Interview with Designer Lara Cameron

by Erin on February 21, 2008


Lara Cameron Fabric

You all know Lara Cameron, right? The wonderful Australian textile designer? Proprietress of the Kirin & Co textiles and crafts online shop? Moo Card designer?

She was gracious enough to grant me an interview, and I hope you all enjoy her answers as much as I did …

Q. I read on your site that you started out as a web designer. How did you transition from web to textiles? What was the hardest part?

The transition from web to textile was somewhat accidental really :) It began when I started up my blog, as a means of encouraging myself to experiment with different things. After a while I started experimenting with patterns, and found that I loved the technical challenge of getting designs to repeat. I got such good feedback from my blog readers about my patterns that I decided to keep on designing, and then decided it was time to make something from them. Textiles were actually the most accessible medium that was financially viable.

Q. Finding suppliers has been tricky for people who are somewhere between handmade and mass production. From your blog posts you seem to have a very good relationship with your textile printer. How did you find them? Were there bumps along the way? What do you recommend people do who are looking to find suppliers or printers?

This question actually answers the second half of the above question! The hardest part by far was sourcing suppliers. It took me ages to find someone who could print fabric for me. I managed to find them by asking around other people in the screen printing industry. After being sent from one business to the next the lead eventually brought me to my printers! The most fortunate thing however was that they happened to be just around the corner from my house, so I could go and meet with them face to face rather than having an awkward telephone conversation (which I was really apprehensive about at the time). The fact that they're so close also helps with our working relationship I guess as I can go over there to discuss things really easily.

I recommend a similar approach for anyone else looking for a textile printer. I found that business in this industry rarely advertise or have any much of a web presence, so the 'lazy' avenues that we've become accustomed to use (google, email) aren't available. It's all about word of mouth.

Q. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before starting your work in textile design and production, what would it be?

To have a bit more confidence and not fret so much. My first ever print run was only 20m and I was so scared that it wouldn't sell. So funny to think back on that now.

Q. Your designs manage to be modern and organic at the same time, and the colors you choose seem to be very much of the zeitgeist in home design. Do you 'feel' what colors you want to use, or is there more calculation involved?

Sometimes I feel like every part of the process is very 'calculated'—from choosing the colours through to conceiving the design itself. This probably isn't actually the case and is just something I tell myself when I'm feeling 'not creative enough'. I think it's all a process of exposing myself to a lot of modern design and current trends, absorbing it all, and then whatever comes out is an inspired rendition of all of that.

Q. What's your favorite thing anyone's ever made from your fabric?

Oh there have been sooooo many gorgeous things made with my fabric, it's my favourite part of the whole process—seeing what other creative people make from something I've made. It's such a good feeling. My favourite thing definitely has to be Salsa the 'Peg Bear' by Jhoanna of One Red Robin. I loved him so much I just had to buy him to have at home with me.

Q. What do you see yourself doing next? Any "dream" fabrics you'd like to make real?

This is a very good question! I'm really a bit unclear on it all at the moment. I would definitely like to grow my business, and probably branch into the production of homewares etc… I also imagine sharing a nice big warehouse space with a few of my fellow textile designers and setting up an area where we can do some of the printing ourselves. One of the most frustrating things for me at the moment is the lack of control over the process or ability to experiment with different things. I feel kind of guilty too when I have to tell people that no, I don't do the printing myself.

Q. What do you turn to for inspiration?

Blogs, blogs and more blogs, nature / plant life, and urban landscapes – I love walking around the city of Melbourne absorbing the mix of period architecture and contemporary design :)

Many thanks to Lara for her time and her inspiring answers … go check out her blog, you won't be sorry you did!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Doris February 21, 2008 at 9:52 am

I did not know she did fabric too! Any place to buy them in the U.S.?

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tea February 21, 2008 at 9:58 am

Thank you so much for doing this interview! This is wonderful.

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Becky O. February 21, 2008 at 12:27 pm

This is great Erin! I found Lara last year and was instantly taken with her great designs.I have many of her fabrics and even ordered some custom stuff.This world is just getting smaller…. : )

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Anonymous February 21, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Do my eyes deceive me?! Do I see a ginkgo leaf print?!?! Off to check out her blog…

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Theresa February 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm

there are your Gingko leaves Erin!

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Nora February 21, 2008 at 8:31 pm

I for one did not know about her, and thank you for the introduction. Great interview, gorgeous fabric design – very inspiring!

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The Overgrown Hobbit February 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm

To join the chorus: why no, I did not know Lara Cameron, the wonderful Australian textile designer.But now that I do, you may have solved my “what to get mom for birthday/christmas” for the forseeable future…

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Ulla February 24, 2008 at 1:37 am

Thank you for this interview! It is so interesting to hear how people can start a small business that will grow and be famous.

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