Monday, March 1, 2010

Behind the Design - Sara Smedley

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

This week's Behind the Design features the very talented textile designer, Sara Smedley.  I love Sara's work, the bright vivid colors, and retro inspired patterns are amazing as well as her ode to Julia Child.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Mindless doodles, nostalgia for patterns and objects recollected from my childhood or discovered in old magazines, vintage textiles and housewares, Scandinavian and mid-century design, Pennsylvania Dutch and European Folk-art, plus a desire to push beyond those sources to create something fresh and new that just might strike a chord of familiarity for someone else to connect to.

Do you have a spot you like to go that helps you feel creative?
Yes, an armchair with good light where I like to cozy up with a cup of tea, my dog, maybe some art and design books, a notebook, or sometimes just a blank stare at the ceiling.  It's my place to fire up new ideas, re-evaluate, and plan.

Where do you do most of your work?
I have a sunny studio of the kitchen looking on to the garden, where I sew, iron, ship, and set up to print (but I print in the kitchen which is a bit of a disruption).  My computer is in another room where the sewing machine also lives during the colder months (since my studio, alas, is unheated).

How did you come up with the name for your business?
Years ago I had a jewelry business with a fictitious name so this time around I decided to stick with the simplicity of using my own.  The aliteration of Sara Smedley seems to work for people.

Your favorite thing to make?
New designs, no question!  I don't do it enough, thanks for reminding me to get to it!

What is your all time favorite design from past or current collections?
I usually like the latest design the best, so right now it's my "Dutch Heart" tea towel that is influenced by the Pennsylvania Dutch motifs that are part of everday life where I live.

You couldn't run your business without _____________?
My Mac!  Predictable answer, but so true.

What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?
I wish someone had given me  a list of all the best resources for a business like mine.  Reliable and affordable sources can't be underestimated!  I'm still truggling to find better ones....anyone???

Coffee or tea?
Strong Irish tea with milk!  My mother-in-law is from Ireland and always brings me back the best stuff when she returns from her visits home.

Favorite magazine/blog/daily read?
One of my favorite blogs (in addition to the usual) is my friend Karen Standford's Skylark Studio.  It's a thought provoking change of pace with great images and a good dose of history and pop-culture.  Favorite magazines include Martha Stewart Living, Cooks Illustrated, and The New Yorker.

If you could follow one person around for a day, who would it be?
I have never thought about this.  I think I might enjoy following David Sedaris; I'd be invisible right?

Do you have any hobbies or creative outlets other than your work?
I garden until I pray for the killing frost, knit a bit when it's cold, spend too much time with my dog, and just returned to lyengar yoga.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, money and time being no object, where would you go and why?
The main thing I'd like is that where ever I would go I could be there long enough to really soak in the landscape, art, culture, and food.  It's just a tease to be a cursory tourist.  At the top of the list: the UK, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Spain, all the Scandinavian countries, and more time in Ireland.  How many years do you think that will take?

If you had to spend a year on a deserted island, what 5 things would you take with you?
Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, tea, a well seasoned cast iron skillet, Gracie (my dog), and my husband (does he count as a "thing"?).

Thank you Sara for participating in this week's Behind the Design.

All photos courtesy of Sara Smedley.

Sara can be found at:
Etsy Shop

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