Beatrice Larkin is a designer and a weaver based in East London. She manages her own label of luxury textiles featuring fine Italian wool woven in Lancashire. Her textile designs are influenced by Bauhaus, Brutalism, as well as West African mud cloth designs. Her distinctive geometric textiles are available at Heal’s as well as the Tate Modern.
For our second edition of Women in Craft, we spoke to Beatrice to learn more about running a contemporary craft business as well as her thoughts on design and craft in London.
Tell us about your journey. What inspired you to begin designing textiles?
Growing up I have always been surrounded by beautiful textiles. My dad has an interior design business and my mum is a textile designer/ maker. I was also lucky enough to have a fantastic textile department at my secondary school which influenced my choice in taking it to further education. On my BA at Chelsea College of Art, I focused on weaving which gave me a strong understanding of the structure of cloth and the magic of creating a textile from fibre to finished fabric. It was on my MA at the Royal College of Art that I really began thinking about starting up my own business in textile design. I built a portfolio of work with my own particular aesthetic which I started selling once I’d graduated.
Where do you go for inspiration? What are some of your favourite cultural spots in London?
The Barbican is always my number one spot for inspiration in London. I’ve been on the architectural tour there twice now and would happily go again! I find the whole complex fascinating and the Brutalist architecture alongside the gardens, lake and conservatory is just beautiful.
As an artist, what does craftsmanship mean to you?
Quality, skill and time taken over designing and making something.
What are some tips on encouraging more people on getting involved in craft and learning new skills in different disciplines?
Enjoy the process. As soon as you make a business out of it, so many other factors take precedence over this! Weaving is a long and slow process which is incredibly rewarding but you cannot rush it. There are stages which you have to follow and it forces you to be methodical. It can be incredibly calming and forces you to live in the moment. Embrace and enjoy the flow state which so many craft processes can bring. I’ve just started a ceramics course which has given me this joy again. I am terrible but I am loving it!
Go at your own pace. After learning a craft for BA and MA then going onto starting my own business and teaching a little in between..everyone has their own path. I always felt I wasn’t the best technical weaver at college. I wasn’t (and I’m still not) great at maths and it took me a little longer than some other students to pick up certain techniques. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t a good enough weaver and imposter syndrome crept in. However I was confident I had strong design skills and and as weaving knowledge grew I could see my own development was all that mattered. Everyone is on their own journey!
Complete the sentence — ‘#ToKnowYourArtisan is to ….”
‘#ToKnowYourArtisan is to know the passion behind a product.
Any new upcoming projects you would like to share?
In February I was in New York showing my work for the the first time to an international audience so I am hoping to grow that market in the coming year. I am also hoping to work with more interior designers on larger interior projects and I have just started to design some rugs which are meant to be launching this Autumn/Winter but everything is a bit up in the air at the moment!