I'm incredibly excited to share this interview with Tamasyn Gambell on Lovejoy today. Tamasyn Gambell is a London based print designer who I've admired for a long time. She creates printed items for both fashion and interiors. For those of us on limited budgets who hunger for her oddly beautiful color combinations she also makes printed notebooks, which are wonderful gifts.
Read on for lots of eye candy and info about Tamasyn's wonderful work. And if you're as gaga for her as I am you will want to follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
Tamasyn Gambell for Toast
You do prints for both fashion and interiors--how do you approach those different projects and what do you find most interesting in each of them?
With fashion you need to think about what colours suit most people to make your designs appealing to the majority. In accessories there is a bit more freedom as people often buy my work as a statement piece to brighten up an outfit. This year I have worked with Cherchbi who make fantastic bags. This was an exciting way of working as the shapes were already done and we decided which prints to use together and after some sampling in the print room it became quite clear which colours worked well on the tweed. Its great working with someone who has a clear vision and is on the same page in terms of design.
In interiors there is a bit more freedom as you can be bolder and more experimental with colour and scale. I love the fact that in interiors your work will be part of someone's home and be used everyday. With fashion it's a bit more seasonal and trend driven.
Tamasyn Gambell for forest London
Even though you use a lot of geometric prints your designs always have a wonderful hand-crafted look. Can you talk about your design process--is the computer used much or are there hand techniques that you use at times?
I do alot of intital research where I go to galleries and museums, and I have a collection of key books which always inspire me. I do sketches, mood and colour boards and then start to work out designs in the computer. My designs are all based on grids so working on the computer is the easiest way to make sure everything lines up and repeats. When the artwork is transferred onto screen this is when it really comes to life. I do a lot of experimenting on the print table, where I work out colour, scale, positioning and composition. All my work is hand printed in London and this is where you get the hand-crafted look. The irregularities in finish, colour and mark are what give the prints their charm and stops the designs being rigid.
Printed wool for the Cherchbi bags
In additional to your own line you also design prints and color reports for other brands. Do I have it right that these designs need to be created way ahead of the season they are intended for? Can you talk a little bit about what the process is for that type of design and how you decide on what colors and moods fashion and interiors designers will be looking for down the road?
I work as a freelance journalist for trend companies so I need to keep abreast in what is new and on trend, however in my work I try and create timeless prints that transcend trend. I think you need to be aware of what is going on and offer some colourways and designs that will fit into that, but also to do things that exist outside this and stand the test of time.
When working with others you need to gain a good understanding of their aesthetic and be able to work alongside this. With all the brands that I have worked with there has been a really good balance of both styles. I think as a designer you have to be careful who you work with as if it's not a good match it can be detrimental to your work.
You offer commissions and bespoke work. What are some of the most interesting or rewarding jobs you've done there?
A man bought a set of chairs that I designed the fabric for in collaboration with Forest London. He was so happy that he commissioned a lampshade and was so excited by it! He brought in a photo of the chairs and lampshade and it was fantastic to see someone so happy with their purchase. I love meeting the people who buy my designs, its very satisfying and validates all the hard work!
I always love your color combinations--how do you come up with those?
I spend alot of time on colour as I think in print it is one of the most important things. I like to put odd colours together to surprise people. Our eyes are drawn to shock colours and its exciting to mix these with classic ones. Nature produces the most fantastic colour combinations where you will see acid green next to a deep purple. You have to always be on the look out for new colours. I am always scouring markets for old labels, books, prints and fabrics to inspire me.
Any new projects coming down the hatch that you can share?
My collaboration with Cherchbi is online now. You can buy the bags from my website or from Dover Street Market.
Also to launch in September is my collaboration with British furniture maker Ercol, where I have designed a series of prints for the upholstered cushions.
Cherchbi bags in Tamasyn Gambell prints
And finally, a personal question really--what is the origin of your name? It's so wonderful! Strong and mysterious and so unique.
My name is Scottish for Twin. My mother is French and father English.
All photos via Tamasyn Gambell