Pat Albeck: Life after Horrockses

Continuing on the theme of Pat Albeck from my previous post…

After Pat Albeck left Horrockses she went onto work for a number of prestigious companies.

The design Pat is probably best recognised for is her Daisychain pattern which was created for John Lewis. The design was created in what she calls her “Physcadelic period” it was a John Lewis best seller for 15 years coming in a variety of colour ways. One colourway (in varying shades of brown) was known as the Rank Hollis McDougal! ( I hope I have spelt this correctly)This design takes some inspiration from William Morris with its mirrored floral repeat. Whilst talking about the design Pat amused me saying that she dislikes the word florals feeling that flower designs better describes her work! She also said she preferred to say that things sell well rather than that they are commercial!

Pat went on to do a lot of work for the National Trust (whom she still works for now!). She designed prints for a wide variety of mediums including textiles and pottery. She said that whilst working for the national trust she learnt to be a lot more careful with her designs whereas when at Horrockses she felt she could be a lot more flamboyant. Many of the designs were much more muted in terms of colours and had to follow strict guidelines that the National Trust set out.

Whilst working for the National Trust she has designed over 300 tea towels. These have included calendar tea towels every year and those which represent specific national trust buildings. A tea towel takes her around 3 weeks to design in total. One week for the rough and two weeks to draw up the final design. She works first on a design a 3rd of the finished size, which would normal take around a day and a half to execute. Working on a small size is important because time would be wasted if a full scale design is completed and it is not liked.

Pat designed a series of tea towels last year for Emma Bridgewater (Emma is her daughter-in-law). These show she still has a fresh creative energy. I particularly love the pigeon design one (who knew a pigeon could look so beautiful).

What amazed me most about Pat is that at 81 she is still working and not only that, she is still creating designs that are as innovative and modern as designers sixty years younger than herself are creating.