Makers Tales


Makers insights – Pink House by Rebecca Cole

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

Development work for creating embroidered and hand printed trims

MTC: Today we are talking to Rebecca Cole whose Pink House collection of printed and embroidered trims has championed the traditions of weave and stitching in new applications for the interior design industry. Rebecca, can you tell us a little bit about Who or what has inspired you? 

Rebecca Cole : Throughout my life my family have been a source of inspiration and encouragement, I am lucky enough to have creative family members, all following different artistic paths from metalwork to fine art and photography. I have always looked to natural plant forms for inspiration and one of my first artistic role models was the botanical illustrator Pierre-Joseph Redouté, his attention to detail is married with a facility for creating beautifully balanced illustrations which very much influenced my early botanical textile designs. I still aspire to the organic delicacy of line that he achieved in his work. More recently I have been looking at medieval tapestries and traditional African textiles for inspiration. Combining these disparate sources of inspiration is how my work is evolving at the moment.

MTC: How would you describe your working day?

Rebecca Cole: Contrary to common perception, I think the average designer’s day is predominantly spent on running a small business,. Finance and administration time far outweighs the time spent in joyful creation of new artwork and making products. Once I have dealt with emails and admin, I try to put aside some time for creativity. That may be experimenting with a new technique for my embroidered trims, sketching a design idea, or simply photographing plants in the garden or on a walk, as part of my archive of reference images. Social media posts are a light-hearted way of reminding myself, of the pleasure I take in creating my products. The curation of our Instagram feed is sometimes the most creative moment in my day.

MTC: Can you tell us about your most exciting project? 

Rebecca Cole The development of the embroidered trims with our artisans in Nigeria has been a really exciting and stimulating journey in both the creative and physical sense. Every time a bundle of weaving or embroidered trims arrives from Nigeria, we get a waft of the tropical smells of heat and baked earth that transport us straight back to Lagos.

Gartempe - block print and embroidered trims

MTC: Do you have any tips for survival as a maker?

Rebecca Cole Be true to your vision, say yes and make it work in the best way you know how!

MTC: What is your most creative time of day? 

Rebecca Cole: Once I have decided to put a day aside for producing artwork or fulfilling an order then my creative juices start flowing early and I am at my happiest. The therapeutic aspect of preparing my workspace and organising a task allows my mind to work through the creative process. Sorting out colours, choosing paper or fabric and threads are an integral part of the flow.

MTC: What is the most essential tool in your process?

Rebecca Cole: I couldn’t do without my sketchbook, it is the starting point for all my work, in every medium. I never travel without it, and sometimes will look back at very old drawings for creating designs, it’s a kind of creative journal with bits of plants, fabrics, photos and all sorts stuck or slotted between the pages.

watercolour sketch design development

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