As an interior designer I am very fortunate to be surrounded by talented, inspiring, creative souls working in many different niches. Bristol is an absolute hotbed of art and design expertise and textile designer Bethie Tricks is another local artisan I wanted to interview for the blog. A start up company, Bethie launched her first collection earlier this year at Bristol Upholstery Collective but is no stranger to the world of interiors and has already spent years working in the industry. I caught up with her to find out more about this exciting new design brand on the scene.
What made you strike out on your own as a textile designer?
First and foremost, the need to create patterns and be creative in general. I have been playing with patterns, colour and making things since I can remember and I cannot get enough of it! It’s in my everyday. After working and designing for others I reached a point where I was craving a bigger challenge. The only answer to this, which had been suggested by everyone including my subconscious, was to start my own thing.
What did you do before?
For the past eight years I have been working as a design assistant and personal assistant for a range of different companies. It has been invaluable to learn how different businesses run, what I would do differently, what my business values would be and to make sure I stick by them.
How do you find inspiration for your patterns?
There is nothing specific about this which always amuses people! It can be anything to how the foam is swirled in the top of a frothy coffee, to the sequence of paving stones, the pattern and structure of plant leaves and a landscape. Everything inspires me. My latest collection called Monochrome was inspired by botanical plant structures, cells under a microscope and then stylised by my imagination.
What does your creative process look like?
I carry a sketchbook with me nearly all the time. My husband even takes pictures of things he thinks will inspire me (winner!). Keeping a record of creative ideas is so crucial. I even keep a pad of paper next to the bed now for last minute ideas at night. I then take the inspiration and start drawing and playing with paints, trying not to focus on something too specific and just see what happens. Sometimes the pattern or design in my mind is very clear but other times it’s fun to see what transpires from playing with my drawings.
Where do you work?
It’s a mixture of my studio and at home. I am about to move into a new studio in Bristol as I have outgrown my last one. Excited to meet new creatives that also share the space as bouncing ideas around and being inspired by each other is always brilliant. I would go ‘cuckoo’ working by myself all day at home.
Where do you sell?
I sell through interior designers, fabric stockists, Bristol Upholstery Collective, via my website https://www.bethietricks.com and Instagram.
Tell us about the quality and environmental credentials of your fabrics
I use beautiful Belgian flax linen which is 100% sustainable, grown and manufactured in Belgium. I grew up over there and by coincidence it was my favourite choice when looking and choosing fabrics to print on. In due course I will be expanding my range but all fabrics will be equally as considered and environmentally friendly. It’s a heavy weight linen, perfect for upholstery and soft furnishings. The flax linen has an oatmeal colour to it so my prints are enhanced by a beautiful natural background colour.
What is the most weird / wonderful application of your fabric so far?
I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with meeting Leigh-Anne from Bristol Upholstery Collective. We first met through sharing a studio and she was filming Money For Nothing for the BBC. It’s a program about up-cycling and giving furniture and household items a new lease of life. Leigh-Anne used some of my fabric for an old storage ottoman which will be aired on the next season. Another wonderful blessing is some of my cushions now adorn a stunning house in the British Virgin Islands, just casually overlooking the ocean and stunning beaches. I should start insisting on site visits….!
What is next?
The next six months consists of a very exciting collaboration with a company in London, new prints for the collection and hopefully selling more fabric to new customers!
Thank you for sharing with us Bethie, and please take me with you on your site visits overseas, I’m sure I can make myself useful somehow - honest!