July 2, 2018
Spotlight on British brands: Skimming Stones
At GB Labels, we love working with independent British designers, crafters and makers – and spotting our labels on everything from woolly hats to dog beds. For the second instalment of our Spotlight on British brands series, we’ve nattered with plenty of brands to bring you the very best of uniquely British design.
Skimming Stones creates gorgeous printed fabrics and products, with delicate colour palettes inspired by nature. We had a chat with lovely designer and maker Laura to find out more about why the Cornish coast has been so instrumental in her work and how she turned her dream into reality.
What first inspired you to start creating your natural linen and cotton printed fabrics?
I have always enjoyed creative pursuits and after graduating I started my career in publishing before taking a break to start a family. It was during this break that I tried several different artistic and creative ventures.
I discovered screen printing by virtue of my daughter, who was thinking of doing a course in textile design. She asked me to join her on a screen printing class – I fell in love with the process and was hooked. She has gone on to specialise in weave and I went on to take several surface pattern design courses. During this time, I discovered how much I enjoyed working with fabric and that this was the area I wanted to be in. I love the composition of linen and cotton, its sustainability and the fact that it’s a natural product.
What is it about the Cornish coastline that has been so influential in your designs?
Anyone who knows me knows my love for all things water – especially the sea. A family holiday to Cornwall inspired my latest designs. I was struck by the rugged natural beauty of the coastline, the stunning colours of the sea and inlets, the flowers growing on the hillsides. Our holiday home was perched up on a hill looking out to sea and it was one of the most soothing and calming breaks we’ve had as a family for some time. Listening to the sea both going to sleep and waking up will stay with me forever.
The colour palettes of your fabrics are simply gorgeous – how do you select which colours you want to combine?
The colours always come from photographs that I take, and these are usually my starting point. Having that connection to the colour palette inspires my designs and serves as a permanent memory of a place and time. I was spoiled for choice in Cornwall in terms of colours, as the natural fauna and seaside location is simply stunning.
In my new collection ‘Coastal’, the colours are taken from a photo of my family swimming in the sea. I was up on the deck looking down, and there was such a beautiful array of greens and blues. It was difficult to choose from so many different hues, but in the end I went with my instinct and I think they work well together.
Skimming Stones is a relatively new company, established last year. What’s been the biggest challenge setting up an independent business?
My biggest challenge to date has been the supply chain. Finding vendors that are competitively priced, as well as able to supply with a short turnaround, has not been easy when ordering short runs. Streamlining this part of my business is still a work in progress. That said, many people in the industry have been very helpful and friendly offering lots of advice, which has been great.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Realising my dream of turning a hobby into a business has been my proudest moment so far – especially my first sale! I underestimated the work involved to get it off the ground and all the things I needed to put in place. Pulling together my first collections and going live with my website was a great milestone for me. The positive feedback has also greatly encouraged me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where my business goes.
What do you see for the future of Skimming Stones?
I would really like to grow my brand and range of products, and attend trade fairs – ultimately selling to as wide a market as possible. I am sure I will change direction along the way as I discover the best market for my fabric designs and products – it’s all a big learning curve, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.
Fancy having a natter with us? We’d love to find out more about your brand’s story. If you want to take part in our blog series, it’s not too late – pop over to our Instagram to find out more.