KEIGHLEY CLAY: TALKS DESIGN, DIGITAL PRINT AND THE FUTURE
Patience, Talent, Inspiration and Hard work: The Essential Elements for Success:
Keighley Clay is a young British Designer and graduate of Central St. Martins, London. Her career began with a design internship at the iconic British Brand Liberty. Working under the Head of Design, Emma Mawston as a designer for over four years, Keighley learned her craft.
Originally screen printing designs the Liberty design team moved over to Digital Print and it was a game changer...The creative freedom, speed and versatility of manufacture offering an exciting alternative to conventional production:
Thanks for joining us today Keighley, tell us about your studio?
My Husband is a furniture maker and has a wonderful workshop in a converted barn on a farm in the Hertfordshire countryside, it was here that he built us a studio space. Its so lovely coming to the farm each day, I love seeing it as the seasons change, very different from getting the train into London!
Why did you choose a creative career, where did you study?
I have loved making and drawing for as long as I can remember, I used to use a tiny sewing machine and make myself dresses (two bits of fabric sewn down the sides with holes cut out for my head and arms!). I wasn’t sure what creative industry I wanted to go into, so I did a foundation course at Central St.Martins, it was here I discovered Fashion Print, I loved it and couldn’t believe when I got a place on the degree course at Central St.Martins.
When was your business formed and what do you offer?
After working as a Designer at Liberty and then Cath Kidston, earlier this year I decided to make the move to go freelance, super scary but super exciting. As I mentioned, Philip, my husband, is a furniture maker and we have always dreamed that we would work together one day. So we took the plunge! I now spend half of my time working as a freelance print designer for fashion, interior and lifestyle brands. One of the most wonderful things about freelance is the variety of different projects and briefs. The rest of my time I work with Phil, helping to grow the (now!) family business, our aim it to bring our two passions together and create an interiors brand.
Who was your Inspiration / Mentor?
Oh goodness, I have been so lucky to be surrounded by so many inspiring people. The design teams at both Liberty and Cath Kidston were so inspiring, being surrounded by creative people everyday is wonderful. Emma Mawston, who was the Head of Design at Liberty, is possibly the most passionate creative I had ever met, she taught me a lot, most of all to put my heart and soul into my work. Phil has also been a massive inspiration, he started up a furniture making business when he left University, watching its journey so far has been amazing, I don’t think I would have gone freelance without his support and encouragement.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Be patient! Which I am not very good at...
Of all your achievements, which are you most proud of? That Phil and I are living our dream everyday and working together, we have only just started on this new adventure, we have so far to go but I feel so proud we have even got to even this stage.
Business is full of challenges, what’s your biggest?
I feel the biggest challenge is my own mental health and attitude towards it, I have to be careful not to doubt myself and be patient when things are slow but also give myself time out when there is lots going on.
How have you utilised Digital Print?
What are the benefits for your studio. When I started my career at Liberty we screen printed everything, it is such a beautiful method of printing and looks amazing. After 4 years working on the fashion collections, Emma and I moved over to Interiors, it was here that we first started printing digitally. It was a game changer, I love that I can create original artwork, with as many colours and in whatever medium and then just sent it to the printers! Seeing my artwork on fabric feels like magic every time - it never gets old.
What’s next for the Keighley Clay Brand?
Our absolute dream is to have a range furniture, however (I am being patient!) and we are starting with a range of cushions, this will be our first collaboration and we are so excited about it. We are hoping to launch ‘Keighley Clay for Philip Clay Designs LTD’ later this year.
If you could make one pledge towards sustainability, what would it be?
As we are currently looking at how we will package and post our cushions, sustainability is at the forefront of my mind and we are making sure it is all recyclable.
If we could grant you one wish, what would it be?
Hmmmm...that is so hard! I have so many wishes for us! I guess the most important one is that we just keep loving and enjoying what we are doing.
What’s your favourite day of the week and why? I love Mondays and Fridays. Monday because it means I can carry on pushing towards our dream/work on whatever exciting freelance project I am doing - I love not having that counting down to the weekend feeling. And Fridays because time out is so important, especially when working with your husband! Weekdays are work 24/7 and the weekend gives us a little bit of space to just be us (and try our very best not to talk about work!)
What advice would you give to a new designer? Go out and be inspired, its so important! And original artwork is key, it's what will get you noticed and make you stand out from the crowd.
Where can our readers buy your Products? Watch this space!
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