November 5, 2012

Introducing textile artist, Karen Nicol…

Karen Nicol Wild at Heart Cushions

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Today, I’m delighted to feature a very talented textile artist called Karen Nicol.

I first came across Karen’s work via florist Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart.  And I absolutely love her floral cushions…the colour combinations, textures and 3D nature.

When did you start your business and where are you based?

I started my business many years ago when I left the Royal College of Art and have always been based in and around London.


Where do you get your inspiration for your floral-inspired designs?

I’m just crazy about flowers.  Our house is always full of them.

My husband and I would rather have flowers in the house than food in the fridge, so I’m continually photographing them and drawing them.

My mother was an artist and demonstrated flower arranging.  She also taught Ikebana for many years, so I was constantly surrounded with flowers as a child.

I’ve also been really influenced by Chinese paintings of nature.  I love the way they seem to abstract a flower yet retain its essence by really looking at the true shapes, rather than creating a symbol to represent it.


Could you tell us about your client base?

I worked in fashion for many years, beginning by designing for a German fashion house and eventually started to regularly collaborate with fashion designers in the UK such as Clements Ribeiro, Matthew Williamson, John Rocha, Markus Lupfer, Betty Jackson and Julien Macdonald.  


And I also did projects with houses such as Chanel, Givenchy, Chloe and Marc Jacobs.

I then expanded the business to work in interiors too and did own label ranges of products with companies such as Designers Guild, Wild at Heart and Anthropologie.  And I also designed for many interiors companies.

I then started to have solo gallery shows and work in art fairs all over the world, selling to clients such as BlackRock bank and many more.

Throughout the diversity of my career, flowers are always a mainstay in textile design, changing with the times yet retaining their constant appeal.


Could you tell us more about your recent collaboration with florist Nikki Tibbles?

I’ve actually worked with Nikki since 2006 creating interiors pieces to go in her fabulous shops.

We share the passion for flowers, especially the big blousy ones. We made cushions and bed linen, throws, tablecloths and napkins…all strewn with bright flowers and leaves.

For the Chelsea Flower Show this year, I was thrilled when Nikki invited me to do a range for her Artisan Retreat.

She told me the flowers she was using…delphiniums, roses, peonies, hydrangeas and sweet peas.  And she sent me the throws and cushions.  

She wanted ‘strange’ colour combinations which made the pieces look really contemporary and out of the ordinary.

Karen Nicol Wild at Heart Cushions

What are your plans for the remainder of 2012?

I’m showing at an Imaginary Menagerie exhibition in New York from November 7th-30th.


Many thanks to Karen for all her help in compiling today’s blog post and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing her beautiful work.

(Images : Karen Nicol, Wild at Heart)


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