DESIGNER DIARIES | 10 Questions with Jessica Osborne

What is your earliest memory of design? When did you first know that you wanted to become a fabric/wallpaper designer?

I think that design has been a part of my life since a young age. Growing up, my parents converted a Yorkshire farmhouse into a lovely home and my father spent years planting trees and creating a wonderful garden. I remember when I was about 10, my father said that I could decorate the attic room and I could choose anything I liked. I chose the most garish shade of lilac and painted on fake windows in bright pink and electric blue. Looking back, it was absolutely hideous but at the time I loved it. I knew pretty early on as a teenager that I wanted to go to art school, specifically Central St Martins. When I started the course there, I very much thought I wanted to do fashion but quickly learnt that it wasn’t the making of the garments that I loved, it was the textiles and prints that were used to make those garments. So after St Martins, I moved to Leeds to study Textile Design, specialising in print and that’s where I realised I wanted to be a fabric and wallpaper designer.

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a fabric designer? Did this start from prior experience as an Interior Designer?

After university, I worked for years in the world of interior styling and set design as a freelancer. I learnt a great amount from some of the country’s leading stylists and worked on lots of projects for big interior brands and magazines.

However, it was in 2018 that I knew I just had to go for it and start the wallpaper and fabric business. When Covid arrived early last year, like many industries,  photoshoots came to a grinding halt so I decided that was the moment to stop the styling part altogether and simply focus on the fabric and wallpaper business full time.

Where do you find the inspiration for your designs? What would you say are the main influences on your work?

For me, inspiration can come from anything. However, I think the main thing I am inspired by is colour. The first fabric collection that I launched at the beginning of 2020 was called ‘Wilderness’ and was essentially inspired by the rich shades of pinks, greens and blues you see in nature.

Where is the most surprising place that you’ve found inspiration for your designs?

My phone memory tends to fill up with random things I see out and about. Whether it's a tile pattern I have seen whilst walking in the city or tracks made in the snow, I am always looking for patterns in things.

What’s your creative process? Take us through the development of a design from idea conception to the final product.

I usually have quite a few ideas and fill up sketchbooks with them. I choose specific designs that I think could work and start to work up the pattern digitally. The designs are then sent to the printers where we work on colour strike offs, scale and repeat. This is always my favourite part but the part which takes the longest to get right.

What types of materials and production processes do you prefer to use and why?

I use both traditionally printed and digitally printed techniques. I always thought that I was never going to digitally print, however the quality and tone you can get now are amazing, especially if you print on natural fabrics. It can be more sustainable in that you can print to order in small quantities meaning you have less waste. My fabrics are printed on 100% linen. I think it's important to support UK manufacturing. There is a great heritage for printing here in the UK, especially for wallpapers. My wallpapers are printed in the North of England in a family-run factory and my fabrics are also printed here in the UK.

What is something that most people don’t understand or appreciate about textile design that you wish they did?

More and more, I think there is a growing appreciation for well-made, sustainable and locally made products using high-quality natural materials that will last. That is something I hope more and more people start to appreciate.

Fabrics from left to right: Laguna Aqua BlueJungle RaspberryRipple Blue and AmberTutti FruttiHighlands Green and PinkLaguna Forest GreenJungle Punchy Green

What advice would you give to someone who wants to experiment with adding more colour and pattern to their interiors with fabric/wallpaper but is scared of making the wrong choice?

I don’t think there is ever a wrong choice. As long as they do what they like and do what makes them happy then they can’t go wrong. Colour and pattern bring joy and can really affect how you feel, so just go for it and be brave.

Is there a particular design in your collection that’s your favourite and if so, why?

From my fabric collection, definitely Ripple in Apple green and blue. From my wallpapers, Night Sky. I love stars.

Fabric design in Ripple Apple Green & Blue

 

Wallpaper designs in Night Sky Dusky Pink & Yellow Dawn

How has the fabric and textile industry evolved since you became a part of it and what do you see and hope for the future of it?

I am still very new as I have only had my business going for two years but I would say that the rise in the quality of digitally printed fabrics has really changed things in terms of being able to print in smaller quantities. Also, sourcing from smaller fabric houses and designers seems to be on the rise so I do hope that continues.

Click to see Jessica Osborne's Designer Profile and explore their fabric collection