About This is Rachel Pedder

British designer Rachel Pedder shares how an artist residency during a freezing Portuguese winter inspired her to create fresh new designs using a combination of traditional and modern practices.

So, this is how a new design collection was born. Mixing traditional lino printing with modern digital design, this limited edition collection was brought to life in 2015 whilst on a sabbatical in Portugal. Beforehand, I was living my busy life as a freelance graphic designer in London where I found myself in the hectic cyclical routine of going to work, home, eat, sleep… and repeat.

With a head full of ideas but too little time for creating, I decided to leave the wonderful city of London behind for 10 months and travel to Portugal to join an artist residency. This is where the story began whilst residing in a tiny Portuguese artist residency in Porto, which without prior knowledge was on the verge of falling down with no heating, a mattress on the floor, a leaking roof and unexpectedly right next door to a local brothel!

I know… that glossy image you had when you first started reading this of me sitting on a balcony in the hot southern European climate painting pictures of golden beaches was not quite the reality. We artists huddled together, relying on gloves, hats, several hot water bottles each day and a rather precarious indoor gas heater an attempt to keep us all warm. I would like to say a lot of blood, sweat and tears were involved in the making of my designs but I think the conditions were rather chilly for any minor perspiration to even occur.

And so, with limited prior textile experience but heaps of design knowledge under my belt, I spent countless hours, weeks, several months of repeated trial and error. I had a zillion textile related problems to solve while sitting in my studio! However, my designs slowly started to come together whilst munching all day on pastel de natas (and getting a little porky during the process!).

This collection is just one of the many designs created during my time away using my own personalised colour swatches inspired from photographs I took around the streets of Porto. Then returning to London in Summer 2016 where I am living now.