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Meet the Maker: Sarah Campbell

Meet the Maker: Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell has been involved with colour and pattern for the whole of her life and we welcome Sarah back each year to teach her hand painted fabric workshop over three days. 

The first fifty years of her career were spent working alongside her sister Susan Collier, starting with working for Liberty of London Prints in the ’60s. In the late ’70s they founded the original Collier Campbell, the internationally influential design company. Their primary work was the inventing, painting and commercial production of textile designs for apparel, furnishings, bedlinens, wallpapers for themselves and many other companies in the UK and worldwide.

Since Susan’s death in 2011, Sarah has worked under her own name, painting designs on paper for production. She’s also developed other aspects of design work – making and painting on many different surfaces, running workshops and courses, mounting exhibitions of work past and present, writing a blog, developing her online shop….

Describe your process.

I paint, draw, write or make every day. I always keep a notebook for daily tasks and thoughts and write my tomorrow’s ‘to-do’ list every night before I sleep so that my brain can process it. I tend to write in the front of the book and make sketches in the back. I work mainly on my own, and there are a lot of different aspects to my work.

How and where did you learn to paint textiles?

I have only come to paint directly onto fabric in the last ten years or so; it’s been an extension of my long career as a painter of designs in repeat on paper. I’m not sure why I started, but I very much enjoy the different processes. I taught myself, working on the kitchen table.

Why painted textiles?

Having been a fabric designer painting repeats on paper all my life, it seemed a natural progression.

Where do you work?

I work in my studio – a room in my flat.

What inspires you?

Everything and anything – from a flash of colour in the corner of my eye, to the new study of an old textile, to seeing a red bus against a green hedge under a grey sky, to the slanting rain in a Hokusai print….

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of having made a life, and a living, in design and colour – and am still doing so!

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

Currently I work with WestElm and Michael Miller Fabrics in the US, and Magpie and Selvedge magazine here in the UK. All of this work can be seen online and in their stores and outlets.

My own products are shown and for sale online in my own shop, and at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

And of course there’s a comprehensive overview of the first fifty years of our working life in the book ‘The Collier Campbell Archive; fifty years of passion in colour’ by Emma Shackleton and myself.

What will we be seeing from you next?

A new collection for MichaelMillerFabrics will be coming early in 2018 with rather a different look… new work for WestElm includes some interesting ceramics….I’m just starting a relationship with Renaissance Ribbons in the US….I continue to add to my own range at Sarah Campbell Designs….I’m working on new furnishing fabrics for myself and others….and I’m increasing my reach as a teacher and talker.

Do you have any advice for other creatives?

Be brave, listen hard and follow your intuition.

Follow what Sarah is up to next by visiting her website and socials. 





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