Introduce us to you and your brand!
Hi my name is Claire and I am a textile designer/maker based in Fife. I studied textiles at Glasgow School of Art and started Clarabella from my kitchen table when my kids were little, making cushions and lighting from vintage fabrics. I now run my design studio from a 16th century Abbot's House known as the 'Pink Hoose' in Fife. I make sustainable colourful accessories for you and your home and clothing using responsibly sourced natural materials.
How has your brand/work developed since you began?
I started out using only vintage and found fabrics, these still feature in my work, its all about balance for me. As I found it harder to source the fabrics I wanted I decided to back to school and learned to design digitally. I launched my first collection of printed fabrics in 2018.
What are your main inspirations?
The architecture of my hometown is my biggest inspiration, I live in Dunfermline which is architecturally really interesting, its an old town built up out of the wealth of the linen industry. Windows and doorways and the skyline have been a huge inspiration for my collection 'Hometown'. I also love the heady patterns and colours of the 60's and 70's and I find fashion and interior photography from this era a huge inspiration.
What do you consider to be your most popular product? Why do you think it resonates with people?
My scarves are always popular I print a couple of collections of new ones every year. Its a way of adding colourful interest to an outfit or wearable art as I like to call them ,they are a perfect gift. Lampshades are also very popular (especially my Disc'o' design), I have loads of designs and sizes to choose from, I think finding that perfect lampshade is the 'holy grail' of any room, I often do bespoke pieces for clients I really love to work this way.
"I also love the heady patterns and colours of the 60's and 70's and I find fashion and interior photography from this era a huge inspiration."
What piece are you the proudest of?
In 2020 I bought myself a fancy staple gun for upholstery, I have a bit of a thing for mid-century design and chairs, I love to pimp a chair! I have been designing my own printable vinyls and upholstering chairs in my designs since that purchase.
In lockdown I realised a long term dream to put my prints onto frocks, I used the time to learn pattern cutting and develop a small collection of colourful happy clothes which I am proud to say are handmade in Fife. I launched this collection last July and its been a real learning curve but I have loved every minute! I am hoping to launch these into SDX this year.
What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist/designer?
The juggle is always a challenge but that what makes me happy. One day you are a designer and maker the next a photographer and PR specialist, every day is different and being a creative is a multi tasking role. What's great is you learn new stuff all the time.
Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?
I have been lucky enough to design a number of private and commercial interiors with a strong focus on re-use and love to experiment in my own home. I love interiors and my own home appeared on Scotlands Home of the Year and has been featured in interior magazines. (I just cram them full of Clarabella designs LOL)
How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?
I had visited the store when it was in Leith and liked the idea of the space rental. I was invited me to join and I thought it would be great to have my designs featured on George Street. Its so central and has such a great footfall.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect to your business since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?
I have always been a tutor alongside my designing. Classes had to stop which was hard financially. I love teaching so not having that interaction with my students was difficult. I used the time not teaching to work on new designs looking back without this break I would not have designed my clothing range - sliver linings and all that.
What do you hope to gain from working with SDX going forward?
I would love to expand my range and really get to know my customers in Edinburgh. I think its really important to have a rapport with the people who buy my designs. You can join my mailing list and become a part of my community on www.clarabellachristie.co.uk
"In lockdown I realised a long term dream to put my prints onto frocks, I used the time to learn pattern cutting and develop a small collection of colourful happy clothes which I am proud to say are handmade in Fife."
If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists/designers who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?
Be ready to work very hard and be kind! Having a great design/idea is just one aspect of being a creative, you need to be able to juggle lots of job roles. I think it's easy to loose heart and burn-out early on. How you treat people and look after yourself on the way is key to having a happy journey.
And finally, help share some motivation with your favourite inspirational advise or quote!
Above ; )
Thank you to Claire for participating in our blog, you can find Clarabella at our George Street shop in Edinburgh