One to Watch: Claire Dow


This month we catch up with designer Claire Dow who studied at the Edinburgh College of Art to find out more about her and her creative process. She captured the judges attention by centering her work on one of the worlds most familiar colours with elegance and sensitivity. Her project subject is green and its positive effect on mental wellbeing through 'Horticultural Therapy'.

"Around two and a half million people living in the United Kingdom do not have a garden or access to outside space. It is proven that gardening, being outside and even just looking at a garden can give us a positive mental boost. As a Textile designer, I wanted to take this issue and use it as a foundation and purpose for my graduate collection ‘Bringing the Outdoors In’. This took form by exploring how the outdoors can be captured in colour and textile applications which bring an element of horticulture into a modern domestic environment".

What inspires you?

Ultimately, I am inspired by nature, especially flowers and foliage. I always bring an element of nature into my design work. Colour within my work is absolutely key. It is at the forefront of everything I design. It drives my initial concepts, right through to final pieces, allowing real consideration in my colour selection and development. My colour comes directly from the initial research stages. Mainly photographs and experimenting with dye pigments straight onto fabrics to see which materials take the colour in the best way. I always strive to develop a rich, luxurious palette, often consisting of multiple tones and shades.

What influences you?

Quality, hand crafted design is something I personally value and influences my design process. Working in the dye lab has been central throughout my design process. Having the freedom to experiment with colour and fabric has allowed a depth to develop in the collection. Hours of measuring dyes and testing fabrics has established a variety of select and bespoke dye recipes. These have become the foundation to work onto and develop alongside other textile applications.

Is there one person during your studies who has really made a difference to your creative journey?

My print technician Fiona Moon has made a real difference to my success and development during my time at Edinburgh College of Art. She has always been available to discuss design ideas and offer insight into techniques to help me realise my design intentions. Her knowledge and experience is second to none. Without her constant guidance, patience and assistance I could not have achieved a first in my BA Hons.

Where do you want to be in 3 years time?

In three years time I hope to be continuing to develop my love and understanding of colour, where I can then apply it to an interiors setting. That may be through the use of paint, textiles or other methods of surface application.

What is your favourite colour?

My favourite colour has been green for months now but I have recently been drawn to pinks and their broad scope from red through to purple. I was given an orchid as a graduation gift and this depth of colour is fascinating. This may inspire the next collection.

Designers statement:

"Around two and a half million people living in the United Kingdom do not have a garden or access to outside space. It is proven that gardening, being outside and even just looking at a garden can give a positive metal boost. This is known as horticultural therapy and its is being used to treat hospital patients, plan cities and even calm prisoners in jail. Horticultural therapists say gardens produce the most positive effects on mental health. This is something to be aware of as mental health is a growing concern amongst the nation.

As a Textile designer, I wanted to take this issue and use it as a foundation and purpose for my graduate collection ‘Bringing the Outdoors In’, a luxury interiors collection. This took form by exploring how the outdoors can be captured through the use of fabric, colour and textile applications, to bring an element of horticulture into a modern domestic environment. I believe it is about people’s surroundings and well being, allowing inner city dwellers to ultimately reconnect with nature and reconnect with themselves. The design process has considered a holistic approach.

My colour has primarily come from my research photographs. I wanted to use a tonal spectrum of green to develop into designs. I concentrated in on green because I felt that my use of colour needed to have a purpose and a strong link to the original concept. In previous projects I spent a lot of time exploring and understanding colour theory. This, therefore drove the idea forward, as green is one of the most relaxing colours and is easiest on the eye".

Contact Claire: claireadow@hotmail.com

Instagram: @clairedowinteriors

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