more comforting design.”
Working from her studio in Margate, Kent, Bea uses her hand-drawn sketches to create repeating woven designs. She works with a mill in Lancashire to turn her patterns into Jacquard fabrics, which are washed and finished in the Yorkshire Dales. Then, Bea transforms her woven textiles into throws, cushions and other accessories.
Bea is the textile designer behind our new range of limited-edition hot water bottles.
Following the success of Bea’s limited-edition Merino wool hot water bottles last year, we’re thrilled to partner up again this season with six new colourways. Ahead of the launch, we joined Bea on her latest visit to the mill, where we chatted about her creative design process, the benefits of Merino wool, and her favourite way to wind down before bed.
Tell us about your journey into textile design. When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I knew from quite a young age, really. My dad has an interior design business, and my mum is an embroiderer and quilter, so we were surrounded by fabrics at home. There was always a craft project on the go! I was lucky that my secondary school had a really good textiles department, and I went on to do a BA and then a master’s in textile design, specialising in weaving.
Where do you find your creative inspiration?
These days, when I’m working on a new collection, I get a lot of inspiration online, especially scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest! But sometimes, going out for a walk or stepping out of my normal routine gives me ideas. My headspace is a bit clearer, I can think a bit better, and often inspiration comes that way.
Bea’s fabrics are woven in small runs at a Jacquard mill in Lancashire.
The common denominator, though, is this kind of hand-drawn pattern or a broken line. It’s the organic quality that I find inspiring.
What does your creative process look like?
It often starts with me creating a mood board. I might have an initial theme, and then I’ll gather more inspiration. From that, I’ll begin hand-drawing sketches and doodles using ink on paper. Next, I work on my computer to turn it into a repeat design. I like keeping those blotchy, inky qualities of my drawings in the finished fabric.
All the time, I’m thinking about the endpoint – what kind of scale I want the fabric to be and what type of product I want to turn it into. The repeating pattern is usually in black and white, so I’ll then think about the colour scheme. Once I’ve got the designs, I’ll work with the mill to decide what weave structure to use. We’ll choose the weft yarns and continue sampling until we’re happy with the final product.
Bea uses Italian-spun Merino wool in her fabrics, which is more commonly used in the fashion industry for high-end knitwear.
Tell us more about your designs for the Piglet in Bed hot water bottles.
When I think of Piglet in Bed, I just love the gingham. I’ve always liked the idea of doing my own take on a stripe or spot or floral, so I thought it’d be nice to try a hand-drawn gingham pattern. That was the starting point, and from there, I made lots of sketches, figuring out the right size of the check.
Why do you love working with Merino wool?
The fabric I chose for the hot water bottles is an undulating twill weave structure, which really brings out the Merino weft yarn. The Italian spun extra-fine Merino wool is perfect for a hot water bottle because it's super soft and luxurious. I’ve tried using other wools before, but I’ve never found anything that has the same feel. The yarn company calls it the 'Rolls Royce of Merino' – it has that next level of luxury.
The hand-drawn design Bea created for Piglet is inspired by our signature gingham pattern and new geometric check.
And let’s finish with our quick-fire round…
Coffee or tea to start the day?
Describe your perfect Sunday morning.
My ideal start to a Sunday would have to involve pancakes! And a nice walk along the seafront close to where I live.
What’s your favourite way to wind down before bedtime?
Probably bingeing a box set, while maybe drinking a chamomile tea.
What’s a sleep hack you swear by?
Brown noise helps get me to sleep, and I recently bought a sleep mask, which has been a game-changer!
It’s been lovely chatting to you, Bea! The exclusive Beatrice Larkin x Piglet in Bed collection is available to shop online now.
Photography by Leia Morrison ©