Designer Sarah Campbell has spent a lifetime in pattern. She established her career with her late sister Susan Collier, and together they founded the original design company Collier Campbell. Sarah continues to design under her own name from her studio in Gipsy Hill, South London, producing a wide range of work including a collection of artisanal goods. Love of pattern, colour, and hand-painted designs are the hallmarks of her work. To celebrate the launch of Sarah’s exclusive line of handmade dolls for Selvedge, we wanted to find out more about the talented designer behind them...
How did you get started as a designer?
I began working in fabric design as a teenager - in the very first place, I got started by going to help my older sister, Susan Collier, when she became busy painting patterns for Liberty and Richard Allen Scarves in the early '60s. We went on to work together for 50 years making designs for textiles, wallpapers and other surfaces and converting cloth; we co-founded the original company Collier Campbell in 1979/80. Since Susan's death in 2011, I've built a company under my own name painting new patterns and developing new areas of work.
What kind of projects are working on at the moment?
Alongside building traditional textile ranges for Michael Miller Fabrics and a very varied design contribution every month to the homewares company WestElm in Brooklyn, I paint designs for ceramics, give talks and lectures, run workshops, teach and write a blog. I produce greetings cards and small print edition and an annual calendar, make designs for printed scarves and cushions, alongside silks and hand-made decorative gifts – including the lovely dolls I created for Selvedge. I also create fabrics to commission.
What inspired you to create own line of goods?
Textiles are designed to be used – and we always painted our patterns with their end-use in mind. I have cloth and images to hand and plenty of ideas – so creating a line of goods seemed a natural development. I really enjoy hand-painting fabrics, scarves, hankies, papier-maché animals, and I love making things. I know people love colour and pattern – and decoration is second nature to me!
Where and how are your products made?
All the designs are painted by me in my studio in South London, and the dolls are meticulously made in Mapperly, Nottingham.
Each one of the Sarah Campbell dolls is handmade for Selvedge using vintage Liberty fabrics with prints designed in the 60’s and 70s by Susan Collier & Sarah Campbell. Tiny details add charm and character, and every doll travels with its own calico bag. Please click here to view the full range.
To take part in Sarah's fabric painting workshop at the Selvedge Studio, click here.