Fabric Crush: Abigail Borg

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There's nothing prim and proper about the floral patterns created by English textile designer Abigail Borg! We're crazy about the bold botanical prints she designs using large scale patterns and unexpected color combinations. Read on to learn more about the talented designer behind these anything-but-traditional floral fabrics. 

Who are some of your greatest influences when it comes to art and design?

I really love the textile designs of Celia Birtwell and Zandra Rhodes, as well as the works of Kandinsky and Mondrian in the early 20th century. I’ve always been drawn to artists and designers who use a lot of colour and forms in their work.

Abigail Borg Wild Garden Mulberry Upholstery Fabric

“Wild Garden” Fabric in Mulberry

Abigail Borg Foxtail Lily Taupe Upholstery Fabric

“Foxtail Lily” Fabric in Taupe


We recently used your Laburnum Teal fabric in an upholstery project of ours (see it here). It’s such a beautiful design with rhododendrons and dahlias. What inspired this pattern?

As with all my designs, they start with sketches from photographs I have taken. Pom Pom Dahlias are one of my favourite flowers, and I decided to pair the spherical dahlia with something a little more free-flowing–which is where the tumbling Laburnum and rhododendrons came in. I think the contrasting, large-scale shapes of all the different flowers in the design work really well in upholstery and drapery.

Abigail Borg "Laburnum" in Teal Upholstery Fabric

“Laburnum” Fabric in Teal

Abigail Borg "Laburnum" in Raspberry Upholstery Fabric

“Laburnum” Fabric in Raspberry


Do you see yourself moving beyond botanicals at some point? Or is this your heart of hearts?

Earlier this year I did actually launch a new design called "Coralline" which doesn't have a flower in sight! It's an underwater botanical print, and I really enjoyed exploring a new subject area, albeit still organic forms. I've always loved drawing flowers, but I enjoyed exploring out of my comfort zone with Coralline, so I may do this again in the future.

Abigail Borg "Muscari" in Mustard Upholstery Fabric

“Muscari” Fabric in Mustard

Abigail Borg "Feverfew" in Moss Upholstery Fabric

“Feverfew” Fabric in Moss


What draws you to the colors you use?

I usually plan out the repeat pattern first, and then the first colour. I think about is the background. I remember with Labunrum Teal quite vividly wanting to use a dark teal hue as the background, and then I just worked forward from there on other colours in the design. I find it works best for me to create a colour palette as I'm going along, rather than coming up with a rigid palette that my designs need to adhere to. I change my mind with things quite a lot, so this way of working things out as I go along works perfectly for me.

Abigail Borg "Mathilda" in Mint Upholstery Fabric

“Mathilda” Fabric in Mint

Abigail Borg "Friti" in Plum Upholstery Fabric

“Friti” Fabric in Plum


Are there any palettes or hues you’re loving lately?

My partner and I are moving house very soon, so I'm looking for lots of new homewares and furnishings at the moment. I have always loved mustard yellow and pink, and just recently I've been loving mint green too. I find having lots of colour around me to be very calming, and it makes me feel happy. 

Abigail Borg "Friti" in Slate Upholstery Fabric

“Friti” Fabric in Slate

Abigail Borg "Muscari" in Coal Ecru Upholstery Fabric

“Muscari” Fabric in Coal on Ecru


You work with wallpapers, fabrics, and homewares. Do you have a different design processes for each?

Naturally I start a design out on quite a large scale, which is perfect for wallpapers and fabrics. I need to bear in mind repeat sizes, so for a wallpaper roll it's 52cm wide, and for fabric I have a choice of a few repeat widths. This can determine the scale of a design and the type of drop (i.e. straight match, half drop). I have worked on smaller items such as notebooks and stationery, where I have to consciously hold back on some of the levels of detail I use in wallpapers and fabrics.

Abigail Borg Hello Yarrow Teal Upholstery Fabric

“Hello Yarrow” Fabric in Teal

Abigail Borg Muscari Slate Upholstery Fabric

 “Muscari” Fabric in Slate


Your fabrics are all printed on cotton linen. Do you have plans to explore other materials?

I do, actually. I've had lots of people get in touch asking if I'm ever going to sell my designs on a quilting/dress making weight fabric. I've got as far as sampling some of my designs on a lighter weight fabric, so watch this space for 2018.

Abigail Borg Mathilda Navy Upholstery Fabric

“Mathilda” Fabric in Navy

Abigail Borg Polka Polka Navy Upholstery Fabric

“Polka Polka” Fabric in Navy


In addition to running your own studio, you also work with brands (like Crabtree & Evelyn and Laura Ashley) on select projects. How do you decide which projects to take on?

I've been very fortunate to work with some great brands creating patterns and illustrations for their products. I tend to work with companies whose product offering is a little different to my own. I've turned down working with some large wallpaper brands in the past, as I didn't want it to jeopardize my own line of wallpapers. 

Abigail Borg Wild Garden Slate Ecru Upholstery Fabric

“Wild Garden” Fabric in Slate on Ecru

Abigail Borg Hello Yarrow Natural Upholstery Fabric

“Hello Yarrow” Fabric in Natural


What’s next for your brand?

As already mentioned I'm hoping to expand my fabric offering to dress making and quilting weight fabric. I also have some new designs which will start the sampling process in the new year for wallpapers and furnishing fabrics. Away from my own line of work, I have my second collaboration with Swedish department store Åhléns launching at the end of January, which I'm really excited about. 


Love Abigail's modern botanical patterns as much as we do? Let us transform a tired upholstered piece with one of her fabrics!