Caren Barry has recently brought out her new collection, which I have to say is absolutely beautiful. The soft colour palette and dainty drawings make them eye catching straight away. She has come to me this week to help her get word out about her Kickstarter Campaign. For those that aren't familiar with Kickstarter, it is an online platform where artists, designers, anyone who needs funding can put up information about their projects and then members of the public can back these projects. You pledge a certain amount of money and in return you will be helping a small business with their project. You may also receive certain gifts depending on how much you pledge.
It is such a fantastic platform for young designers who don't have the funding to get their designs onto products. First up I have a little interview from Caren about herself and her work and then you must have a look at her wonderful designs! You'll definitely want to help her out and receive a notebook of your own, designed by Caren!
So Caren why don't you tell us a bit about your background as a designer
I am a Surface Pattern Designer and Illustrator living and working in Cambridgeshire. At University I studied Decorative Arts, which focussed largely on applied art, design and studio crafts. I have always been a very creative individual, having studied art throughout school, but it was during this course that I was able to specialise my skills and discover what my true passion within design really was. My university tutors always emphasised the importance of drawing, and so it was through this that I developed my own style and enjoyment for creating hand-drawn patterns.
What made you want to become a designer and what do you like about patterns?
For my final year exhibition I designs a collection of printed wallpapers and furnishing fabrics, all created from original illustrations. I even reupholstered a vintage chair, which was a lot of fun! I loved the entire design process from creating an illustration in my sketchbook to seeing it printed and applied onto a finished product. That really became the starting point for my love of illustration and surface pattern design.
When I graduated from university I left with the knowledge that I wanted to work as a freelance designer. It has now been about three years since I graduated and earlier this year, in April, I left my full-time job in retail and with my savings I finally started my own business as a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer.
Since going freelance I have been spending my time developing my portfolio as well as designing patterns and products for my debut collection!
I have a huge love of patterns and colour which I suppose has to be a given now that I've embarked on a career creating surface pattern designs! I am naturally drawn to anything with a pattern on it, especially when it comes to floral patterns, and you'll almost always see me wearing an item of clothing with a pretty print!
It's wonderful to hear you are not designing full time, that is a huge dream for anyone who is wanting to get into this industry. How would you describe your style and what is your favourite medium to work with?
My style has often been described as traditional yet modern, with a touch of femininity. I have a hand-drawn style that I use to create intricate illustrations and delicately decorated patterns. With that being said I always try to keep colour simplicity and softness within my finished designs.
I usually begin a design by creating a motif in my sketchbook using fine-liner pens, which I then rework into a pattern repeat with colour - either by hand of using Photoshop and Illustrator. I've recently rekindled my love of painting with watercolours and inks, but it's much more unpredictable to work with than my trusty fine-liner pens, so I'm still experimenting! Hopefully I will have honed my painting skills ready for my next collection of designs.
I really love designing and experimenting with new techniques and new products. My designs always centre around my drawings and paintings, so being able to combine the use of both traditional artistry with digital technology to create my pattern designs allows me to make as many things as I possibly can that beautifully translate my hand drawn illustrations into a usable product.
Watercolours and Inks are probably one of my favourite mediums too, you can create some truly beautiful pieces with them. What about your inspiration, what inspires you and where do you look for your inspiration?
As an individual I love interior styling and vintage and Scandinavian home touches, so I find a lot of inspiration through reading my favourite blogs and also on Pinterest. For me these online platforms are a great way to discover lovely homewares or textile designs, which in turn inspired me to be more creative.
For my design work I find inspiration comes a lot of the time from my observations of nature. Flowers have always been a huge love of mine, so they tend to influence a large amount of my designs. I love nature and recent trips to Anglesey Abbey and the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge, accompanied by my trusty camera, have inspired a lot of my new designs. With the majority of my inspiration coming from nature I regularly plan trips to my favourite places. This is also a great opportunity to visit new places and I've found it to be a really important part of my design process. Especially when I'm having days where creativity and inspiration seem to disappear!
Now for a little bit more about your Kickstarter Project:
In September I launched my new collection of patterned greeting cards, note cards and art prints which are available online through Etsy and Folksy. As my first collection of finished products I couldn't be more pleased with the results and I'm beyond happy that everything is finally beginning to fall into place!
It's still a very new and exciting time for me as I am preparing for my first season of craft fairs before Christmas, while also continuing to develop my product range with a collection of cushions and accessories. I've also launched a Kickstarter project to develop a range of eco-friendly notebooks with my favourite floral patterns! Kickstarter really is such a great platform to help support creative projects.
For the next few months it's going to be very busy with a lot of learning experiences I'm sure. I really enjoying being able to showcase all of my hard work through such exciting opportunities and I really hope that everyone else enjoys my designs just as much as I enjoy creating them!