Gallery speaks to Abigail O’Sullivan, local textile and surface designer:
When did you first begin to get creative?
I always remember being artistic and enjoying art in school. I am extremely practical and able to pick up design techniques quickly and efficiently. I am now currently in my final year of my Interior Textiles and Surface Design degree.
How would you describe your work?
I am looking to create innovative surfaces for quirky and fun interiors. I am focusing on manipulating and contrasting materials. My aim is to include different textures for an interactive tactile experience; I want people to feel my work!
What mediums do you use and why?
My main focus of my current collection is to combine hard surfaces with the luxury of soft furs. Fur is one of nature’s most enduring products and has an everlasting appeal. Additionally I use other materials including wood, leather, resin, concrete and papers to achieve a natural look to other aspects of my work.
Are there any particular issues of difficulties with your chosen mediums?
Using fur in my work does mean that my designs are controversial. All the furs I have used have been ethically sourced and upcycled.
I have already exhibited at a major trade show in London, the Surface Design Show. I received positive feedback from people in the industry, which has lead me to get talented spotted by the prestigious, Mix Magazine.
Which artists have inspired you?
I have looked more at current trends in the interior and fashion markets to influence and inspire me. I use my research in these areas to develop my work, make sure my designs are on trend and that they could fit into current markets. Classic and timeless, fur will always be fashionable. I wanted to take this feature of clothing from the body and update it to an interior setting.
Have you ever been approached about a commission?
I have my experimental photography work permanently up in Taunton’s Musgrove Hospital, alongside Howard Hodgkin’s work ‘Multiplication’. I have also been approached by SCIN Gallery and I am hoping to get more of my work exhibited and recognised. I am happy to take on commissions.
How does your work differentiate from other artists?
I am more of a mark maker. I look at textures to create my pieces of artwork. I am very interested at the moment in developing natural materials like wood and furs to create an exclusive balance of natural elements. So far as I am aware no other designer is currently experimenting with incorporating furs in hard materials. I experiment relentlessly with how to treat these materials in the best possible way, to achieve the finest quality of textures.
You’re about to graduate, what projects do you have planned for the future?
I am collaborating with a local Jersey welder at the moment, Christopher Pople works at Rylance Ltd in Rozel. We are currently working together on my new venture to create products for my unique surfaces. I am hoping to continue making, designing and incorporating metal work for my surfaces to create interior and exterior products to include furniture for everyone to enjoy. After the success I had at the Surface Design Show in London, I hope to be exhibiting at New Designers at the end of June in the Business Design Centre in Islington. If you’re around that area make sure you pop in too see me and my new collection!
You’re not currently in Jersey, what do you miss about it whilst you’re away?
I miss St Ouen! I only live down the road from the beach and I really do miss that sea air. Of course I also miss my mum, my sister, my cat and last but not least, my boyfriend.
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