Five Go Mad

Sunday 13 June 2010

Q and A with Ella Doran

Ella Doran started out with an academic background in textiles but no experience in product design. The catalyst was a studio sale of her textiles, at which she sold out of photographic coasters she had produced using images from her trips abroad. 

After receiving a grant form the Princes Trust and subsequently winning an award at UK show Top Drawer for Highly Recommended Best new Product, Heals, Harrods and others started to stock her products. Fast forward to now and with two awards scooped at the recent Grand Designs for her GEO wallpaper, FiveGoMad asked what's next for Ella Doran. 

What inspired you to start up your own business? Where did it all start for you?
As a child I always made things, and loved pattern making from a young age. In my foundation year I realised I wanted to do a degree in textiles.

Who was your biggest influence on your work? 
My Mum comes from a creative background, her father was an engineer and painter and her grandfather was William Friese-Green, the inventor of the moving picture.You could say I continued two family traditions with the art and photography.

What are you working on at the moment?
Lots of projects, we're finishing off a great collection for Christmas stationery, wrapping paper and other things. I am working on a new range of candles, along with launching a very special collection of mats and coasters for the vinyl lovers later this month.

Do you have a favourite product from your range?
No, it changes all the time, I find I finish a collection and go through a period of not liking it! Then I start to like it again when I see it in context and working on the products it's made for.

What inspires your designs? 
My surroundings, my children, nature, the crazy London town we live in.

What is your favourite material to work with?

How would you describe your style?
Eclectic, fresh and modern.

What makes a house a home for you?
The people and the furniture inside.

How did you get involved with FiveGoMad?
They approached us a few months ago. We love what they are championing British stuff and British designers.

FiveGoMad's slogan is quintessentially British, what does that conjure up for you?
Fantastic products from creative designers, the obvious icons from red buses to telephone boxes, milk in a bottle. Hand made products with a quirky attitude.

What would be your dream commission? 
Something different to what I do now, I am currently following my dreams creating my own business, making beautiful products for the home. Maybe an assignment from The National Geographic, taken to a far off land to take photographs for a report. 

Which of your contemporary's do you admire?
All of them.

What's next for Ella Doran? 
Wait and see!

by Liz Appleby 


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