Designer Interview – Erika Rier

ERIKA RIER designer interview

In December, we ran a Christmas inspired competition to create a design for our Personalised Cushion.

We had almost 140 entries from artists, designers, fashion students and amateurs, and we were blown away with the entries. It was very difficult choosing our winners, but after a lot of deliberation, our top 10 designs were selected! We got in touch with our winners, once they had received their very well earned prizes, to ask them a few questions about their winning designs.

Here is the first of our designer interviews with artist Erika Rier.

Bags of Love: Hi Erika, and congratulations on being one of our winners! Can you tell us a little bit about your design?

Erika Rier: Thank you! The design I submitted features a woman riding a sleigh, wearing a cloak. She is surrounded by bundles of fabric and her sleigh is being pulled across the snow by a group of chihuahuas. The snow is melting in patches and you can see strawberries growing in those places and the sky is filled with little clouds. The original piece was created in ink and gouache on paper.

Bags of Love: What is the inspiration behind it? Is there a story, which accompanies it?

Erika Rier: This piece is part of a continuing series of drawings, which are inspired by fairy tale imagery. There is not a particular story that inspired it as such. The idea arose from a conversation I was having with my daughter, which took a very silly turn! When the idea of a sleigh being pulled by a team of chihuahuas came up, I just couldn’t resist going further with it. The other elements of the piece came to me right away. I knew the team of chihuahuas was quite silly and I wanted to contrast that against something darker, like a sparse and gloomy background. I also wanted to woman in the painting to be quite serious, as to her, riding a sleigh being pulled by a team of little dogs was absolutely normal! erika rier artist winning design

Bags of Love: Do you have a website or a blog, which we can share with our readers? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Erika Rier: I have a website,, which is a portfolio of my drawings and illustrations. It is mostly a portfolio of my various projects but there are links to my etsy shop, blogs and other social networking accounts. I try and add something new most days, whether it is a drawing, an event or an offer for my etsy shop.

Bags of Love: What do you plan to do with your prizes?

Erika Rier: I have not yet decided what to do with the personalised cushion yet. It is so beautiful! I have it carefully wrapped in my bedroom because I think I would like to give it as a gift. With the gift voucher, I plan on creating an illustration of my daughter’s cat, stretched out on its back, which I would like to then have printed on a beach towel for her. I think she would adore this as she is so in love with her cat!

Bags of Love: How would you describe your style of design?

Erika Rier: I have struggled for a long time to describe my style. I have shown my work for quite some time in galleries and recently have also started to do some commercial illustration work. While working towards marketing my work more effectively, I have decided to call my style; “folk surrealism.” American folk art has long been an influence on my drawing style, while the ideas behind surrealism have influenced my narratives and subject matter.

Bags of Love: If you could design any product on the Bags of Love website, what would it be and how would you design it?

Erika Rier: Recently, I have been doing a lot of commissioned portraits of families and pets. I kind of love the idea of doing portraits that are printed on cushions, then you could have all of your pets and family sprinkled around your living space, on a piece, which was created just for you!

Bags of Love: What product would you love to see on the Bags of Love website (if it doesn’t already exist)?

Erika Rier: I think more of a lightweight, reusable grocery bag would be great!

Thanks again Erika for taking the time to talk to us. We will be publishing more interviews from our winning designers over the course of the next few weeks, so make sure you check back.

Bags of Love x