AVA’s Top 10 to watch from new designers 2017

AVA returned back to New Designers, London for our 4th year exhibiting and 19th year of attending. It’s a highlight of our year as we never know what we are going to see and what gems will be exhibiting. This year we spent four days at the Business Design Centre for part 1 of the show, where once again we were blown away by the versatility and creativity and use of media, colour and patterns on display.

Year after year we’re impressed with the line up of talent from all the budding designers. With a range of new ideas and visuals, we had the tough task of shortlisting just 10 designers that we believe have strong potential for the future and we think they’re certainly worth keeping an eye on for the coming years!!


Charlotte Atkin

Recently graduating from Nottingham Trent University, Charlotte specialises in Printed Textile Design. Charlotte’s elegant work grabbed our attention with her strong mark making skills and use of ‘calm and neutral’ colours, simply beautiful.

” Drawing is very important to me as a designer, and I use digital techniques to create designs that best enhance my work. My final year collection, ’Glasshouse’, is inspired by tropical palm houses, capturing a sense of calm and serenity within the busy over crowded depths of the botanical conservatories. A variety of drawing techniques have been explored from watercolour paintings to abstract marks. I combined digitally printed silks layered with screen printed Devore techniques to create a transparency and delicate quality to my work. My collection explores shadows and layering throughout creating a sophisticated collection of muted tropical printed designs which are equally suited to both fashion and interiors.”

Charlotte Atkin ND

Charlotte Atkin combined

Web: www.charlotteatkin.com

Email: atkin.charlotte@hotmail.co.uk

Tel: +44(0)7783784994


Tabitha Brown

Textiles graduate from Loughborugh University, Tabitha specialises in the pathway of woven textiles but also has a passion for drawing and painting. Tabitha’s love for design and use of bold and playful colours certainly caught our eye, along with her unique and unusual drawing style. Taking inspiration from the environment around her, being aware of seasonal changes and trends, Tabitha aims to explore the ability to ‘tell a story’ through her quirky work.

“My work uses a variety of processes, my woven samples involves dying my own yarn to my selected colour palette which is then threaded up in a planned way to ensure the right shapes and patterns are created in the woven samples, my weaves are full of texture which I like to reflect the animals within my drawings. My paintings all have a connection to my weaves and digital prints.  Using a range of materials such a pro marker, acrylic paints and fine liner which all enable me to create detailed and playful stories. My digital prints and wallpaper all stem from my first hand drawings, I take key elements from my drawings and put them in repeat in a variety of scales. My work is designed for an interior space, so I print onto rich velvets and linen. I would like my story telling style of work to continue, but to become more sophisticated and grow with the new techniques which I learn, I would like to develop a wide range of digital prints wallpapers which I then can make into my own interior products. I would like to see my work in quirky hotels and restaurants but also homes where people like to create fun within their homes.”   

Tabitha brown combined 01

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Email: tabithadgbrown@hotmail.com

Tel: +44(0)7847603650


Nicky Chan

Nicky has just graduated from Staffordshire University. Nicky was the first of our top 10 that we met in London. Nicky’s hand drawn/illustrative skills are phenomenal, she creates beautiful bold artwork which she manipulates with CAD, producing some fabulous pieces on display at New Designers for the interior markets.

I am a Staffordshire University graduate with a first class honours degree in Surface Pattern Design. With a passion for bright colour and bold prints, my designs offer an illustrative and quirky style that remains uniquely sophisticated through rich colour palettes and modern themes. Travelling and culture is a great influence within my work and is often the source of new ideas through city visits and gallery exhibitions. My graduate collection ‘Geo Menagerie’ captures the essence of art deco and psychedelia through striking interior wall coverings and fabric designs of intertwining botanical forms and bold geometrics. Textured exotic fruits and elegant, tropical birds are featured to complete this series of fearlessly whimsical designs.

As winner of the ‘Peroni Nastro Azzurro competition’, it’s evident we weren’t the only one who spotted Nickys talent at the show.

Nicky Chan ND 2017

nicky chan combined

Email: nicky_chan@outlook.com



Amelia Ellwood

Amelia is a fun, experimental Print Design Graduate from Norwich University of the Arts.  Her work is abstract, bold and confident. It was Amelia’s large scale mark making and powerful colour combinations that stood out at New Designers. Amelia enjoys working with mixed media, piecing and collaging reused papers together to form abstract drawings and compositions, then manipulating on CAD.

