Industry Insights: Natasha Marshall

Colour and textile specialist Natasha Marshall has been transforming interior spaces for over 25 years with her extensive knowledge and eye for detail. We sat down with her to discuss her career and the advice she’d give to the next generation.

Can you talk about your career beginnings? How did you get to this point?

After graduating from Glasgow School of Art, I set up in business as a textile designer. I got help from the Prince’s Trust, the Scottish Arts Council, Design Nation and Glasgow City Council. They helped me financially and I started designing fabrics for nightclubs, bars and restaurants. 

In those days, I hand printed to order so it was all bespoke. I worked with a nightclub owner who did nightclubs in Nottingham, Glasgow, London and Sydney. We had some really fun projects and a lot in the hotel sector with Rocco forte and Hilton. And then, from that, I started to do my own bespoke range of fabrics and wallpaper, which went on to be stocked and sold worldwide for about 25 years. 

How has your work changed over the years?

Now I work very much as a colour and textile specialist, and I work closely with architects to really help them bring fabric and colour into their projects. I need to get into people's minds for what's right for each project, what they love and what the architect's vision is for the project. I work on very high end residential projects through to bespoke or high end hotels.

What’s your process and how do you begin working around a project? 

I like to get into people's heads and really understand what's special to them, what the project needs and what it's trying to portray. And I work on colour in a big way at the start. So taking photographs and mono printing with the key colours that I think are right for the project. And then coming up with mood boards to show the client. I like to get them really involved and really help people with colour because I think most people are frightened by it.

How has the industry changed in the last ten years?

I think people are far more open to colour now. And I think they're realising that it doesn’t have to be overpowering. It can be timeless, but it has to suit the project. So it's getting the right designers involved to really benefit the project. Collaboration is massively important. 

What advice would you give to a designer starting out today?

I think be creative and be yourself. I stopped drawing for years, and I now draw everyday again and that's really changed my outlook on my day to day work. I'd say to a designer, just be yourself and be true to yourself and really enjoy the creative process. Working with the right people is just such a joy. And there's so many different types of clients out there. So it's really about working out what your niche is and enjoying that process.

What's sort of the biggest lesson you've learned in your career? 

To be your creative self. I've always been myself, but not my creative self. I think you've got to really truly be who you are. And then you feel good. Because you know, when you're running a business, it's so easy to think, ‘no, I haven't got time.’ I did that for years and you don't feel great. Whereas by drawing every day, and bringing colour into my work every day, it's just helped everything I do, and how I feel.

For more on Natasha's work, visit her website here

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