Adam Slade Textiles
I’ve been admiring the dark and delicious meanderings, musings and designs of Adam Slade for a while now and you only need to look at one of his designs to be whisked away to another land somewhere between Victoriana, Tim Burton and a decadence rarely seen in contemporary design.
Adam produces surface designs for cushions, fabrics, light shades and wallpapers. The designs combine rich damask styles with digitally manipulated forms that distort and enthral with their familiar yet distant motifs. It is refreshing to see a designer not afraid to be bold, the use of deep dark colours really sets Adam apart in a land often populated with pastels and pop brights. The colour palette is dark, rich and jewel like giving it a feeling of opulence but without flashiness or bling.
It was with great pleasure I caught up with Adam at Tent London during London Design Festival and got to ask him a few questions.
What inspires you?
I have always found myself inspired by the unusual, the unconventional, the odd and the intriguing. The foundation of the work is fine detailed pen drawings, made from all the wonderful and interesting things that interest and delight me. The imagery is an eclectic mix of flora, fauna, antiques and anatomy, which in a bizarre and slightly surreal way, all connects together, to form beautiful and unusually enchanting narrative scenes in the work.
The primary medium is digital print, which allows for a great diversity into possible material outcomes. Professional industry print bureaus are used to deliver my unique designs onto a vast range of surfaces from heaving furnishing fabrics to the most delicate silks to high quality wallpaper. Ultimately my work is charming, intriguing and exciting pattern available on an almost unlimited number of surfaces
Where do you produce your work?
As my work is primarily digital I find that I can produce my work as long as I have pens, paper, a scanner and a mac! In my flat I had a small studio set-up consisting of a large table to work on, a light box, mac with adobe software and my prized epson A3 scanner. However now I’ve moved around a bit I’ve lost my ‘studio set-up’ with my scanner packed and stored away, however I can still draw, have the scanning outsourced and then design on my Mac which is up and running in my new place. I have all of my printing outsourced to industry print bureaus so this can happen regardless of where I’m based.
How is your work produced?
As mentioned above, all of my work is digitally produced. However it goes through many stages before sending away to print. Much of my work comes from hand drawings. I use a point 0.1 fine-liner pen to intricately capture the things I love to draw. The drawing stage can take days, even weeks depending on how much artwork I know I’m going to need for a design or collection. As well as the detailed drawing, colour and texture is required for some of the work. Numerous ways I’ve done this include using fabric dyes on paper, textured with salt and sand, dying paper then over dying with a resist such as folding, crunching up or wax, creating rorschach or butterfly effects by folding and mirroring splashes of dye, dripping ink and dye on paper and blowing randomly to create random spontaneous line as well as other arty inky methods. The list is endless really. After all of the drawing and messy artwork stage comes the scanning in and tidying up. I like to spend at least the same amount of time if not more on cleaning up and tweaking each drawing or ink/dye artwork as it took to create it. This stage is crucial to me and involves removing ‘dust’ or marks on the image, sharpening the lines or changing the depth of shade or colour. I tend to save several versions of each drawing/artwork and then review the whole lot so I select ones which are consistent with each other. After the cleaning up comes the designing, which depending on what it is I’m creating involves, placement, content, choosing which drawing and artworks work the best together, etc… Again I will save several versions of each design until I select which I will take forward into ‘final designs’ It is at this stage where I’ll apply a design to a certain product, i.e. a cushion cover, a lampshade, a repeat print for wallpaper or fabric as this determines how the design should be laid out or repeated. Then the files are sent away to bureaus and manufacturers and then its just a case of waiting to get them back. Some of the products, such as my silhouette lampshades require hand finishing, such as the application of the internal silhouette which creates the shadow effect…
What are you working on at the moment?
After exhibiting at TENT 2013 I saw a lot of exciting and innovative repeat print, some wonderful wallpapers and fabrics. So I’m setting about creating a fairly big collection of wallpapers, as this is something my product range is lacking in currently and I feel I need to compete with all of the other amazing wallpaper already out there. I’ve found a really exciting subject matter which I want to be the focus of the work, but it’s top secret… It’s along similar lines to a subject matter I’ve used many times before, but with a lovely twist. I’m very excited to get started with the artwork. I have collected images and done research, so let the drawing commence!See more of Adam Slade’s work on his website here