This month, our interview is with Mia-Louise Mailund, the designer behind MisseMai and the amazing handmade prints inspired by fairy tales exclusively available online from BODIE and FOU.
BODIE and FOU: When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?
Mia-Louise: I was enjoying doing croquis and painting as a young teenager, and ended up doing a 3 month short course at St Martins in London after finishing high school. I was only supposed to stay in the UK for 3 months but I fell madly in love with the creative environment in London, decided I wanted to become a designer and stayed for 6 years instead and starting my design studio MisseMai Prints in London.
B&F : Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Mia-Louise: I have a great big love for the Scandinavian fairy tales. The main part of my work is inspired by the quirky Scandinavian way of telling a story. A great inspiration of mine is the old H.C. Andersen paper cut, the technique is a truly fantastic way of telling a story without the use of words.
B&F: Describe your studio/workplace? Can you show us some pictures?
Mia-Louise: My studio is based in a great old town house in the middle of Copenhagen.
The whole building, consists of 5 floors and is full of designers, printers, weavers, graphic designers etc, There is a very creative feeling to this place.
B&F : Which aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure
Mia-Louise: It’s quite a long process I go through to create an illustration. First I read a fairy tale over and over again not to miss any details, after that I hand draw everything I find important in the story, then comes the actual creating of the illustration, and then the greatest enjoyment of the process, the first time I screen print a new illustration and see the effort of my work.
B&F : Launching your design studio/company was.....?
Mia-Louise: Like being in a huge whirl wind, many fantastic surprises but at the same time a lot of sleepless nights.
B&F : Best piece of advice you were given?
Mia-Louise: Allow room for mistakes
B&F : When did you get your 'lucky break' ?
Mia-Louise: ‘Hygge’ a beautiful little shop (now closed) in Islington was the first place to sell my illustrations just after I finished my degree from Chelsea College of Art & Design, and only a few weeks later Living Etc featured my 'Ugly Ducking' illustration –I’m not sure it was my ‘Lucky Break’ but it sure was a proud moment, and so many exciting things has happened ever since..
B&F : How often do you end up with a finished product that you don’t want your name attached to?
Mia-Louise: Never, but I was taught to allow room for mistakes and incorporate them beautifully -they usually end up giving the product a far more interesting feeling.
B&F : Who is your favourite designer?
Mia-Louise: Florence Broadhurst, her work was amazing and eccentric, and so was her life and death, which till this day remain one big unsolved mystery.
B&F : What is your favourite piece of design?
Mia-Louise: My favorite piece of textile design is the hand printed Florence Broadhurst ‘Stamped Horse’.
B&F : What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Mia-Louise: Create your own unique ‘universe’ that you can be proud of and then of course work very very hard.
B&F : What would your dream project be?
Mia-Louise: I would love to do a children’s wallpaper collection for Cole & Son.
B&F : How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
Mia-Louise: I try my best to stay 100% focused on designing when I’m at the MisseMai Prints studio, and then leave my computer on my desk by the end of the day.
B&F : Your most precious belongings at home?
Mia-Louise: A drawing my lovely and talented friend Anne Strandfelt did of me years ago.
B&F : How would you describe your style at home?
Mia-Louise: Full of patterns, art, colors and many many decorative items with a lot of personal value to them I have picked up from all over the place.
B&F : If your studio wasn't, describe your ultimate dream workspace?
Mia-Louise: It would be lovely in time to work from a small cottage by the sea side.
B&F : Can you cook and what's your signature dish?
Mia-Louise: I make a rather nice organic lasagne.
B&F : Name something you can't resist...
Mia-Louise: Chocolate with praline, coffee and the love of my life Mark.
B&F : What is next on your design journey?
Mia-Louise: I’m right now working on a collection of wall stickers.
B&F : And the mantra that keeps you going.......
Mia-Louise: Work hard and remember to enjoy every creative idea, you manage to fulfill.
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