Looking to refresh your home for the season? We’re taking summer interiors inspiration from Fiona Leighton of Cornwall-based Particle Press, who kindly shared her tips for bringing nature indoors this summer.
Fiona’s website is a treasure-trove of fabric and homeware which celebrates British wildlife. Starting from hand-drawn designs, she creates vibrant prints which are used on everything from cushions and tea towels to lampshades and sandwich wraps.
Taking inspiration from the changing seasons and the abundant flora and fauna on her doorstep, Fiona is never short of new design ideas. We chatted with her to find out more, and to get some tips on instant interior refreshes ready for summer!
Firstly, tell us a bit about your business and what inspired you to begin Particle Press?
I have a background in Fine Art, and after studying and teaching in London I discovered a love for fabric printing. I set up Particle Press with the idea of producing hand-printed fabrics for homewares and gifts.
Since having two children, my work balance changed and I started a 100 day painting project from the kitchen table. I taught myself how to turn my paintings into digitally printed fabrics, featuring a cornucopia of flora and fauna, inspired by Cornish and British wildlife.
I now have a large range of colourful fabric designs which I use to create products that are sustainable and ethically made here in the UK.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe my style as contemporary farmhouse! I’ve been completely inspired by birds and the outdoors since I was little, and my work pays homage to the colourful and ever-changing landscape, and the flowers and animals that it supports.
Where in Cornwall are you based, and why have you chosen there?
I am based near Constantine, a small rural village just outside Falmouth. I moved here from London with my husband who was brought up down here. We live down a dusty farm track, which opens out to colourful wildflower woodlands, streams and fields.
In amongst it all I have studio with the most inspiring views, which gradually change throughout the seasons but are always fascinating.
Do you have a favourite fabric this summer?
My Goldcrest and Cornflower fabric is my most popular design at this time of year, bringing a bright and light update to the home. It features tiny gold crests and an array of the the first wild flowers to appear in Spring time.
Can you recommend one or two simple updates for the home to give us a bit of a lift this summer?
I am an avid gardener, so I will always recommend having flowers and plants in your life – even if you don’t have a garden. A simple window box outside, with some bright calendula, nasturtiums and cornflowers to brighten your outside space (all very easily grown from seed) or a kitchen windowsill for growing herbs in some bright flower pots will instantly update your home and give you a mental boost too!
Houseplants can also lift an indoor space and research suggests that surrounding yourself with plant life indoors and out has a positive impact on your wellbeing. I suggest a lovely luscious green plant to pop on the kitchen table.
Finally, we’re all missing our loved ones in distant places at the moment. Can you recommend a gift to let them know we’re thinking of them this summer?
My eco-sandwich wraps have been very popular throughout lockdown, especially as gifts.
Made with my printed fabric on one side and a food-safe lining, they are perfect for picnics and a great reminder to get outside, get some fresh air and think of the lovely person that sent it to you – whilst also cutting down on plastic waste.
Thanks to Fiona for sharing those lovely tips on updating our homes this summer. For more interiors inspiration from Cornwall head over to our Home & Garden journal pages.