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Interview with Pallavi Padukone

Home > Designer Interviews > Pallavi Padukone

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Pallavi Padukone (PP) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Pallavi Padukone by clicking here.

Interview with Pallavi Padukone at Friday 7th of May 2021
Pallavi Padukone
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
PP: I completed my undergraduate studies at Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bengaluru in India where I specialized in textile design and then pursued my Masters in Fine Arts in Textiles at Parsons School of Design in New York. I currently work as a freelance textile designer, while continuing my art practice as well. I was introduced to design at a young age, as my mother is a graphic designer, and my family has always been a great supporter of the arts. Growing up I was surrounded by creative people and following this direction and wanting to be a designer felt natural to me. It wasn’t until I started my undergraduate program that I became familiar with textiles. I gravitate towards working with my hands and textiles seemed like the best fit. It was after I started realizing the ubiquitous nature of this field and the wide scope for techniques, materials, and innovation is when I fell in love with this medium. Coming from India, a country with such a rich textile history and appreciation for the handcrafted, I am constantly inspired. I was exposed to the world of textile and fiber art after coming to the United States, which has also made me look at the materials I use and source with a more environmentally conscious lens.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
PP: I work as an independent and freelance textile designer and artist. My art practice incorporates techniques of hand-weaving, embroidery, surface embellishment, natural dyeing, and hand painting. I work with natural fibers like cotton, recycled silk, organza silk, and linen and keen to innovate with newer materials as well. In my recent collection Reminiscent, where I explored the relationship of scent, textiles, and memories, I developed a natural coating for cotton yarn and beads using filtered beeswax, tree resin, essential oils, and natural dye pigments. My work involves manipulating the yarn into handwoven and embroidered textiles as a way of embellishing with scents and reinterpreting the fragrance industry.

FS: What is "design" for you?
PP: Design is about problem-solving, being creative, having an eye for detail, and creating something that resonates with people on an aesthetic, functional, or emotional level.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
PP: I like working on passementerie designs for interiors and textile products, innovating with textures, fabrics, colors, and embellishment. I am also interested in projects involving sustainable material innovation, research, and experimentation as well as collaborating with artisans in the craft sector for designing textile products and art installation design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
PP: I designed a collection of textile jewelry pieces made from upcycled fabrics

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
PP: Working with the handloom is one of my favorite techniques, as I find the process of weaving to be mediative. In terms of materials, I tend to also work a lot with natural fibers like cotton, coconut fiber, and silk. I use a lot of sheer organza silk because I’m attracted to its transparency, lightness, and its delicate yet versatile nature. I also enjoy working with handspun recycled sari silk sourced from India.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
PP: I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings for colors, patterns, and textures. Nature has been my muse in much of my work and being surrounded by nature is when I feel the most creative. I also enjoy traveling and documenting traditional craft forms and learning about techniques from highly skilled artisans.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
PP: I spend a good amount of time on the planning, ideation, and sampling stage of the design process. Once that is mapped out, the materials are chosen and the technique is sampled, the production stage becomes much faster.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
PP: The process of designing is exciting. It can be challenging when things don’t go according to plan, but ultimately, it’s all about problem-solving. I especially enjoy the experimental and exploration phase. Using hand techniques such as weaving, and embroidery brings me joy. At times the entire process is very planned out, with a specific outcome, but there are times when I allow the material or the technique to guide me to the final result. I do a lot of experimentation and sampling to challenge myself creatively.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
PP: I find it extremely fulfilling when my designs come to life and I can finally see the outcome as a whole.

FS: What makes a design successful?
PP: I personally think a design is successful when it satisfies the soul of the designer and client and when it is memorable. It could be when the design resonates with someone or makes them feel some kind of emotion. It could even give them some sort of inspiration or even spark a conversation. A successful design is also when there is little to nothing you would want to change about the final outcome as the designer. It is when the design is timeless, and you keep referring back to it as a model when working on similar projects, no matter how many years have passed.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
PP: Designers should be conscious and mindful of where they are sourcing their materials, what kind of materials, and their impact of the products on the environment from the production stage to the disposal. Designers should also be transparent when it comes to where their designs are being produced and by who.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
PP: In September 2020, I displayed my work at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City as part of a group exhibition for New York Textile Month. More recently I had a pop-up exhibit in a vacant space in the East Village in New York. It was a collaborative effort with two other fellow material artist friends Sanya Sharma, and Yi Hsuan Sung. We have very different art practices, but we connect with our appreciation for textiles, natural materials, and hand-crafted designs. We created a space that we called Soft Sanctuary, an immersive sensorial environment that expressed our shared joy for the handmade. The coming together of work born out of our individual apartments during 2020 to weave together stories of time, spaces, and nostalgia. A reflection of the time we currently live in and how we used textile making as a means of meditation and healing.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
PP: Nature has been my muse in much of my work for design inspiration, colors, patterns, motifs, and materials. I also keep myself updated with trends and material research but more to inform myself, as design trends are constantly changing. I try to create my own trends that are inspired by timeless aesthetics. My design philosophy strongly believes in slow design, respecting craftsmanship and the handmade, and attention to little details. I feed my creativity by visiting museums and galleries as a source of inspiration, reading up on the history of textiles, motifs, and techniques, and giving myself time to experiment, play and enjoy the process of making. Coming from India that has textiles and crafts deeply rooted in our history, traditions, and culture, I find that my work is often influenced by my cultural identity.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
PP: My textile practice is often guided by culture, heritage, and craft. Coming from India, a country with a rich history of textiles, I find that my work is often inspired by textile techniques and patterns that are rooted in my culture. I have an interest in reviving and documenting traditional crafts and collaborating with artisans as an exchange of knowledge. I strongly believe in the philosophy of respecting craftsmanship, the handmade, and the slow. It becomes harder to collaborate with artisans due to the distance since I am currently based in New York. The advantage of designing here is the ability to network with clients, the art and design community, and the growing market for the handmade and handcrafted.

FS: How do you work with companies?
PP: I work with clients on a project basis

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
PP: The initial stage of my design and ideation process involves research, sketching, and mood boarding for inspiration, colors, forms, and motifs. I give a good amount of time for sampling and experimentation for material selection and techniques. I make a plan for executing the final designs or artwork, which could involve going back to the initial stages for reiterations or redirection.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
PP: The beauty is in the details

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
PP: Good communication, ability to problem solve, patience, eye for color and details, creativity and innovation

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
PP: I work a lot with my hands using techniques such as fabric manipulation, hand painting, natural dyeing, handweaving, hand and machine embroidery, and beadwork. I work with the adobe creative suite software (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator) for digital design work and planning. I have a library of books that I refer to for inspiration on techniques such as The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff and Carol Strickler’s 8-Shaft Patterns and the work of other artists that I look up to like Sheila Hicks, Anni Albers, and Theo Moorman.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
PP: I create a schedule and stick to a timeline.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
PP: It depends on the scale of the project and the techniques. I work a lot with hand-done techniques like weaving, beadwork, and embroidery, which are more time-consuming but the results are worth it.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
PP: jobs that have allowed me to learn, grow and challenge myself as a designer

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
PP: I feel I work best and enjoy collaborations with other designers or studios that have similar values when it comes to designing. I especially enjoy working with craft clusters and techniques that promote the handmade. I feel there is so much to learn from artisans who are highly skilled in such crafts and supporting them and their work is important to me.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
PP: I work independently as a textile artist. Some of my projects involve collaboration with highly skilled artisans. I also work with other designers and studios on freelance design projects.

FS: How can people contact you?
PP: I can be contacted via my email pallavipadukone@gmail.com or through my Instagram @pallu.padu


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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