Lucy Caster was one of the first textile designer to take full advantage of our Sewn Up Printed Product Manufacturing service. Like Lucy, we believe working with local businesses, and in doing so, allowing designers to manufacture products in a more sustainable (both business and environmental) way is key to the future of the textile industry in the UK.
All of our 'Sewn Up' products and Digital Fabric Printing are manufactured here in Edinburgh proudly on British woven linen, in small batch quantities from as little as 1 for some products. Read more about Lucy, her products and what influences her creative practice below!
What is it that draws you to work with fabric and what benefits to your process does Digital Fabric Printing bring?
I’ve always loved drawing and making things and was always interested in fashion when I was younger so textile design seemed like quite a natural thing for me to get excited by at art college. I love using fabric as a medium as it is so versatile and each fibre and weave can give your print such a different quality. There is nothing more exciting than sending your digital file off to the printers and then receiving the fabric sample to see how your design has translated onto cloth! Being environmentally conscious in my practice is very important to me. Digital printing allows me to create vibrant and complex textile prints whilst being mindful to our environment, as it is less water and chemical intensive than traditional techniques. I also love how digital printing allows me to use such a wide variety of mark making techniques in my work and give a hand printed appearance. I really enjoy using quite messy and hands on materials to make initial patterns and textures on paper and then its great to be able to scan these marks into my computer to then play around with on Photoshop and come up with complex layered designs which can only be created through digital print.
How would you describe your work and what do you see as your greatest career related achievement so far, something you're particularly proud?
I would say my work is quite bold and urban looking. Being eco-conscious is really integral to my work and so I try to use my prints as a way of making sustainable design more accessible and exciting, specifically to a millennial market. I recently did a collaboration with a really cool UK ethical clothing company, Lucy & Yak, and designed a print which will be used on their signature dungarees, so that was a pretty exciting project! I’m hoping they might make a special pair for my dog so we can match in the studio!
Describe your work space?
My studio is definitely part textile studio, part doggie day care centre. I love having a space to really go wild experimenting and make a mess, and Billie Jean loves her space to snooze all day and soak up heat from the radiator!
When do you work best, are you up with the lark or a night owl?
I actually think I work quite well throughout normal working hours. When I was at uni it was normal for us to be in the studio from really early until late at night working away and also taking sketchbooks home, trying to get projects finished. There were a lot of times however, where we would be lying on the sofas in the canteen, slowly making our way through their stock of coffee and milky ways and not being productive at all! Now I’m really enjoying seeing my studio as a workplace and being strict with working hours. I’m definitely finding myself being more productive throughout the day and its great to be able to close the door at 4.30pm and really switch off!
Where did your love for art/design originally develop from, what or who, have been your influences?
Both of my parents are artistic and own their own business together so I have always been surrounded by creativity. I’ve been really fortunate to have been taken to art galleries from a young age and taught all kinds of art and design processes by them and have always had so much encouragement with my artwork. It’s really great to have close family to run ideas past and they are always my first port of call when I’m having a wobble about a particular design and am looking for advice!
In terms of procrastination, what are you doing, when you should be doing something else and what, if anything is your 'impossible task'? The thing that you struggle most to motivate yourself to do work wise?
Billie Jean definitely helps with procrastination. I can go over to her bed for a quick pat on the head and find myself twenty minutes later sitting next to her on the floor having a full on bear hug! I think the thing I put off is probably looking through Trend forecasting online. I love getting lost in Pinterest and finding new inspiration but I know that once I start, it's so tricky to snap out of it and not get caught up in it all!
How do you overcome designers block?
Visiting galleries! I love taking a day out of the studio, buying a bus day ticket and spending the day uptown going from gallery to gallery to find inspiration. Even if the exhibitions aren't quite to my taste I usually still come across something which sparks an idea, even an interesting colour combination or a new process or material to try out.
We like to hear about new and up and coming designer and artists, can you recommend someone new or new to us, that we should know about, and why do you like their work?
There's a few people on my Instagram at the moment who keep catching my attention! Ciara Neufeldt has some beautiful nerikomi ceramics on her page at the moment which I am hoping will soon be on sale! Lidia Russo makes really lovely bags from reclaimed fabric and Lucy & Yak have been bringing out some super cool new garments recently, all made from sustainable and recycled fabrics!
The most important thing is that you enjoy what you do! I feel like so many people told me that throughout uni and since, and it is a very refreshing and reassuring thing to hear!
Make the most of the resources at uni, you'll miss them once you've left! (I wish I had my own personal art and design library at my disposal, tucked at the back of my studio!)