Today we chat to textile and pattern designer Georgia Coote, who’s vintage colour palettes and fabulous floral designs whizz you back to the 50s and 60s. We wanted to find out more about Georgia’s creative life, how she manages the work-family balance, and where she’d travel to in a time machine.
1. What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?
I remember a competition I entered when I was really young where I painted a clown – I clearly remember sponging the background in a minty green colour and doing all the hotchpotch of patterns on the clothes.
2. What do you love most about teaching people in your creative workshops?
I love introducing people to simple ways to be creative that can bring joy. I mostly spend time designing at home, so I love the hands on element. There is something so special about making things by hand, the conversations that flow while printing or sewing are wonderful and it is so lovely to see how different people interpret your ideas.
3. When are you happiest?
When I’m spending time with my two lovely daughters and husband Ian.
4. Are there any textile artists/designers that are exciting you at the moment?
So many, I love Fanny Shorter whose traditional looking work is equally so very contemporary as well as painter Sophie Abbot for colour, and illustrator Manon de Jong for her delicious use of pattern and touching family moments.
Oh and interior designer Lucy Tiffney is really inspiring me at the moment with her quirky use of objects and creative use of illustrative techniques and vibrant colour schemes.
5. The 50s and 60s clearly influence your work. What is it about the past that captures your imagination?
It was just so stylish! I feel like optimism oozes from the designs at that time and that’s something that I love to recreate. Looking through 50’s and 60’s prints always give me such a buzz with the mix of patterns and colours which feel so free, and despite them being designed so long ago still feel completely contemporary.
6. If you had a time machine that could take you anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?
I’d love to have been around in the 50’s, around the time of the Festival of Britain. There was such an exciting boom in design and I would have loved to have seen it with fresh eyes and experienced some of the joy it gave people.
7. Your family often feature in your blog. How do you balance family life with your business?
I do find it tricky, for a long time I’ve been looking after my girls full time, and squeezing in as much work as I can in the evenings. It can be so hard, however I’ve definitely become a better and more efficient designer since becoming a Mum, I’m much more focused when I do get time and it has helped me really think, and be selective about what projects I can be involved with. My youngest daughter starts school this year so then I’ll be able to regain the work balance a little better, although I will miss her so much!
8. What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
Terence Conrad said that ‘The designers job is to imagine the world not how it is, but how it should be.’
The notion that good design makes people happy really inspires me. Design matters both big and small and I think sometimes when things gets overwhelming this is really important to remember.
Design being inclusive is also really important to me, and something that I’m continually interested in. A lot of the designers in the 50’s and 60’s like Robin and Lucien Day, and Charles and Ray Eames made great strides in making great design available to the masses and paved the way for a lot of the affordable classics we have now.
9. You also run another blog, ‘Flowers in the Window’ with your sister Alie, where you share all your floral finds, and give us a glimpse into your creative family life. Where did your fascination for all things floral stem?
My mum always wore beautiful Laura Ashley dresses when I was younger and pretty much all our home furnishings and clothes were flower bedecked, so floral things always have a real nostalgic element for me. My sister trained as a florist a few years ago so it gave me the perfect reason to document her projects and how I used them in my home. Flowers are so universal, the simple joy having flowers whether they are daisies made into a chain by my daughters, or a bunch bought by a friend, they always make me happy so I love writing about them on the blog, and especially styling them.
10. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I adore interior design at the moment and would love to explore that a little as well as developing my blog further. My pattern design fell a bit by the wayside in recent years so I’d really like to reignite my love of repeats!