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Article: Birdie Spotlight: Genna Campton, Surface Designer

Birdie Spotlight: Genna Campton, Surface Designer

Birdie Spotlight: Genna Campton, Surface Designer

        We’re thrilled to have finally released our Blackbird Exclusive Summer 2021 Print collection! This range of five midweight linens and ten lightweight ECOVERO™ wovens features a playful array of bold, whimsical prints that are well-suited to statement pieces and everyday basics, alike. As these prints begin to make their way into the world, we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the creative mind behind this collection, our in-house surface designer, Genna Campton!

Genna Campton

        A talented illustrator, print designer, and sewist, Genna joined our team after making the move to Vancouver all the way from Melbourne. With a focus on bringing an organic touch to all her pieces through texture and linework, Genna’s designs are filled with contemporary motifs ranging from bold, cheerful florals to inky ceramic-inspired prints.

        We sat down with Genna to ask a few questions about her process and the exciting projects she has coming up next!

Ceramic Studio - Original Sketches

Original sketches for our Ceramic Studio print
As an artist, how did you first get started in surface design? What spurred that decision?
Genna: I started working as a freelance illustrator more than 10 years ago after studying illustration and graphic design. Although most of the projects I was working on were for publishing clients, I always had a love for textiles and wanted to create illustrations for fabric. I first experimented with screen printing, hand painting fabrics, and reading all I could about textile design. I eventually did a surface design course about 3 years ago to fill the gaps in my knowledge. From there, I started designing my own prints, having fabrics printed locally, and using that fabric to make products to sell so that I had a way to practice my skills and build my portfolio. I’ve been working as an in-house designer at Blackbird Fabrics for a year or so now and I still do freelance illustration and surface design on the side.
Squiggle Daisy - Original Sketch
Original sketch for our Squiggle Daisy print
Knowing that many of your surface design prints start out as illustrations, what is your favourite part of the process when it comes to developing a new print? What is the aspect you find the most challenging?

G: I love the development stage, where I might take an inky drawing or sketch and try to work out the best way to create a repeat print from it onscreen - this can also be the most challenging part as I try to get the print to look flowing and seamless. I also love playing with scale and colour once we've decided on our favourite designs - a different colour palette and scale can completely transform the way a print looks and feels! Beyond that, one of my favourite parts of the process as a whole is always seeing what our Blackbird customers and team make from all of the fabrics that end up in each collection.
Ceramic Studio - Original Sketch
Original sketch for our Ceramic Studio print
Finding inspiration can often be a challenging process for any artist, where do you tend to pull inspiration from?

G: I‘m inspired by my surroundings and the things I see when I’m out walking or riding my bike - everyday things can spark an idea for a print or a colour palette. I moved to Vancouver from Australia in December of 2019, and fell pretty hard for all the beautiful flowers and gardens that I saw in the spring! This has definitely inspired me to create more florals this year. During the height of the pandemic when I was spending a lot more time indoors, I was obsessed with drawing still life illustrations which led to designs like the Ceramic Studio print. And, of course, cats always seem to inspire my work!
Garden Bloom - Original Sketch
Original sketch for our Garden Bloom print
Not to make you choose favourites, but are there any prints you have your eye on from this Summer Print collection? If so, any plans on what you’ll make with them?

G: There are a few on my list! I’m planning a Vivian Shao Chen #LaurenceTop from our Ceramic Studio Linen in Madder & Ivory and a Birgitta Helmersson #ZWCroppedShirt with a gathered sleeve in the Cat Nap Linen. I’m also tempted to make the new Friday Pattern Co #SaltwaterSlip from our Riverbed ECOVERO™ Challis in Black & Stone White.

Jacquard Throw Blankets in Daisy, Vases, and Abstract Floral

And lastly, are there any projects in the pipeline that you’re particularly excited about?

G: Alongside our exclusive print collections, we’ve been busy working away on some other very exciting custom projects here at Blackbird HQ. These projects aren’t printed fabrics...but you’ll just have to wait and see what they are! I also just launched my very own line of woven jacquard throw blankets that I’m very excited about!


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