Back in October, we launched our very first dedicated Interiors Showcase in Dundee. Our first-of-its-kind Interiors Award was given to DJCAD graduate Kelly MacKay who took home the star prize to collaborate with 100% Design or Clerkenwell Design Week. Three months after the showcase, we catch up with Kelly to learn about her home-grown studio, upcoming exhibitions and her dreams of starting up a printing studio for new graduates.

Since winning your award, what have you been up to?

I have had my work on display in the Tayberry Gallery in Perth.  All the cushions that were in the gallery have sold and this has allowed me to create my own print room at home. Having my own print room has been something I have wanted to achieve since leaving University.  I have a stand at the Ideal Homes Exhibition at the SECC in Glasgow, 27th – 30th May so I have been busy printing to build the collection to go on show.  My aim is to have a real interest, which is super exciting!

How did SR:D’s Interiors Showcase benefit you and your brand?

The showcase helped the brand and me in different ways. For me it made me realise that I can do this, and my work is valued by individuals.  Such recognition has been a real confidence boost. It is scary leaving University and wanting your work to be appreciated and at the same time not being sure if you have sparked some interest balanced against the financial pressure to keep going. The showcase also generated interest in my brand.  It also gave me an invaluable insight into the industry and provided me with positive feedback and understanding from industry experts that I can take forward to develop my range.

Tell us about your new printing studio in your home in Tayport…

My wee studio is great! I have a three metre table and a screen wash board that I made with help from my Dad. I have a small section for making up my dyes that I bought from Kemtex and basically it cost me literally nothing! It was great to see it all done and finally be able to use it and get creating. Having that space is fab and to make it my own is exciting.  To be able to wake up and just go downstairs to my own studio, I am really grateful for, it allows me to produce designs when I please and not have to rely on others. Setting up your own print room is doable and many of the people who do it share their tips online, it is great. Dundee has a great reputation for textiles but it is a shame that there are limited opportunities to access facilities to do screen printing.  I would love to start up a printing studio in the future for new graduates to use until they get established or for people who are interested in learning about textile design.  

Which three things could you not live without?

I couldn’t live without a camera as I am obsessed with taking photographs anywhere and everywhere. I feel it is really important to capture the images that you may never see again and therefore you can keep it forever. I couldn’t live without my sewing box, there is always a need for a needle and thread to bring my designs to life. I am also obsessed with pattern and couldn’t live without some vibrancy, colour and energy in design, life would be very dull without it.

Grab tickets now for The Ideal Home Show here to see Kelly’s range of hand-printed cushions and textiles, each inspired by Scotland’s beautiful geology. Got any questions for Kelly? Tweet her @mackaykelly20