Sunday Makers Session with Print Designer Vita Mazarine

This week in our Sunday Makers Session we would like to introduce you to Print Designer and Screen Printer Vita Mazarine. Having met Vita for the first time recently it was evident in just a short amount of time that her work is a wonderful reflection of her own vibrant energy. We chat to her about the importance of needing to immerse herself in nature to in turn inspire her work.

Please could you tell us about your creative journey into print design?

Print design was not my initial plan: I didn't realise it was a ‘specialism’ as such. Being hands-on, I experimented a lot with embroidery, textiles and photography in my late school years, which I developed further into a Foundation Diploma at UCA Rochester, where I chose to specialise in Fashion & Textiles. Here I was first introduced to Print, and in such a small amount of time I discovered I loved the manual, slow, hand-process led quality it had to it and thought that this was something I definitely want to practise further. At the time I was looking at general textile design undergraduate courses, but when I came across Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University whilst at New Designers I was amazed by the work displayed. Leeds is where I began and developed my print journey. 

Your prints lend themselves to soft furnishings and interior spaces. Are homewares something that you had always wanted to apply your designs to, or would you also consider creating prints for fashion too?

I have always been interested in both Interiors and Fashion. However I primarily focus my practice on soft furnishings. Interior design is something I have always had an interest in, religiously watching Grand Designs, and paying subscriptions for interior magazines! I also feel I am very much a home girl: I love providing and creating for the home, as it’s where we come back to at the end of the day, and is also a sense of comfort and something I feel I like to contribute to. 

At the moment I haven't considered fashion and am not sure if this is the pathway for me just yet. As much as I love fashion, I prefer to keep that separate from my design work. 

Could you tell us about the creative process from start to finish behind your Shadow print, and how it became a pattern for your cushions and pouches?

Shadow was my second print developed from my small collection Form, and is actually the reverse of Silhouette. Both of these prints were developed through my main method of collagaing. I did a series of artworks which included mark-making, shapes and texture which were inspired by shadows and silhouettes generated by sunlight and nature. I took elements of these artworks and re-collaged them by hand, then through Adobe Photoshop created the repeat and finalised art work for cloth. 

The digital element of print can’t always be avoided. I don’t love it but it really helps to bring a design to life, and visualise how ideas and print work come together. 

When it comes to coating and exposing my screens, I use a print studio in London where I interned for a while. Coating a screen is never easy, it can be messy and there's multiple ways of doing it! At university we were advised to only coat one side of the screen, however in my internship, I was instructed to coat both sides which meant your exposure to the screen lasted longer! I got my Shadow artwork printed onto film, (this can be re-used) whilst I was interning, and was lucky enough to use this space to begin my printing and expose my screens, before building a studio at home. 

What does a normal day in your studio consist of?

I am currently in my home studio in Sevenoaks, Kent. I feel very lucky as my father has kindly let me use his conservatory, which is now known as the ‘studio'. It's full of plants and flowers, and has amazing light, which makes my creative space a whole lot more enjoyable!  Studio days vary, though they do always start with coffee. Then my day usually begins with errand work, whether that be emails / admin / post office runs / washing fabrics / planning my week... Late morning and after lunch is usually the time I begin printing or sewing for production. Depending on how much I have on that specific week, it can vary from being busy to not so busy. At the moment I am currently balancing a part time job as a waitress, where I have been for nearly 6 years. 

I try to leave the studio at around 5, I really believe in cutting off at a decent time as I am really not a night owl and so leaving at tea time is my goal. It helps me mentally to make sure I have that time away from my creative space, so that I'm then beaming and ready to go the next morning! 

Your colour palettes seem very well considered, and although often contrasting they sit together so beautifully. Has colour always been very important to you?

I have always struggled with colour! In my first and second year of University, I found it difficult to make colours complement each other, often choosing colours which were quite cold - nothing too bright and often quite mundane. I didn’t feel confident enough to experiment with bright hues or saturates, I very much played it safe! However in my last year of uni, I began experimenting with bright tones, pops of vibrant colour and began to understand how colours work against each other. I loved it and overcame a personal goal. 

The colours in my collection Form, are one tonal prints. I wanted to see how one tonal design sits within the home; my aim was to create a simple, considered, yet statement look. 

Is there a particular location, anywhere in the world, that inspires you and in turn your designs?

Yorkshire and Japan! The North was a huge inspiration for me throughout my degree, especially in my final year. The colours, scenery and variety of landscape in Yorkshire is vast, it’s beautiful and creates great scope for my design ethos. Being surrounded by nature not only informs my design work but being amongst it physically helps with well-being and being present in the moment. The Japanese always believed, and still do, in bringing the outside in, this is what I strive for with my design. Applying nature inspired designs to furnishings inside the home. 

Do you feel the prevalence of nature in your work conveys other ethical choices and decisions you make based around our environment?

Being a lover of nature and immersing myself in our beautiful surroundings, I try my best for my work to be as green and plant based as possible. However, it is hard in some respects to fulfil this all of the time. 

Do you have any dreams for your future in print design?

I have many ideas of how I want to push my print design. There are so many prints and ideas I want to experiment with, and lots of areas I want to explore! I have considered doing an MA, but first I want to see how my little business strives before I progress further in education. At the moment though, my dream of course is to have my own print studio, perhaps in Yorkshire! Who knows! I am very much living in the moment, listening to my ideas, trialling and error-ing, and I think that’s what its all about.