Monday, September 28, 2009

Behind the Design - Elisabeth Bentz

Good morning everyone!  Hope you all had a great weekend.  This week's Behind the Design features Elisabeth Bentz, textile designer whose beautiful screen printed designs are inspired by nature.

Where does your inspiration come from?
A lot of my work is nature inspired. But inspiration can really come from anywhere. One of my favorite design ideas came from a vintage colander. I try to look at the world and see interesting shapes and patterns.  

Do you have a spot you like to go that helps you feel creative?
I find that taking walks is a great way for me to come up with and process creative ideas. Something about letting my mind wander as I move my body sparks my imagination.  

Where do you do most of your work?
I use half of our garage as my studio space. There was an old sturdy work bench and a lot of shelving in place when we moved in. There are two big windows that overlook a bunch of big trees. It is a little rustic but it works really well for me. And I love the commute.

Your favorite thing to make?
I have a lot of fun making cat nip mice out of my extra printed fabric. I like to see how my designs change when they are cropped and used in such a small format. And my approach to the mice is really free form so it's the one item that I make where I'm not worried about straight lines and set sizes.

What is your all time favorite design from past or current collections?
I really like the pebbles design. When I was first experimenting with printing on fabric I painted a series of dots on my screen to use as my test. I didn't think about it at all, I just did it. I certainly wasn't planning on using the dots as one of my designs. But once I printed it on linen I loved how simple and quiet it looked and I have been using it on napkins, tea towels, pillows and aprons ever since.

You couldn't run your business without?
I feel like I should come up with something clever but I'll be honest instead! My husband has been a huge support. Getting my business off the ground has taken a while and it would have taken a whole lot longer if I was trying to work full time at the same time.

What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?
I'm fortunate to know a handful of friends who have small creative businesses so I feel like I have access to a lot of good advice and information.  What I wish I would have believed is how long it takes to grow a business wisely.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. If I had to pick one, coffee would win hands down. I live in the Pacific Northwest after all.

Favorite magazine/blog/daily read?
I have an ever changing list of blogs that I follow. Frolic, 3191, Remodelista and the NY Times are a few favorites.

If you could follow one person around for a day who would it be?
I would have loved to spend a day behind the scenes at Marimekko when it was just being started in the 50's. Does that count?

Do you have any hobbies or creative outlets other than your work?
I like domestic pursuits. Gardening, thrifting for housewares, taking care of my pets, working on our home, baking.... that sort of thing.

Thank you Elisabeth for participating in this week's Behind the Design!

Photos courtesy of Elisabeth Bentz

Elisabeth can be found at:


jane said...

lovely interview. elisabeth's designs are so appealing.

The Design Boards said...

Thank you! I know, I love the simplicity of her designs.