#ForTheLoveOfPrints Cecilia Washburn

I am a freelance textile designer and Illustrator selling art prints of my illustrations. I am London based and have been in London for 12 years. I spent my childhood growing up between Essex, Chichester and Maine in the US.

I love to draw and paint! I left my full time job in fashion working as a product developer and textile designer in march 2017. I needed a change and to be more creative. It was a brave move as I had nothing lined up! In May I started working for various print studios freelance and got some of my drawings which I had been working on for pleasure printed on cards and it all started from there, it was not planned! Now I work for a variety of clients as a freelance printed textile designer. I love it as the work is so varied, from designing silk square scarves for museums and galleries inspired by their archives or current exhibitions (My Designs in collaboration with PJ studio accessories are currently on sale in the Sir John Soane Museum, Ashmolean museum and others)  to designing floral and abstract prints for young womenswear fashion companies in Europe. In between doing this I draw as much as I can for myself and sell limited edition art prints of my illustrations at craft markets and in small shops.

Where does your inspiration for your print/fashion/embroidery design come from and which processes do you use to achieve the outcome?

I love the colours and textures of wildlife and nature especially obscure, unknown, tropical wildlife that is lesser known. I spend a lot of time in zoos, aquariums, natural history museums and butterfly houses. I also love the international history and context of textiles and have books I refer to of textiles from all over the world, from Coptic to Japanese textiles. I mostly hand draw, I love to use inks as they are so vivid in colour, either with a ink pen, brush or bamboo pen. I love digital printing on to fabric as it captures all the tones, details and colours. It is also on an industrial level far more sustainable than screen printing as less dye and water wastage.

I studied Fashion specialising in Printed Textiles at Ravensbourne. I haven’t studied further, If I did I would like to do something around sustainability in fashion.

Do you have a very popular print or product, which everyone loves?

My leopard illustration is a favourite

As we have recently entered the New Year, what should we expect to see from you or your company?

To be honest I’m not quite sure yet. There are lots of things I want to do so we will see what happens. Maybe some scarves of my illustrations and hoping to be drawing more and developing my drawing style to have a bit more variety.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

My independence… I moved to London from Maine when I was 17, my family live in the US. I had to work full time in retail for 3 years before doing my degree to earn enough money to qualify for a student loan as I counted as an international student (although I’m British). And now I work freelance and have my illustration business I am creatively independent.

What are your 3 tips for succeeding in the creative industry?

Persevere, don’t get disheartened

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things

Do what makes you happy creatively, and if you’re not happy change what you are doing

And finally, what is your favourite quote?

This is hard as there are so many and my favourite changes all the time. At the moment its “making the complicated simple—awesomely simple—that’s creativity” Charles Mingus. I have it on the back of a t-shirt I bought after seeing the Mingus Big Band at Ronnie Scotts.

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