Explore the fabrics of Guildford-based textile designer Jo Bound
PUBLISHED: 08:27 14 October 2014 | UPDATED: 08:50 14 October 2014
Overlooking Pewley Down in Guildford, the ultra-modern home of textile designer Jo Bound provides the perfect setting for her contemporary Boeme fabrics, which reflect her love for painting, colour and bold pattern. Janet Donin puts her under our spotlight
What was it that attracted you to textile design?
I loved art at school but didn’t know which direction I wanted to take until my art teacher introduced me to textiles and I became very focused. I then went on to do a degree in printed textiles at Nottingham.
Did you start designing for your- self straight after graduation?
No, I didn’t – although many graduates do today. I worked for a variety of fabric companies for about 20 years. During that time, I learned the basics of design, which has proved invaluable to me now. But I was always a little frustrated at the constraints of commercial designing – I wanted to push the boundaries and take textile design further.
In what way did you want to push the boundaries of textile design?
Most companies have their established colour palette but I wanted to create my own niche market with bolder, more colourful designs. I achieved that in a way when I became colour consultant to a fabric mill in Lancashire and it was there that I decided I wanted to explore digital printing.
Was is an easy transition moving into the digital world?
I could see the possibilities of digital printing and, although adapting my work on a computer was a bit of a leap of faith when I set up Boeme in 2011, I was bursting with ideas and forced myself to master the techniques. As I became more adept, I realised that my knowledge of the traditional way of designing was beneficial, and I knew how to get the technology to work for me.
Tell us a bit more about the process; how do you start?
My starting point is the painting of a design, which takes a great deal of my time. This is then adapted for the digital printing process when I also spend a lot of time achieving the final colours of the original paintings I want to reflect. Experimenting on different base cloths comes next before the final production of the fabric.
So describe your style to us…
My style is very painterly and very colourful with great depth. The designs are quite busy as I’m not good at simple things. Initially, they were based on archive material but two years ago I saw the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy and was so inspired by his tenacity to keep looking at things from various perspectives. It was a turning point for me as I could relate to his obsession. His work also reflected the scenery around his home in Yorkshire and I thought, I live on the edge of the Surrey Hills so why not look around my own area for inspiration?
Your main influences come from nature then?
Very much so. I take endless photographs of the local landscape here in Surrey but also back home in Lancashire and around the Lake District. I also like to visit RHS Wisley to photograph flowers in all their glory as well as those in my garden. All of which I have used for my Landscapes and Floral collections. Last year, I introduced my Strata collection, which is more abstract with free flowing design but still in strong colours or defined, muted shades.
Which fabrics do you use?
Velvet does really well for me. When I started, not many companies were offering brightly printed velvet, but I find it’s perfect for upholstery. This year, I’ve introduced a viscose velvet, which is softer and silkier so drapes really well. I also print on linen viscose, which is perfect for my cushions and for curtains.
It sounds like your art cushions have been particularly popular?
Yes, I am really pleased with the art cushions, which do well at Heals here in Guildford. They are limited editions and include my Landscape and Floral designs, as well as some portrait and still life designs.
When did you introduce your furniture range?
That was last year. I have one or two pieces, including chairs, ottomans and sofa benches, which I have upholstered for me. However, I am currently trying to find a furniture designer who is as passionate about design as I am to increase the range.
How do you like to relax when you’re not working?
I’m a bit of a fitness fanatic and my husband and I are keen cyclists, so relaxation for me comes from mountain biking and running in the surrounding countryside as well as spending time socialising with my friends or just with the family.
Finally, what is the best thing about living in Surrey?
I feel very strongly about my roots in Lancashire, but when I come home to Guildford, it seems so green, tranquil and beautiful. I also love the fact that I can still hop on a train up to London.
• For more information, see boeme.co.uk