Designer Spotlight with Imogen Heath
Please tell me a bit about your background and why you do what you do.
I graduated in 2004 with a BA hons in textiles design, and worked as a designer for many years, before deciding the time was right to market myself as an independent designer. It has always been my dream to start up my own design business, but it was the economic down turn that influenced my decision to just go for it. Business funding at the time was hard to come by, but the princes trust came to my rescue, and in 2011 loaned me enough money to put on my first exhibition. I have never looked back, I really love what I do. It is a little scary at times and it’s very hard work, but, the sense of achievement, and freedom to create what I like more than motivates me, and keeps me excited about the future.
Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two? My boyfriend and I recently bought our first home together, and for the time being I have settled nicely into our spare room. I would love to separate work from home, and I have been looking for a suitable studio space for around a year now, but have not found anything that ticks all the boxes just yet. Brighton, where I live, is such a creative place and studio spaces are like gold dust! I am lucky my home has a large loft for storage, so I can just about manage.
What or who inspires you?
So many things inspire me. For me it is important to feel a personal connection to the work that I am creating in order to enjoy the process. My work is more often inspired by the materials I use, from photographs I have taken out and about to a broken stick dipped in ink.
My experimental approach, and curiosity towards materials and subjects is greatly influenced by my upbringing in a creative family and having access to a wide range of materials and an excellent selection of art books. I also think it’s the thirst to have a deeper understanding of a subject, and the motivation to be a better artist! I also spend a lot of time outdoors, which is of course for a textile designer the greatest source of inspiration.
What is your greatest achievement / what are you most proud of?
My greatest achievement is starting and making a success of a business on my own, and with limited means. I am now a woman with many skills, and not just in design, I never thought I would be able to code a website for instance! I am extremely proud of this, and feel even prouder of the strong relationships I am building with my clients. I have stockists I can be proud of, and some very happy customers. Every-day brings a little reward; nothing beats knowing first-hand the response to the work for instance, or, the feeling of when a repeat order comes in.
Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away?
I keep a little notebook nearby at all times for ideas, However, when I need to get turn those ideas into proper sketches, I feel most inspired when completely free of distraction. Both my computer and my phone have to be turned off, so Sunday is always a good drawing day! Or, whenever I am on holiday.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I like to completely switch off, so a good book, or box set is always good. And of course, spending time with friends and family is top priority.
What is your favourite space in your home?
At the moment it is my garden. I am finding out what its really like to be able to enjoy your own garden, planting as many things as possible and taking a look a couple of times a day to see if anything has popped up!
What is your most treasured belonging?
Just one? Pictures and photographs. I have a couple of paintings by my mother and grandmother which are very dear to me, and boxes of old family photos, including some gems by my grandfather who wasn’t too bad with a camera.
What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
Being near to Europe.
What is your top tip for creating a lovely home?
Colour and simplicity! Fill your home with beautiful colours and only have things around you that you love. That doesn’t mean I don’t like a bit of clutter, I love it… but I have recently discovered having moved many times lately what it’s like to de-junk and I feel so much better.