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Meet the Designer – Niki Fulton of Unifiedspace

Meet-the-makes-headers

Why have you called your Business what you have?

When I set up the company I was primarily working on designing interiors and I find busy cluttered spaces really confusing and unsettling so I like to unify a space uniting different parts by using blocks of colour and simple designs, hence the name unifiedspace. Now as I move towards predominantly working on textiles, I still have the same philosophy and like to keep plenty of ‘space’, unity and ordered rhythm within the designs I am creating for textiles.

fern-dna-new

What are your greatest achievements so far , what are you particularly proud?

I ran the Loch Rannoch Marathon when I was 16 and I’ve always drawn on that experience to help me keep plugging away at big tasks as I find it easy to get to the 80% mark in things, it’s that final 20% that needs perseverence and long distance running definitely requires discipline that is useful throughout life.

I am a keen photographer which helps me really see things around me no matter where I am and I totally agree with Bridget Riley who said, “looking is a pleasure” . My photography highlights were when Elle Dec used one of my pictures in their magazine and Frogmore Press included some of my work in their anthology, Languages of Colour, edited by Alexandra Loske in 2012.

I’m not a natural public speaker (at all) but when Grand Designs Live, asked me to speak about colour harmony at their Excel, London event, I took up the challenge and gave two 45 minute talks which was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

However, I’m probably most proud about going to university and gaining an MA Honours Degree because I am dyslexic and my school wrote me off and refused to give me a UCAS application and told me I should certainly not go to uni so I applied without any backing from school, went to Aberdeen University and loved every minute of it. This has taught me to question everything and if I want it, just do it!

How would you describe your work?

My work is quite simplistic and often consists of flat blocks of colour. I find the world a busy place so I like to distill what I see around me into designs that are easy to digest. I am especially interested in colour physics and enjoy looking at the boundary where two colours meet. I work in a ‘Northern’ palette as I feel most comfortable around blues, greens and greys.

birds-new

When do you work best, are you up with the lark or a night owl?

Definitely a lark. I think clearly and feel really optimistic and creative in the morning.

Describe your work space?

I work in a light room with big windows where the sky is prominent. I like plenty of space so I spread out on a long matt aluminium table and sit on a birchwood chair which I cover in a sheepskin during the winter months. 

workspace-new

What do you do to overcome designers block?

There is only one way I can overcome designers’ block – I have to go for a walk, preferably along a beach, and gather interesting things.

swans-iceland-new

Where did your love for design originally develop from?

I was brought up by artistic parents in the 1970’s – hessian walls, candles and a love for Scandinavian design. I would say my biggest influence has been through illustrated books I pored over as a child – Tove Jansson, Richard Scarry, Roger Hargreaves, Sasek, Jan Pienkowski and Andre Maurois (Fattypuffs and Thinifers).

What is it that draws you to work with fabric and what benefits to your process does Digital Printing bring?

I love working with textiles because there are so many different variations from cool, slippery natural silk to matt chunky linen so it gives a simple design many different platforms to be displayed on. Also, being able to print on a textile which then gets made into a wearable garment is very exciting because you can see a design change as it moves around in different lighting conditions, giving a design an almost palpable life of its own. I also like to see how one design can take on a whole new look when the scale or the colour is changed so there are endless possibilities waiting to be created.
Digital printing allows me to make seasonal changes in colour very quickly and easily.  It also gives a very accurate representation of the original design with crisp punchy colour rendering. It’s also highly addictive….

Your home is on fire, assuming your family, pets & computer/phone are safe, what is the one thing you save from the blaze?

A perfectly formed cream jug from Norway’s Porsgrund porcelain factory called ‘Corona Gull’ . It was designed by Tias Eckhoff in the1960’s. To me it epitomises all that is great about Scandi design – simple, functional, delicate with a beautiful motif. I have been transfixed by it ever since I was a child.

jug

In terms of procrastination, what are you doing, when you should be doing something else?

Visiting one of Edinburgh’s many lovely cafes.

Food & drink: We like our food!

It’s been a long week, what’s in your glass (or mug) on a Friday night?

Hendricks & tonic

You have clients coming round, do you bake or buy in the treats to go with your tea/coffee, what are they and why?

I love cooking as much as I love designing. My most popular sweet bites are beetroot & chocolate cake (gooey & moist, earthy darkness to it), Earl Grey & pear cake (almost like eating your favourite perfume), star anise tortas (recipe from my chum Kellie at Food to Glow) and I’m a rather partial to almond shortbread from a recipe my Mother-in-Law gave me from a Mr.Chow in Canada from the 1940’s.

Music: What’s on your Studio Playlist?

Emotional Track: The track that calms you down or gets you through when you’re just having one of those days.

Vibrate, Rufus Wainright or Pale Blue Eyes, The Velvet Underground or Perfect Day, Lou Reed or Caledonia, Dougie Maclean, sorry, impossible to choose one!

Inheritance Track: A track that you inherited from your parents or significant person in your childhood and who did you inherit it from?

Down to the River to Pray, Alison Krauss. From Mum & Dad who constantly played it after watching the film ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’

Physical Track: The track that gets you up dancing or tapping your feet without fail.

Default, Django Django

Album: What’s your album of the moment, who’s on repeat for you right now?

These Changing Skies, Elephant Revival

Advice: A few pearls of wisdom here.

What is the best advice, you’ve ever been given?

Follow your instinct – life taught me this.

If you were starting out again now, what advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be shy.

We like to hear about new and up and coming designer and artists, can you recommend someone new (or new to you) a ‘one to watch’ that you think is doing great/interesting/admirable things, that we should know about, and why do you like their work?

My ‘One To Watch’ is my blogosphere chum Sandra Robinson She is an artist and her work gives me shivers, I love it so much. I went down to meet her at an exhibition she was having in Manchester and her work is fantastic in the flesh too. I keep telling her to have her work printed onto textiles because I want to wear her paintings!

And lastly, whose words inspire you, a quote to live life by?

My favourite artist is Artist Agnes Martin(1912-2004) and we can go far if we remember what she said, “beauty is in the mind, not the eye”

If you want to find out more about Niki you can find her in all these lovely places too:

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Instagram : Pinterest : Etsy

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