If you're reading this, thank you!
Building and creating Calver's first-ever website has taken me a while, so if you've ventured this far into reading Calver's journal, I'm very happy. Here is where I'll share my inspirations, thoughts and ramblings about my favourite interior design trends, decorative treasures and more. For the first post, I thought I'd tell you a little about me and how I got into print design.
Calver has definitely grown from my experiences, adventures and love.
Starting Calver wasn't a decision I made overnight. It's taken time to get here, and my ideas and progress on the brand are constantly evolving. I've always been fascinated by how successful businesses are run and the people behind them. My first experience working was at 16, serving scoops of ice cream through a little window at one of Hall & Woodhouse's restaurants called "The Granary" in Wareham – I loved it! Making my own money, but mainly the ice cream. From there, I continued to work in hospitality right through school and university until I graduated and landed a job, first in the fashion industry and second in branding and design.
I'm not trying to bore you with my job history. Still, these experiences and the people I've met along the way have hugely influenced and encouraged me to explore and discover what I enjoy doing in my career. I've seen how I'd want to run – and how I absolutely wouldn't want to run a business. I discovered a love for quality, well-made design and beautiful fabrics and how they can transform the way someone looks and feels, and when working in branding and packaging design – I saw the importance of how a company has to stand for something more meaningful than just its product.
Adventure is the next thing that comes to mind when I think about how I got into launching Calver, and I don't mean getting on a plane and jetting off to somewhere exotic. I've always been adventurous when it comes to creativity. I'll have an idea in my head for something I want to design or create, and after that, I look at ways of making it happen. It's made me value craft and the work of talented artists and designers so much more. During lockdown, I was looking for a new creative adventure as a way to spend my evenings – that didn't involve staring or scrolling at a screen – I dusted off my sewing machine and began experimenting with updating some of the interior pieces in my bedroom at home.
Life at the time felt so grey and uninspiring, and the plain white linen fabric I was using to make some cushions also felt quite dull. Usually, I'd be all about a more calming, muted colour palette for a bedroom, but I just wasn't feeling it this time. I started drawing out my own designs and got into a bit of a rabbit hole searching YouTube videos for the best way to apply my patterns to fabric – and started watching the process of artisans block printing fabrics across China and India for inspiration.
After purchasing a lino kit and learning to create a repeat pattern, I started printing onto white linen fabrics. The patterned fabrics immediately became more interesting and exciting to look at and have in a room – I love the beauty in the imperfections of hand printing that make a piece more unique. After some failed attempts and accidentally cutting myself (and my parent's kitchen table, many times – sorry, mum and dad.) with the lino cutting tools, I eventually created my first, and now one of my favourite prints, inspired by a windy lockdown walk, Hambledon Hill.
I find it very difficult to sit still. I always need to be doing something. I'm at my most focused and happiest when I'm learning something new or being creative, and that's the best thing about Calver – is that as I grow with my experiences and adventures, so do my designs and the brand. I love the creative process and imagining where prints will live in people's homes. "Would I want this in my house, and if so, where?" – I ask myself when designing. It's important that my designs feel transferable across different interior homewares and living spaces and make a lasting impression, a bit like heirlooms you'll cherish forever. Whatever it might be in life and the challenges we face, I think if you always come from a place of love and have the best intentions, you will always have the ability to create something beautiful.
Thank you for joining me at the start of my journey with Calver, and I look forward to sharing more designs, stories and ideas with you very soon.