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Iona Crawford is a Scottish artist and textile designer who creates stunning designs for fashion and interiors in her Atelier in the West End of Glasgow. Iona’s versatile designs bring a bold, unique and contemporary look to any room or space. Each design starts from an original piece of artwork that Iona creates on location and then develops in her Atelier. Her original paintings have even been acquired by collectors all over the world. We particularly love the Cherub Madras that Iona has exclusively designed for us using motifs from AUTHOR’s Georgian Manse headquarters.
Iona kindly sat down with AUTHOR to tell us about her beautiful work and inspiration as well as her thoughts on British design.
Tell us abut your brand.
We are a passionately Glaswegian design practice with an international mindset. A young, bold and abundantly creative team who hold a futuristic, immersive perspective on design, coupled with a fierce appreciation for heritage, industry and artisanal manufacture. Part punk, part visionary, part time traveller.
How did you get into art and design? Where did it all begin?
My training and roots exist in fashion design. When first established, we were a fashion and accessories brand exclusively. Exploration and a few initial interiors projects spurred me on to trial new substrates and methods of manufacture. Gradually, projects became larger and more challenging (we love a challenge!) and quite organically we began to carve our own interior niche and signature.
What is your biggest inspiration and where do you find inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are vast. From organic patterns, textures and tones in landscape to birdlife, naturally occurring mineral formations and coexisting species. Nature is the resounding source, probably conjured up by a childhood spent roaming and exploring the countryside which surrounds my family farm in beautiful Stirlingshire.
Why have you chosen to establish your brand in Scotland?
It’s in my blood. Travel is one of my greatest passions. Exploring new cultures, ways of life and interpretations in design are paramount to my vocation and inner wellbeing. Yet, Scotland is inimitable; it is my solace, my sanctuary and my greatest source of inspiration. Each and every one of our products are manufactured in the UK and, without question, when it comes to woven textiles, there is nowhere in the world more accomplished in weaving fabric than here in Scotland.
What, in your opinion, are the benefits of designing and creating in Britain?
We are very fortunate in our modestly sized country. It makes my heart sing that I can hop on a train/plane or jump in the car to stand shoulder to shoulder with my mills and manufacturing partners within a few short hours, or less. Equally, the design heritage held by GB is profound and exceptional, whilst our capabilities in technology ensure we are at the cutting edge of innovation.
We’ve seen how well your work has been received in America. What do you think it is about British design that is globally loved?
As Brits I think we embody a sense of romance in the eyes of our fellow nations. We strive for advancement in all manners of trade and industry – be that technology, healthcare, food and drink or design – yet we are abundantly proud of our heritage and traditions. This, I think, summons an international curiosity.
In your opinion, what makes a good designer?
An open mind, a lust for life and a passion for adventure.
What is your favourite aspect of being a designer?
The diversity of every day, week and year. I am a naturally energetic soul, and love nothing more than engaging with clients and colleagues around the world. My vocation has introduced me to a plethora of countries and cultures, satisfying my curious mind and equipping me with new knowledge and sources of inspiration.
What is your favourite material to work with and why?
I love the fluidity of ink. It’s unpredictability brings both a sense of danger and one of delight at what might be created, or destroyed!
Who are your design/art heroes or is there other designers/artists’ work that you admire and are inspired by?
Far too many to mention! I have always held enormous admiration for the Glasgow Boys. James Guthrie and Edward Atkinson Hornel in particular. Their work is both ethereal and story telling and their handle of oils exemplary. In terms of fashion, I adore the work of Dries Van Noten and in interiors, I love the elegance and intrigue of Tom Faulkner’s furniture, and the way in which he combines materials.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are currently developing a new ceramics collection which will launch this Spring, as well as working on some exciting residential and hospitality projects in Mexico, UK, USA and Europe.
Where do you plan to be in five years’ time?
Taking more time than ever to explore new countries and cultures, embracing new international markets with our brand, and hopefully contributing to the wider design world in a positive and significant way.
Last but certainly not least, what is your favourite biscuit?
This has to be my darling mum’s shortbread highlanders! She is a magnificent baker and always ensures we have sweet treats on hand for visitors to the Atelier.
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