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Irish artist Marie Varley searches the country for the very best in Irish design to bring to you here on HeadStuff. This week she spoke with textile designer Aoife Mullane.
Recently shortlisted in Image magazines Young Design Talent Award, Aoife Mullane is quickly gaining recognition as one of Ireland’s top textile designers. This week I caught up with her to discuss her creative process, design inspirations and what’s happening next…
Can you tell me about how you became interested in textiles?
In my first year of study at NCAD, I was given the chance to try a variation of modules. One of the modules was Printed Textiles. The minute I started, I knew this course was for me! I always veered more towards textiles for interiors as opposed to fashion prints. Following my end of year exhibition at NCAD my work was chosen to be included at Brown Thomas ‘CREATE’. This really got my work noticed and the ball rolling towards creating my own brand of textiles.
What is it that you love about textiles?
Everything! I am so passionate about my work. It combines a gorgeous variety of drawing, painting, photography, colour, scale and pattern making. I love the diversity involved; no two days are ever the same.
You seek inspiration from your every day experiences of your surroundings in Bray such as the sea, the garden and the farmers market. Can you describe for us your artistic process from concept to finished piece?
My designs are deeply process driven; I consider my fabrics as artworks that are translated into textiles for interiors. My design process begins in my notebook. I make sketches of organic shapes such as pebbles, sea glass, and driftwood. I look at the shapes and begin to create patterns from them, considering the scale and placement. I then scan these drawings in and begin working with them on Photoshop. Once I have designed a print that I am happy with, my design is converted into a large mesh stencil or “screen” through a series of high tech methods. I then work with this stencil using high-end effects such as foiling to create beautiful, hand rendered fabrics.
You have recently set up your own textiles company, A.mullane Design, just after graduating from NCAD. How are you finding this? Is it an exciting time?
I am finding it great; I love the creative freedom it allows me. It takes a lot of long hours and hard work, but it is very exciting and I love it. Its like any job – you have some days better than others, but all in all I find it extremely rewarding and I am proud of what I have achieved so far.
Who are your design inspirations?
I really like Christian Fischbacher interior fabrics; I think they are very creative and innovation. However, I am almost always more inspired by paintings and compositional photography then anything else. I really admire the work of Patrick Scott. I am all about creating something unique that is not following trends. I like the idea of someone purchasing one of my designs because they genuinely love my signature style. For this reason I try not to get too influenced by anything else on the market.
Do you have any upcoming exciting projects you can share with us?
I am currently collaborating with a luxury Irish-owned Hotel. It is being fully refurbished and rebranded. The owners wanted to reflect the strength of craft and design in Ireland and so approached me recently to design some luxurious unique prints for the bedrooms – which I am very excited to be a part of. I am also enjoying working on smaller bespoke residential projects – designing and creating fabrics for upholstering unique chairs or creating a series of bespoke cushions, so I am loving it all!
Featured image: Ivana Patarcic