We love Bora products. It’s official. They’re bright, colourful, and sometimes a wee bit cheeky. What’s more, all of the fabric is organic (hurrah!)
We’ve been lucky enough to catch up with Deborah who is the creator of all the Bora products, and she’s kindly agreed to be interviewed by us mere mortals here at Funky Kitsch.
So what’s the story behind Bora? How did it all start?
I’ve always loved to draw and paint. And when I had to choose a direction to go it was very clear: art school!
At the Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam I studied ‘illustration’. I got my degree in 2002 and became a freelance illustrator for children books for education publishers.
When I was pregnant of my second child I though it would be nice to design my own wallpaper and curtains. So found Spoonflower.com. It motivated me to learn how to make patterns. And that gave me so much joy that I haven’s stopped making patterns since then. Fabric brands and clothing brands saw them and ask me to design for them.
Besides designing I have a little webshop that sells the products I designed. And sometimes I do a illustrations for books, cards, etc. But most of my time is spent on the fabric design.
Scandinavian style is all the rage just now and Bora fits right in! Was that a deliberate choice, or a natural extension of your own taste?
I’ve always loved to use happy bright colors. And from the beginning of artschool the themes I loved most to draw where whimsical happy animals and children.
Because of the process how the fabrics are made I was forced to simplify my style. I’m limited to using only a few colors and not too many shades/ structure/ etc.
I must admit that I was not aware that my style fitted in the ‘Scandinavian style’. It was just how my style developed during years of drawing and designing.
What inspires you when you design your products?
Children give me the most inspiration. Most patterns I make are based on my interest, my life or just what I would like to have, wear, see, enjoy, etc.
Little and big moments can give great ideas! If it’s a cloudy sky, a day in the park, sorting out tools, baking a cake; it can all turn into a lovely image or pattern.
Do you strive to provide ethical and sustainable products to your costumers? If so, what drives your ethos, and how difficult (or easy!) is it to stay true to your beliefs?
That’s very important to me. The fabrics I design for Lillestoff are all organic and produced fairly. It gives me a great feeling selling it my own shop knowing that it’s a good product. When there is a choice I will always choose the most sustainable and environmently friendly version.
If products will harm people or the environment that will go against my philosophy of making children and adults happy with my designs.
What’s in store for Bora in the future? What are your plans?
As before I just love to draw and design; I’ll keep doing that with no special plans in mind. I’ll see what comes on my path But I can tell you that i’m working on new cards, posters and a new website. But I’m not in a hurry, because I’m pregnant of my 3rd child
What’s your favourite Bora product?
That’s a difficult one, I design so much that I have no idea what I like most haha!
But the things I like most are the designs that lay close to my life, because it’s about my interest or the interest of my own children. Those designs that come to me and just made for fun. Like the camping fabric design for example. Inspired by a weekend spent with my children camping .
What’s your favourite non-Bora product?
I love a lot of non-Bora products! You can see on my pinterest
For fabrics I’m fond of merino wool! It keeps the children warm on cold winter days. I also love old stuff; all thing enamel, teapots, blankets, kitchenware, lamps.
If you were on a desert island, which 3 items could you not live without?
First it would be my family of course But as you ask for items i would choose:
My computer to draw, my sewing machine to sew and my little 2 row accordion to make some music at a campfire
(I hope there will be electricity on that desert island
Thank you Deborah for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We’re really grateful.
If you would like to see more of Bora’s products you can see them on our website.
Today has been so sunny and warm and I get the feeling it’s the last burst of summer before it all goes cold, damp, frosty and wet. We’ve made the most of it and gone blackberry picking.
We have a few farms nearby and along the hedgerows grow wild blackberries. We did well this time and managed to find a mighty haul. Not weighed it yet but I’ll guestimate a good 5lbs of them.
Aha! I hear you say. But what are you going to do with them? Well, that was predecided before we left. This year I’m making as many presents for Christmas as I can manage. With this in mind I’ll be making some rather splended blackberry vodka (or gin for those that partake) It’s very simple to make at home. I use the method that’s a firm favourite with my fellow Mumsnetters. Here it is if you’re not familiar:
1 litre of vodka, 600g blackberries and 300g sugar.
Put in a large jar and shake well. Shake every day for a month and then once a month for next two months.
Strain and bottle.
Eat the boozy blackberries with ice cream.
So, if you’d like to offer someone a lovely boozy present this year then you still have time to get going and have it ready for the big day.
With the surplus blackberries I’ll be making a clafoutis. If you’re asking yourself what on earth it is wellllll, it’s kind of a tart cum souffle cum custard. I think in it’s pure form it’s made with cherries but no one likes cherries in the house (apart from me). Anyway, I can tell you it’s delicious and freezable so you can cook in advance. Here is the recipe I got from Pinterest that works well for me.
And lastly, I’ve got another order of really, REALLY, funky fabric on it’s way from Finland. Disappointment is not an option.
Being ever the optimist, I’m sure that summer isn’t yet over. It can’t be. I need to get burnt and go lobster red at least once. But rainy days can be good days. Good days for sewing at least. I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on too much when I look through the office window and see it pouring down.
I’ve not had a huge amount of time to sew in the past few weeks. The school summer holidays have seriously cramped my style and I’m ticking the days off on the calendar to the 3rd September. In the meantime I haven’t been idle. We’ve had a huge delivery of some rather splendid, dare I say stupendous, fabrics from Sweden and Germany. We can’t get enough of those scandi fabrics here at Funky Kitsch! I’m preparing the autumn and winter clothing for the shop whilst keeping an eye out for some pretty impressive Christmas gifts to add to the stock. Keep a close eye out for new stock landing at the end of August. I wish I could reveal more but I’m sworn to secrecy. **cough** Blafre **cough**
The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted that our ever popular range of scandi knit fabrics have a new lower price. We’ve taken 10% ish off each fabric. This isn’t a fleeting special offer, oh no. We have permanently discounted them. We want to share the fabric love at an affordable price.
My Pinterest boards are groaning with nonsense really useful knitting and craft projects. There’s some lovely free sewing patterns that you might like, especially for going back to school, Halloween and Christmas. Make do and mend is definitely on the agenda for us this year. I’m firmly a believer that Christmas (or birthday) gifts that are handmade really are made with love (sweat, tears, hysterics, crying, gin etc). If you’re not already following me on Pinterest here’s the link to save you sifting through millions of pins. Am I good to you or am I good to you?
If you would like to catch up with me in real life, up close and personal, then you can find me at Levenshulme Market on Saturday 24th September. As usual there’s a plethora of all things bright and beautiful and, we’re having a MAHOOSIVE sale. Nothing to lose and everything to gain for you dear reader. If you can’t make it next Saturday I will be there each fourth Saturday of the month up until December when the final market of the year is being held on the evening of the 20th December. Christmas innit.
Great news – new awesome lillestoff fabrics have been gifted to us (well we had to pay for them – but they are so yummy we didn’t mind!)
We have recently added 10 more lillestoff fabrics for you to buy…although mostly they are only in small quantities so they are sure to go fast (not so subtle hint – hit the buy button to avoid disappointment).