Claire Gaudion is a contemporary textile designer, born and raised in Guernsey. Her influences include the beautiful coastal landscapes and colours found in the Channel Islands. In addition to her textile accessories and fabric collections, a great deal of her work focuses on partnerships and collaborations with well-known companies internationally. Claire’s company specialises in printed and woven textiles for fashion and interiors. Launched in 2012, her British-made collections are sold internationally and have been featured by Elle Decoration, Homes & Gardens, The Times, The Sunday Times, FT How to Spend It and Country Living magazine, among others. Whilst she may be from our sister island we couldn’t resist the urge to feature her work in the magazine.
You spent four years studying at the London College of Fashion and several years working in London’s fashion industry in design and product development, yet much of your work now focuses on textiles for interiors, was this always the plan?
It has been a natural progression, because colour and textiles have always been my main focus. At college, and whilst working in London’s fashion industry, the fabrics and yarns were always the most exciting elements for me. I worked on knitwear pattern designs, creating new colourways and print designs for fashion, before honing my weaving skills through specialist workshops and independent self-study.
I still design for fashion with my Channel Islands scarves collection, but my business has become more about interiors. Textiles and colour can transform a room, and creating beautiful things that we surround ourselves with, that affect the ambience of our homes and how we feel, is a very rewarding and creative process.
Claire your work first came to our attention thanks to a feature in Guernsey Gallery in 2013, a great deal has happened to you since then?
As a new brand, the main focus of my business over the last few years has been to establish an awareness and reputation for our contemporary, colourful designs, and to promote the high-quality and longevity which are signatures of our collections.
We have been fortunate enough to work on a number of brand collaborations too. Collaborating with other creative businesses is an exciting way to develop new products and showcase designs to a broader market. These partnerships include design collaborations for lampshades and wallpaper with Mockbee & Co. (UK), resin mosaic wall coverings and uv printed tiles with Gemanco Design (Italy), rugs with Rug-maker (UK) and a new furniture range with Galapagos Furniture (UK), due to launch soon this year and showcase at Decorex International trade show in London in September. We are also collaborating with a London gallery, DEBUT Contemporary to create a new collection of textile accessories, cushions and throws, which includes new silk wool woven designs together with a range of printed cushions featuring the contemporary Art of a selection of DEBUT Contemporary’s international artists.
We now also offer bespoke commissions for textiles and rugs, as well as other products such as wallpapers and wall mosaics with my collaborative partners.
How would you describe your designs?
My designs are contemporary with a sophisticated use of colour, pattern and weave. Geometric and abstract prints are complemented by the interlacing of colours and patterns in woven designs. From the hand-crafted design stage through to heritage and modern manufacturing, high-quality and longevity are signatures of our collections.
Do you ever have to make compromises in your designs when working with large manufacturers?
The design process needs to consider the manufacturing possibilities before you get to a stage of making compromises. Working closely with a range of mills and manufacturers – some working with heritage shuttle looms, others state-of-the-art modern printing or weaving technology – and knowing their capabilities and limitations, I can determine how designs need to be created to make them possible. Rather than making compromises, it is more about understanding the production process and knowing what is possible so this can inform designs from the beginning.
You design for both printed and woven textiles, how do the techniques differ?
Designing printed and woven textiles, I experiment with new design ideas by interlacing coloured threads and exploring weave structures at the loom, which inspires digital pattern designs, and vice versa. The techniques then used to create the designs following this initial development stage are very different. Digital print designs are then worked on using CAD software, whilst woven designs are handcrafted on paper then sampled on the loom.
The end-use of the fabrics also informs my design decisions throughout the process – the tactile quality and functionality of the cloth, the textures, weight and drape of the fabrics, the scale of the design patterns, the use of colour, and whether for fashion or interiors.
Interiors like fashion follow trends, is there anything in particular we should be looking out for this year?
It is exciting to see new room schemes and colours illustrated in magazines, and by trend forecasters, and these can offer useful advice on how to combine colours and textures. But, interiors are very personal spaces and should be a reflection of the people who are living there, rather than dictated by trends. Choose colours and textures that you love, and enjoy being surrounded by.
As a designer, what inspires you to start creating?
My creative ideas are continually working away in my mind! On a daily basis I notice patterns and colours, and begin to translate these into weaves or patterns. The coastal landscape of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands continues to be my inspiration when I begin a new collection. When I sit at the edge of the island and watch the sea, I see continually changing patterns and layers of colours. I try to capture this sense of movement in the layering of colours and shapes in my designs.
Do you have any particular highlights that have happened since we first spoke to you in 2013?
There have been many highlights for me! Being featured in magazines such as Homes & Gardens, ELLE Decoration and FT How to Spend It… Being selected by the British European Design Group to show with them at the amazing Maison et Objet trade exhibition in Paris last September which attracted new stockists including ABC Home in New York… and the many collaborative opportunities which I have had the fortune to work on.
When you work on commissions or partnerships with large companies, do you get to keep your samples? Basically I want to know if we were to come round to your house would we see your designs adorning the walls and furnishing the rooms?
When I am create textiles for partnerships I make many of the first samples myself in the studio, before we go into production. So, yes, I have quite a few of these in my home.
Where can we find out more or find stockists?
www.clairegaudion.com has more information about the brand, collections and inspiration for colour schemes etc on the blog, plus, where to buy, or you can shop online for FREE delivery to the Channel Islands!