Graduates, Textile Design

Creative Collaboration – how Instagram and a Textile Design degree led to a bespoke wallpaper commission, for graduate Laura Hyden.

By Laura Hyden – Print Designer
BA (Hons) Textile Design Graduate 2014
Guest blogger Laura Hyden recently launched her first collaborative wallpaper, with London-based, interior design studio Muck n Brass. Laura explains how a chance sighting on Instagram led to a collaboration and the beginning of a design partnership.
After finishing my BA (Hons) in Textile design at BCU I was determined to find myself a job in the industry and knew more than ever that this was the right path for me. After 6 months of contacting different companies and trying to get my work seen, I was offered a job as a print designer at a company near to my hometown. I gained a wealth of invaluable experience and knowledge of the industry and also gained a lot of confidence in myself as a designer.
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After a year I felt like I needed to extend my skills so I started working as a freelance print designer for a print studio who specialise in designing predominantly for wallpaper and bedding. This was exactly the role I needed to build on my knowledge of creating larger designs that were in repeat to certain manufacturing specifications. The designs were sold worldwide to a vast range of clients and this is how I came to be in contact with Zoe from Muck n Brass.

Muck n Brass is a fantastic, London based, ‘luxecycling’ company owned by Zoe Pocock. Zoe takes unloved, old furniture and revamps it using a range of quirky wallpapers and paint. Zoe is based in her workshop in South East London, where she undertakes commissions and upcycles customers’ own pieces as well as leading regular workshops.

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Zoe had previously purchased a few rolls of a lemur design I had designed, that was being sold through Wallpaper Direct. She had used it to decoupage a set of solid wood drawers and I came across the photo whilst browsing Instagram. I was so excited to see my design being used in such a creative and fun way so I decided to send her a little message to let her know. She was excited to chat to the person who had designed the lemurs and suggested that if I had anymore available designs I wanted her to use, I should send them over. The whole wallpaper collaboration stemmed from that initial conversation on Instagram!
We carried on chatting and she told me how she had been wanting to launch her own collection of designs for a while, and that I had come along at just the right time. We discussed inspiration and themes and I got to work. All the ideas come from Zoe, as we felt it was really important that the designs stayed true to her brand and came from her concepts. She had the idea of creating mixed up animals and really wanted a flamingo with women’s legs and animals with the wrong heads, so the rest was up to me!

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For me the process of designing a wallpaper, compared to designing for textiles, is not much different. A standard wallpaper width is 52cm and as long as I stayed within that width when designing a repeat tile, the rest was pretty much up to me. When designing a print I find I work best if I start by drawing out a series of different elements and motifs separately, on pieces of paper. Sometimes I paint textures too, or whatever I think will fit with the aesthetic of the design. Then I scan the artwork in and begin to piece them together using Photoshop, layering the textures and motifs and tweaking as I go. I don’t usually have an idea of what the finished thing might look like, I prefer to just let it organically evolve as I go. We went back and forth a few times tweaking certain animals until Zoe was happy and that’s how our first design, ChiMiracle, was born. The name was a play on words by Zoe; a chimera is a mythical hybrid creature that’s made up of parts of more than one animal.

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Working with Zoe has been amazing as she has such a great imagination and character, which allows me to push my own boundaries as a designer. She really knows what she wants and I really enjoy interpreting it for her. Our ChiMiracle design has just been published in Estila magazine (issue 5 – Daydreamer) and I’m so excited to have it in print. I have designed another wallpaper with Zoe, which is coming to market very soon. It is a more sophisticated, grown-up design but still maintains the Muck n Brass feel.

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Stay updated to see more collaborative work from Muck n Brass and Laura by following @mucknbrass
For enquires regarding commissions or collaborations with Laura please contact her via email:  Laura_hyden@hotmail.com

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Find out more about our BA (Hons) Textile Design Course or textiles employability.

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