MEET THE DESIGNER: CALVIN POPE
Punk Rock Carpets
From selling your own punk-inspired clothing range to creating beautiful carpets is not exactly the most conventional route, but it is all part of the interesting journey taken by our Residential Designer, Calvin Pope.
“My Dad went to the Royal College of Art and was an accomplished artist, so I grew up surrounded by creativity,” explained Calvin.
By the time he left school, high unemployment levels significantly reduced any available opportunities, but Calvin showed an entrepreneurial spirit.
“I started making dresses for the punk scene and selling them at Birmingham market. I love punk music and I really loved that experience. It was a great scene to be involved in at that time.”
Fashion design, a tie-dye business that included designing and printing t-shirts for local bands, and a stint in the USA working in screen-printing all followed as Calvin matched his artistic loves with his employment opportunities.
“When I came back from the States I had just turned 40 and I made the decision to go back to school. It was a big choice to make but I came out of Wolverhampton University with a First Class Honour degree in Interiors Textile Design and then got a job right away with Ulster Carpets.”
That job with Ulster continued the trend of combing his personal passions with his professional role as a residential carpet designer.
“It gives me the best of both worlds! I get to enjoy being artistic and I get paid for it!”
During lockdown, Calvin got back into the habit of sketching in his own time and, more recently, he took this a step further (or should that be higher).
“I got up on a step ladder and poured paint on a canvas at height to create some new patterns. All of our carpet designs are done digitally, but they generally start life as a sketch, a painting or even a mood board. This was a chance to do something really different and hopefully, our customers will be able to see the results on one of our carpet designs!
All these influences come into play when Calvin – along with our other Residential Designer, Clare Jenkinson – create new designs and colourways for Ulster.
“It can be as interesting trying to put a new twist on a traditional design as it can be creating a completely new range. We work hard to create a lot of different styles and we place a lot of importance on colour and I think that level of choice makes a real difference.”
You will be able to see Clare and Calvin’s artistic influences in our new Plaids and Open Spaces collections that will launch in 2022.