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A Passion for Fabric.

Ciara McGaritty set up and runs Waffle Design, and will be taking part in The DecorCafe Home and Garden Festival at Strawberry Hill this week. We met up with her to find out what inspired her and how she set up such a successful home business:

D: When did you first start working with fabrics?

C: Everything I’ve done has involved fabrics in some way, I specialised in displays for shops, exhibitions and events when I first moved to London 15 years ago; everything from windows for Liberty to visual merchandising at the Science Museum. Fabric nearly always played a part… although back then it was usually just fixed with a staple gun!

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 1

 

D: How did you make the transition from displays into soft furnishings & interiors?

C: I taught myself to sew 12 years ago with mentoring and encouragement from my first long term client who lives in a fabulous period property around the corner from the V&A. She initially got in touch after seeing a bedouin tent ceiling I had installed for an exhibition in Belgravia and envisaged a similar effect in the Moroccan Kasbah in her back garden. Her ongoing passion for period interiors inspired me to explore fabrics further and I decided to travel to India.

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 2-india handwoven fabrics

 

D: Where did you train for soft furnishings?

C: On returning from my travels I went back to college at the Cass Faculty of Art in Whitechapel to learn how to make soft furnishings properly. I found enormous satisfaction in traditional techniques of making quality products, made to last. I was awarded first prize for standards of craftsmanship and innovation by the Association of Master Upholders and Upholsterers. I have since learnt that the majority of my family, on my Mom’s side, were in the business of soft furnishings in Ireland.
I went on to work in the furnishing fabrics department of Liberty managing bespoke projects of all shapes and sizes, learning about the great fabric houses for the first time.

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 3 Soft Furnsihings

 

D:What is your favourite part of your job?

C: I feel so lucky to do what I love for a living. I adore all quality fabrics and specifically love working with people on made to measure projects, my clients are inspiring creative people who love their homes and creating something really special together is always a great honour, no 2 projects are the same.

D: Tell us about your product range which we understand has been stocked with TOAST and Skandium to name a few?

C: I now combine making bespoke curtains and blinds with my product range, Waffle (cushions, throws & rugs)

The name comes from the fabric itself which is an organic cotton, hand woven by a fair trade community group in Kerala. Hand-weaving in India is a fading industry and I like that I can play a small part in keeping it going. I hand embroider coloured wools into the cotton weave to create subtle patterns. This is completed here in London. The result is a simple and refined collection of products equally comfortable in a modern or traditional setting.

I have also completed bespoke requests including bedspreads and Roman blinds using this technique.

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 image 5 - products

 

D: Talk us through your design process when you start work on something new

C: The inspiration can come from anywhere – an image, pattern or a place – but the design process always revolves around combining colour. I spread out lots of samples of fabric and try them with different combinations of yarn. Once I’ve chosen which colours work together I sketch out pattern ideas and embroider small samples. I can easily lose hours testing out colours this way! I really enjoy clashing colours and unexpected combinations, but I think part of the appeal of Waffle is that they’re used in quite a restrained understated way.

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 7 - throw

 

D: What are you working on at the moment?

C: Contemporary Parisian menswear brand AMI will soon open its first UK store in London’s Mayfair. The flagship is a large renovation project on Duke Street and I am managing the make and install of curtains in Kvadrat fabric for StudioKO.

I am also about to start work on the third phase of made to measure soft furnishings for a cottage on Wimbledon Common. I initially met this client a couple of years ago at the first DecorFest, we have since completed wonderful curtains, cushions, bed curtains and more with fabulous fabrics and Im looking forward to this exciting next phase.

I have recently collaborated with retailer Holly’s House (New KingsRoad) to create an exclusive collection of WAFFLE cushions – they are due to launch in store and on the new website in the coming weeks.

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 8 - handembroidering

 

D: What’s your next creative milestone?

C: I launched hand woven wool & linen rugs in September at the London Design Festival. I’m excited about a new commission just accepted for a young couple based in East London. This will be a bespoke design and I have some fun ideas for photographing the results!

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 9 - rug

 

Most exciting of all I’m travelling to Kenya with the British Council this week on a creative enterprise exchange so I’m really keen for a week full of absorbing African culture to see where this burst of inspiration may lead.

Follow WAFFLE inspirations on twitter & instagram.

Looking forward to meeting new and familiar faces at The DecorCafe Home & Garden Festival where I will exhibit products and showcase samples for hand finished, made to measure curtains and blinds.

 

Ciara Mc Garrity, Waffle Design 675 Image 10-socialmedia

 

www.waffledesign.co.uk

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5 Comments »

  1. This is fascinating! I know the lady you designed for in Knightsbridge, she is my Great Aunt! Well I can attest to the quality of your work, as I have sat in her Kasbah on many an occasion.

    Comment by Victoria hill — March 9, 2016 @ 09:28

  2. What an amazing coincidence!

    Comment by dblott — March 9, 2016 @ 11:53

  3. Absolutely amazing coincidence; my longest standing client!
    Ive mailed you couple of images of other projects too. Look forward to chatting period drapes on Thursday! 😉

    Comment by Ciara McGarrity — March 9, 2016 @ 13:08

  4. Ciara, what a great article loved it and we are loving our curtains throughout the house to, you did a fantastic job and great introduction by Debbie. Thank you both for helping make our new house- home.

    Comment by Fiona Jeffery — March 10, 2016 @ 07:49

  5. Thank You Fiona, an absolute pleasure working with such gorgeous fabrics! Hope to see you soon :)

    Comment by Ciara McGarrity — March 10, 2016 @ 08:29

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