Parry Murray Interview
On our blog we sometimes feature a designer or new business that we particularly love. Over the last year we have regularly used fabrics from one of our favourite designers, Parry Murray. We thought you would like to hear from our lovely friend, Rebecca Roma Henderson – Senior Textile Designer – whose designs feature heavily at our offices!
What is your role at Parry Murray?
As Senior Textile Designer, I design for the in-house collection as well as for studios and editors across the: UK, Europe, and America. At Parry Murray, we design and produce a wide range of bespoke textiles ranging from hand-woven natural fibres, printing, embroidery and silk jacquards.
How did you become a textile designer?
I have always wanted a career as a Textile designer. At one point I thought I would go into interior design, however interior textiles stole my heart and my imagination.I studied Textile design at Bucks University College and during my second year had the opportunity to exhibit in New York (Surtex). I extended my stay and gained experience working with the incredibly talented Lori Weitzner for a few weeks. When back in the UK, I explored more work experience opportunities.
My hard work paid off and I was offered a position in the Lori Weitzner studio a year after I graduated. Once my Visa ran out I returned to the UK and was very fortunate to be offered a roll as Designer at Parry Murray design studio. I have been with this company for the past four years.
What does a typical day look like?
The only predictable element to most days is that they never turn out the way I think they will at the beginning of the day. Generally the morning is spent liaising with my colleagues in production, following up on projects and assessing updates and problem solving. Layouts, specs, quality approvals and colour checking.
In the afternoon we have design meetings to assess where the collection needs attention. I then use my time to brainstorm/mull-over/doodle and then translate these initial creations into design repeats and layouts. It is a juggling act to try and keep all my projects and ideas moving. However, I work in a great team with incredibly talented people.
What inspires your ideas?
I am constantly inspired by everything I see and read. I love the little details in life. I try to visit current art exhibitions and stay aware of the styles and trends emerging. I am always fascinated about how I could translate a concept into a fabric. I keep a notepad in my bag at all times so I can jot down ideas as they spring to mind.
Describe the process you go through to turn your ideas into designs and then into fabric.
It starts with a flicker of an idea that I jot down, sketch and then build upon. Some ideas fall quickly to the ground. However, I can often tell when an idea is inspired. I will then run with that design and will not move on until it is finished. I am slighty obsessive in that way. I design with an application in mind, whether it be: embroidery design, a silk Jacquard or a warp print. I use photoshop to manipulate the image and to fit it into certain size constraints of minimal colour combinations.
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Gaining work experience and commercial understanding is incredibly valuable. Find a designer or design studio that you aspire to become and try to have a work placement with them. It is important to get a sense of the current field, visit Chelsea Harbour and Kings road to experience the wealth of design and possibility. I also think it is key to have an understanding of repeats and colour balance; this is not often taught at university but I think demonstrating an ability to create a layout is a strong advantage to any portfolio.
What are you most proud of?
I am always really proud when any of my designs get bought by one of our customers. Seeing the fabrics in the showrooms or publications is a real treat also. Lately a few of my designs have been very popular and featured in Elle Deco and other design publications. It is a privilege to have your work appreciated.
I also find it rewarding when I travel to India and get to see my designs woven for production.
What’s your favourite quote or personal mantra you live by?
'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.' Eleanor Roosevelt
What's next for you?
It would be a dream to one day run my own design studio, however this is also quite a daunting prospect and I love to work with a team of people so would not want to lose that. I would also like to get more involved with grass roots/community projects or even a teaching role.
We absolutely recommend that you take a further look at the Parry Murray range of fabric designs (which features Rebecca's work) on their website:
Parry Murray & Co Ltd
3rd Floor Simpson House 6
Cherry Orchard Road
+44 (0) 20 8604 8728