mid-year update and collection of the month

It may look like it has been a bit quiet over here, but I have been hard at work!

You may have noticed a slight re-brand several weeks back. Yes, I have now evolved to ’Studio Element’ rather than ‘Interiors by Element.’ I have been told time and time again that my bright, bold patterns are suitable for a wide variety of applications, so I thought, why keep limiting myself to interiors? This new angle also sees me spending more time on developing my design style and creating new patterns for sale on commission, and less on the nitty-gritty of product development, manufacture and delivery.

As much as I love my modern rug designs (and they are still available to order), I had started to find working on just rugs a bit limiting creatively. Since my 100 Day project last year, I have continued developing lots of new pattern designs and experimenting with many different styles, media and approaches, a lot of which I have documented on my Instagram account. The ongoing COVID situation, while obviously being difficult for many other reasons, has at least given me more time to spend on creating new work over the past little while. Unusual natural objects and processes continue to be one of the main inspirations for my patterns, but I have also evolved my style to include more geometric patterns as well as more recognisable floral/leafy shapes. A bold, graphic retro-inspired look and feel continues to be a common theme across all my designs.

I am now working on developing more polished pattern collections which I will be sharing with you here on the blog at regular intervals, starting with….

collection of the month: sketch

100 days of patterns design project top picks

With international travel only just starting to open up and still looking a little bit questionable I doubt I’ll get a beach break anytime soon, but one can still dream! This collection comprises of hot sunshine hues and bold, playful designs that incorporate doodles and mark-making. I think these would look perfect on a bold maxi dress or bikini - what do you think?

If you are interested in purchasing any prints or would like to commission something in a similar style, please contact me at hello@studio-element.co.uk

posted on 2020 / 07 / 24

a reflection on my 100 day project

I did it - I finished the 100 day project on Instagram,! I will admit, during the second half of the project I was skipping days here and there, so overall it took me more like 120-130 days or so to complete, but I did it!

I really enjoyed trying different styles and subject and I could definitely see the quality of my work improving as the days progressed - proving once again that it’s all about practice.

There were some quite tough days - days when I just couldn’t get inspired, and days when I felt like I was just throwing things together to ‘get it over with’ rather than enjoying the process of designing. During the second half of the challenge I thus decided I would rather skip days than try to design when I was feeling really uninspired and nothing was coming to me. While I do appreciate that the goal of the challenge was to produce consistently, sometimes I felt like I was emphasising quantity over quality. Something I learned during this project is that as a designer you need to strike your own individual balance between producing lots of work without being too precious about it, and recognising when an idea stands out as being a really good one and taking your time with it to produce something really good.

Posting each of my designs on Instagram also made the challenge more interesting - it was interesting to see which designs people responded to/liked the most as they were not necessarily the ones I would have chosen. However, when a design got lots of attention it seemed to change my perception of it as well. I don’t know whether all designers struggle to evaluate their own work and feel overly reliant on others’ opinions or if it is just me. I think I need to work on having a bit more confidence to know for myself what is “good” and what is not without outside input.

the top picks

So which ones were my favourites? It was tough to choose, but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 12 picks below. Interestingly, the floral designs seem to be winning out over the geometrics for this selection. However, as a lot of the designs I created were quick and unrefined, there is potential and room for improvement in the designs that I didn’t pick to be part of the top 12 as well.

100 days of patterns design project top picks

what’s next?

Part of the purpose of this project for me was to develop a more varied and extensive portfolio of pattern design work. As mentioned before, I’m working on moving my business away from selling products to selling prints, so this seemed like a good place to start. I am planning to go back to some of the designs I created and refine and improve them further, as when you have to do 100 you can’t really spend a lot of time perfecting each one, and then we will see where that takes me!

posted on 2019 / 10 / 26

my 100 day project

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I recently started a ‘100 day project.’ The idea behind the project is that you pick a creative activity (in my case I am creating patterns) and commit to doing it every day for 100 days. You can read more about it on the 100 day project website here.

I had heard about it some time ago and I really liked the idea, and I know from experience that I always create better work when I am in the flow of creating consistently. However I was always hesitant to start because the idea of designing every single day for 100 days was daunting, and I wasn’t sure if I would have the time. Recently I decided to just go for it and to commit to making the time. I have been struggling a bit with getting started with creating designs, with developing my style (I felt like I was stagnating a little creating similar things over and over, and generally worrying too much whether other people will like something/whether it is sellable instead of whether I like it), so I thought this would be a good way to get the creative juices flowing again.

So, how have I been finding it so far? The first little while I felt like my designs were all over the place and I struggled to get into a groove. All those months of not designing consistently meant I was definitely a little rusty! I know the goal of the project is just to keep going and not necessarily to have a perfect polished piece of work every day, but I still couldn’t help but compare myself to other artists/designers I follow on Instagram that seemed to produce something a-ma-zing every single day (designers love to compare themselves, it seems!). Lately I’ve been better at working in more of a consistent style. I want to use the 100 day project as a way to try new things and expand my existing style, but not necessarily completely change it.

