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Meet the Maker: Sophie Chadwick, Co-founder of Seasalt

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hello, I’m Sophie Chadwick, senior textile designer and co-founder of Seasalt, a clothing, fabric and accessory retailer based in Cornwall.


Describe your design processes.

We start each collection (Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter) with a theme, which is always influenced by the people and places we love in Cornwall. The theme then gets developed to create different mini collections/stories, one for each month of the year.

We do lots of research, create mood boards, and develop colour palettes for each mini collection. The garments, colours, prints, names, and locations for the photo-shoots are all inspired by the season’s theme.

I create all of the print designs for Seasalt, along with a very talented designer called Kathryn Fowler. From these mood boards Kathryn and I start drawing, painting, printing, using batik and collage; all these different media are used to create interesting marks and textures. Here I am drawing with hot wax, using a tjanting.


Mark making and fine pen and ink drawings.


This work then gets scanned into the computer. This allows us to create the repeat of the design, to play with scale, and quickly see how the print will look in different colour ways.

We produce approximately 350 prints per year. Once Kathryn and I have a sufficient quantity of designs, we work closely with all the garment designers and buyers to allocate the prints to garments. This is done based on many criteria; sales history, fabric group and of course creative instinct!

Once allocated, we create a digital artwork, with pantone colour references (an industry standard for colour), which is then sent to the suppliers in India, Sri Lanka, China and Turkey. They follow the artwork to cut screens and send us a ‘strike off’ on correct fabric base. We then check these to see that the design, scale, repeat and colours are accurate, and send comments back to the mills if they are not. We have to make sure that all colours within the prints match other garments within the collection, so that they are easy to outfit. Sometimes it can take up to 5 strike offs to achieve the perfect print.

How and where did you learn printmaking?

I come from a family of artists; Mum was a florist, Auntie is a textile designer, and my Uncle taught at Camberwell School of Art. They all taught me so much growing up. Ever since I could hold a pencil I haven’t stopped drawing, painting, printing and making! I did a one year Foundation in general Art & Design at Falmouth School of Art, and then a degree in Textiles & Fashion at Winchester School of Art. I specialised in printed textiles.

Why printmaking?

I decided to specialise in printed textiles even though I really enjoyed weave and knit. I think that I am better with two-dimensional design and pattern, and I must say that I found threading up the loom too labour intensive and technical! I have also always been so excited by print making, watching my Uncle cut the most intricate lino prints from a very early age.

Here I am printing a lino block based on the traditional Working Boats of Falmouth. The design is called ‘Sunday Sail’ and has been used on pyjamas and bed linen.

 

Here is another floral lino print, called ‘Lino Chrysanth’. On the left is the lino block, inked up and ready to print, and on the right is the final printed bamboo jersey print. It is on a dress and a tunic and is featured in ‘A Story of a Print’ video on our website.

Lino and potato prints ready to create repeating designs.


Where do you work?

Most of the time I work with our design team at our studios in Falmouth, but some days I work from home. These are the days when I need to have some time to think, and space to create things by hand and get messy, whether it’s potato printing, lino printing, painting or wax resist.

What inspires you?

We’re lucky to have so much inspiration on our doorstep; the dramatic landscapes of Cornwall, nature, our maritime heritage, traditional working boats which race outside our window, art, sculpture and pottery.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Potatoes! Some of my favourite Seasalt designs have been created from potato prints. I am slightly addicted to carving and printing with potatoes. I simply love the process of doing it, and love the result achieved.


Here are two textile designs from our Spring Summer ’18 Collection that I created using potato prints. Trengrouse Top – Lemon Stamp Hay, and Pretty Printed Scarf – Block Geo Seaglass.


What will we be seeing from you next?

I am currently working on prints for our Spring/Summer 2019 collection. I’m afraid that I can’t tell you what the theme is as we want it to be a surprise for our customers, but it is connected to an artistic movement that I have loved since a child.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Marry wisely!…ideally to a man with a couple of shops that you can sell you stuff in!!!! Apart from that, just to keep making,….creating,…. doing! The world is a richer, more beautiful place as a result of people producing things by hand.

Keep up with Sophie Chadwick and Seasalt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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