I received a phone call from my bank summoning me in the following day for an urgent meeting regarding my overdraft. My ever forgiving bank manager that I’d had since art school had suddenly retired and I found myself seated on the opposite side of the desk to a very handsome man in a pinstripe suit.
I’d got myself into debt to an alarming degree with the previous seasons deliveries not yet paid for. A debt of £30,000 to be precise. Overdue payments from some department stores were in arrears. It seemed the bigger the store the later they paid. “Overspending! Over reaching! Overdue!” he repeated. His lips were moving but I wasn’t listening. I stared blankly across the desk envisaging him in a gold lurex tuxedo surrounded by an assortment of bank clerks dressed in silver top hats and tails playing violins.
“You can’t go on like this Miss Clowes,” he said, an electric necklace of pound signs sparkling around his neck. “It really is beyond the pale.” He somewhat reluctantly gave me another month. The imaginary violinist’s disappeared and he stood up and smoothed down his tie; the gold tuxedo replaced once again by his dull city suit.
I got up to leave and promised earnestly to pay back the overdraft by the end of the month. I had to begin work on the textile design print for the following season’s collection. As soon as I got home I taped a huge piece of paper to the floor and sketched enormous devils in oil pastels with shadows scribbled behind them. In between the brick like repeat assemblage I drew kisses, massive love hearts and tiny hearts in rows. I also wrote Hello Honey and the number 666, upside down and back to front.
It was designed to be printed on soft satin so it would drape. Asked how I came up with this print design I’d say the provoker of the pictorial outpouring was due to an afternoon encounter with my devilishly dashing but no-nonsense new bank manager.
From Sue Clowes bio.