Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Welcome to the Kiosk Dawn Clarkson

Today I welcome a fellow ABSPD student to the Kiosk Dawn Clarkson. What intrigues me about Dawn's work is her experimental approach to design. She brings her great graphic skills (gained from a successful career as a graphic designer), and a love of drawing, together with  a playful approach to materials. I love the bold shapes and textures in her work. I think my favourite work by Dawn is the one at the bottom of this post. It was inspired by the baroque architecture of Turin, where she lives. What is so refreshing is that there is no hint of Eighteenth century pastiche, she has created something utterly fresh and contemporary. Hope you enjoy this glimpse at her portfolio too.

EC  Firstly, for those who may not know your work, how would you describe what you do?
DC I draw and create motifs which then become patterns. To create these motifs I experiment with anything, paper, pens, paint, cardboard, fabric, threads and my computer. My aim is to create patterns which are a little audacious and have a bit of the unusual about them. I sometimes fall into whimsical mode as I love things which make me smile. I find it very hard to convince people that what I do involves a lot of hard work!

EC  Like the Kiosk you are definitley a pattern obsessive. Where did this love come from?
DC I think I was born with a pattern obession. Whilst walking to primary school I had to be dragged along because I was always looking up at the patterns which the leaves made against the sky... from then onwards it just got worse.

EC  Tell me a bit about your work process. You work as a Graphic designer too, how does this inform your work or do you see them as seperate enterprises?
DC  Working as a graphic designer has strong influences over my work and not always positive. I often feel that I have to have an idea before I can begin to work a pattern or I am concerned at what the impact of that pattern might be before I've even finished it! These two traits come from evaluating 'problem solving' design solutions everyday and hinder my pattern work in general.

EC  Personal project or client brief?
DC  50-50. The first, pure enjoyment and satisfying. The second, a challenge and you get paid for it.

EC  Is there a particular era or style that inspires you?
DC  I am virtually inspired by everything around me so it's hard for me to pick out a certain style or era. As a creative person I have 'new loves' all the time and follow certain influences or styles for a while until I get bored and move on.

EC  What would you most like to see your work on?
EC  It has to be fabric. As a student I was tormented by the beautiful fabrics in Libertys and I never had enough cash to by any. This has remained with me so now my dream would be to design some fabric for them.

EC  Tell me one thing about you that no one would guess from looking at your work.
DC  I love mountains and everything to do with them.

EC  The Kiosk likes to enjoy the simple things. What is your favourite word, colour, shape, artist and food?
DC  Strofinacci (Italian for tea towel), yellow, anything round, Chagall and lemon sorbet.

EC  The Kiosk loves a to do list. What is next on your agenda?
DC  I am working on a website at the moment which in itself is just a working tool, but my intention is to fill it with beautiful work... that's the hard bit!

EC  Any other information we should know?
DC  No I don't think so :)

Thanks to Dawn for visiting the Kiosk. The diversity and energy in her work is really exciting, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. I urge you to check out her blog niceandfancy.blogspot.it to see more of her work, and some great photos of her daily surroundings.

All images are copyright © Dawn Clarkson 2012


  1. Lovely patterns dawn; nice post Esther.

  2. Fab post Esther..n great work Dawn!

  3. Great feature Esther and fabulous works Dawn! I'm really inspired by your patterns! Am glad I'm not the only one that is feeling the need to "have an idea" before starting on a pattern... we tend to be influenced by our "past lives" don't we? ;)

  4. Thank you so much Esther for this lovely post. You made my work (and me) sound VERY professional. This will inspire me to continue experimenting!

  5. That was a great post, thanks Esther! Dawn, I look forward to seeing your website and new work. Love the painterly quality to your work:)