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Inspirational Designers

May 12, 2009

Orla Kiely– Orla Kiely is an Irish born, London based designer. graduated from The National College of Art and Design Dublin and continued her education with a Masters Degree in the Royal College of Art in London. Her trademark leaf pattern used in her handbag design has become a highly recognisable international brand. Her ubiquitous collection now spans women’s-wear, accessories, wallpaper, home-wares, stationery plus a collection of note-paper for the Tate Modern.Today, along with her world-renowned bags and accessories, Orla Kiely has a celebrated womenswear line, travel collection and homeware range – all boasting her signature chic, funky, feminine style. This year, along with her two design collections, she’s launching a stationery line exclusively with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York. She’s also doing her third collaboration with creative powerhouse, the Tate gallery, and is set to announce a joint venture with an ultra-upmarket furniture company. Orla Kiely is a modern day designer who has done many textile work that incorporates elements of nature. Her inspirations are 1960’s vintage textiles, usually with vibrant floral designs. Much of her graphic work has been transformed to clothing wear and home wear. Recently, Orla Kiely’s success has exploded when Target decided to feature her textiles in their stores. Many of her floral vintage inspired designs have been transformed into coffee mugs, table clothes, and even clothing. All done in a funky, modern, and tasteful style.


William Morris– William Morris was part of the Arts and Crafts movement during the late 1800’s. He was an English architect, furniture, and textile designer. He was a firm believer that the art of craftsmanship was much preferred over the industrious machinery. Elements of nature were a huge influence in Morris’ work with elaborate, elegant, intertwining designs. In his later years, Morris returned to the interests of his life, art and literature. When his business was enlarged in 1881 by the establishment of a tapestry industry at Merton Abbey Mills, in Surrey, Morris found yet another means for expressing the medievalism that inspired all his work, whether on paper or at the loom. He then added another to his many activities; he assumed a direct interest in typography. In the early seventies he had devoted much attention to the arts of manuscript illumination and calligraphy. He himself wrote several manuscripts, with illuminations of his own devising. Furnishing textiles were an important offering of the firm in all its incarnations. By 1883, Morris wrote “Almost all the designs we use for surface decoration, wallpapers, textiles, and the like, I design myself. I have had to learn the theory and to some extent the practice of weaving, dyeing and textile printing: all of which I must admit has given me and still gives me a great deal of enjoyment.” Morris’s preference for flat use of line and colour and abhorrence of “realistic” three-dimensional shading was marked; in this he followed medieval conventions. Writing on tapestry weaving, Morris said: “As in all wall-decoration, the first thing to be considered in the designing of Tapestry is the force, purity, and elegance of the silhouette of the objects represented, and nothing vague or indeterminate is admissible. But special excellences can be expected from it. Depth of tone, richness of colour, and exquisite gradation of tints are easily to be obtained in Tapestry; and it also demands that crispness and abundance of beautiful detail which was the especial characteristic of fully developed Mediæval Art”.

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