DESIGNER DIARIES | 10 Questions with Penny Morrison

An interview from The Fabric Collective's Designer Diaries series.

What is your earliest memory of design? When did you first know that you wanted to become a fabric/wallpaper designer?

I’ve always been very creative, but it probably all really began when I built my first house when I was 24.

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a fabric designer? Did this start from prior experience as an Interior Designer?

Well I had been doing Interior Design for quite a while and designing the fabrics came later and almost out of necessity. I was decorating a hotel in the Caribbean and just couldn’t find fabrics that were colourful, with character on lovely loose linens to use so I just decided to start doing them myself.

Where do you find the inspiration for your designs? What would you say are the main influences on your work?

I get lots of inspiration from vintage fabrics that I collect. I love travelling and find all sorts wherever I go. In particular Turkish embroideries, Indian prints and vintage French linens.

Where is the most surprising place that you’ve found inspiration for your designs?

Sometimes I stop the TV when I see a design that I like in the background! I guess that’s quite niche. 

What’s your creative process? Take us through the development of a design from idea conception to the final product.

I normally take a motif or design and then experiment by changing the colours, spacing and scale until I finalise on a design that I like.

What types of materials and production processes do you prefer to use and why?

I have always loved the block printed look as it brings such a rich texture. We get the same effect in our fabrics now by using the traditional screen-printing process. I also only use natural linens, which are soft and floppy.

What is something that most people don’t understand or appreciate about textile design that you wish they did? 

It’s a long process! There’s a lot of experimentation, and you have to go through many processes of evaluating what works and what doesn’t and why.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to experiment with adding more colour and pattern to their interiors with fabric/wallpaper but is scared of making the wrong choice?

If you like it, go for it!

Is there a particular design in your collection that’s your favourite and if so, why?

Such a hard question I love all of them and they are all so different! I never get tired of Arabella Red or Dominica so they are probably my most favourite.

Curtains in Arabella Red


Sofa in Dominica

How has the fabric and textile industry evolved since you became a part of it and what do you see and hope for the future of it?

What has changed hugely is that there used to be only big commercial fabric houses, hence I couldn’t find the fabrics that I like. Whereas now, there are so many designers, there is so much scope within the industry and that is really exciting.