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Coffee with... St Jude's Founder Angie Lewin

5th February 2014


Founded by Simon and Angie Lewin in 2005, St Jude’s collaborate with an eclectic range of artists to create and print unique fabrics, cushion covers and wallpapers. 

We sat down with Angie Lewin to pick her brains on the history of the brand, her design inspiration and her own interior style...


You founded St Jude’s in 2005 with your husband Simon, how did the idea to start your own business come about?

I’d been interested in designing textiles for several years. Having spent some time studying horticulture I returned to full time printmaking in 2002 and whilst developing new linocuts and wood engravings we thought aspects of these would translate well into repeat patterns.

I’d pondered speaking to other companies about selling designs on but we liked the idea of having complete control over all aspects of the design and production process.


Angie Lewin, St Jude's founder


What were you both doing before?

After studying at Central St. Martins and Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts, I worked as an illustrator for a number of years before studying horticulture and becoming a garden designer. I’d carried on creating prints during this time but returned to full-time printmaking in the early 2000s.

Having run a record label, Simon had most recently been working in marketing and web design.

 

What do you enjoy most about running your own business?

It’s really having the ability to develop new projects quickly and having complete control of everything we design, and it’s great having a chance to collaborate with other designers we admire.

 

What inspires your business?

We’ve always had an interest in fine art and commercial design, but we are particularly inspired by artists that work in both fields. We love Edward Bawden’s graphic design and illustration work for London Transport, for example, and Eric Ravilious’ ceramics for Wedgwood.

Exploring the concept of ‘artist as designer’ fuels much of what we do.

Birch Tree Sun Fabric by Angie Lewin

Birch Tree Sun Fabric by Angie Lewin

Doveflight Fabric by Mark Hearld

Doveflight Fabric by Mark Hearld

Forest Jig Fabric by Ellie Curtis

Forest Jig Fabric by Ellie Curtis


St Jude’s collaborates with an eclectic range of talented individuals, what is your criteria for designers and what is the key to a successful partnership?

We’ve approached all of the artists we’ve collaborated with to date - artists whose work we’ve admired for some time.

And we’ve been lucky that all our collaborations to date have gone so well - it’s really just a case of everyone involved having being adaptable and having an interest in seeing how their work might translate into fabric or wallpaper.

 

Norfolk and the Scottish Highlands are a great source of inspiration for you, what do you love about these places and how is your passion for them reflected in your designs?

Both the North Norfolk Coast and Scottish Highlands share a desolate beauty. I love walking and sketching the landscapes and native plants. I try to capture the essence of these sketches in the designs I develop.

 

We are very excited about your new collection; can you tell us more about it?

Both Meadows Edge and Spey Stripe are influenced by the understated beauty of grasses and wild flowers. The muted colours reflect those of the British countryside where I spend time observing and sketching.

Spey Stripe Wallpaper

Spey Stripe Wallpaper

Meadow's Edge Fabric

Meadow's Edge Fabric


Aside from interiors what other exciting projects are you working on?

I’m currently busy working towards an exhibition in London in May, the latest in our series of St Jude’s In The City events. This will feature a number of new prints. I’ll then be exhibiting in Cambridge later in the year and I have an exhibition of watercolours in Edinburgh in 2015.

 

How would you characterise your own interior style?

Our home features a collection of furniture and objects from a variety of periods - from Georgian to modern Scandinavian. We try to make sure we have enough surfaces and wall space to display found natural objects plus artwork and objects collected from artists - often friends.

 

What is the favourite room in your house?

Our new upstairs sitting room in Edinburgh where we look into the woodland at the side of the house. It had been a bedroom but we decided it would suit being used as a sitting room as would have been intended originally. We redecorated and installed a new wood burning stove - and we’ve just hung some artwork that had been hidden away in a plan chest for some time.

 

What piece of furniture could you not live without?

An old dresser base which I use as a workbench and for storage in my studio.

 

What are your colour predictions for 2014?

With my own designs I’m finding that lichen greens and chalky blues are cropping up frequently as I work on colour way ideas.

Kensal Rising Fabric

Kensal Rising Fabric

Painswick Fabric

Painswick Fabric

Seedheads Fabric

Seedheads Fabric

Squirrel and Sunflower Fabric

Squirrel and Sunflower Fabric

Who is your favourite artist/designer?

That’s a very difficult question - it’s hard to narrow that down. But perhaps it would be the work of Eric Ravilious that has inspired me most consistently since I originally started studying printmaking.

 

What is on your reading list?

That would be Alan Powers’ latest book ‘Eric Ravilous - Artist & Designer’. Recommended for anyone with an interest in his work.

 

What are favourite online stores?

I spend a lot of time looking at both the Peter Beales Roses and Woottens of Wenhaston websites - I’m busy redesigning our garden and I’m giving the choice of plants lots of thought. 

I also love browsing the Old Town website. They make a wonderful selection of clothes all made in their Norfolk workshop using British cottons, woollens and linens.

 

What do like best about fabricsandpapers.com?

It’s great to see so many brands we admire - and the site makes it very easy for customers to consider combinations of bolder designs with simpler companion prints and plains.


 

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