Lucy Harris combines textile design and print to create her bold and bright designs. Mostly depicting people and natural subjects, Lucy draws inspiration from the world around her; appreciating the simple shapes and intricate details found in nature. Lucy shares her creative process with us and how it feels to see her designs as wallpaper in a room or on upholstered furniture.
I really enjoy how the shapes of leaves can be modified to be as simple or intricate as you like and still recognisable for what they are.
You are a Print and Textile Designer, how did you get into this? And what do you enjoy most about textile design and print and/or combining the two mediums?
I studied Art at college and Fashion & Textile Design at university. Print Design suits me well as it lets me combine my love for painting and design. At the moment, I’m creating artwork and prints, but I’m always inspired by textiles and I’ll continue to combine textiles in my personal work. I think prints and textiles will always complement each other and I get a lot of enjoyment from creating both.
Nature appears to be a strong theme currently, what draws you to capture nature/ plants? and what other subjects do you most enjoy portraying in your work?
I particularly enjoy painting people and natural subjects. Nature is something I’ve always loved and drawn inspiration from. While I’ve been living in France, I’ve noticed nature around me so much more than I did in London. I really enjoy how the shapes of leaves can be modified to be as simple or intricate as you like and still recognisable for what they are. I don’t usually use a direct reference but often my work is loosely inspired by a photograph or artwork. Working in this way gives me the freedom to add or remove elements to make it more suited to my style.
Walk us through your creative process .. how do you decide on what to capture, and what are the next steps?
I research a lot and that’s something I really enjoy. I love sourcing inspiration from almost anything: interiors, artists, fashion, posters, typography – and the colour palette usually comes naturally from this. I’m a very visual learner, so I find making mood boards the best way to give me a sense of direction. I always begin by working with a hands-on approach, painting, drawing or collaging. At the moment I’m mostly using watercolour and gouache. A huge part of my work is based around colour and I really enjoy using bold and unconventional palettes in my work. If it’s a print design, I’ll then scan it, put it into repeat and adjust the scale and colours using photoshop.
I think prints and textiles will always complement each other and I get a lot of enjoyment from creating both
How do you like to work? Any art rituals …
I always begin with a pencil or paintbrush and only use digital later if I need to. One of my rituals is to listen to music or a podcast while I work and I try to take lots of photos to document the process. This way, if something is overworked I can look back and see where I should have stopped. If I’m having a creative block and unsure of where to go, I usually do some pattern/ mark making.
How do you feel when creating art, and once a piece is finished?
Painting has always been a very relaxing thing for me and I can definitely lose track of time! It’s sometimes hard to know when something’s finished, you can add too much and it can ruin it. If I’m unsure, I’ll leave it and go back to it a few days later, as looking at something with fresh eyes seems to help me. It’s really rewarding to see my work in its end use, whether as wallpaper in a room or on upholstered furniture. It’s interesting to see how people use my designs.
What are some of your favourite pieces and why?
Some of the work I’ve been happiest with has come from work I’ve done as part of a team, where we’ve all contributed. Until I moved to France, I worked for Zinc Textile, an interior textiles company, where I was able to design hand-painted prints, wallpapers, jacquards and embroideries. More recently, some of my favourite work has been a small series of lino prints inspired by the South Pacific, where my mum comes from. It’s nice to share a more personal side of myself, as it’s not something I’m usually able to do in my work.
How has your work changed over time? And how do you see your work evolving moving forward?
Over time, I’ve become more aware of what works well in terms of design, scale, colour and fabric – and, although painting or drawing are still my favorite ways to work, it’s inevitable that I’ve had to improve my digital skills. In terms of evolving, I’d like to experiment with more design processes and revisit screen printing as a method in my personal work.
For emerging artists out there, how would you recommend they promote themselves? What has worked for you?
Social media is a huge part of self-promotion along with networking and talking to other artists and designers. There’s definitely more I could be doing for this but getting an instagram account or a website where you can document your work is a good start. I think there’s real value just in sharing your work, as sometimes other people see something great in your work that you don’t.
It’s interesting to see how people use my designs.
What are your hopes and dreams as an artist…
To keep creating and try to not be intimidated by new ways of working. I’d like to get back into screen printing, painting ceramics and I’ve always wanted to paint murals too. For a short time, I was teaching art to children and although it was not really challenging my skills creatively, it was really rewarding and is something I would like to revisit again.
What are you currently working on and what have you got coming up that we can look out for?
I’m currently working on commissions and I’m also in the process of setting up a shop on my website to sell lino prints, so that’s something to look out for!
To view more of Lucy’s work: