Graphic illustrations with bold pops of color are defining features of LUprints’ aesthetic, and the reason why their Toronto tea towel and animal print coasters remain BRIKA bestsellers. But as any artisan knows, the process between an idea and how it will take shape is multifaceted (and can often involve additional trips to the drawing board). With that in mind, we chatted to Ulla Clark, the face behind LUprints, about how she takes an Edison bulb idea for a new product and brings it to life.
Where do you find the inspiration for your design?
I am influenced by my surroundings, where we live in a small mountain town in B.C. We experience wildlife on a daily basis, such as bears in our backyard, or deer and coyotes roaming around, as well as so many colors of trees, shrubs and the changing seasons. I have a life-long love of Scandinavian design from my background, and visiting Sweden always re-inspires my appreciation for the simple, modern design and way of living over there.
Walk us through the production process.
All my prints begin with several ideas floating around in my head. Two to four of them are then sketched and digitally redrawn using my tablet. From there, I can mock up different print colors and sizing, or create a repeat pattern. Depending on the results, one or two of these new designs are burned onto screens, then sample printed onto fabric in a few colors. Then, the printed items are cut and sewn in our shop into napkins, tea towels or bags, and photographed for the next catalogue. If a new design does well, then I will translate it onto birch trays, cards or ceramic mugs for the following season.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I have done a number of collaborations with shops and art galleries, as well as designed two collections for Ontario Parks over the last few years, and have really enjoyed this. I also love seeing a design go from a simple concept to a final print on a textile.