The Scottish Design Exchange is a unique concept store and not-for-profit creative community, bringing artists and designers together to share a new retail space in Edinburgh that benefits the both makers and customers.

This is the start of a series of posts about our new contemporary textiles designers joining us on 2nd March. First up we have Emma Cochrane, a surface pattern designer and illustrator who likes to get messy! Here is Emma's story....


I always start a design by painting, drawing, printing or just making a creative “mess”. I'm very active - it's when I feel most alive, and like to inject some of this freedom, movement and life into my work. I love using totally random objects such as sticks, grass or packaging to make interesting marks and shapes. I then scan in my work and play around with it in Photoshop. The possibilities are endless! I enjoy the loose, spontaneous marks, but I also love the contrast between an abstract background and a more detailed line drawing or painting layered over the top.

My creativity is often inspired by the outdoors; stopping while out on my bike to collect grass or sticks to use at “paintbrushes”, the stormy Scottish skies, the colours from my travels in South America.

In March 2014, I signed up to the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design Module 1 which gave me a new lust for life. As is true for many people, my plans to follow a career in art and design didn’t materialise when I was a teenager and I followed a different path. The ABSPD course allowed me to dream again, it provided a safe and supportive space to give my creative journey another go. It’s been an inspiring and challenging journey so far, and it feels so right for me! When I started Module 1, I had no mac, no Ps or Ai, no scanner/printer - just painting and drawing experience. I used a mac at my sister’s work then acquired a second hand mac, upgraded it myself (yeaaah), used some birthday vouchers for a scanner, and taught myself how to use Ps from hours of online tutorials (and I"m still learning!) and the amazing support of the ABSPD class alumni. And now I’m designing patterns!

In the year since I began Surface Pattern Design, I have won a Barker and Stonehouse cushion pattern design competition, featured in the Make It in Design Summer School look book and reached the final shortlist of three Tigerprint competitions for character design, floral surface pattern and markmaking.

Emma's designs will be avialble to order from our new textiles department. Read more about our launch event here:



Where To Find Us

First Floor of Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre
Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ

Contact Us:

0131 555 4513

Opening Hours

Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm

Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day

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If you are an independent artist, designer, publisher or other maker who has an interest in selling in the Scottish Design Exchange, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

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