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Setting the scene with Seed Home Designs

Continuing with our series on British designer-makers exhibiting at BCTF 2019, we catch up with the lovely Naomi Sisson’s of Seed Home Designs, who will exhibit within the Post-Newcomers area of the show, Stand P3.

Seed Home Designs offers high quality British made eco-friendly flora and nature inspired printed fabrics, lampshades, cushions and upholstered pieces. Naomi has begun expanding her range in preparation for the show, to include, fabric greetings cards, mounted fabric prints, coasters and place mat sets and enamel mugs.

“This will be my first time exhibiting at BCTF and taking part in a trade show independently”, says Naomi. “I was drawn to BCTF because I really liked sharing and nurturing culture of that is fostered by BCTF. I am participating in the show because I’m working on getting my designs and products into retail and increasing my stockists for wholesale. I am also interested in working in collaboration with more established businesses to licence my designs for other products or work on limited-edition ranges. “.

“Before I set up my business I was freelancing as a designer and for agencies, in textiles and fashion, fine art, greetings and giftware. I was fortunate enough to have my work represented and sold at major trade shows in London, Paris and New York during this period. I have also taught art and design for over 10 years part time to A level students across a breath of specialisms which has kept me up to date with current trends and the design world.

“Three years ago I set up Seed Home Designs. I have always had a love for nature and pattern, so this has organically been the starting point for my designing to date. With my youngest daughter starting school a couple of years ago I was ready to get my own brand out there to make a name for myself!

“Around that time our family had just moved to a new home in a little village just outside of Loughborough in the Midlands. I was so excited by the prospect of a blank canvas and artistic license to make it just the way I wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed all the hard work of planning, decorating, and furnishing (and really valued having some friends ready and willing with a paint brush and roller!). As well as giving our home its much-needed refresh I realised the importance of the home in creating a space of rest both physically and spiritually for me and my family.

“I’ve always loved surface pattern, and it was around that time that I got back into sketch booking again, relaxing by drawing in my new garden and documenting my love of flora and nature. I decided to take things further and apply my new designs to fabric, and eventually found a company in Kent who industrially print using eco-friendly pigment-based printing inks onto high quality fabrics. When my first custom print samples came through I was so thrilled by the quality that I spent most of a year on a course learning upholstery so that I could apply my fabrics to one-off pieces of furniture. Inspired by that progress I continued to develop my pattern collections, and started offering other home accessories including lampshades and cushions”.

“My cushions are printed and made in London and for bespoke commissions I work with a local seamstress to meet order. I learnt upholstery a few years ago so I can work with customers to cover chairs in my fabric. For larger orders I work in partnership with another local experienced upholster.

“I have always loved textiles as far back as I remember and eventually went on to study Multi-Media Textiles at Loughborough University. When I was a little girl my grandparents use to come over every Thursday to teach me painting and drawing. My grandad ran his own very successful business as a draughtsman during World War 2 so he was an amazing tutor to have.

My grandma loved nature, and lived in a self-build house set within an orchard with a stream where we spent many childhood day wadding our wellies and catching Minos. As a child she always taught me the names of plants, flowers and birds and encouraged me to draw them. I remember staying over and waking up in the morning and listening to the sound of the wood pigeon cooing, as children my Grandma always drew our attention to these tiny details around us in nature which is a really blessing. I guess that is where my love for nature and flora started and has always been with me, and naturally comes through in my work”

We wanted to know what Naomi thinks are the hallmarks of great British design. She said: “Quality, handmade in the UK. I have worked hard not to compromise on this and have only worked with British printers and makers if I outsource work. It has been a challenge to do this, especially with now working out whole margins for retail. However, I am careful to only do business with people I can work well with and rely on to deliver to an order. I like working on keeping good relationships with those I work with, I feel like this is part of my value ethos. I like to be able to communicate easily with my makers and I feel that working in collaboration with British businesses offers so far has offered me this”.