How did you become a designer at Liberty and what is it like working for such a renowned brand?
Adam: I became a designer for Liberty after working for 14 years as a textile designer for fashion and homeware fabrics. I had always been a huge fan of Liberty prints from when I first started my textiles degree course at The Glasgow School of Art. It was a huge honour to be offered a role to work for the company – I think one of the best things about working for Liberty is that it’s such a British institution and part of our design heritage. It’s incredible to be part of that legacy!
How does the design process work over at Liberty HQ – what goes into creating a collection like this?
Adam: First of all, we start by developing our concept. To do so, we start to look through our archive of over 45,000 Liberty designs – we are always very inspired by what we find, and then we begin the drawing and painting process! For Season’s Greetings, I actually drew up some brand new designs for this collection including ‘Tree of Delight’ and ‘Festive Cheer’.
How do you decide on the final designs and colourways?
Adam: I spend a lot of time editing designs and making sure that the collection as a whole communicates a look and feel that is right for the concept. I always ensure that, while a collection looks great as a whole, each design can stand alone and still be impactful. The colour for the collection often stems from research – it might be a painting or a photograph I’ve seen, or even an exhibition I’ve been to.
What was your initial starting point for designing the Season’s Greetings collection?
Mary-Ann: I was inspired by our incredible Christmas department which opens in the store in the run up to the holidays! It’s full of a beautiful range of objects that would make any home feel perfect for the holiday season. I especially love all of the tree decorations that we sell. This made me start to think about the idea of the Liberty Christmas tree. We drew the print Tree of Delight, inspired by the idea of a tree decorated in the beautiful glass baubles from our Christmas department. We then started to think about all the other elements that would make our Liberty Christmas complete – winter berries, poinsettias, Christmas stockings and wrapped presents were just a few of things that inspired us!
Where there any archive Liberty prints in this collection or are they all original designs?
Mary-Ann: At Liberty we are very lucky to have a rich archive of over 60,000 designs which is always a constant source of inspiration to us! We often use the archive as a starting point but then re-draw designs and edit them to make them relevant to a specific brief. For Season’s Greetings we referred to the archive for designs such as Poinsettia, Sparkling Forest and Holiday Berries. We also believe in using a mixture of new and archive-inspired designs as part of our collections. Tree of Delight and Festive Cheer were both new designs that we created for the collection, and were drawn and painted in our London studio.
EQS is a leading distributor of patchwork and quilting products established in 1996 to provide a wide range of high quality fabrics, wadding, threads and more to shops throughout the UK and Europe who share a passion for quilting. To find out more and view their range of products: www.eqsuk.com
Liberty’s Christmas department and displays are just as famous as their fabrics. Was it a challenge to create just one cohesive collection that represented the brand?
Mary-Ann: We love to wonder around the Christmas department when it’s installed in the store, it feels so magical and timeless, yet it is also full of surprises! This was something that we wanted to communicate within the collection, the magic and whimsy of the Liberty store at Christmas time.
We love the little details, such as the Liberty building bauble! Was it important to you to incorporate these elements that are personal to Liberty?
Mary-Ann: It was very important to me to make the collection feel very personal to Liberty. I loved the idea of a bauble in the shape of the store, hanging amongst all the other ornaments in the tree! With our Tree of Delight print, I thought that the Liberty building bauble might have been a souvenir that you’d buy from a visit to our store during the holiday season!
The colour palette isn’t the traditional red, green and gold. What made you include modern touches?
Mary-Ann: At Liberty during the holidays, we often have an element of surprise or doing things differently. I think this is what makes Christmas at Liberty so exciting! I felt our Season’s Greetings collection should also reflect this. We looked at traditional Christmas colours such as greens, golds and silvers but we also wanted to add in some more unexpected colours such as bright pink and mustard to give our Christmas colour palette a modern twist, while still also having some traditional green colours within the collection.
Season’s Greetings feels quite different to past Liberty Christmas collections, had you set out to achieve that from the start?
Adam: Yes, when I started to pull together this collection, I wanted to add in a few unexpected surprises to it! I loved the idea of mixing very traditional prints such as the Poinsettia with modern graphic prints like Sparkling Forest.
This collection features lots of rich, jewel-like tones, do you think these are set the big colours for this Christmas?
Adam: I think that the jewel-like tones in the collection have a richness to them that are very in-keeping with the festive time of year! I expect to see many of these colours popping up around the holiday period.
Working so far in advance (including during the summer months!), it must be tricky to feel Christmassy – how did you get in the festive mood?
Adam: I always submerge myself in what I am designing, so if it’s Christmas, I surround myself with imagery that is going to inspire me. It’s amazing how quickly you can get totally lost in a collection and forget it’s 30-degrees outside!
If you had to pick out just one design from this collection, which would you say is your favourite and why?
Adam: I love the ‘Tree of Delight’ design that was created especially for this collection – it features what I imagine the Liberty Christmas tree to look like. I think it’s very whimsical and nostalgic and I love the addition of the Liberty store itself as a bauble!
