In discussion with innovative home styling virtuoso, Amanda West, The Foxley Docket discovers how an all-consuming love for illustration, combined with Asian influences, created the inimitable style of this wonderful British brand.
The Foxley Docket: We’ve seen your illustrations and your fabulous creations but tell us more about the real Amanda West.
Amanda West: I am the owner of Amanda West, and operating my brand consists of illustrating all of the designs on my products, overseeing product development, and managing social media, along with the day to day running of a business.
TFD: Why do you feel Amanda West is a unique British brand?
AW: The brand’s identity is distinct and instantly recognisable by the illustrations on the products. The unique, colourful illustrations are created independently and exclusively by Amanda West. The brand’s products are made to the highest quality sourcing the best fabrics and materials, and working with the finest machinists, printers, and makers.
TFD: Do you have a history in fashion and home ware or is this a new calling?
AW: It was during the middle of studying for my BA (Hons) in Illustration that I discovered a love for surface pattern design. After applying my designs onto fabrics and in turn transforming that fabric into something for the home I soon realised that homeware and fashion merchandise was where I wanted to focus on utilising my illustrations.
TFD: When creating a piece, say an illustration for a lamp shade, do you have in mind that you are creating a lamp shade? Or, do you create the illustration first and then apply it to the product?
AW: When I am illustrating I am solely consumed in that piece of artwork. It is not until I have completed a design that I then start to look at adapting it to products by creating mock-ups. Having said this, not all of my illustrations are applied to merchandise. Sometimes I may leave it and re-visit it at a later date, use it as a print or greeting card, and other times I will not use it at all.
TFD: You take inspiration from your Singaporean heritage, however, you live in Devon. So what parts of Britain do you find inspiring for your illustrations?
AW: I feel that I am very fortunate to have my Asian heritage, and although this has influenced my more recent work I am always inspired by my surroundings. I love living by the coast and Dartmoor is only a twenty minute drive away too. I am surrounded by so many stimulating locations. I often take trips to the coast or local National Trust gardens to be inspired by the movement of nature and the ever-changing colours throughout the seasons.
TFD: What do you feel is the best place or activity to find your inspiration?
AW: I will have days where I have an urgency to create, so I sit myself down in my studio, turn on some music and drink copious amounts of tea. I also find that a small chocolate bar or a few sweets often work wonders.
TFD: Can you briefly explain the process of creation and any interesting methods you use?
AW: I will always start by lots of research and sketches so that I have few elements to forge a design with. My design process is often mixed media, and I use various mark making techniques and collage to bring texture to my pieces. I also enjoy the depth that painted motifs can add to my designs; and by digitally merging all of these elements together my final pieces are formed.
I am very lucky that I am able to do what I love, and I am in my happiest place when I am designing. When I receive positive feedback on a product that someone has bought from Amanda West it makes me proud to have created products that people love.