5 Things You Didn’t Know About Karen Nicol

November 11, 2013

As British designer Karen Nicol tells it, her love for designing began with a single pattern: Å“When I was 14 my mother made me a dress pattern and said she would buy me any fabric I wanted from the market, but no more clothes. I stitched, stapled and taped my way to heaven. This childhood love of making clothes soon turned into a storied career in fashion and home design. When our buyers first spotted her textiles adorned with animal motifs on a trip to London, they were immediately enamoredso enamored in fact that they commissioned her to create a series of Anthropologie-exclusive ursine rugs. We caught up with her today to find our more about the woman behind our beloved bears.


On Happiness: I can’t think of anything better than having my head filled with new work.

On Workspace: My studio is like a beautifully frantic sketchbook page. It contains numerous collections of small things, chosen in a magpie-like way, to stimulate my senses.

On Inspiration: I have three decades’ worth of amazing vintage fabrics, threads, beads and other bits that I pull from regularly.

On Self-Perception: I would say I’m enthusiastic, creative and hopeful, but something very few people know about me is that I lack confidence.

On Technique: One thing I couldn’t work without is my hand-governed industrial Irish Singer embroidery machine. It’s at least 50 years old, so there are no computers involved. There isn’t even a presser foot or feeder teethit just has a single, free needle.