A little design studio in the heart of the English countryside, Fox & Lark offers a range of fabrics, stationery and homewares featuring Liona Baldwin’s unique designs – her use of bold colour and haphazard hand-drawn approach exudes eccentric British style.
How did your business come about?
It grew from a desire for a more playful, creative outlet. Working as a freelance designer is great for discipline, but the client often shapes the end result. I love having the freedom to develop patterns and allow them to evolve organically.
Describe your work space.
I’m based in a tiny village near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, on a historic country estate. The studio is near to a forgotten walled garden and used to be a staff cottage for the main house – the whole area is steeped in history. My desk is set up in front of huge double windows that look out onto a wild cherry tree frequented by the fattest pigeons, blackbirds, jays and gold finches.
Summarise your design process.
I usually begin with the roughest of sketches in notebooks or on scraps of paper. It’s important to me that the designs evolve naturally, playfulness is key. Once I’ve got a rough motif that I like, I’ll photograph it and send it to my computer as a template to work from. I like to preserve the charm of hand drawn imperfections wherever possible but there’s something about clean lines… it’s a fine balance.
What inspires you?
The best colours are found in nature. Brightly coloured birds and exotic blooms, the hues are so cheery, particularly when teamed with sophisticated neutrals.
What’s your most prized possession?
My Audrey Kawasaki print. I just love her work, it’s so thoughtful and calming.
What’s been your career highlight?
Becoming a supplier to Fortnum & Mason. I used to joke about it when I first started out, I never thought it would actually happen! Just goes to show – dare to dream the ridiculous!
What do you love most about living in the countryside?
The connection to time, the seasons, the history of the woodlands, the all too brief tree blossoms… it’s so good to feel grounded within nature.