“Lorna Doyle is a designer who strives to push the boundaries of experimental textiles. Her body of work features heat manipulated materials combined with traditional printing techniques, creating innovative designs with a sophisticated edge. Her journey as a designer is a constant exploration and discovery of new and exciting materials.”
How did you get into textiles?
Before I went to art college I was in the army for 7 years, after that I went to UCA in Canterbury and studied a BTEC in different specialisms from 3D design, graphic design, fashion and textiles. At the time, I was a bit unsure about what I wanted to focus on but luckily my tutor guided and directed me towards textiles.
What type of textiles did you explore while studying?
Everything really. It was a fashion based course and I worked with digital printing, screen-printing, embroidery but it was a little introduction to each specialism. The course was aimed at helping me make a strong enough portfolio for university. I got into Chelsea and studied textiles there four years ago and really enjoyed it.
What type of textiles do you use now?
All of my work is hand printed using stencils in a screen-print. I experiment a lot of different materials. Heat press and some embroidery using both hand and machine.
Which do you prefer?
Machine because I recently bought an industrial one and I love it! I’m teaching myself how to use it and it’s taken a while but I’m much more confident with it now.
So, you use stencils to screen-print. Have you tried exposing negatives on a screen?
I haven’t found a studio that can do it at an affordable rate. I have an agent and he likes my samples A4 size so I find it easier and quicker to make them myself. Plus, I don’t have to buy loads of screens. If I created a design that a customer liked, then I’d invest and have them printed that way.
What other types of textiles would you like to work with?
I like to make my textiles three-dimensional so anything that helps me to get that effect. I have studio in my back garden and like experimenting and perfecting my techniques.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Last year I went to Kyoto in Japan. I visited temples and met up with a traditional shibori printer. He showed me how to tie the fabric in really small sections but it was impossible for me to do! I like visiting the library at Central Saint Martins and flicking through all the books there. It’s really relaxing too.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
My friend Eve Johnson. We went to uni together and I like her work. I have a friend that makes bags Georgia Case and she makes them out of hides. I’d love to collaborate with House of Hackney too. My agent’s going to take my work to New York and I’m working on samples for him. I like making textiles but I want to learn to make things out of them like a clutch bag for example. I’ve sold to Tommy Hilfiger and a few other designers but they can use my textiles however they want
Do designers always use your prints?
Sometimes they just buy it for inspiration or use it later down the line. My agent’s really good and he spotted my work while I was at uni so I don’t have to pay him. He takes a little bit of commission but not a lot. He takes my samples to high end clients. I tried to take my work to trade shows but wasn’t successful because the clients there have a list of who they want to see. Nobody gave me the time of day so having an agent helps.
Are you a full-time textiles designer?
I have another company with my friend who studied at CSM and it’s called Washed Up Design. She does pottery and I create all the illustrations that go on them. We’ve been going for two years and have exhibited in the V&A. I also work as a chef in care home as well as support work there part time and spend the rest of my time working on my textiles. I’m slowly getting the ball rolling. I have to keep my fingers in loads of pies and I’m currently pushing my textile designs into products such as bags and furniture. Eventually I want to work as full-time textiles designer. I work with people with learning difficulties and find it rewarding. It’s also rewarding to be able to do creative work because they’re so different to each other.