25th January 2013: It's wonderful to present the work of contemporary designer Heather Flynn this month, in our January 'Behind-the-Scenes' feature.
What's your favourite design/piece of work & why?
My Bert and Bowie collection is really personal to me as it’s been developed from places and objects I’ve picked up at home and abroad over the last 10 years, so I’d have to pick something from there. The Kitchenalia print is probably my favourite as it’s literally everything on my kitchen dresser from my jar of tea cakes to my gran’s old fish slice, so I see it everyday in some shape or form!
What's been your best-selling design or piece of work to date? One of my card ranges has sold very well in Paperchase recently - it's the Empress Line for Pigment:
Which part of the process do you like most? I normally have a picture in my head of how a piece is going to develop, but there’s that great moment when you’re working on something, when either through happy accident or chance, what you create is better than you’d originally imagined. Love that.
Which part do you like the least?! I have a lot of experience in creating designs with special finishes or print processes and getting the files and production specced right is very important to me. That said, doing it can be such a brain ache - repeats, bleeds, registration issues, dies, overprints, underprints – the works. Worth it but not the most fun!
What would your dream project be? Scarf or stationery line for Liberty.
Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration? I know it’s a cliché, but I genuinely see inspiration everywhere. My Bert and Bowie line has patterns worked up from all over the place - air conditioning vents to fishing nets and lamp shops to sunday lunch! Style wise, I have a lot of favourite pieces from mid century masters like Saul Bass, Lucienne Day and Bruno Munari, while modern classics coming from Sanna Annukka and the Svenskt Tenn group always inspire with their unique narrative and style.
Which is your favourite Art House Licensing artist & why? Hard to pick but I’d go Paul Thurlby. Whimsical, fun and beautiful colour picks. I love his numbers series particularly.
Which is your favourite Yellow House Art artist & why? (www.yellowhouseart.com – selling original artworks) I love Jane Muir’s ceramics. Beautifully made and full of humour.
Do you have your own work at home? My home is full of work by some of my favourite designers. I like to be surrounded by them alongside inspiration for new pieces and am constantly adding to my collection of books, crockery, toys, packaging, textiles, photographs, old tins and lettering, so there’s not much room left for my own work!
When designing your studio, what was the most important factor? Well my sausage dog Bert would say room for his bed under the desk but for me, it’s to have the right people and atmosphere that make my studio space inspiring. I work from Millers Junction (www.millersjunction.com) in East London, next door to Print Club London so and am surrounded by an amazing group of designers, print makers and artists every day, which is wonderful.
What's been your biggest mistake/cock-up?! Deleting my entire hard drive. Rescued half. Don’t like to talk about the rest.
What's on your drawing-board/ in your kiln / on your easel / etc. right now? I’m creating a series of notebooks and photo frames for tween girls, from fashion patterning to furry characters and smiling ice creams.
What is the last book you read? Marks out of 10? I read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway this summer. There’s no happy ending! 7/10
What is the last exhibition you went to? Marks out of 10? Last was The Pre-Raphelites at Tate Britain - beyond beautiful.
If you could own a masterpiece, what would it be? Any Lowry
What’s your proudest achievement? Going freelance and developing my personal style. I was an in-house art director for a long time and leaving to work for myself felt like a big risk, especially as the financial crash had just begun. I’ve had great support and now have some really exciting projects on the go, so am glad that I pushed myself.
What’s been your biggest challenge? Also going freelance! I love my job and feel really lucky to enjoy what I do for a living, but like any job, it can be a big challenge to balance everything you need to do with everything you’d like to do. I’ve learnt a little compromise goes a long way.
What’s the main advantage/your favourite aspect about working with Art House Licensing? I love to work to brief, with a specific product or person in mind. Working with AHL gives me the opportunity to partner with a much broader group of clients, while receiving the support and knowledge from Sue and Jehane that helps direct my work to the right people. Thanks guys!