About EQS: EQS is a leading distributor of patchwork and quilting products established in 1996 to provide a wide range of high quality fabrics, wadding, threads and more to shops throughout the UK and Europe who share a passion for quilting. To find out more and view their range of products: www.eqsuk.com
Most of the prints could be used in both modern and traditional sewing projects. Was this one of your aims for the range?
Mary-Anne: Absolutely, I was really determined that the fabrics could be used in both ways. I was also keen that all the fabrics would work well together. I think it could be fun within a project to mix and match some of the more traditional prints in the collection such as Holiday Berries with more modern prints like Sparkling Forest!
Tell us a little about the Lasenby quilting cotton the range comes on.
Mary-Anne: The Lasenby quilting cotton is slightly thicker than our tana lawn quality – it has been designed to be used for quilting and crafting projects alike. Despite its slightly heavier weight it is still very soft and wonderful for children’s dresses, cushions and homewares.
Find your nearest Liberty stockist
- Abbotstone House Hawes Market Hall, North Yorkshire DL8 3QN
- Amanda’s Fabrics 1A Earl Road, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1AX 07849 962 312
- Axholme Quilting Shirley Dene, North Carr Road, West Stockwith, Doncaster DN10 4BD
- Coles Sewing Centre Ltd 90 Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG1 1EH
- Fletcher’s Patch Unit 111 Bradley House, Bradley Fold Trading Estate, Radcliffe Moor Road, Bolton BL2 6RT www.fletcherspatch.co.uk 07936 752 993
- From Rags To Stitches 85 High Street, Maltby, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S66 7BL www.fromragstostitches.co.uk 01709 814 444
- Gillies Fabrics 2 Peter Lane, York, North Yorkshire YO1 8SW 01904 626 244
- Sew-Drops Ltd 3 The Rookery, Newton-Le-Willows WA12 9PW
- Sew I Did 2 Regents Park Business Centre, London Road, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 6LW 07780 793 676
- Sewilicious 131 Outram St, Sutton In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire NG17 4BG
- The Remnant House Ltd 26 Commercial Street, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 1TY www.remnanthousefabric.co.uk 01423 502 707
- Alice Caroline Ltd Darkes Barn East, Conderton, Tewkesbury GL20 7PP www.alicecaroline.com 01386 725 000
- Hollies Haberdashery 19 Barracks Court, Barracks Road, Newcastle-Under-Lyme ST5 1LG www.hollieshaberdashery.co.uk 07795 112 697
- Patchfinders 159 London Road, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1LQ
- Sew Creative Ltd 11 St. Giles Street, Norwich NR2 1JL 01603 305 888
- Something Special Unit A Feathers Yard, Holt, Norfolk NR25 6BF 01263 711 275
- The Bramble Patch Ltd West Street, Weedon Northants NN7 4QU www.thebramblepatch.co.uk 01327 342 212
- The Cosy Cabin Ltd Risby Barns, South Street, Risby, Suffolk IP28 6QU www.thecosycabin.co.uk 01284 811 222
- Broadly Patchwork Ltd Unit 1, Wroxham Barns, Tunstead Road, Hoveton Norfolk, NR12 8AD
- City Cycle Centre 7 Market Street, Ely Cambridgeshire, CB7 4PB
- Craft Days 27 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1AT
- Doughty Brothers Ltd 100 Barrs Court Road, Hereford HR1 1EG www.doughtysonline.co.uk 07891 957 675
- Fabric Mouse Unit 5, Station Road Business Park, Brompton On Swale, Richmond DL10 7SN
- Owl Tree Crafts 24 Church Street, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8QS
- Sarah-Louise 9 Tarrant Square, Tarrant Street, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9JH
- Sew Vintage 38 Market Street, Wells, Somerset BA5 2DS 07976 204 483
- Black Mountain Fabric 29 Cross Street, Abergavenny, Gwent NP7 5EW 01873 858 827
- Copperfields 4 Mile Bridge Road, Valley, Anglesey, LL65 3HB
- The Quilting Bee 28 Queens Road, Craig Y Don Near Llandudno, Conwy LL30 1AZ www.facebook.com/thequiltingbee1 01492 878 599
- White Gecko Craft Lounge 13 Camms Corner, Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan CF64 4QY www.whitegeckoevents.co.uk 07841 013 609
- Mibs Fabrics 23 Innotec Drive, Bangor, Co.Down BT19 7PD
- My Bear Paw 15 Cauldcoats Holdings, Linlithgow, West Lothian EH49 7NP
Or shop online
- Fabric Chicks www.fabricchicks.co.uk
- Fabrics Of Society www.facebook.com/fabricsofsocietyuk
- Frills And Froth www.frillsandfroth.com
- Monkey Boo Designs www.ebay.co.uk/usr/monkeyboodesigns 01524 410 403
- Pete’s Treasure Trove www.petestreasuretrove.co.uk
- Rosie’s Craft Shop Ltd www.rosiescraftshop.co.uk
- Sew Box Ltd www.sewbox.co.uk 01787 269 366
- Sunnyside Fabrics Uk sunnysidefabricsuk.com
- The Sewing Hutch www.etsy.com/shop/TheSewingHutch
- Wool Warehouse www.woolwarehouse.co.uk
- You, Me And Mabel youmeandmabel.co.uk
- Material Needs Ltd www.facebook.com/materialneeds