How did you first become interested in design?
My mother is a textile artist and she made work all the time at home and I wanted to do that too. But I think I probably did not understand the word design until I was on foundation at the St Martin’s where we had to make a decision on what direction we wanted to take.
How has your design education influenced your career?
As I did Foundation, BA and MA(RCA) I was in education continually for a very long time. A lot of the time I reacted against what I was being told but looking back now I think that was a good thing as it made me more determined, I wanted to make changes. I had an amazing tutor Geoff Fowle in the 3rd year of St Martin’s and he opened my mind and I have never looked back.
What inspires you the most about design?
That you can make work that makes a difference and can change things.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
For many years I absorbed books films and music that I now have inside me and comes out depending on the project. But now I get the most from travelling and being introduced to knew experiences that I may have not ever thought I would do.
How has your approach to design in the studio evolved over the years?
I think my approach and way of thinking had always been the same. Fortunately the world and attitudes have changed and so I am able to make the work now that maybe did not have a place 10 or so years ago. It is important to always have a vision.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Every project is an achievement it is not always about the scale of the project. But the impact it has. I would say my biggest achievement is to have made work that has improved peoples lives even in a very small way.
What’s your goal as a designer?
I don’t look at my work as goals. I want to continue to do relevant work for as long as I can and people respond to it.
Tell the Design Museum about your installation at Designer Maker User and the thought process behind your project?
Designer Maker User is the first free exhibition at the Design Museum has had. I really like the thought that people can experience the building and the exhibition without paying. The exhibition was designed to be very dense and layered so everything is connected to each other and each dependent on one another. The layering means you can take in the information on very different levels and hopefully come back and look for some more or go home and look into the subjects in greater detail. The other important element was that the exhibition sits well in the context of the fabric of the building and John Pawson’s interventions.
How did your love of colour begin?
Being introduced to colour through textiles by my mother. She would dye fabrics with vegetable skins, berries etc and I would see the beauty and the subtle differences between colours form a very early age. My understanding of colour is completely intuitive not theoretical at all.
It’s International Women’s Day (8 March); do you have a message for young women considering a career in design?
Believe in your own abilities, be confident and forthright, make things happen for yourself don’t expect anybody will do it for you. Also important that love and women support each other.
Women are still quite underrepresented in design history. Do you feel this situation is improving?
I hope so, but I am not writing the history books.
Finally, it’s International Day of Happiness this month, which design makes you happy?
I aim to make work that people respond to in various ways you can never predict reactions but on occasions the work evokes a feeling of happiness. That makes me happy!