I chatted to Sera Holland the talented graphic and textile designer based in Cape Town who has recently returned from a stint in Ireland. Sera designs and creates bespoke fabrics which she makes into handmade products such as cushion covers, tea towels and napkins. She’s also just launched her new wallpaper range.
Tell us a bit about your background? How did you get into textile design?
I have been a graphic designer for over 10 years working in the design and advertising industries and I always wanted to make something useful as well as pretty, instead of working so hard on things I never really got to enjoy after they were done.
I found a sweet little course which was all about printing onto fabric by hand using different techniques which I really enjoyed. One of the designs I came up with then was my origami birds but back then I was cutting out each bird individually with a scalpel out of acetate (which is really not easy nor fun) and it looked pretty handprinted and messy too. Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to do it right and so began my quest and discovery of digital printing onto fabric.
Having the background and expertise in graphics and knowing how to set up artwork made it seem so easy for me to do. When my sister’s wedding came along I designed her and her husband a very special design inspired by their obsession with their 3 dogs. And I learnt to sew so I could give them cushion covers, napkins and 3 doggy bandanas as their actual gift. It was then that I realised what I could do and how much fun I had doing it, it wasn’t just designing the fabrics, but it was making them into something purposeful too that I and everyone else could love.
Are there any lessons you learned in the handmade industry in Ireland that we can apply here?
Maybe 6 months ago I would have said it was great how in Ireland there are so many platforms to help get your work seen and sold. There are also a lot of online shops most importantly as well as crafty handmade shops and all kinds of councils and places to help you.
But since I have been back about 4 more online shops have launched here along with the few others that forefronted them, so I think SA is going in the right direction in terms of supporting local designers. In Ireland there were also a lot of small affordable crafty style courses cropping up which makes it so much easier to try a few things without breaking the bank and in afterwork hours so you can dabble a bit before you realise what you want to do professionally.
Where can we buy your fabrics and products?
I am starting to stock a few interior designers and decorators but for now you can buy my fabrics through me firstname.lastname@example.org, or for any of my handmade products please have a look at my etsy store www.etsy.com/shop/handmadebymeshop or try some of the new SA design online shops like Hello Pretty, We Heart This and Meekel amongst others.
Check out Sera’s blog http://handmadebymeblog.com/