 ”I am inspired by space. I study the negative and positive space of my surroundings which I then translate into loose, fun abstract drawings. Collaging with cut out and leftover papers enables me to create organic and playful drawings using negative space and street art as my main inspiration. Drawings are translated into designs using experimental silk screen printing. Drawing and “scribbling” directly onto drafting film enables me to continue my personal loose style of working and applying these marks onto fabrics. I mask off areas on the silk screens using cut out paper stencils and place and layer the marks in captivating compositions. I mask off positive space on the fabric to add to surrounding areas using open screen printing to fill in or create new and fresh painterly markings or shapes. Digital collage is also a main method that is used in my practise. By scanning in markings and drawings I am able to overlay and invert them on Photoshop, enabling me to continue to reuse leftover paper stencils from my screen printing process. My work is primarily designed for interior spaces and homewares but with some alteration of scale my print designs work brilliantly applied to fashion pieces. I aim to continue building my brand as a print designer, especially after winning an associate prize at New designers where I can have my prints turned into sustainably made products by Kalopsia Collective.”

As a user of AVA, Amelia commented; ”AVA has enabled me to create various repeat designs which have then been translated into bold, large scale wallpaper designs for a contemporary, mid-century modern inspired interior.”

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Amelia Ellwood combined

Web: www.ameliaellwood.co.uk

Email: ameliaellwooddesign@outlook.com

Tel: +44(0)7581730595


Amy Harris

With a love for Print, Pattern and Luxury interiors, Amy has created a poetic narrative throughout her collection by coupling delicate and hand drawn techniques, with the use of digital manipulation and the latest CAD technologies. Amy’s impressive drawing skills are the basis for all her designs. With many design studios and design companies at New Designers it wasn’t long before her detailed pieces received a lot of attention and offers of work placements in industry. The second graduate from Staffordshire University in our top 10 ones to watch, Amy’s portfolios’ versatility certainly gave her the skills to help her get her foot into the fiercely competitive design industry.

” ‘Eventide‘ is a highly illustrative and decorative collection designed for the most luxurious of interiors. This collection attempts to highlight the natural beauty of our woodlands, featuring unusual subject matters to create an interesting and visually stimulating twist to the traditional woodland theme. I think there is something really beautiful about how designs can be influenced by technology. How a linear black and white drawing can be processed and created into a vibrant and intricate design is what continues to fascinate and inspire me. I hope I can continue to produce wallpapers and fabrics that will hopefully end up in Luxury stores soon!”

Amy Harris 01

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Web: www.amyharris.gallery

Email: amyoharris@gmail.com

Tel: +44(0)7554002133


Beth Hunt

We recently spotted Beth at Bolton University’s preview evening where she studied BA (hons) Textiles & Surface Design. It was clear she has a real skill in illustration and mark making, experimenting with different brush strokes and colour to create patterns. Beth’s versatility and ability to draw and mark make as well as her strong colour sense and composition made her stand out. Beth exhibited her collection ‘Soft Modern‘ which was inspired by Scandinavian design, taking inspiration from the urban environment.

“My collection includes experimental paintings to explore different brush strokes and lines to identify what can be achieved by manipulating the paint and paint brush by using it as a tool for mark-making. I describe Soft Modern as a collection that is a celebration of pattern, colour and texture through the exploration of process and mark-making. Soft Modern fuses traditional colour with graphic and metallic details creating a contemporary design for living spaces that is serene and verdant with an airy atmosphere. I see my designs working on a whole ray of interior products which can be seen across my entire show. I’ve always loved homewares so it would be a dream to have my designs, my style sold across the world.

Beth’s work certainly generated a lot of interest, receiving multiple awards and recognition from major companies within the industry.

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Beth Hunt 06

Web: www.artsthread.com/profile/bethanyhunt/

Email: b.beth_hunt@outlook.com

Tel: +44(0)7450017933


Jo Newton

Jo had a very exciting display on the University of Derby stand at New Designers. We were really intrigued with her work, it was the combination of her design processes and final applications that stood out – we’re excited to say she is definitely one to watch for the future! Jo is an experienced Textile Design student, graduating with a BA Hons from the University of Derby 25 years ago. Since then she’s gone on to becoming a Printed Textile Technician, developing her techniques and giving ideas to many students, seeing them flourish within the industry, which is very rewarding for Jo.

I am currently studying for a Masters in Fashion and Textiles. The body of work I have produced for my MA has been for my development. Pushing the boundaries of both traditional and digital textile techniques.

Jo has used her resources at Derby to conduct in depth research into new pigments and processes. Some of these include; sublimation printing, screen printing, laser cutting, UV printing, hydrochromic pigments and photo luminescent pigments (to name just a few.)  She goes on to explain, “I didn’t just want to print onto fabric, I wanted to print onto also sorts of substrates:Plywood, Acrylic, Metal, Ceramics, Concrete and polyester.”

