Imogen Heath on How She Created Her Bestselling Print Design

by Imogen Heath in Bespoke stories

For my first post for The Art of Bespoke, I thought I’d tell you about my bestselling design ‘Dahlia’ and how and why it was created. You can also find out how to win a Dahlia cushion for your home.

Dahlias and other flowers collected from my garden

It started with a request to design an exclusive range of cushions for Heal’s spring/summer 2012 collection, which was perfectly timed with my summer holiday last year.

I visit my parents’ home in France whenever I can.  They bought their house very cheaply as a wreck 20 years ago, and it sits in the middle of nowhere in the Vendée. After my parents retired there three years ago, the old house is finally starting to enjoy a bit of modernisation (I spent last Christmas there for the first time with central heating – it was very exciting.)

I often do some of my best drawing there, as there’s little else to do, and there are certainly no distractions. This textile design ‘Dahlia’ was created in an afternoon.

Sketches of dahlias taken from my scrapbook

Improvised washes of watercolour over sketches

It doesn’t often just happen like that, but I’ve come to realise that some of the best designs can arrive quickly and from a simple idea. I hope I can create more like Dahlia this summer, too.

Dahlias arranged into an all-over pattern in Photoshop

For my first-ever meeting with Heal’s, I took every design I had with me. I didn’t feel I had anything to lose. The Heal’s team were drawn to my most colourful pieces and artwork of a more improvised nature, and advised me to continue along those lines when creating a collection for them. This meeting was quite a turning point for me. They liked the work I’d created simply for my own enjoyment – the pieces never really intended for sale. As a commercial textile designer, I was used to having to put everything and the kitchen sink into a design for it to sell. It was refreshing to see them sidestep those ideas and pick up on designs I loved, but did not have the confidence to run with.

So ‘Dahlia’ was created from a happy place. I’d just received the break I’d been waiting for, had a new-found confidence, and was back home (it had been a while.)

If you’d like to win your very own Dahlia cushion, please like us on The Art of Bespoke’s Facebook page and keep an eye out for more information.

Dahlia is digitally printed onto a heavyweight emerised cotton canvas.

All Imogen Heath cushions and fabric are manufactured in British mills.

For details on these designs and my new collection, visit my website, Imogen Heath. Please also feel free to leave comments below.

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