Designer Interview: Forest Foundry

FF_logo21. Tell us a little bit about your design collective, who are you all .
Forest Foundry consists of 8 female artists from around the world-

Katy Tanis, Victoria Weiss, Neiko Ng, (United States), Kat Kalindi Cameron,

Zoe Ingram, Karma Voce, (Australia), Ine Beerten, Miriam Bos, (Europe- Belgium/Holland)

katy-solo-profile_picVictoriaWeiss_ForestFoundry neiko_profile_picKat_pic

zoe_headshot2_bw           karma-profile_pic  IneBeerten-500px    miriam-550px

We formed as a result of us all meeting through the Make Art That Sells online course. Ine and Karma had also just met through “The Art and Business of Surface Pattern” Module 3 course immediately before.

Katy's Plate

Plate design from Katy

2. Why did you decide to form a collective?

It came about simultaneously in a number of ways, but basically we all had the same goal to exhibit at Surtex next year, and decided that the networking and support we had found through the 2 courses would be even more beneficial in the context of Surtex.

By joining in a collective, we could share resources, logistics, marketing, and expenses, and be supported and motivated with like-minded artists in a small group. Initially we were seven, but with Zoe Ingram winning the Global Talent Search, we were excited to accept Miriam Bos’s request to join us too, as Zoe will now be exhibited by her agent Lilla Rogers booth instead. Miriam will fill her spot in our booth.

zoe lechampignon_cover

designs by Zoe

3. What do you think makes a successful design collective?

We are all new to this, but we have found that it is important for it to be a fair system, and we try and make decisions through a very diplomatic process. Big decisions like choosing a name were made through a tiered voting system. Being a global collective, not everyone is online (or even awake!) at the same time, so this can cause delays sometimes, but honest, open, and frequent communication seem to be key in our success to date.

We all float ideas, and go with the majority, which seems to be fairly consistent with all of us. We share in tasks however we can, and by whoever has the time and/or experience. For example- Zoe built the website, aided by Ine, and then we managed our own pages. Victoria was the main contact for Surtex, but Ine got involved as the accountant, Karma has taken on marketing and dealing with blog interviews. Miriam has created the Surtex form. We all chip in wherever we can, and remain flexible, as the nature of our jobs is to have up and down times. Compromise and flexibility will remain key.

Victoria  - Frida

Frida by Victoria

4. What would you say is your main design element that brings you all together?

Mmm, we all definitely fit together stylistically I think, but we all have our unique personal styles. We all have fairly clean, illustrative styles, and a clear love of colour and texture. We all embrace cute characters and patterns too. I guess it is subjective, what one can see as a common thread to our work, but I don’t think you could deny there is one, even if it is hard to label. It just really works well together!


Ine Beerten – Seasons Greetings

5. What do you love about creating where you do?

The advantages of creating from home means we can create within our own schedules, and be flexible. We can start at 10 or work till 3am. For those with children, it means the ability to work around school hours or play dates etc, and those with pets, can share the studio with a furry friend. If we want to work in our pj’s, or sit in the midst of papers or fabric on the floor, or watch TV whilst sketching, or listen to loud music or talking books, we have the freedom to do just that!


Miriam’s Workspace


Kat’s Workspace

6. What kind of designers/design collective do you want to be known as?

We want to be known as a collective of highly capable, talented and professional independent artists, whose work is of a very high standard, and that is commercially viable, but still quirky. We want to be know for our professionalism, our friendliness, approachability, and flexibility, and being artists that you can trust upon to deliver great art on time, every time. We want to be able to create art for products that has a minimal impact on the planet, and are as eco-friendly and sustainable as we can be. We want to be an art-directors one-stop shop!

Neiko plate

Plate design and Neiko

7. What are you working on currently (as a collective)?

We are in constant talks about Surtex. That is our main goal, and as it is the first time for all of us, we have a lot of personal artwork to create for it. We plan to use our collective might to connect with clients, and to market ourselves. We have also tossed other ideas around, like a shared online shop, hiring someone to do all the business side for us, growing more into an agency, all sorts of things, but for the moment all sights are set squarely on Surtex.

miriam - dragon

Dragon by Miriam

8. What advice would you give emerging designers who are also looking to start their own design collective?

Do it! I think it is unanimous within our group that we have all benefited so much from banding together. The shared support, creative approaches to everything, resources. The biggest things unexpectedly gained from doing courses like ABSPD and MATS was the support system of other artists. It is so important to build a tribe of peers. The Surface Pattern Design and Illustration world is full of wonderful, incredibly helpful and friendly people. It is incredibly easy to connect with folks, and easy to do so if you are open, friendly and communicate the desire to do so.

Print by Ine

Print by Ine

9. What would be your dream design gig?

I think we would all love to be in a situation where we could just create art, all day, every day, without the need for all the other bits of work that are required when working for yourself. So having an agent to do that for us, or employing someone for that role down the track is something we could consider. We have posted weekly artist interviews on our blog, so you can find out about us more as individuals there.

Kat kalindicameron_playgroundride

Playground ride by Kat

10. Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?

We would all like to get some licencing deals, and get our art onto products. Some want to venture into books, others into products and editorial work. We all want to keep progressing our careers as artists, and grow and flow in whatever way that takes us. If Surtex is a success, we will no doubt be planning for the next one as soon as the first one finishes! That seems to be the done thing from what we hear!!


11. If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?

Ooh, a very captivating one- detailed and complex, with lots of layers and texture no doubt – there is a lot of us! Bright and colourful, with lots to look at, and of course- one you just HAVE to have!! ;)

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