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Q&A: Frances White


HL got to chat to Cape Town-based designer Frances White about her new collaboration with Mr Price Home. Frances uses beautiful indigenous images of local flora and fauna to create a feeling of comfort. Here's what she had to say. When did you get involved with design? I’ve always loved art, colour and pattern. I studied Fine Art at Michaelis at the University of Cape Town, and in my late twenties I started dreaming of printing patterns on fabric. I love mixing colours and painting on canvas, but the advantage to printing is that I can reproduce the same beautiful patterns over and over and use the textiles to make a wide range of functional products. Where do you draw inspiration for your concepts and collections? I tend to approach textile design as an artist; in that it’s important for my designs to have a story, a concept or some kind of meaning. My first few patterns were inspired by specific South African floral regions, and the next collections I’m busy with focus on pollination, animal and insect mating dances(!) and a very graphic simplified screen-printed collection, inspired by retro sporting outfits. My favourite design companies are the Swedish textile company Jobs Handtryck and the American decoration company Confetti System. Locally, I love the colourful leather work made by Missibaba. I also love William Morris’s prolific collection of patterns and my favourite artists are Gary Hume, Mark Rothko, Piet Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein and the Swiss artists Lori Hersberger and Ugo Rondinone from the two years that I lived in Zurich. Locally I love the work of Jacob Pierneef and the more contemporary Heath Nash, Julia Clark and Dave Southwood. My favourite South African design blogs are Handsome Things and Miss Moss. Do you have a favourite item? In the My Favourite Colour range - I’m most fond of the Picturebook West Coast Succulents design, the South African Wildflowers, Birds and Butterflies design, and of the ‘Beautiful South Africa’ children’s colouring-in poster. My favourites from the Mr Price Colab collection are the ‘South African meadow’ duvet cover, the floral geometric rug, the rainbow flowers scatter cushion and the embroidered floral wreath towels. Where can we find your work? My Favourite Colour’s designs and products are available from my online shops, locally at myfavouritecolour.someammo.com and internationally, via etsy.com, as well as The Fringe Arts/Kin in Cape Town, On a Whim in Lonehill, Johannesburg, Watershed in Prince Albert, Attic Lifestyle in Hong Kong and District Six in Berlin. The Colab range that I designed with Mr Price Home is currently available (although selling out fast!) via colab.mrpricehome.com and online at mrphome.com. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline for 2014? I’ve just done a screen-printing course, so I’ll be introducing a new range of screen-printed products, which will be very reasonably priced. I’m very much looking forward to being in charge of my own production, and I’m also looking forward to designing in a much simpler colour palette. I’m also designing a stationery and art print range as I’m loving printing on paper. As a sole proprietor, one can easily spend most of one’s time managing production, sales and the daily running of a company, so this year I’m trying to play, experiment more and spend more time designing! Visit myfavouritecolour.co.zafacebook.com/MyFavouriteColour or twitter.com/My_Fav_Colour for more information about Frances and her work. Interviewed by Michaela Stehr