Makers Tales


Makers insights – Tania McIvor

Our founder members talk about what has inspired them, how they work and how to survive as a maker.

Hanbury design cushions in tones of blue

Makers Tales Collective: It is a pleasure to find out a little more about how our Makers have evolved their signature styles and what has inspired them, Tania McIvor, as the creative design force behind Cloth & Clover, What has inspired you?

Tania McIvor: Inspiration and whether you have it, or feel it (or not) is such an important part of the creative process. Like most designers I find inspiration from many different sources.

Often we reflect on childhood memories – certainly my grandmother’s innate and uncontrived sense of style had a huge impact on me. She was an inveterate collector and always had a creative project on the go.. I loved to spend time with her, especially when I was allowed to rummage through cupboards filled to the brim with patterned china, old quilts and other antique treasures. This left an indelible impression on me..

I studied art history alongside design which has undoubtedly instilled my keen interest in art and architecture. Particularly historic houses and of course their interiors. My first design job upon graduating was at Laura Ashley which further inspired my passion for textiles and learning the process of printmaking. I continue to look to the past for my inspiration. My prints are based on historic textiles first and foremost, but I also love to travel and explore new places. I’m avid reader of interiors books and magazines, frequent visits to museums, craft or textiles fairs and flea markets.

More recently, and as a result of restrictions on our lives, I’ve found amazing inspiration and insight from virtual talks and online conversations with speakers from many different creative disciplines. In fact I was so inspired by the potter Frances Palmer that I immediately booked myself into pottery classes such was my enthusiasm to learn to throw a pot!

MTC: Running a small business is an all-consuming task at the best of times, how would you describe your working day?

Tania McIvor: Much depends on what’s in my diary – my favourite days are spent at the printworks. I work either with the studio on new designs, at the hand table sampling new patterns and tweaking colours or printing production runs. Another day I might be off to a flea market or textile sale – in which case it really is up at the crack of dawn to get to my favourite dealers before the best pieces get scooped up. My studio space is at home and is where I feel most content, focusing on day today business as well as my creative pursuits.

Abberley design on the print table

MTC: You have worked in many creative domains throughout your career, what would you say has been your most exciting project? 

Tania McIvor: I’ve been a designer and maker throughout my career. Looking back I’ve worked on some wonderful and often high profile projects, but the most exciting by far is Cloth & Clover. It’s an ever evolving and richly rewarding project that continues to inspire and fulfil me..

MTC: Are there any Tips for survival that you would like to share with other Makers out there?

Tania McIvor: I believe you need to be realistic and resilient but most importantly be true to yourself and your craft.. I often remind myself of Theodore Roosevelt’s brilliant quote “comparison is the thief of joy..” it’s so true.

MTC: What do you find is your most creative time of day?

Tania McIvor: I try and get the tasks I least want to do out of the way first thing and then I feel free to focus on the more joyful creative aspects of my day..

MTC: We all have favourite tools, sometimes as talismans to our work, what would you say is the most essential tool in your process?

Tania McIvor: My colour book which houses the master samples of my colour palette, sharp scissors, my faithful Lamy fountain pen, spectacles and I’m afraid my laptop..

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