Meet a Maker: Clare Birtwistle
Whether its designing unique products for us here at Fred's or producing work for American clients, our Clare's work is instantly recognisable because of her distinct style. Clare's work has been picked up by writer and blogger Bowie Style to be featured in her most recent book, Print & Pattern Geometric. So we thought it was high time we profiled Clare and her pattern influenced work.
Tell us about the work which you have featured in Print & Pattern? I have been lucky to have 6 designs featured in the Print & Pattern Geometric book, they are a combination of published and developmental work. Some of the designs have been done with the Risograph in mind. Simple shapes are an integral part of my work. I like to take an image and pare it right down to its basic shape and then work on it from there. I also like to incorporate pattern into some of my work and have been playing around with hand drawn fonts.
What are your inspirations? Mid - Century modern design, contemporary and vintage illustration and graphics. Vintage children's books.
What designers do you admire? I love a wide variety of designers and illustrators work so that's difficult to answer but would probably say Charley Harper is one of my favourite illustrators and the designs of Lucienne Day have had an influence on me.
Where do you make most of your work? At home in my office although I do work on the hoof sometimes when I'm travelling.
What materials do you use? I work mainly on the computer although I do draw and write in my sketchbooks. I work with acrylics and wood on the laser cutter and produce work on the Risograph as I love the print process.
You design products for us, what have you got coming up? I am constantly producing greeting cards for Fred Aldous but am currently working on a collection of cards that will include a laser cut product element so it will be a card and gift in one. It's an extension from the Bauble Cards I produced this Christmas.
What is your favourite piece of work you have made? Difficult to answer as I always prefer the newest things I am working on as I get excited by the process rather than the finished product. I think it's exciting though when you see any of your work in print or in a store. I still love the greeting card designs I did with my old company, TC Design and they were bought by great stores such as Heals in London. Walking into a Target store in New York and seeing my children's wall decor products in there was also a high point for me.
Do you have any advice for designers who are starting out? Have a definite sense of your own style but don't be afraid to experiment with trends over time as this can keep your work looking fresh. Present your work professionally and read contracts carefully!
What have you got lined up next? I have work being shown by my agent in the States at the moment whom I continually send stuff to. Plus the product development for Fred's I mentioned above. Drawing and developing my bank of imagery is also an ongoing thing for me.
Where can people see your work? www.clarebirtwistle.com