Collier Campbell was a hugely inspirational textile design company while I was at art college in the 1980s. Myself and many of my fellow students had the company's fabrics as cushion covers, table cloths or blinds, and postcards of their painterly designs were pinned to our desks in the textile design studio.
The company was founded in the 1960s by Sarah Campbell and her late sister Susan Collier. Their bold, colourful, hand painted designs were a refreshing change on the high street, as they designed for many forward-thinking retailers such as Habitat, John Lewis and Jaeger. Zandra Rhodes has said that they reinvented Liberty's image when designing for them in the 60s and 70s.
When the sisters' company sadly folded in the 2010, they continued to work within a new structure. After Susan's untimely death a year later, Sarah and the new owner went their separate ways. But Sarah continues to flourish as a freelance designer working under her own name from her south London studio.
Current clients include influential retailers in the UK and USA such as M&S and West Elm. She has her own range of greetings cards, including the Archive Cards, each featuring little swatches of original Collier Campbell fabric, and hand-painted and printed scarves and gift-wrap, all available from her website. Sarah can also be persuaded to give talks and workshops.
For about a year, Sarah has been writing a fortnightly blog "Fabrics and other things", and including some of her delightful daily paintings. "I write the blog first, and then gather the paintings and drawings and what other images I might have or need." she says. "The paintings are often done from memory or sketches done at the time, and never take me more than about half an hour."
She is exhibiting a collection of new paintings at Livingstone Studio until the end of June. Prices range from £100-550. Copies of the sumptuous tome "The Collier Campbell Archive: 50 years of passion in pattern", published by Ilex, are also available there. A limited edition of the book, each signed, numbered and covered in a different original Collier Campbell Archive fabric will be available to order through Sarah's website until later in the year.