In a new series of interviews we go behind the scenes with some of our designers and makers to find out a little bit more about their background, the story behind their work and what plans they have for the future. First up, leather accessories maker, Rosie Drake-Knight.
R: What's your background and how did you get into making leather accessories?
RDK: I started my business in 2013 when I graduated from Falmouth in Textile Design. During my final year I experimented with decorative leatherwork, from screen print to applique. It was only when I started out in the real world that I realised I wanted to find a function for the decorative pieces I was creating so I started to construct bags and pouches and it has developed from there. I now focus on printed leather luggage, designed for function and longevity. I run my business from my home workshop where I mainly work alone. My leather is sourced in the UK and I screen print and construct my pieces in-house. I have a ready-to-wear line which I update every 6-8 months and I also offer a bespoke service.
R: Who or what are the biggest influences on your work right now?
RDK: My inspiration and influence comes from the great outdoors! I love organic pattern and texture and I see it in anything. From hailstones to railings or simple whatever shapes comes out of the end of my paintbrush, I draw it, paint it or print it to begin my design process. I find colour palettes very inspirational. I think creative people see inspiration all over! I've got a bit of an addiction to finding and buying ceramic pieces at the moment. I'm finding clay and the glazing process texturally different to fabric and leather and that is really interesting for me. I particularly admire Rebecca Proctor's work (Modern Craft Workshop) and Chloe Burke's (Whinblossom) - their use of colour and texture is just beautiful and really connects with the organic inspiration they build from.
R: What's your favourite piece from your collection?
RDK: It has to be the bucket bag. I started making these quite early on and they have evolved into a really likeable product for a few reasons. I love the actual process of making them - The rounded shape to the bottom of the bag means that they are a bit more interesting to sew up. I also love the pull cord on them and the versatility this brings to the wearer with an adjustable strap length.
R: What advice would you give to someone starting out making their own line of accessories?
RDK: Try it. Don’t waste time thinking about things. Give it a whirl, get cracking, drag out everything you need, make a mess and try it! The best thing I did was put my work out there on social media. It's like instant feedback! You know what works simply by the responses of people who understand and appreciate your ideas.
R: What exciting things can we expect to see from RDK for the rest of 2017?
RDK: I'm pretty much fully booked out with my time for the rest of 2017 - that's a shocking thought! I'll be at Port Eliot Festival at the end of July in a pop-up-shed-shop, and delivering some leather making workshops around the festival. Then it's on to Christmas prep! I run an event called Native Makers, which is a curated market for South West based designer makers, so that takes up a fair bit of my autumn.
I’m hoping to develop some more product lines based around the idea of small luggage. I’m working on some pretty cool stuff at the moment actually and road testing some of the pieces over the summer - the hardest part is deciding what to take through to the next collection!