One To Watch: Sian Elin
I came accross a fresh new talent last month, surface pattern designer Sian Elin Thomas and I was so excited to see her vibrant work. Sian previously worked as a children’s book designer but at the end of 2011 she left full-time employment to peruse her dream and set up her surface pattern design business. Here we got chatting as I wanted to find out more about this inspiring and extremely talented lady.
When did you realise you had a passion for design?
I have always been creative from a very young age and knew I wanted to have some sort of design career. I spent hours drawing every day – from still life to abstract patterns and was always fascinated by any apparent decoration and colour. One of my earliest memories is of my parents’ 70’s style furniture with clashing and busy patterns! Throughout school and University I studied art and design, which led to my 5 year career in publishing for Penguin and Oxford University Press. So I guess I’ve always had a passion for design; it’s something that’s never really faltered.
Where do you inspirations come from?
I am particularly inspired by the built environment. I’m addicted to the eclectic mix of colours, textures, shapes and forms that streets, signposts and buildings provide. I love the energy, quirkiness, and cultural identities displayed in cities and I like being able to somehow document this in my designs. I’ve lived in Israel and my travels in India and the Mediterranean have influenced my new Moorish Collection, which draws inspiration from Moorish and Islamic architecture. It is a very modern and colourful take on this.
I am very impacted by colour and so can find inspiration from just about anything – from jewellery to the layers of colours on a building to bars of soap. I like to experiment with lots of combinations that compliment and speak to each other; mixtures that someone would want to live with and find stimulating.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Exhibiting at Tent was a major highlight for me. It was something I had been wanting to do for over 3 years, so being able to fulfil a long-term ambition was really incredible. I left my full-time job last year and I’ve been working incredibly hard to get to Tent since. I got to meet lots of interesting and varied people, there’s such a broad spectrum of creativity, it’s really inspiring.
What do you hope to achieve in 5 years time?
I would love to be able to sell my products through large stores; I admire Liberty or John Lewis. I would also like to be able to expand my product range. I would also love to build a small team of people to work alongside me, because it can be tough working on your own sometimes. I would also like to be able to work with young people in some way – I haven’t figured out how yet, but it’s something I’m working on.
What famous artists/designers do you admire or inspires you the most?
I really love Julia Rothman, Marimekko, Ferm Living, Zoe Murphy, Mike Perry, Leah Duncan, Ghica Popa. Sorry that’s a couple too many, but there are too many to name!
In five words how would you describe yourself?
Creative, colourful, driven, spacey and particular.
What 5 things couldn’t you live with out?
Stimulation, my laptop, travelling, colour and humour.