For the latest instalment of 'Meet The Maker', we sat down with Beatrice Larkin, the British textile designer behind our brand new range of limited edition Hot Water Bottles. Read on to find out what inspires Bea's designs, the advice she'd pass on to someone looking to embark on a career in textile design, and the one item she can't live without on her bedside table...
Hi Bea! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. I was wondering if you take us behind the scenes of your making process?
The process starts from my Margate studio, where I take my inky sketches and turn these into repeat designs. I work with a mill in Lancashire to manufacture these into woven Jacquard fabrics made from super soft merino wool. The fabric is then washed and brushed in the Yorkshire Dales and sent back to be made into throws, cushions and accessories such as scarves and hot water bottles. This year I am also launching a recycled cotton collection, suitable for upholstery and soft furnishings.
Why do you like working with merino wool in particular?
The Italian spun extra-fine merino wool used in my fabrics is more commonly used in the fashion industry for high end knitwear and the fine, soft fibres of the merino sheep give a beautifully soft and luxurious handle. It really differentiates my fabric and brings a high end quality to my products. Wool is an amazing fibre to work with and it has been my first choice in weaving since I learnt to hand weave at college.
What inspires your designs?
All sorts! There is a definite hand drawn aspect that runs through my work. I love a broken geometric and I am often drawn to patterns that play with structure and break the grid. I love traditional weave patterns, grids, graphs and quilts, West African textiles and The Bauhaus. The design for the hot water bottle with Piglet in Bed is called 'Type' and this was inspired by a series by Anni Albers, which she made using ink and black typewriter keys to create a pattern reminiscent of a textile. Albers' work spanned textiles, craft and art and I love how she wasn't restricted to present her work in a specific field. I liked the idea of taking these paper studies of hers and bringing them into fabric form.What would be one piece of advice that you would offer to someone wanting to become a textile designer?
Trust your gut. I've found that when you run your own business you have to make big decisions all the time. If you have a strong set of core values that represent who you are and where you want to be, those decisions should come more easily. That inner voice will always be there, no matter where you are or what external advice you might receive.I feel like that advice could be applied to lots of professions too! Are you a morning lark or a night owl?
If I can, I try to get up early. I moved to Margate from London last year and I love a walk along the beach as the sun rises. Saying that...it hasn't happened recently!No judgement over here! We all set out with the best intentions. Last but not least, what's one thing you can't live without on your bedside table?!
My glasses. I have very bad eyesight!
You can shop our brand new Piglet in Bed x Beatrice Larkin Hot Water Bottles now. Available in both our Deep Teal and Oatmeal colourways, the Hot Water Bottles are the perfect gift for your friend who is always complaining about being cold, or as a cosy treat to yourself this winter.