Textiles: In conversation with designer Caroline Cox
Caroline Cox is a printed textile designer, designing for space and interiors. She is currently working commercially in the home and gift sector, designing digitally and using a laser cutter and CNC machine to produce gifts and decorations. She is head of creative for a small business, which means she oversees all the design as well as marketing and communications for the brand. Her work could be described as bold and playful geometric patterns combining a rich use of colour.
What initially attracted you to textiles?
Whilst studying art and design foundation at Camberwell College of Art I specialised in fashion and textiles. Within this specialism I was introduced to several textile processes and in particular screen printing. For me this process opened up so many possibilities and it was here I first I began to explore printing onto different materials and surfaces. Screen printing was such an inspirational process and I continued to develop this practice throughout my design education.
What were your influences and how has affected your work?
My main influence is the environment and landscape. This theme remains strong throughout my work. I love to explore remote landscapes with dramatic scenery such as the Faroe islands or mountain ranges such as the Alps. For me I am inspired when I visit unique landscapes with no one around so you can immerse yourself in powerful surroundings and dramatic weather/seasons. I collect information from these trips, recording colour, patterns and materials and begin to develop from this. When visiting remote places, it makes me very aware of how precious our environment is. This has affected the way I produce my work constantly thinking about sustainability and working on solutions such as minimising waste through to designing with recyclable materials.
Tell us about your process
When working on a project I always gather raw information. For me this could be visiting a place, drawing, taking photographs, capturing colour and pattern. I collate my research and I’ll start to develop ideas, building a colour palette and developing prints. Often at this stage I will begin to explore a material or process but equally it could be the material or process that initiates the project. This is the exciting part of the process and it allows you to experiment and explore the possibilities of materials, pushing the boundaries to create new surfaces. Throughout the design process I am always considering the outcome, what is the material use and how can it be applied. It may be that you are given a brief to solve, in which case this takes me on a different design journey.
Tell us about your chosen techniques
I really enjoy exploring the process of applying print and pattern across a range of surfaces. Since studying at the Royal College of Art I have been exploring wood as a material. I have been investigating several techniques including dyeing wood, laser-cutting wood, cnc cutting into wood and printing onto wood. With endless possibilities I am continually inspired to explore these techniques.
What inspires you at the moment?
The environment and landscape, constantly inspires me and I enjoy discovering remote places. I am particularly inspired by colour and on a personal level I have been visiting Kew Gardens to record the changing colours of nature throughout the seasons. It so inspiring to see the vibrant colours that nature creates.
How has your work developed and how do you see it in the future?
My introduction to textiles started by producing fabrics for fashion and interiors. After exploring possibilities with harder materials I have focused on this. I am currently producing small wooden decorations but I hope to work larger scale in the future, such as designing surfaces for space and interiors. I will continue to develop bold geometric patterns, incorporating playful colour across a range of materials.