The Up and Coming | Interview | Hannah Lois Sangwin

As someone who brought a lot of doodling to their own degree (ahem, yes me) it was lovely to find someone else who can put in the hours to create and isn’t afraid to be a little different. I was instantly drawn to Hannah Lois Sangwin’s work earlier this year at May Design Series due to its monochrome tones and geometric patterns. I love how simple the designs are whilst still being eclectic and busy – it makes them super versatile but striking at the same time. Hannah is also the perfect example of someone staying true to herself and knowing her own style. It’s rare to see hand-drawn textiles anymore which is such a shame but I’m convinced that there is going to be a huge trend for this kind of visual fairly soon and it’s one of the reasons why I wanted to highlight Hannah on the blog. Have a read of her process and do think about how much hand cramp has gone into these designs. I can tell you it’s probably a lot.

Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your practise?
I graduated from Birmingham City university in 2014 and have an obsession with drawing. It started with just a simple doodle and then I realised I can easily sit for around 24-48 hours completing just one design. I don’t seem to get bored of it. I just get really excited to see the end result as I actually have no idea of what it’s going to look like. Interiors are my passion, I love how you can transform a room with pattern and design. 

I first saw you work at May Design Series, why did you enter the New Design Britain awards?
Initially I entered just to see if people liked my work. After previously exhibiting my work at New Designers I wanted to see how my work was received 6 months later and for the judges to get a glimpse of my designs.

Well seems like it went well and they liked it! What kind of exposure do you think May Design Series brought you?
I got some brilliant feedback and definitely learnt a great deal more about exhibiting and making contacts. It gave me the opportunity to communicate with different companies that I never thought would be interested in my work – for example rug makers, etc. More than anything I think the New Design Britain stand was in a brilliant space to exhibit up and coming design.

I love the fact that all of your work is monochrome – whats the story behind that and will we be seeing any coloured versions in the future?
The question everybody asks! Monochrome was purely because I didn’t think my designs were as effective in colour – I absolutely love colour, the brighter the better but the simplicity of black and white really bought my drawings to life and people were drawn to them because of their minimal colour palette, it made them different from the rest. At the moment I don’t think I’ll be doing any colour pieces but who knows what the future will bring.

How many fine liners do you get through per piece?! (cue me rambling on about fine liners don’t last long enough!)
I would say on average I get through 20-25 fine liners per piece. 

Where do you take your inspiration for projects from and do you have a way of collating this?
My inspiration for my monochrome pieces is taken from shape and pattern in our everyday lives – literally anything that grabs my attention. I am obsessed with Pinterest – what a brilliant resource. I can spend hours looking for inspiration. I search for anything from objects to materials to interior design. 

Who’s inspired you on your journey so far? 

The way design is evolving and the fact that ‘anything can go’ inspires me. I love the weird and the wonderful and I’m all for ‘out there’ designers from fashion to interior, architecture to installations. If your work is different or has a wonderful story behind it I am guaranteed to love it. Photography is so powerful, it’s probably the main thing that inspires me.

Any secret textile designers I should be watching out for?
I absolutely love anything colourful and geometric, my fellow finalist at the New Design Britain awards Zohreh Adle-Ghadjar produces beautiful hand woven textiles & also I love the work of Mary Locke and her Wall Jewellery.

Brilliant! Finally, whats next for you? What’s the dream?
Ah, the dream! In the coming months I shall have my paper print shop up and running on my website and also my cushion shop. I am currently learning how to reupholster which is what I want to be doing most of all, so I’ll soon be restoring some pieces with my fabric ready to purchase on my website in the new year!

And now whilst I wait for these cushions to become available, why don’t you take a look at Hannah’s newly opened print shop? Or follow her on Instagram to stay updated : @hannahloissangwin

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