UK, London. Saffron Interior Arts, the interior artisans, designers and makers collective has recently welcomed the newest designer to join its ranks. Zara Day is an exciting textiles designer and maker who uses a combination of hand and free machine stitching and digital embroidery techniques to create works that would look equally suitable on a contemporary or classic superyacht.
Developing her skills at the Southampton University’s Winchester School of Art, Day’s drawings form the backbone of all her work. “When I left college I worked as a freelance textile designer creating paper designs. Drawing and developing a design in colour is still fundamental to the textiles I produce”, explains Day. “I had several jobs working in different areas of the design industry including costume and prop design all of these skills I have collected influence the work I produce.” After a career as a teacher Day started her own business.
Day’s work is a culmination of her past labours and a reactive style of design. “I started by producing textile art pieces that were contained within a frame that were concerned with hidden memories, but I fell in love with how embroidered fabric changes once it was placed on a 3D object.” She explains how she will imagine the room her work will be present in and develop the designs around existing objects and themes. This reactivity is highlighted beautifully in Day’s ‘Chairs that tell a tale’.
“I was exhibiting my textile art pieces and a visitor commented on how she couldn’t find a fabric special enough for a chair she had had in her family for generations. It had so much sentimental value the fabrics on the high street didn’t seem worthy enough to represent this. I knew I could create a very special personal fabric and this was my starting point.”
Patterns are central to Day’s work, but patterns do not necessarily have to follow the repetitive symmetry that one often associates with the word. “I look at mixing it [the pattern] and its placement, rather than just creating a repetitive pattern. I have a unique approach to the design of furnishing fabrics, with each design being created for the individual shape of the product,” continues Day.
What starts as a pattern can be manipulated by colour, layout and scale. This is no clearer than in Day’s ‘Cluster’ collection. The pattern is plain to see, but irregular. Rather than following a linear route it is quite the opposite; expanding across the whole 360-degree spectrum meaningfully; however, ‘Cluster’ is perceivably chaotic in its nature, representing the whims of the wind.
“I use a varied combination of intricate traditional hand stitches and free machine and digital embroidery techniques to embellish areas of the fabric design which may have been cut away or appliqued first,” Day explains. “Through focusing on using hand crafted skills in the production of these furnishing fabrics I wish to promote and develop the use of embroidery in the creation of high-end luxury interior products and elevate the place of hand crafted products in contemporary design.”
When asked if she had considered the superyacht industry Day points out that peers had suggested it is a market that would suit her style. We are inclined to agree. The ability to customise old or new objects, the synthesis of traditional and modern techniques and the unique designs Day creates make her works versatile and well suited to the bespoke world of superyacht interior design. The ability personalise and bring an element of home on board should also not be overlooked.