With a strong instinct for colour and over 20 years of combined design experience, Kate and Manisha launched Serenvida, their intuitive colour and design studio. Both are trained textile designers and creatives who have exhibited at art/design and lifestyle shows e.g. New Designers and The Cardiff Festival of Wellbeing. They have a diverse background in the design industry (textile/surface design, vintage design retail, design journalism, prop styling) coupled with a love of holistic practices. Chrissy spoke to Manisha Harkins.
What does the name Serenvida mean?
Seren = star in Welsh, and Vida = life in Italian and Spanish, but is also a form of Veda from Sanskrit = sacred knowledge.
How and why did you and Kate decide to work together? We met by fluke in a nearby village, and chatted about our common textile degrees, shared love of colour, fibre, art/design, along with eco ideals and holistic practices. The serendipity of it all inspired us to bring our vision of colour energy with our collective design experience (textiles, journalism, prop styling, design retail) together.
Tell us about your colour philosophy.
Colour is crucial to us: indelibly tied to all facets of our creativity as designers and artists. We sketch/paint; create surface patterns, colour compositions, and more. Yet colour, like sound and light, emits a healing, energetic frequency too, so we use it intuitively. Our knowledge of the chakra energy centres of our bodies and corresponding colours underpins our philosophy. Many readers may be aware already of colour psychology in various industries. While a subtle undercurrent of this is naturally part of our work, we lean more towards the deeper energetic imprint of colour. We like to call it colour alchemy. We are affiliate members of the Holistic Design Institute and have long practiced various holistic modalities including reiki, yoga, meditation and more. Serenvida is also colour therapy certified. (See our chakra colour stories here to learn more.)
What does Serenvida offer the client?
You’ll find our colour-infused textiles and soft furnishings on our website www.serenvida.com with direct links to our Spoonflower and Roostery shops. It’s worth noting that while our designs are digitally printed, all of our artwork begins with hand-painting and drawing, and in a few cases, hand-printing too. (Individually – we have backgrounds in various: screen-print, dye, stitch, etc. but as a small in-house studio, we mostly paint.) We can also create modern artwork or intuitive ‘colourscapes’ for interior projects; and currently one of us has been tasked with a bespoke painting commission. We have also added an extra tab for our more illustrative work so if you would like to hire us for illustration or license our artwork, contact us. As designers, our portfolio remains diverse and is ever-expanding, plus we combine our different styles together. Lest we forget, we’re about to work on our first chakra colour and related meditations to tap into your energetic side, including one for The Magpie Anthology!
Was product development always part of the plan?
Yes — as designers, we’d always envisioned our work on modern soft furnishings and accessories. Now Spoonflower has addressed the prohibitive costs of textile manufacturing with on-demand, small-scale, sustainable digital printing technology. It makes it viable for us to design without the manufacturing worries.
What made you choose Spoonflower to sell through? How does its sister company Roostery differ?
Spoonflower is a global marketplace connecting makers and consumers with artists worldwide. Designers see their art come to life on digitally printed fabric and home goods.. It’s also eco friendly: with water-based pigment inks and dyes, and initiatives that continue to lower waste by-products. Roostery is the sister site – expanding the Spoonflower range with a one-stop shop for print-on-demand home décor. (Although a U.S. company, they have a European base from where they can easily ship any regional orders.) Our shops on both: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/serenvida or https://www.roostery.com/e?user=serenvida .
What are the plans for the future of Serenvida & home product production?
We’d like to expand our home ranges with new collections in time. Eventually, we’d also like to see our patterns, paintings and illustrations as artwork in their own right on interior walls, as well products including stationery and gifts — so art licensing or high quality online manufacturers equivalent to Spoonflower for those will probably play a big role in the future too. One step at a time but it’s all brewing!
Crucially – we don’t want to forget the heart of us: We were just about to offer an intuitive colour and creativity session for our fellow yogis when lockdown struck, but it will still happen as things open up in the not-too-distant future. We hope to expand this aspect to similar groups and also companies who are keen to implement ‘Wellbeing’ activities for staff: so necessary for the more compassionate earth towards which so many around the globe are working. We’re making our first forays into offering colour-chakra meditations too as we will here, again hoping that progressive companies will tap into our skills there. All in all, it’s about amalgamating our whole philosophy of intuitive colour and design. It is all part of the ever-evolving vision of us!