Inspired by the natural world around her, Maggie Levien’s colour and textile work draws on nostalgic sea and landscapes to create evocative works of art. Her new cushion collection for the Cotswold Company focuses on the grasses and seed heads seen across our beautiful English countryside, from late summer and into autumn.
Growing up, it’s no surprise Maggie took the creative path. Her parents ran a soft toy company where they lived in Scotland. “My mother designed all the animals, so we always had fabric lying around.” But the textiles route didn’t manifest until she started her foundation course at Norwich’s School of Art, followed by a degree in Printed Textiles at Manchester, leading to her first job. “My first furnishing job was at Osborne and Little. It was an amazing experience being able to draw and work with colour all day and learn the craft of making textiles for production.”
A NATURAL COLLECTION
In fact, it is this link to nature and the natural course of the seasons, which inspired Maggie’s ‘Grasses and Seed heads’ cushion collection for us. “I wanted to celebrate the familiar plants and the natural colours we have here in Britain.”
When she designs a new collection, Maggie begins with a brief – “it helps to give a boundary to the research for the ideas.” Next, it’s considering what the end product will be – “is it going to be printed, woven or embroidered, what are the dimensions and which materials will be used.” When all of this information is gathered, the ideation stage begins.
“Once I have a body of drawings, I’ll then use the computer to lay the design out and if necessary, put into repeat. The computer is great for creating colourways but nothing substitutes a piece of fabric or something I have found with the perfect colour on as reference.”
A 5-piece collection available in a range of colourways synonymous with the changing seasons – from fern greens to rich coppers – Maggie tells us about the importance and necessity of colour when it comes to our homes. “With the recent experiences we have all been through, I wonder if there will be a focus on wellbeing and optimism in the home over the next year.
For me, this is about creating a sense of calm. Choosing greys, whites, blues and greens to keep things muted but with pops of joyful colour like butter yellows, ochre and warm rust reds for a lift in spirits. The key I think, now more than ever, is to create a home in which the colours reflect how you want to feel.”
KEEP IT SIMPLE
When it comes to choosing and layering colour in your home, Maggie believes the key is not to have too many colours competing in one space. “I would choose one main colour for a room and work in tones for the walls, flooring and main pieces of furniture. Then accent with brighter shades or twists of the same colour family.”
If you’ve got one or two redecorating projects on the to-do list for this year and struggling with where to start, Maggie suggests “selecting one or two words that evoke the feeling you want to create in the room and make sure every selection you make tells that story.”
“My Mantra is ‘keep it simple’ and a few carefully selected pieces work better than over cluttering. I love the William Morris quote: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be functional or believe to be beautiful.’”
To view our complete range of cushions here