We know our readers love to learn about other women’s creative lives and journeys. So, we thought it would be fitting to introduce a regular interview series shining the spotlight on our very own creative ladies: our CWC Members!
We’re kicking off with Louise Jones, a textile designer from the Dandenongs in Melbourne who has been a CWC Member since 2012. Enjoy the interview! If you’re keen to learn more about Louise, don’t forget to check out her CWC Member Profile.
What do you do or make?
I specialise in original artwork for fabric, wallpaper, interiors and soft furnishings. I use a combination of different mediums in my practice, including watercolour illustrations and my own original photography.
What was the path you followed to doing what you do now?
After graduating with a Bachelor in Communication Design in 2007, I started my career in a boutique design studio. I soon realised my passion was illustration and pattern design as I was doing a lot of illustrative designs for retail and hospitality clients.
In 2010, I took the plunge into freelancing doing traditional graphic design work, whilst trying to work out how to break into pattern design industry specialising in interiors. My friend, Shelley Steer (a textile designer/illustrator), and I were becoming frustrated with the limited opportunities, so we decided to create our own pattern designs. We started a Tumblr blog called A Side Project, where we posted one pattern per month based on a monthly theme, along with developmental work and other inspirational posts. Some of my pattern designs gained recognition and I started to receive commissions from big companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Whilst working on other exciting commissions and other collaborations, I was building my own pattern library, which allowed me to follow my dreams of creating my own textile range specialising in interiors.
What does a typical day involve for you?
There is no typical day for me, as I manage parenting and running a business. I’m extremely fortunate to have a supportive family, which allows me two days a week in my studio. I aim to do all my creative work and planning on my ‘studio days’, whilst leaving all admin/emails for nighttime or whenever I can steal a few minutes during my parenting days. I like to visit local gardens and galleries during the week with my young daughter, Grace, as she also loves to discover new flowers and explore new spaces.
What have been one or two favourite recent projects or commissions?
Launching my new website, logo and online store along with a new fabric design, Dreamscape. I worked with some very talented people to launch my website, including Dylan McDonough, Atelier Upholstery and CWC members Martina Gemmola and Ruth Welsby (dream team!). I worked with Martina and Ruth to shoot some bespoke furniture pieces I had sourced to launch the Dreamscape design. The furniture pieces ranged from art deco to mid-century styles, all upholstered in Dreamscape colourways, along with ottomans and cushions. It was such a treat to work with other talented creatives on the launch of my website and online store. I have learnt that a lot of planning, sourcing, and general work goes into creating products and selling them online.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your work?
Understanding licensing and setting up proper agreements and contracts with clients has been the biggest learning curve for me. I have learnt to not undervalue your work and time, because not only does it affect your own creative work but it also impacts others in the creative industry.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m expecting a big year with my second baby arriving in March, so it will be a bit tricky working out new routines with family and work life. I plan to continue promoting and building my textile range in the interiors world by collaborating with other creatives, branching out overseas with international representation, adding a wallpaper range, sourcing more vintage pieces to showcase my fabric, and maintaining an online store of cushions and other soft furnishings. I’m also planning to put a dream project of mine into action later in the year, which is to collaborate with a furniture maker to create custom furniture pieces featuring my textile range.
What are you or have you recently enjoyed…
- Watching? Shameless, Fargo (all seasons), Narcos
- Reading? The Handmaid’s Tale
- Listening to? Arcade Fire, Whitney Houston (my 3-year-old daughter is obsessed)
Can you list for us your top resources across any media that you turn to when you’re in a need of creative inspiration?
- Instagram: I’m finding a lot of inspirations from contemporary florists, interior designers, stylists and furniture makers.
- Design magazines like Vogue Living, Architectural Digest, Belle and Habitus Living.
- Design blogs such as Sight Unseen and Design Milk
What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker or designer?
Don’t be afraid to say no to paid jobs or projects that won’t lead you to your dream job, as it will only hold you back and delay you from doing the work you want to do. It took me a while to learn this, but once it became clear as to what I really wanted to do, I started to verbalise my dream job out loud to others as a way of making a public commitment. This made it easier to decline projects that weren’t aligned to where I wanted to go with my work.
What do you enjoy or value most about being a CWC member?
I love the speaker events. I find those afternoons to be such a great inspiration to hear the speaker's stories, and what works and doesn't work for them. And just catching up with familiar faces afterwards and having the opportunity to meet new creatives.
Phoebe Miller is a member of the CWC Board. Her professional background covers experience in marketing and communications for the corporate, arts and not-for-profit sectors. She also ran her own creative side project, designing and making accessories under the moniker Simply Phoebe. Follow her on Instagram (@simplyphoebe).
Photo of Louise Fernando by Sarah Collins from Work & Co Photograph