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September 22, 2009

We celebrated the start of London Design Festival with tea and itty bitty cupcakes at British textile and surface designer Ella Doran's shop in East London. She is hosting There's No Place Like Home, an exhibition and auction of artist-designed placements to benefit Shelter, a British charity working with homelessness. Doran has invited 23 designers and illustrators to each create a series of placemats that have been available in a silent auction in the shop since the opening on Saturday. Online bidding will also be possible as of this week.

ella dorans No Place Like Home 1 web

The artists include: Paul Bommer, James Brown, Amy Cushing, Anthony Dickens, Ella Doran, Chris Eckersley, Sharon Elphick, Michelle Grabner, Katy Hackney, Jason Hart, Matthew Hilton, Dan Holliday, Melodie Holliday, Inkie, Kim Jenkins, Michael Marriott, Peter McDonald, Sue Parker, Martin Parr, Rob Ryan, Zakee Shariff, Andrew Stafford, Dandy Star and Sparks Studio.

In her own work, Doran creates interiors products with an unusual twist, superimposing photographic imagery on everyday household objects, including placemats, coasters, wall coverings, tableware and stationary. In fact, some of her placemats look slightly more delicious the food itself.

The studio will also be unveiling new products at Designersblock, a showcase for young and established designers alongside the 100% Design trade fair, at Earl's Court later this week. We caught up with Doran, who told us a bit about the background of There's No Place Like Home, as well as her own focus as a designer.

ella doran signage


What is the background for the exhibition?

The background to the exhibition is that we are now producing these mats in small 'cottage industry' style production in our studio, which is a different angle to most of what we do, producing from Europe to the far east. We wanted to celebrate this and raise some money for a very worthy cause, especially during the Design Festival when we celebrating our interiors, etc!

How does this tie into your own work?

My interest has always stemmed from wanting to understand the process and to work from idea to finished product, not just the starting point which so many textile designers have to do.

ella doran cupcakes
You were educated as a textile designer. Do you take your own pictures?

Yes, I do take all my own images. I am a trained textile designer who finds inspiration around every corner with my camera! I started using images directly once I realized the capabilities of the production processes and applications.

What techniques due you use to superimpose the images on the objects?

We use lots of different techniques; on the mats it is a sublimation process, other designs like textile fabrics and wallpapers vary from digital processes to four-color film. All of my designs now involve the computer from the photographic starting point to making a design seamlessly repeat.

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