Gathering tips on inspiration in the mundane and the magnificent, thanks to Sina Pearson! L to R: Tina Delia, Delia Designs, Sina Pearson, Tina Klucsik, Lyons-Archer Interior Design.
I met inspiration last week, thanks to Sina Pearson.
An iconic, award-winning textile designer, Ms. Pearson gave a master class in seeking out the mundane and the magnificent as a catalyst for her commercial designs.
“My husband and I would call on our clients to present our collection, and inevitably, at the completion of most of our meetings, our clients would ask me how I develop my ideas,” said the New-York based designer. “So I created this presentation.”
The informal talk, entitled “How I Design: A Photographic Presentation Highlighting my Journey to Become a Textile Designer and my Design Process,” was held at Officeworks Philadelphia, on August 6. Ms. Pearson described her creative development, including her 25 years as an independent commercial textile designer and her current position as a designer with Momentum Fabrics.
Ms. Pearson and her family, during their Scandinavian travels.
Ms. Pearson credits a teen-age, family trip to visit her Swedish relatives as the initial supercharging of her apparent creative streak. "I was always making things, anything that had to do with textiles. My mother used to tell me that, when I was a little girl, I cut up fabric scraps and placed them on the sofa," she said.
All four of my grandparents were Swedish immigrants, and being able to spend time traveling and studying textiles in Sweden made me even more deeply aware and love my Scandinavian heritage.
The trip, and the colorful Norwegian sweaters she acquired there, became the source for her Nordic collection, a winner of Interior Design Magazine’s 2015 Best of Year Award.
Folklore, color Lava (L) and color Glacier (R), from the Nordic Collection, Sina Pearson, Momentum Collection; https://www.memosamples.com/momentum_textiles.shtml
"Every textile designer endeavors to create a 'magic' fabric...you know it when you see it."
Ms. Pearson considers the Folklore pattern as a “magic” fabric, one of those thrilling textiles that make her creative efforts worthwhile. “It seems to speak to people in the same way it touches me. In my 45-year textile career, I’ve only had a small handful of magic fabrics, as they are elusive. I think every textile designer endeavors to create a magic fabric, and I’ve admired many from my competitors’ or colleagues’ work. You know it when you see it,” she said.
This ability to engender a very personal response from designers and clients may safeguard this design field from excessive automation, she said. “I sometimes feel that the contract textile industry is a rare segment of today’s entire interior furnishings and fabric industry. For instance, apparel and home furnishing fabrics are produced in huge quantities that dwarf our market.
“I have seen how designers and clients respond to interior textiles in such as personal way, being attracted to its tactile and visual elements. Textiles bring a human element to a space, and the subtle weave structure and the quality of color makes ‘hand designing’ textiles (even using the computer for the design resolution) so vital,” she added.
“AI [artificial intelligence] could possibly create a pattern for a specific need, but the manner in which contract textiles are produced makes it difficult to imagine that it could replace actual design and weaving,” she said.
"Textiles bring a human element to a space, and the subtle weave structure and the quality of color makes ‘hand designing’ textiles so vital ..."
Ms. Pearson looks upon nature, geometry and landscapes as a way to combine colors and textures in innovative ways. Cityscapes, whether they be the views outside her studio windows, or the grids on Pittsburgh skyscrapers, energize her creativity. Paris’ bright door paint colors get her designing, too.
Other inspirations include her travel experiences, both actual and envisioned. The “Fast Track” Sunbrella® collection was even inspired by the blur of colored clothing worn by New York Marathon runners as they labored to finish the race.
Fast Track Collection, from bottom to top: Relay, Fleecy, Sprinter, Mesh, Marathon, Relay. Sina Pearson, Momentum Collection; https://www.memosamples.com/momentum_textiles.shtml
"...A designer has to address a client’s specific needs...being open to gracefully accepting unexpected challenges can offer opportunities to make the project even better than first considered,”
Ms. Pearson photographs what inspires her, and she shared some of her photo collection and the textiles they inspired. She sees them as tools to aid in the “unrestricted use of imagination” in her work and can be exported to other areas of design.
“While every designer has to address a client’s specific needs by careful planning, being open to gracefully accepting unexpected challenges can offer opportunities to make the project even better than first considered,” she observes. “Many of my textiles begin with what I think is a clear path to a particular design, yet end up quite different, and, I find, a better solution than I first imagined.
“That’s OK, as I can’t begin to know how every possible iteration can affect the whole. In fact, I look for the surprise of an unexpected color or weave combination. Those moments are keys to resolution.”
Flora 368-55 Indigo Blue (L), Serape-365-55 Chihuahua (R), Sina Pearson, Momentum Collection; https://www.memosamples.com/momentum_textiles.shtml