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A new view on a new year...

When a new year begins, I usually make a list of full of goals, aims and resolutions striving to get further than ever before. 2018 was a year of challenges and hurdles which made me take stock and take a different perspective.

This year, I would like to introduce you to my creative world, from the processes that I use or that I am learning about to innovate new designs, to the work that I do as a art lecturer and the importance I feel that art and design thinking has in the world we live in as we face changes up ahead. And I am also excited to introduce you to fellow creators who inspire me on a daily basis with their work.

What happens at the studio

As a surface print designer, my job is to translate the world around me into pattern, texture, line and colour. From there, I look at the surface to which the design will be applied and determine how to achieve the best results. My main aim throughout my career has been to create artworks that people can use in their everyday lives. My pieces are designed for life, in simple shapes and in high quality and environmentally friendly materials providing the perfect canvas for the designs. My work draws from the local landscape, from the dramatic open skies, coast lines and ceaseless motion of the seascapes to the graphic lines of maps. I specialise in colour stories which represent the world around us highlighting the often unnoticed colours, shades or tints we experience each day.

Collaborative work

Over the past two years I have created a range of products in collaboration with companies to be unveiled this year. Referencing the colour stories, textures and landscapes typical to them while at the same time providing products that suit the requirements of their customer base, balancing design with business needs.


I always begin on the flat surface of paper, using a mixed media approach of drawing, photography and painting before digitising. From there, the design can be printed or embroidered onto fabric, embossed onto leather, etched into metal and frosted onto glass, to name a few of the processes I have used in the past for my own business or clients requirements. The benefit of a surface designer is that the we have the ability to work onto a range of materials using a range of processes to give the required effects.


I have never thought of myself as a teacher more so as someone who aims to get the best out of others and open up their own creativity. I get a lot back from working with others in this way and love sharing new techniques I’ve learned as well as learning from the people I teach. For the past 8 years I have been fortunate to each at the Orkney College UHI, Art and Design Dept. This has always been a special place for me as it was also where I took the portfolio preparation course which was the starting point for my career. I have been lucky to work there with a wide range of artists each with a different specialist background and have watched talented artists and designers from every field take their next steps into their future.

Over the coming weeks, I will introduce you to techniques, processes, and people who have shaped the collection this year and I hope it also gives you an insight and the opportunity to find out more about the place I call home.

Based in Orkney, Scottish designer Kirsteen Stewart launched her label after gaining experience in the fashion houses of New York, opening the boutique and studio in her hometown of Kirkwall in 2009. She is a WES Ambassador.




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