The MADE NORTH Gallery presents new and experimental work by established and emerging northern designer/makers. We aim to promote a range of northern designer/makers and provide opportunities to find out a little bit more about how they work and their sources of inspiration.
We love the work of MaggieMagoo and it is great to launch their collection on the MADE NORTH Store.
Maggie Magoo Designs, run by Leeds based designer Carole, create contemporary homewares which include tea towels, screen prints, digital prints, tote bags & notebooks. Originally from the North East Carole relocated to Leeds after studying surface pattern design and printed textiles at the Leeds College of Art & Design. She has worked in the greetings card industry for a number of years, but decided to launch Maggie Magoo Designs in 2015 in order to pursue her love of textile design & screen printing.
Carole is an avid collector of vintage fabrics & ceramics, and has a passion for mid century design which influences her work. She also spends time exploring the countryside around Yorkshire walking her terrier Maggie and many of her designs take inspiration from nature.
Her love of surface pattern, mark making and colour are evident in her bold, cheerful designs, creating bright and playful patterns, which run throughout her work. She uses pencils, paper and brushes to create initial sketches & doodles and then works into them further using a mac. These designs are then translated onto products or put onto screen & printed onto paper and fabric.
Everything is designed in West Yorkshire & produced in the UK. Maggie Magoo Designs feels that an important part of being a small business is to support UK manufacturing.
We caught up with Carole at MaggieMagoo to find out what shapes her thoughts and inspires her design process.
Who or what inspired you to become designer/illustrator?
I’ve always been interested in art & have drawn, doodled & crafted for as long
as I can remember. My grandma taught me to knit & my mam taught me to embroider at a very early age. I studied Surface Pattern Design & Printed Textiles at Leeds College of Art & Design, which is where I discovered my love of screen printing. I love colour, pattern and mark making & I find the work of mid century designers & illustrators, such as Stig Lindberg, Josef Frank & Jessie Tait very inspirational. I like that they produced beautiful designs that also served a purpose.
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as contemporary, bright and playful. My design work often begins as hand drawn sketches, which I scan in to my laptop & then develop into patterns/add colour/texture etc. The doodles and sketches can be as basic as some splodges drawn with a stick and some ink, to detailed drawings of flowers and plants. I’m inspired by nature but I also take inspiration from my huge collection of vintage fabrics, ceramics, crockery & glassware. I love mid century design & Scandinavian style too. I put my own take on these influences to create something that is my own unique style.
Where are you based? Please describe your studio.
I’m based in Leeds in West Yorkshire. My studio is a small room in my house, which could best be described as organised chaos (and sometimes not so organised!). I like to surround myself
with inspiration & have lots of images & bits and bobs stuck pinned up around
the room. I’m a bit of a hoarder so there’s all sorts of things in there that ’might come in handy’.
What does your typical working day look like?
My day is probably spent 60% admin & 40% design at the moment. I’d love it to be 20% admin 80% design, but once a body of work has been designed my time is taken up sorting out orders stock, or getting prepared for upcoming fairs. New ideas are always bubbling away in the background. Then there’s always Maggie the terrier to walk.
What piece of work are you most pleased or proud of, and why?
I am a little bit in love with my toadstools range of designs & everybody else seems to be too.
When you’re not working what do you like to do?
I like walking in the countryside with Maggie, maybe finishing the walk in a real ale pub. I get a lot of pleasure from cooking & feeding people. I enjoy live music, and luckily, living in Leeds there’s a thriving music scene, so there’s always something to see. I also spend a lot of time trawling through charity shops flea markets, searching for vintage treasure. I find it difficult to stop doing things, so if I’m relaxing I’m generally still making something, like a crocheted blanket for instance. I love travelling & visiting cities, in this country & abroad. I long to revisit New Zealand.
What is the most satisfying part of the work you do, and why?
I get a lot of satisfaction from having an idea in my head, then creating something beautiful that is functional too. I could spend all day every day creating patterns.
What would be your dream project?
I would love to design some repeat patterns to go onto fabrics. It would be amazing to work with a textile company on a range of fabrics.
What are you currently working on?
I‘ve recently rediscovered my love of embroidery & have begun translating some of my printed textile designs into embroidered pieces.
How would you describe working in the north of England?
I’m originally from County Durham, and I love being in the north of England.
I find the countryside around Yorkshire very inspiring & there’s an incredible
amount of talented artists & designers up here in the north. Technology means you can now be anywhere in the world & people can still access your work, so in a way, it
doesn’t matter where you physically are anymore. Though I’ll probably still remain up north (unless I emigrate to New Zealand!).