“Currently most commercially available prints for outdoors are designed for soft furnishings for chairs, handles of garden tools, gloves, aprons and vinyl decals for bins. My concept is to take print out of the living room and into the outdoors by producing a range of printed products for the garden living space. These will include Perspex, wood and metal trellising and screens that can be moved to separate and mask different aspects of the garden. The initial design element and inspiration was taken from traditional damask wallpapers and embroidered floral patterns particularly from the Jacobean and Elizabethan period, researching the hidden meanings of the flowers; for example Daisy = innocence, Rose = friendship and Marigold = desire for riches. The floral prints produced have been drawn, scanned and manipulated into repeats using Photoshop. Sorry, I would have used AVA if I had it! In each case pattern, colours and designs can be mixed to personalize outdoor garden living space enabling people to mix and match colours and patterns to create their own unique designs according to their own personal tastes. I would love link up with a garden designer and see my trellising at an RHS garden show and then eventually on sale for the public to decorate their gardens.”

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Jo Newton combined

Web: www.jonewtonprint.blogspot.co.uk

Email: Joanna.newton@icloud.com

Tel: +44(0)7941113245


Natalie Percival

Natalie is a recent graduate of the BA Hons Textiles, Innovation and Design course, at Loughborough University. Natalie’s beautiful use of colour and painterly pieces had a very strong impact at the show. They were a unique visual treat, which intrigued us and drew us in to find out more about her and her work. Natalie’s beautiful, illustrative, painterly and calming pieces reflected her soft and calming personality.

“My Collection at New Designers was ‘Whimsical Landscapes’. This collection demonstrates a blend of two contrasting landscapes, the bold textured surfaces of the Norwegian mountains with the striking beauty of the English countryside. I was able to capture the tranquil atmosphere through my illustrative skills translating colour, pattern, and texture into my work through hand painting and observational drawing. The designs utilise an organic colour palette, derived from icy winters with tones of woodland greenery, combined to produce an unusual mix of colours which are playful and visually contemporary in style. This has been developed by using a mixture of screen printing and digital design. In the near future I will start up my own luxury interiors brand, where the designs are original and all hand rendered. These prints will then be made into furniture or soft furnishings for customers to purchase and decorate their homes.”

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Natalie Percival 02 Natalie Percival 01


Email: natalie.percival@rocketmail.com

Tel: +44(0)7500715760


Ellie Smales

Graduating from Birmingham City University, Ellie studied Textile design where she specialised in print and surface pattern. It was evident that Ellie’s inspiration, unique style and strong visuals came from  landscape imagery, coupled with Scottish tartan details.  Her collection was very powerful and stood out because of her use of bold complementary colours, coupled with detailed structures. Ellie has a good understanding of mark making and how to progress work further digitally, using embroidery software to form the basis for the designs, layering digital sketches and hand drawn elements to achieve textures and narrative.

“I would describe my work as printed design fusions, inspired by both natural landscapes and busy urban destinations, considering organic surface pattern and graphic architectural elements. Through rigorous and varied technical experimentation, the designs show an appreciation for different material structures and incorporate dyeing techniques and digital embroidery for printed outcomes as a way of creating intriguing tactile surface qualities. My collection of designs is presented in a way that allows clients to envisage the prints in a variety of contexts. Experienced in trend awareness and client-based briefs, I hope to continue developing my skills as a printed textile designer and I have an open mind-set towards opportunities in the industry.”


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Web: www.ellierosesmales.wordpress.com

Email: elliesmales@btinternet.com

Tel: +44(0)7548135576


Linn Warme

Linn is an artist and pattern designer who has studied in a Masters of Fine Arts at The Swedish School of Textiles. Linn’s large prints really stood out because of her use of scale and pattern. You immediately notice Linn’s work, which is all hand created. It has an immediate impact which entices you in to learn more about it’s structure and the thought processes behind this. Her collection on show at New Designers was called ‘Printception – a print within a print‘…

“The aim was to explore the possibility of having multiple patterns on a single textile surface by layering patterns in contrasting scale and printing techniques. The work sets out to explore a new way to approach historically common patterns to create a new and contemporary expression through the use of the three chosen pattern categories; floral, medallion and geometric. By exploring different scales within the textile, motifs can hide in plain sight depending on the observer’s distance from the textile. This concept is most clearly seen when you look at the textile from a distance and then move closer towards it. From afar a floral motif is depicted but as you move closer, it dissolves into pieces of a geometric pattern with no flower to be seen.”

Showing a range of techniques in her work, it’s clear Linn has a good understanding of combining elements to create an impressive end result!

Textil högskolan Borås Exit 2017

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Web: www.linnwarme.com

Email: linnwarme@gmail.com


We believe all the above designers have a real talent and we see great potential in each of them. They are all unique individuals with very different styles and skills.

AVA would like to wish them all the best in their future careers and hope our paths may cross again very soon!

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