Doing this has also made me realise that although I have come so far, I still have some learning and growing to do as a designer. I want to get to the point where I am able to consistently and confidently produce something good every day, even on days when I don't have very much time. I also want to start experimenting with more expressive lines and more intricate/layered patterns to add more variety to my repertoire.

Here are some of my top picks from the project so far, and you can see all previous and future designs by following along on my Instagram. I am really enjoying all the feedback and comments I’ve been getting from people, they are encouraging me to keep going so keep them coming! Maybe some of these will end up on future products or maybe they’ll just be nice additions to my pattern portfolio - either way, I am enjoying the process for now.

100 days of patterns design project

posted on 2019 / 06 / 17

welcome back to interiors by element

new-design-direction-interiors-by-element

Wow, it has been a long time since my last post! Truth be told, I needed a little break to figure out a direction for the future. Running a design business has probably been 100 times harder than I imagined when I first conceived of the idea for my brand all those years ago. Marketing, trade shows, samples etc. all cost loads of money that you don’t have when starting out, and getting your name out there is very difficult in a saturated market. However, although I have worn many different designer hats over the years, for me nothing can replace the joy and satisfaction of seeing a brand and style that is yours and yours alone come to life and be enjoyed by other people, and that is what ultimately drives me to keep going in some form or another no matter what.

I have learned a few things along the way which will shape the future direction of Interiors by Element:

  1. I love working with customers (and their interior designers) 1-1 to design their dream space, rather than just sending off orders and not having any idea where they ended up or what happened to them. For this reason, I plan to focus my business a lot more on bespoke orders in the near future. You can see previous projects I have worked on here.

  2. I love drawing and designing, not dealing with technical production and delivery issues. I’m going to put on hold any plans to break into new product categories for now, and focus instead on partnerships and commissions with other companies who are a lot better at dealing with that other stuff than me. You can find out more about how to commission me here.

  3. I am no longer offering wallpaper. I have found it to be a very saturated market, and despite this, bold, graphic feature walls are only being used very sparingly (or not at all) by most of my customers.

  4. I will still be offering my existing rug designs, and any new rug designs I create will be focused on round rugs and runners. These have had a great response and I feel like my customers are finding a lack of options in the market for these unusually shaped designs. During my hiatus I have worked on some new round rugs and runners which have already been added to the website.

Finally, I’d like to spend more time sharing the journey of building a small design business on social media. It is tempting to pretend that everything is awesome all the time (it can feel like it is for everyone else!), but I have learned that it is the real people behind independent businesses that truly make them special.

posted on 2019 / 05 / 28

new hallway runners for the new year

2018 is here, and the New Year is a perfect time for revamping and updating in a variety of areas, including in the spaces you use and inhabit every day. The hallway is an often-overlooked area of the home, and one that can be quite difficult to decorate. However, it is a place you pass through and look at frequently, and the right rug here can really make a difference in tying the whole decor scheme of your home together. A high-quality hand-tufted wool rug is a great choice for a high traffic area such as a hallway, as its durability is able to withstand the pressures of modern family life for years to come.

I began offering hallway runners as part of my rug collection early last year, and due to lots of interest and requests for custom designs, I have recently expanded my collection with the three new designs below - read on to discover the inspiration behind the new designs.

prism hallway runner

This striking triangular crystal structure that I came across at the Natural History Museum a few years ago was the inspiration behind both the Prism rectangular rug and Prism hallway runner. The sunburst motif gives both of these designs a subtle 1920s/Art Deco feel which would work beautifully paired with metallic furniture or decorative accessories.

prism-crystal-inspired-geometric-hallway-runner

layers hallway runner

Cutting into a seemingly ordinary piece of rock often reveals a beautiful, irregular striped pattern of all the different layers of sediment that have built up over the years, and this was the inspiration behind my Layers hallway runner. The striking, angular graphic pattern and bright colourways make this the ideal hallway runner to tie together a retro-inspired home decor scheme.

layers-rock-inspired-geometric-retro-hallway-runner

gorge hallway runner

As a (somewhat) avid walker, I spend a lot of time poring over Ordnance Survey maps. The elegant, undulating curve of a topographic map or river when viewed from above inspired both the Gorge rectangular rug and the Gorge hallway runner. Either of these rugs would sit beautifully in a modern, eclectic family home with a light, airy colour scheme and lots of natural light. Perfect for those who love a bit of ombré (myself included).

gorge-aerial-view-curve-pattern-hallway-runner

You can see all of my hallway runngers on my website here. And remember, if you need a slightly different size or colourway of something it can easily be done - just contact me with your request.

posted on 2018 / 01 / 24

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