Shelly Acland

After studying her Certificate IV in Design and then a Diploma of Surface Design at iscd Shelly Acland decided to launch her own business Salisbury Road – a range of retro inspired textiles and homewares. Her beautiful Retro Icons wallpaper collection is now exclusively distributed by Emily Ziz. Her designs were recently featured in Homes Plus Magazine and they are sold on her Etsy store and at the Finders Keepers Market.

Today we chat with Shelly about her journey and get an exclusive look at some of her new designs.


What sparked your interest in design?

It was always there but relegated to a hobby. From a young age I would rather pour over every image and word in interiors magazines, like Australian Country Style and Belle, then read Dolly. I still have huge piles of my favourite ones and go back to them often for inspiration. I also loved trips to fabric stores with my Mum and wondered how the prints were designed.

I always planned to have more than one career and satisfy my creative side later in life. It has come about sooner than expected because after studying my diploma at iscd I was convinced that I can design and so I wanted to keep the momentum going. Working mostly from home fits in nicely with family life too.


Why did you choose iscd?

I’d seen it advertised in magazines and then did a short weekend workshop. I came away with a beautiful moodboard and was determined to learn more about colour and design. At the time, I was working as a Clinical Psychologist and had 2 young children so the flexibility of doing the course by correspondence was perfect.

At the end of the Certificate IV course, I knew I wanted to one-day study Surface Design. Knowing that graduates from the school had been able to establish their own businesses or join well-respected companies like Mokum and Porters Paints was a huge endorsement of the quality and relevance of iscd’s courses.

It’s quite a reality check to now be one of those graduates with my own design business.


How did you come up with the idea for your business?

Toward the end of my diploma course I knew I wanted to produce my own range of fabric and/or wallpaper. I had a brand name in mind based on the address of the first place I’d lived (and thoroughly enjoyed decorating) with my partner, now husband.

Salisbury Road was born.

After a 3-week internship at Emily Ziz Style Studio, I gave myself a brief to design a fabric print for re-upholstering a favourite chair that belonged to my late Grandparents. Fond memories of summer holidays spent in their caravan on the mid-north coast inspired my Retro Caravan design, which I had printed. I signed up for an upholstery workshop and now my treasured chair sits in my studio and comes to markets with me.

The Retro Icons Collection of designs for wallpaper is currently distributed exclusively by Emily Ziz Style Studio. The designs were then screen-printed on fabric and made into cushions, aprons and tote bags that were launched at Sydney’s Finders Keepers Market in May 2015.


What exactly do you do?

I’m a one-woman show at the moment and manage everything from initial thumbnail sketches through to photography of end product and selling at artisan markets and online.

Tasks can include: creating designs in Adobe Illustrator, test printing on paper, cutting wallpaper samples, binding wallpaper sample books, checking fabric strike offs with my local screen printer, transporting rolls of printed fabric, cutting and sewing product, styling and shooting product photos for listing items online and for the press, accounting, and taking the whole show on the road to artisan markets like Finders Keepers and The Olive Tree Market in Newcastle.

There’s certainly never a dull moment.


How did your time at iscd help you to get to where you are now?

It convinced me that I could do it!

It informed me of the options I had in the industry, whether starting my own business or working for a textile design company. The excursions were so relevant and were to places that I went back to when researching my own production.


How did you find your time at iscd?

I loved every minute of it. My class day was my favourite day of the week. I loved the variety of topics and tasks each week and came home on such a high, ready to throw myself into more. I especially loved my inspiring and supportive teachers who always shared their industry-based experience. I learned a lot too from my classmates. From one brief, the class would create such a wide variety of designs that were so inspiring.

How can you become a Surface Designer?

iscd offers a two-step study pathway towards the Surface Design Diploma. When studying part time, the iscd Certificate IV in Design is the pre-requisite to the Surface Design Diploma.