Monday, 7 July 2014

The Wonderful work of Kirsty Baynham (Prism of Starlings)

Kirsty Baynham is an Illustration graduate from Edinburgh College of Art who is based in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2013 she launched Prism of Starlings, a collection of design-led paper goods and illustrative work. The work focuses heavily on pattern, colour, symmetry and textural elements. I love Kirsty's distinct style, her combination of hand-drawn detail and geometric angles, and the soft and dreamy colour palettes she creates with the occasional pop of bright colour. By just glancing at the beautiful range of products that are available, you can see how much fun Kirsty has creating this work. The photographs and descriptions of each piece capture it perfectly. Kirsty is clearly doing what she loves, and it shows.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I’ve always been interested in stationery products and so, after graduating with a degree in Illustration, began designing and selling cards and fine art prints, and accumulated a couple of local stockists. When I created the brand “Prism of Starlings” in 2013, I expanded my range of products into printed textiles and laser-cut jewellery as well. Before that, my design style was slightly more sporadic and felt a little lost, but I think rebranding was the best thing to do, as everything came together quite well at that point; my work and design products evolved into their distinctive style – colourful, geometric, slightly whimsical, always intricate, and featuring a range of mysterious woodland animals.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I churn through a lot of ideas, and only 10% or so make it to the drawing board, and even less to print. Sometimes, when I’m feeling in a particularly productive mood, and have a thread of idea upon my fingers, I’ll just start drawing without much of a plan, and see what happens. Often, the best ideas come this way as there is no pressure to create something final or worthwhile. My drawings usually feature an element of metamorphosis and worlds with a world – landscape inside animals, and patterns which align in an otherworldly manner.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

As well as time, money is also a big factor (not reserved just for designers, but for anyone starting a business). Starting up is hard, and I was lucky enough to have family willing to support me in that tricky time.

Also, it seems quite obvious, but just self-doubt in general is a huge obstacle. I’ve become more confident with my work in time, but looking back over the last five years, it was so hard at the beginning to pull myself back and see what was working and what needed to change. Criticism – something I now acutely welcome – could disassemble any residue of inspiration I had at the time.

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

Apart from other designers, current and past, I’m inspired by: design books, retail packaging, lyrical and instrumental music, colourful landscapes, old buildings, wildlife programs, plants and natural textures, concrete poetry, cultural diversity, castles and fairgrounds, grandeur architecture.

5. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I have many design influences who have inspired me from a young age, and I discover new influential artists every day. Charles Wilkin and Kime Buzzelli are the two artists I would consider to have motivated me towards design as a career, in a naïve kind of awestruck way as a teenager. Painters like Mirko Hanak, Joaquin Mir Trinquet, and designers such as M. C. Escher and Charley Harper, have influenced me greatly over the years and played a huge part in the way my work has shaped out.

6. Describe your creative space

My studio is cluttered to the brim when I’m busy, and pristine when I’m not. I keep a lot of art out and on the walls to inspire me. A workspace must-have for me is tiny drawers and lots of small storage tins – if there is a place for every last bobbin of twine, box of staples and bottle of ink, working through big orders and busy periods is always more relaxing and less time-consuming. 

7. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Don’t be afraid to fail…
I think it’s a great piece of advice, because the more afraid you are of messing up, or not being good enough, the more it negatively influences your mood, and in turn your productivity, motivation and creativity. A life without failure seems very aspirational in theory, but in reality it is tame and unadventurous! Despite my passion for design, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to me if my still-growing business flopped right over tomorrow. I’d love to do this forever but if it doesn’t work out, then I certainly won’t regret having done my best at it. I’ll just move on and be glad of every moment I’ve spent having immersed myself in what I love. :)

You can keep up to date with Kirsty's work here...

(all above images are © Kirsty Baynham)