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Anna Gravelle

"I want to cover the world in softness"

What do you make?

Furnishing fabrics and accessories. I set up my studio in 2013, and I use craft and digital processes, combining print and surface embellishment. I carry out commissions for interior designers and architects, and I sell my work and services at trade fairs, and from my website.

Tell us how you design

I photograph, draw, and experiment and then turn all this into a fabric design.  My work is driven by pattern, texture and material exploration.  People know me for my tufting. I love tufting but I’m not wed to it.  I love to combine any number of techniques – screen print, digital print, laser etching and so on

What’s special about your work?

Texture is the key to it all, at the heart of all my designs.  I’m aiming for a beguiling and unexpected tactile experience, whether for the home, or a public space. My tufted fabrics are truly unique. I’ve taken traditional techniques and updated them with luxury British wools and very fine threads.    

How did you come to be a maker?

My first career was as a BBC television producer.  I had always had an interest in interiors and a relationship with a furniture designer piqued my interest in fabrics and furniture. We went to the Milan Furniture Fair where I was blown away by B&B Italia, Cappellini, Moroso, Droog and fabric by Kvadrat.  I’d worked in TV for 16 years, but now the time felt right for a change of direction.  I took a brief introduction to textile printing at St Martin’s, then handed in my notice to the BBC and enrolled on an MA in Textile Design at Bath Spa University.

And your biggest challenge?

Actually, this was getting pregnant (happily!) during the course, so I had to put my plans on hold for a while.  On a day-to-day basis, I now find that being patient and taking time to grown my business is a big challenge for me as my years as a TV producer conditioned me to fast results and I want them now!  I regularly have little chats with myself, and take a deep breath and tell myself to JUST. KEEP. GOING.

Where do you work?

With my family, I am a custodian of a chocolate-box cottage on a National Trust estate – Tyntesfield – on the outskirts of Bristol.  My studio is a large workshop in the back garden.  My surroundings somewhat belie the contemporary edge of my work.  It’s a very convenient commute and makes me very flexible – I can work late whilst my daughter is asleep in the house.

Do you have a dream for the future?

Yes, to cover the whole world in softness…More realistically, perhaps one day I could make a splash in Milan, or even collaborate with Kvadrat, who so inspired me…

Any advice?

Take the long view.  You can’t move Rome in a day.  Just keep going.  Grab all the opportunities available to you.