Artists of Motley: Isabel Fishlock

4 MIN READ | by Isabel Fishlock on Sep 21, 2020
4 MIN READ | by Isabel Fishlock on Sep 21, 2020

To celebrate our latest collection with Coline Assade, we teamed up with a selection of hand-picked creative talents, from artists to print makers and designers. We sent them jewellery from the collection with a single instruction – to let their imagination run wild. Enter Isabel Fishlock. Graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2010, Isabel has been designing prints and embroideries for fashion brands such as John Galliano, Aspinal and Diane Von Furstenburg ever since. Currently designing and consulting for Paul Smith, Isabel creates and sells her own art pieces – we caught up with her to hear more about her inspiration, and what she loves about Motley x Coline Assade.

The art I create is free and colourful. 

I enjoy playing with big, thick bits of colour and I stay away from anything too tight or rigid. It’s always art I would want in my own house, and would want to look at everyday.

I’ve always been drawn to design and colour.

At the start of lockdown, I was made redundant from my job of 10 years at Paul Smith and I thought, it’s now or never. I’ve actually recently started working with a different team in the company, which is exciting, but the emphasis now is to stand on my own two feet.

The best part of working for a global brand was the teamwork and creative energy. 

I was always collaborating with people from all over the world at Paul Smith, and working as part of a team. You had incredible craftsmen at your fingertips from different regions, from talented embroiderers to print makers. I loved seeing samples come back a little differently to what we had initially envisioned, because the makers layer their own skill on top of your design. Such a joy.

I think of myself as more of a designer than an artist. 

I’ve always been drawn to 3D work over 2D work, because I have so much respect for the labour of love that goes into how physical objects are crafted. I’m not patient, so watching people hone a particular form of making over hours and days always impresses me. I love watching wood cutters at work – the patience and precision it takes to do their work is inspiring. One mistake and their work is gone.

I’m inspired by gardens and old houses. 

Old bits of jewellery, textile design and things you find around the home influence me. I’m drawn to folk art from all over the world, rather than a particular famous artist. Places like the Ashmolean in Oxford, or the jewellery collection at the British Museum, is really inspiring.

The most frustrating part of working for yourself is the admin. 

All the processes around the art take a lot more time than you would think – marketing, selling and packaging is a big part of my day to day.

But it’s worth it when people photograph my work in their homes. 

Knowing something joyful I’ve made is in someone’s home, and knowing that the piece is just what they were looking for (often after a very long time), is the best part of my job.

I like the green man-inspired element of Coline Assade’s collection.

The crouching creature with green topaz eyes fit in quite well with the toadstools, and I chose the colours to compliment the greens in the piece. I cut out the mushrooms with a scalpel to make it a little more three dimensional with the video. I love the wonky surrealism of it, there’s a lot of movement in Coline’s work.

My favourite thing I’ve ever made was a film for my foundation course. 

It was a black and white film of fabric moving backwards; really simple but beautiful.