Saturday, 2 February 2013

Inspiration and wise words

I've been flicking through my magazine stash lately during down time and then marking pages to look up when online, you know interesting stories about designers or new shops, etc. Some I've found are no longer around (if the magazine is a few years old - yes, I have trouble throwing out mags) but the ones that are can be quite inspiring.

This story of Keren Brown of the The Brown Trading Co. is one such story. It's on page 40 of Australian Home Beautiful August 2011. It's a brief article but has some very wise words... my favourite of which are: '... don't follow trends...' Nice to see successful designers giving that advice... sometimes I think not following trends puts my business at a disadvantage but I do believe the day will come when my designs are under the spotlight the way I would like them to be.

Keren had no formal design training when she and her brother started The Brown Trading Co. back in 2009 - out of her Brisbane home no less. In the two years since launching to when the article appeared in the magazine the business had grown in both size and reputation. The business drew on her life experiences as well as lots of research and advice from people in the industry... (wish I knew how to access the latter... I've never had much success with that part). 

Her influences came predominantly from living in London's Chelsea in her twenties and discovering Tricia Guild (of Designers Guild) - one of my fav's - and Terence Conran.

I've looked up her website and happy to find that although they design and manufacture in India many of the products are handmade and 'As a socially responsible company, The Brown Trading Co collaborates with traditional artisans in remote Indian villages to develop and manufacture their collections and are proud to promote these exquisite art forms enabling those communities to thrive and prosper.'

The website has links to the blog, facebook page and twitter account.

It's bound to happen...

Design by Tiel Seivl for O and Co Creative's 'Little Flourishes' range
My original post introducing the firewheel design in October last year.

My firewheel design printed on a tea towel - 2012
I posted this comparison on facebook after coming across the design, thinking it was from Olivia Meredith of O and Co Creative but was surprised when the talented Tiel Seivl contacted me saying it was her design... that she didn't copy it but was just following the client brief (she has designed it for the above person).

I always do an online search when creating new designs as I don't want to come across as copying anyone else or having something 'too' similar and at the time I found NO firewheel textile designs on Google Images (should I have taken a screen shot?) but just now I've done another search and see that Mokum Textiles has also released a firewheel design only their repeat structure is different:


I've changed this a bit since I first wrote it yesterday... as it dawned on me that if Mokum had in fact released their design before mine I could find the shoe were in fact on the other foot. Since I have no way of knowing when Mokum released their design I can only say the same as Tiel said to me... their design in no way influenced mine... in fact I only came across their design yesterday and having looked online at the time of creating mine and not finding other firewheel designs it was easy to jump to the conclusion that mine came first... but we should never assume anything.

I'd never even seen the firewheel plant until I came across it in my mum's garden last year... back in early September I introduced it on my gardening blog and soon started working on the design. If Mokum did create their design after mine then is it just one of those freakish design coincidences? It can happen so we just have to accept that this is the case... still it's a heart-sinking feeling, whatever foot the shoe is on but particularly when you think you've come up with a really unique design.

Has this ever happened to you?