While blogging affords many hidden benefits, there are two in particular that work together to fuel my creative hunger: discovering independent talent and having the opportunity to interview these lively entrepreneurs. One such recent discovery is Pittsburg-based designer Savannah Hayes whose introductory collection looks as polished as that of any long-running brand. Having worked with a handful of big name designers and brands prior to her entrepreneurial debut, it comes as no surprise that her designs have star power written all over them. Her graphic textiles, conversation-starting marble and striking iPhone cases dazzle my eyes and spark questions I simply had to ask of Savannah. Below I captured them to share with you. I hope this sparks a fury of creativity for you as the new year kicks off!
ENJOY THE INTERVIEW
Savannah, your work is modern, chic and yet entirely practical. What was the first Savannah Hayes product you created? Tell us more about the idea behind that piece…
My first finished piece was the Milas throw blanket. It started as a small scale drawing in my sketchbook: the result of an afternoon alone spent with paper, ruler, and graphite. The blankets are 50" x 60" and I scaled the design to fit that size. I love how dramatic it is opened up to show the full design and how subtle it is when folded.
Travel is a key influence for most, if not all, creatives. You’ve lived in many great cities but can you point to a specific vacation destination or journey that offered a heavy influence for your design aesthetic?
In my early 20s, I found myself in Rome several times in a matter of a few years. With my camera and my sketchbook, I devoured the city. I tried to capture the ancient architecture, the aged patinas, the abundant textures , the rich colors. Several of the designs in my inaugural collection were influenced by specific shapes and angles that I recorded on those trips.
Kelly Wearstler, Kravet & the esteemed Martha herself. What lessons from those past professional engagements guide you in your entrepreneurial pursuits today?
With Kelly, I saw firsthand how owning your own business can so positively affect a work/life balance. At Kravet, I learned how to style a collection. From color and texture to scale and pattern, it's a matter of balance. From Martha, I learned how big big can be!
Are there any great books you can recommend that delivered an “ah-ha” moment for you as a creative and/or a business owner?
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon is a must read. I find myself rereading it in the bath! It's such a wonderful trove of encouragement and advice to help creatives stay at their most productive.
Let’s talk about your stunning products! Geometrics have a solid presence in the current collection. What can you share about your love of these modern shapes and designs?
I've been attracted to angles and edges for as long as I can remember. I always draw with a straight-edge and when I'm photographing, it's the linear elements in the environment that I'm most attracted to. I think bold, geometric prints pair well with the organic shapes of furniture and the softer design elements we so often have in our homes.