It’s Wednesday again already, time for the second post in my Space to Create series. If you missed it you can see the first post here. These weekly posts are about sharing glimpses behind the scenes with the some of my favourite creatives. I’m always intrigued to learn more about the creative processes and spaces of the designers, artists and makers I admire, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Some of the folks I feature may be names you’re familiar with and others will be lesser known – there will be inspiration and insight and lots of lovely creations and spaces to see.
Today’s Space to Create belongs to fabric designer Saffron Craig. Saffron’s designs reflect her unique, whimsical and contemporary vision of Australia, including wombats, Kookaburras, rolling hills and lovely flora in unexpected colour palettes. She has recently released a new fabric range called Valley View, which “captures the essence of Australia’s breathtaking valley’s with hidden spots and natural secrets while paying homage to folk art, cross stitch and patch work”. Saffron is such a genuine and lovely person and her joyful sunny spirit shines through in her work.
I know you’ll enjoy meeting Saffron (click on the read more link below)…
Where do you live?
I live in a red brick house surrounded by mature Australian native trees. I look across the harbour and watch bird life come and go. It’s beautiful here on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I have amazing neighbours—one takes me on his yacht sailing and the other encourages us use their gorgeous pool. It’s a quiet home with all day sunshine. We have lived here for 6 years now. The interior is heavily patterned with handcrafted timber furniture, it is full of creativity.
Where do you create?
Often I sit on the floor with pen and paper and sketch ideas. Ideas seem to be there in my imagination and come quite easily, time stops and the day flies by.
I take the best of my drawings and redraw them into Illustrator on my Mac in my studio turning them into fabric ranges, quilt patterns, garments, blogs. I also sew a lot and I tend to do that anywhere in my studio or around the house.
When do you create? Is it a full time job?
My business is based around my creativity. Some days I can get really caught up in the sales and business side. I usually do try to block out chunks of time to create so I can go into a bubble. Shutting off email and social media and not answering my phone means I have my mind all to myself and the thrill of designing. It also means that I am using my time more efficiently. Most days as I am a positive person I do to look at my day as a creative day—designing fabric ranges, blogging, writing, taking photographs, running an online shop, sewing and social media. It’s full time job with odd hours as my daughter comes first, I don’t want to miss out on her growing up so my hours revolve around school. Which means I work on the weekend and late at night.
What path led you to this creative place?
I was a fashion designer, showing at Mercedes fashion week and selling my womenswear designs Australia wide and when I had my daughter however it all felt too much. I did a bit of soul searching and found that what I loved most about what I was doing as a fashion designer was designing the prints and patterns.
I then focused on creating my own fabrics using my own illustrations and drawings and bold colour sense. I took my hand printed fabrics to the Show in Darling Harbour Sydney which attracts thousands of fabric and quilting enthusiast and to my amazement I sold out of most of my fabrics. I decided to pursue it and reinvested the capital back into another range. I am now in my 6th year of designing fabrics. I still do soul searching from time to time and find that when I am designing print and patterns I am really content.
What’s your elevator pitch? How do you describe what you do?
Saffron Craig fabrics produce ethical organic fabrics with bold pattern designs to inspire people to sew and to be creative. Saffron Craig fabrics are widely used for quilting, clothing, bags, accessories and interiors.
How would you describe yourself in six words?
Creative, vivacious, curious, friendly, explorer, redhead.
Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
When I look back at my last 12 ranges I can see that my life—my passion for travel, my enthusiasm for the majestic beauty Australia offers comes through in my work. I also am excited by colour and I am not afraid to use it.
My motivation comes from a place of happiness. I am genuinely happy with what I am doing. It’s my passion. My customers motivate me, sending me emails or ringing me up thankinging me for what I create and that is something which is very humbling and encouraging. Also I am motivated by sales. If I have a big week in my online shop I am doing a happy dance. It means people like what I am designing so I can continue.
What are the essential items in your workspace?
Mac computer with Adobe software, fast wireless internet. Paper and pens. My rotary cutter, rulers and cutting matt, sewing machine get daily use. The kettle too. I make lots of tea!
Music is my best friend. I listen to new music every day.
What advice do you have for aspiring creatives?
If you have a passion and you are looking to do something with it my advice it to just do it. Life is for the living and for the doing so get on with it. Better to look back in a year’s time and know that you tried your very best. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, some of my best work has come from a mistake. I look at mistakes as a way to learn and to grow. Perfection has never been something I adhere to.
Oh and read read read. Read books on business, blogging, building websites. Just soak up all the information you can.
Do you have a dream that you’d love to fulfill?
In my mind I have an idea brewing where my family travel Australia for a year. While I teach along the way, meet people and pass on all the knowledge I have gained from all the study I have done. I think I would head along the NSW Coast heading South first to Tassie. Taking time to walk through old forests and capture them in my sketchbook create a few more print ranges and meet people.