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High Inspiration

The Scottish Highlands and its island beaches are the focus and inspiration for print textile designer Matthew Barber’s practice. The industrial materials that can be found throughout Matthew’s work have been influenced by the machine-made components found in Scottish shipping yards and fishing towns.

In Matthew’s MA collection manufactured off-cuts combine with luxurious hand treated silks and wool. Abstracted landscapes and dusty, earthy tones can be seen throughout his work, juxtaposing the man-made with the natural world.

Matthew uses skillfully hand-rendered techniques, including traditional dyeing, screen-printing and hand-painting directly onto cloth. Colour plays a key roll in Matthew’s practice, developing earthy and watery palettes from film photography, which he captures on his travels around Scotland. Matthew spends much of his time developing a wide range of rich, sandy tones which he transfers to his dying and printing techniques.

When it comes to design philosophy, Matthew describes his approach as a collision of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘form and function are one’ and Frank Gehry’s deconstructivism. Matthew works instinctively in the dye lab and print studio alike. Picking apart and altering traditional methods of printing and dyeing comes naturally to him. And all the while, Matthew works holding the belief that the textile of a garment or a bag should be as useful as it is beautiful.

Matthew Barber’s practice has grown and evolved since he began studying textiles at Edinburgh College of Art. A few years later, after winning a Burberry Design Scholarship, Matthew was able to continue his studies at the Royal College of Art. Now working as a furnishing fabrics consultant at Liberty London, Matthew works with a wide knowledge of interior fabrics from all over the world. He also works on a freelance basis as a print designer and illustrator from his small home studio, creating concept fabrics aimed at, but not limited to, the luxury fashion market. 

You can see more of Matthew’s work and inspiration on his Instagram feed @mattb.ar

All image credits are courtesy of the artist.

A guest post written by graphic designer and illustrator Laura Heeks



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