Hello! I'm Asta Barrington, a British textile designer working in Bath, England and I'm the designer behind new home wares label Alabasta. Its signature look is intricate linear patterns that evolve into beady eyed animals and lace like stripes in a spectrum of colours. Already in production are printed birch wood trays made and sold under license by Ary Trays, the Swedish laminated birch wood tray manufacturer, and now printed placemats, coasters and glass platters have been launched and sold under license by Avenida Home.
Please get in touch with Isabel Saiz at Avenida Isabel Ltd for sales and distribution information or press enquiries for placemats, coasters and glass platters. For tray sales, press and distribution please get in touch with Ary Trays.
Background and inspiration
I've been designing textiles and surface pattern ever since I graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in the mid nineties with an MA in Textiles. Before I started designing for Alabasta I designed, made and sold my own label range of embroidered scarves and blankets to high end boutiques and galleries all around the world including Barneys New York, Designers Guild and the beautiful but sadly now defunct Takashimaya store in New York. I constructed fabrics for Matthew Williamson and Marni's earliest fashion collections and have won awards at Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Fair and also Chelsea Crafts Fair where I used to sell my handmade products annually. I still sell scarves through select galleries such as Contemporary Applied Arts in London and Blackwell, the stunning Arts and Crafts House in the Lake District. You can see my non Alabasta work here.
A few years ago I started designing patterns that were too intricate and precise for my established 'handwritten' machine embroidery style but well suited to printed products, a new creative challenge. My inspiration mainly comes from paper ephemera and vintage textiles and other junk I find at flea markets - handmade items that demonstrate labour intensive skills now disappearing from modern mass manufacturing. Detailed filigree patterns created from tatting, crochet, bobbin lace and drawn thread work look simple enough but on closer inspection are intriguingly complex. By using modern technology such as digital printing I endeavour to interpret this elegant intricacy in a modern but not literal way. My liberal use of colour has been influenced by travel to countries such as Mexico and Thailand where positive shades are everywhere, combined with years of hand dyeing silk and cashmere fabrics in a spectrum of colours. Finally, if you think the range has a Scandinavian look to it that's probably because it's in my blood - I'm half Danish.