Spinning Yarns 


Fabric connoisseur and owner of T&Co Fabrics, Tanya Sturgeon has a wealth of experience in the industry. Tania Jacobs discovers why fabric and artful design go hand in hand

Tell us about a typical day  

I think about the people I’m going to meet with and what work we’ll be doing as a team. I could be liaising with fabric designers, putting the finishing touches to a collection or helping to put schemes together for interiors projects. I often meet with our overseas suppliers, so my mind is usually whirring with thoughts about what the market needs and where trends are heading.

Is design an art or a science?

I think it’s an art but it does interface with science – in particular fabric design which inevitably needs to work in a repeat. Some geometry and mathematics is essential for it to work successfully, especially where the fabric has to meet and have a continuous pattern repeat horizontally and vertically.

Can you remember your first design project?

Vividly. It was with Meryl Hare at the Little Gallery in Sandown an affluent suburb of Johannesberg. I was working for her and during that time she became an admirable mentor and teacher to me. She’s now a very successful Interior Designer in Sydney.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Conceptualising the design in sync with the client, so that it meets their brief and interprets how they want to live in that space. By contrast - modifying the design extensively where it starts to lose its authenticity can be frustrating.

What fabrics do you relate to personally?

I like to work with the metaphor that fabric is the female aspect of an interior. Fabrics envelope upholstered furniture, they screen the light on windows, they create mood and mystery and layering to a space. I love natural fibres - silk, cotton and linen. Those are by far my favourites - they’re quite simply the most beautiful and authentic of fabrics.

What sets T&Co Fabrics apart from everyone else?

They’re unusual, interesting and of exceptional quality - they can be used in exciting, innovative ways. That said - we also have general fabrics for the ‘in between’ uses.

How do you inject personality into what you do?

Interiors need to feel inclusive to the people using it. They should dictate a way of being and living in that space. There have to be areas that create a feeling of intimacy too however – people need that in the home environment to feel whole.

What do you think about first with a new project?

The concepts for the interior design have to marry with the type of architectural space as well as fit the brief for the people who will be occupying it. Ultimately - the overall look has to be aesthetically pleasing.

What are your top 3 ‘must haves’ at the moment?

Beautiful art work in a room. Unique signature fabrics. Creating spaces that have a sense of intimacy.

What advice would you give to any up-and-coming designers reading this?

Learn as much as you can about the elements you are putting into an interior and consider people’s needs in the process. Let the fabrics be your fantasy - the symbols of individuality in an interior - make them sing.


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