Friday, 10 May 2013

Polly Rowan

It's Follow Friday!

Polly Rowan is a textile designer from London currently studying a degree in Textiles for Fashion and Interiors at Bath School of Art. Polly's work is very abstract, colourful and quirky. Polly enjoys working traditionally and digitally.

You can find Polly on Facebook and follow her on twitter @arowantree. You can also read her inspirational blog.

Have you always wanted to be a textile designer?
Growing up I always wanted to be an “artist” or an illustrator of some sort as I’ve always loved drawing. My passion for textiles and interiors grew when I discovered screen printing at the age of 14, and Elle Decoration magazine!
How have you got to where you are now?
After finishing my A levels, I went on to do an Art Foundation at Wimbledon College of Art where I specialised in textiles. Although I love London, I wanted to go somewhere a bit smaller for University, so I moved to Bath and now I am in my third year of my degree in Textiles for Fashion and Interiors.
What's your next step?

I am moving back to London in June and will look for a job in textile design. I would love to expand my Etsy store and work on my own projects as well.
What inspires you?
Colour and pattern around me, and Scandinavian design. Reading magazines and blogs play a big part in inspiring me.
What motivates you?
Talking to my fellow textile course mates and working through ideas with others always motivates me. Seeing what other designers are doing and how they got to where they are helps - we all need a bit of competition! I am always more motivated when the sun is shining too!
How do you start a new project/design?
I will have an idea at the most random times. I read a quote a while ago (I can’t remember who said it!) that the best ideas come when walking, and I think that this is true! I will then go and take loads of first hand photographs, and start drawing and painting from the most inspirational ones. I also spend time on Pinterest and ideas grow from what I am pinning.
What do you enjoy most about design?
It’s so satisfying to have a finished design that you know is completely new. I love the drawing aspect of it, and always try to keep a hand-drawn or printed element to my designs, even if they are digital. The best designs often come from mistakes, which I like.
Do you have a favourite design that you have created?
I always like what I am currently working on the best, as I feel like I’m always improving from project to project. However I still love the felt feathers that I created last year for an exhibition.
Do you have any of your designs on products?
I have made a few cushions and notebooks in the past. And more recently I have printed my designs onto ceramic tiles, which is really exciting to see my designs on a shiny new surface! I produce a lot of wallpaper too.
What is your typical day like?
It depends what stage of the project I am at as to what I am doing. At the moment I get to university at 9:30am and do some digital work on the Macs as I am currently visualising my prints within interior spaces. I love doing drawing or sketchbook work in the studios we have at Bath School of Art and Design as they are really inspirational, busy spaces overlooking the beautiful city. I am organising my designs to be printed digitally on fabric and wallpaper at the moment, and doing some screen printing as well. I work until about 8pm at uni, then head home to relax with dinner with my flatmates, or go out with friends. I do yoga once a week as well which helps me wind down.
What medias do you like to use?
I usually paint with acrylics as you can layer the colours so easily. I like a mixture of collage, pen, ink, and paint though. I really enjoyed printing with potatoes during the last project as they gave such a gorgeous hand printed effect!
What do you hope that 2013 will bring for you?
I am hoping that it will be a bit of an adventure as so many changes are happening! I would love to gain some experience in a design studio and do more networking when I move to London to meet other creative people.
Do you get a lot of support from family and friends?
Definitely, two of my flatmates are textile students and we always help each other out when we’re stressed! My family are very helpful; my mum even drove 2 hours to Bath this weekend to help me buy materials for my degree show! And my boyfriend is the most positive and supportive boyfriend I could ask for!
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
I would love to be living in London, either working for a studio whose style I love, or working for myself.
Do you have a favourite illustrator, designer etc?
I love the work of the designers for Finnish design company Marimekko, and Debbie Powell and Josef Frank are favourite designers of mine.
Favourite blog?
Print and Pattern blog is the first blog I started reading and I still love scrolling through it to discover new print designers. I love Here Comes the Sun as a lifestyle blog, and More Design Please for original bits and pieces of design. I could go on forever considering I subscribe to about 60 blogs!
Favourite design book?
I loved reading through Pattern by Orla Kiely, as she goes into such detail about how she got to where she is, and the design process. I really admire what she’s done!
Thank you for your time Polly, I really appreciate it. If you'd like a feature and interview on this blog, please contact me via email:

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