Talking birds and berries with homeware designer Lorna Syson

The British countryside in spring is the key inspiration behind textile and homeware designer Lorna Syson's unique and beautiful collection of cushions and lampshades. As her stunning range comes to ACHICA on Monday, we put her under the 20 questions spotlight to find out more about herself, her work and its birds and berries…

What made you want to become a designer?

I was always really interested in art at school and I had a fantastic art teacher that was really great at getting you to think outside the box, we used so many different techniques and materials and I felt so inspired to go and use this enthusiasm in a creative carrier. If you ask my family they said I would always end up in interiors after I was forever trying to redecorate and rearrange the family home.

How did you get to where you are today designing your own range?

As a student I was lucky enough to sell my work to a number of different fashion designers, but it was when I sold a piece to a window display designer that things really started to click into place for me.

What inspires you daily?

My surroundings really inspire me. The best selling Juneberry and bird design happened because of some great birds nesting outside our front door. I’d be watching the parents coming in and out all month and one morning was lucky enough to catch one on its first flight. From this moment I knew I had to start drawing them. The whole collection is based on the British countryside but some urban areas are starting to sneak in!

What’s your top design tip?

I think it’s really important to take lots of photos and work from your own imagery as well taking sketches and drawings. When I know I’m heading out for the weekend I always have a camera on me!

What’s the best way to put a room scheme together? 

I think it’s great to look at what you already own and love, for example we are currently decorating our home and I have a fabulous 60’s dressing table in our bedroom, the whole room is decorated around this. On one plain wall I have made my own mini mood board, with paint chips, wallpaper and fabric swatches.

What is your personal favourite piece you’ve designed?

I love the bullfinches at the moment, this peach colour is going to be huge this year they are so cute and plump they always make me smile! I’m lucky enough to see them everyday in my studio, but I often get emails from people who have bought them saying how pleased they are. These emails really make my day and I always take time to say thank you.

Who is your favourite artist?

I love Frida Kahlo, I did my dissertation on her at university. I’m really drawn to strong women and there is just something about they way she paints that I find fascinating.
Favourite TV/box set show?

I’ve recently got into Suits on box set, I know I’m behind but by the end of season one I am hooked!

Favourite book?

I really enjoyed the White Woman by Philippa Gregory. I love history and I finished this book in a day!

Favourite film?

My favourate film has to be Australia. I get caught up in the story each time I watch it, completely forgetting how long it is!

Describe your home style…

My home has a vintage 60’s twist on it, through choice and necessity. We have a set of 60’s chairs from my partner’s parents, which I love! It really interests me when a piece of furniture or home accessory has a story behind it. We recently found a chest of drawers with a makers sticker from 1935… after that I was sold!

Takeaway or home-cooked meal?

I love home cooked meals, my partner is a fantastic baker and so I’m lucky to be able to have freshly cooked bread.

How do you spend your weekends?

At the moment the weekends are spent decorating our new house we moved into earlier this month. I’m forever changing my mind about paint colours because they look so different in natural and artificial light. We are having some of my wallpaper up so I can now offer advise on matching paint with most designs!

What one thing can you not live without?

My favourate fabric scissors, when we do some of bespoke installations there is a lot of hand cutting and they make life a lot easier.

What’s your signature recipe?

I make a really nice blackberry and apple pie… well I think so anyway.

Favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere near a beach, I love the sea and swimming. I have my Padi rescue diver and have over 200 dives under my belt. I find diving one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

What was the last thing you bought for your home?

Well seeming we are decorating at the moment I have bought quite a few items but I have recently bought some coloured wine glasses, I thought they’d add a bit of fun!

What’s your motto?

I have a very can do attitude. So I wouldn’t say I have a moto more of a way of life.

[Image above: Robin shade by Lorna Syson]

If you were invisible for the day what would you do?

It’s so hard to think, I’m torn between sneaking into places you’re usually not allowed to go and playing practical jokes on my brother.

What’s your next exciting venture?

I’m going to showing at Mid Century Modern show in Dulwich London on the 17th of March where I will be launching some new prints and then launching new bespoke pieces in May.

Shop the Lorna Syson promotion at ACHICA, which includes cushions and lampshades, from Monday 25 Feb 2013


For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at ACHICA.

Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor