Nancy Straughan Interview

I recently discovered the brilliant work of one Nancy Straughan, a printed textile designer who makes patterns that look mature (vintage even) in a fashion forward sort of way.  I got in touch with Nancy for more on her interests, background and creative endeavours.

Hi Nancy, tell us a little about yourself and what you make.

I am a textile designer and have a healthy obsession with printed fabric. I knew nothing about textiles until I left school and, completely by chance, fell into it after I realised I had a good eye for colour and pattern composition. Textiles lets me dabble in so many substrates and creative areas like illustration, photography and printmaking. I am also launching a homeware line which is very nearly ready to become a real live thing over Christmas.

You grew up in the North of England.  What influence do you feel your home life has had on your current creative practice?

I grew up in a very liberal and artistic household. My father was the creative director of an advertising agency. He was also a very talented painter, photographer, and jewellery designer. My mother always had a huge appreciation for art and design, and as a photographic and interior stylist she created a beautiful and creative home for my brother (who studied painting at Glasgow School of Art) and I to grow up in. I think my upbringing had a huge impact on my creativity and interests. Our annual visits to the Glasgow and Edinburgh art and design degree shows definitely made me want to choose a creative path for myself. I don’t feel like I was forced into choosing a design related education and career. I would have been supported by my family whatever I did. I feel incredibly lucky thought to have had such a well-balanced and happy childhood.

Tell us about your studio space in De Beauvoir town.  Which images, objects or people do you like to have around you while you work?

I share an absolutely beautiful space on a Georgian street in North London with a bunch of very lovely and super talented creatives. I am very fortunate to be able to share my time with such great people. I have a collection of mid-century bits and bobs, my own fabric and my friends’ illustrations surrounding me on my desk. I think its fair to say it’s one of the most messy and eclectic spaces in the studio. We have a lot of design books and reading spaces if we get stuck on anything, and there’s always someone to ask for help too; its a friendly but productive atmosphere!

It seems to us you’re pretty pattern crazed!  Who are your pattern heroes?

My pattern designs are influenced by Scandinavian culture and design (I spent a few summers in Oslo and Stockholm), and Mid Century designers like Lucienne Day, Charles and Ray Eames, and Henry Moore. I let a huge range of things inspire me as I go, I tend to see something walking around London or chatting to someone about an idea and I think “that’s my next project!”

Thanks for sharing Nancy! 

Find Nancy’s website here, shop here and blog here, where Nancy writes about lots of other interesting makers.


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