Interview: Harriet Powis

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Hatty Powis is a textile designer. She studied a printed textile design course at the Winchester School of Art and graduated in 2001. She mainly works on commercial projects, most recently for the high street brand Next and a new brand called Lily & Me. We spoke to her about life in the studio…

How long have you been a part of Jamaica Street studios?

I’ve been here about eight or nine years now, I moved down from London around that time. My sister lived in Montpelier and I was fresh from London and didn’t have a clue about anything in Bristol, and I was lucky enough to have been walking down the road and saw a little plaque saying ‘studio’ and thought I’d try my luck! I haven’t regretted moving here ever since it’s been absolutely lovely being here.

How do you use the studio and what do you do in here?

Occasionally I do a bit of hand painting and drawing, but I mainly work on the computer now. For most of those eight years I’ve been here full time, but over the last few years I’ve been freelancing and doing commissions that take me out of the studios, so at the moment I’m only in here for two or three days a week.

How does the studio become a part of your everyday life and work?

You can’t help but be aware of what everyone else is doing and want to have a look- it’s so diverse. So many different mediums are being used in here – it’s really inspiring. We have our doors open a lot of the time so we can peek in. For me, being a commercial designer, it reminds me that it’s really good to keep hand drawing. I think if I was just in an office with a whole load of people flat out on the computer my design work might become too digital looking, so for me I think it does rub off.

What do you get from working in a studio community?

Energy and the vitality of a group of young artists and people here who are trying to make a go of their careers in art. It’s just really inspiring.

Would you say it’s easy to stay focused on your work?

Yeah… [laughs]. It is, no it really is, it is when everybody’s in. But you do get a lot of distractions as well! It’s pretty much like art school when you’ve got a day when everybody’s in and you’re all working away. On the whole it’s much better than being in a room by yourself.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on designs for a small fashion company called ‘Lily & Me’. I’m designing a print collection for them for Spring/Summer 2015. I collaborate with a fashion designer and a garment technician. Most of my week is spent doing that at the moment, so lots of summery patterns, which is quite weird when it’s mid-winter!

Words: Summer Brooks
Photos: Lotte Bagshaw

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