We’ve been big fans of Snowden Flood for ages. It’s not just her excellent name, her designs are beautiful in their graphic celebration of landscapes both rural and urban. Her River series is a classic, and she’s now produced a new collection, Fairground. We asked her to let us peep into her creative life.
What’s great about being an independent designer-maker? Precisely that – being independent. I spent my formative years working in New York for a prestigious architecture and interiors firm designing bespoke products for wealthy clients. I spent lots of time going to international trade shows and meeting manufacturers and gained plenty of experience making products – but frustratingly not always the ones I wanted to make! I was constantly coming up with designs that I wanted to develop, but never had the time to see them through. Having my son freed me up work on my own projects and it was then that I developed the first of my ‘iconic landmarks’ as cushion designs – and the rest is history!
Describe your studio. I work from a studio in my home. It’s small and every surface seems to be covered with a chaos of piles of books, drawings and paperwork. But working from home is great because I’m surrounded by many of the things that have inspired the products I’ve designed. Over the years, I’ve amassed a ton of books plus a whole heap of ephemera – advertising signs, old tins, photos, art and collectors’ plates from world fairs – all gathered from auctions, flea markets and junk shops. What is not so great or inspirational is having rooms full of boxes, feathers everywhere from cushion pads and enough tea towels to wash up for a thousand years… I’m currently looking for a shop/workspace so watch this space!
Before you begin a new design, you must… research my subject. When I start obsessing about something I want to make into a product, I thoroughly research the theme. For instance, my new range of Fairground homeware was two years in the making. I began by looking at photos in my many books, at auction catalogues, even buying things I like the look of on eBay. For this collection [see above], I spent months scouring the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield for ideas and many happy hours in Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon. It is only then when I had a proper feel for the theme that I was able to actually begin drawing up the final designs.
You know a design is a success when… it’s something I would personally love to have in my home. My aim is to make items that people will treasure and pass down and that one day will be heirlooms. If I can imagine my son giving something I made to his own children and them passing it onto theirs, then that for me is a design success.
What’s your favourite piece of design? Hmm, it’s hard this one because the pieces I lust after are more likely to be art, folk art or collectibles rather than famous or well-known design pieces. I’m a big admirer of Pieke Bergmans Design Virus light ‘Blubs’ and would very much like to have one.
What invention would change your life? A machine that ensures the fridge is full of healthy food, pushes me out of the door to go running, makes me practice my accordion and French and then – at the push of a button at any time day or night – transports my little boy and me to the beach in Charlotteville, Tobago.
In another life I’d be… me! But a me who gets more sleep and takes longer holidays.