Meet our teachers: Nancy Straughan, printmaking, paper crafts and more
Nancy Straughan is teaching so many exciting classes in our new shop in March and April, from screen printing to leatherwork to stationery design! We are thrilled to have her on our team and to be able to offer you loads of new ways to inspire your creativity in fun, beginner-friendly, one-evening classes. Nancy spends her days producing beautiful homewear and accessories crafted from her own range of organic printed fabrics inspired by the motifs seen in Scandinavian and 1960s textiles. Read on to find out more about Nancy and browse all of her upcoming classes here.
Tell us about yourself and your business!
Well I live in lovely North London and I’m a pattern designer. I work as a freelance designer but I also design for my own homeware business too.
Have you always wanted to work for yourself and how did you make that happen?
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I graduated university. I thought I wanted to work in the fashion industry but after doing a few internships I realised it wasn’t for me. I organically set up my own business which started with me selling my fabrics on Etsy and it’s grown from there. I have been running my brand for the past five years and It has taken a lot of trial and error, however I feel now that I have finally cracked It and I know exactly what I want my brand to be!
Your textiles are gorgeous. How would you describe your aesthetic and your design process? Is textile design the main part of your business?
Thank you! I’m very inspired by the 1960s and Scandinavian design. My work has a lot of texture which is important as I don’t like my designs to feel flat and lifeless. I always start my work with some sketches or paper cutouts which I will then scan into my computer and edit on photoshop. I’ve recently been exploring more painterly textures and I have become obsessed with watercolours!
You’ve worked with some really well-known clients, including Marks and Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger, Debenhams and Graham & Brown wallpapers. Do you have any advice for designers who are trying to strike up collaborations with major brands?
Working with brands is a real mix of hard work and luck. I recommend having a really good and diverse portfolio online, so on a blog or a more professional website. Social media has been a really important part of my business too and I’m lucky that my Instagram following has been rapidly growing over the past few years. I find that Instagram in particular is a great free resource to show your work and also get feedback from potential customers too. Some designers have an agent who will send work to clients but I prefer to do all that work myself as I’m quite a control freak!
When your work is creative, do you find any time for creative projects that aren’t for your business or do you pursue other hobbies in your down time? And do you have down time?!
I try to paint and draw something at least twice a week. I regularly meet up with my fiance in the pub after work to do a little bit of writing, reading or drawing which really helps to separate my mind from all the other creative work I have going on with clients. Whenever I get stressed from all the admin work I grab a sketchbook and some paints and spend 10 or 15 minutes doing something creative.
You are going to be teaching so many different projects at The Village Haberdashery. Where did you learn to do all of these crafts?
I used to manage a creative events company, It was my job to organise a lot of the creative events for the V&A and Natural History museums so I had to be skilled in a lot of different crafts. I’ve always been very creative and I would much rather try and make something myself rather than buying it. Crafting is all about trying something new and having fun, even if it fails at least you’ve done something creative for yourself!
Are there any crafts you’re dying to try, but haven’t had a chance yet?
I would absolutely love to learn more about leathercraft and more professional bookbinding techniques. I also really interested in traditional paper marbelling, It looks like magic!
Who do you love to follow on Instagram? Do you have any favourite podcasts?
I tend to follow a lot of other bloggers and creative people on Instagram a view of my favourite people are @hanbullivant, @thelovelydrawer and @peggyandkate . With regards to your podcasts I am hugely into true crime so at the moment I am listening to Criminal and In The Dark which are both beautifully produced if not a little creepy!