Oh, for a Muse of Fire…The Creative Vision of EBD Head Designer, Vernon Kirk!

Oh, for a Muse of Fire…The Creative Vision of EBD Head Designer, Vernon Kirk!

Nestled amidst the creative hub of Vauxhall in London, England, Elizabeth Bradley Design takes their form guided by the vision of head designer Vernon Kirk. Although deep in his soul Vernon is an artist, it’s his designer heart that breathes life into the intricate patterns and motifs that define the luxurious needlepoint that is the Elizabeth Bradley experience. The driving force behind Elizabeth Bradley's exquisite creations, began his journey of artistry, inspiration, and passion that has defined his remarkable tenure in a quiet corner of England in a home with a thriving English garden.
English Garden
A Journey from Medieval Norwich to Edgy Vauxhall
Vernon Kirk's journey as the head designer of Elizabeth Bradley has been nothing short of extraordinary. Growing up his parents who had a passion for plants one day would transform into a million happy stitches. When he arrived on the team, fresh from the revered fashion houses of New York City, he came with a deep knowledge of flowers and gardens and English countryside culture. Their names, shapes, blooming cycles, care, seasonality. He still often surprises other staff members with his wide-reaching and detailed knowledge of the floral kingdoms. A knowledge that has helped elevate his floral designs for Elizabeth Bradley, giving each of them that ineffable touch where artistry and innate knowledge blend to bring each sweep and curve and curl of a petal to life in a way that adds to the legacy and artistry and memory of each piece. His knowledge is so complete, you might even catch a glancing scent coming off a final design, or so it has been said.

A decade of dedication to the company has elevated him from originally being called the "artist" – a title he found a touch bohemian – to establishing the role of a serious designer. With a background firmly rooted in the art of design and fueled by a penchant for solving creative challenges, Kirk approached every project with a designer's acumen for solving creative problems by weaving beauty and functionality into each masterpiece. He views each design as a puzzle, a canvas to be filled with colours and stitches that evoke emotions. And it’s this last bit that resonates with consumers the most. People stitch because they love it. It’s their passion. The consumer and their passions have become a guiding light for Kirk’s creative process and problem solving. 
Consumers: The North Star of Elizabeth Bradley Design
For Kirk, the compass that guides his designs is none other than the consumers themselves. With unwavering devotion, he ensures that their preferences and desires take center stage, transforming each piece into a reflection of their passions. Kirk's partnership with Nancy Young, the owner of Elizabeth Bradley Design, underscores their shared commitment to crafting designs that resonate with the souls (and hearts and minds) of those who treasure them. As he and his creative partner, Nancy, approach the final stages of each design in the collaboration process, their partnership is like symphony of stitch and design mastery, where design blends to create the inspired final design. There’s no set number of designs to churn out each year, so their process is organic, rather than forced, and Kirk and Young let it ebb and flow naturally, which results in inspired designs executed with exquisite, unhurried attention to each detail and touch of beauty necessary. (If only the entire world could operate in such a manner).
New EBD Packaging
Embracing Change: A Quest for Eco-Friendly Elegance
Kirk's design prowess goes beyond aesthetics – it extends to sustainability, too. Recognizing the need for Elizabeth Bradley to take the lead in change, especially as local company, with locally sourced products, with local employees. The packaging had to shed its plastic cocoon and embrace eco-friendliness. The result? A packaging overhaul that radiated upmarket elegance while respecting the planet. A crest was added to honour the sense of history and legacy — an idea that struck a chord with customers.
Lily Inspiration
A Vision for the Future: A Fusion of Tradition and Innovation
Looking ahead, Kirk envisions an exciting path for Elizabeth Bradley. His aspiration to take on a more active role in marketing highlights his profound commitment to the brand's evolution. He looks to future designs with a strong touch of British tradition combined, appropriately, with an edgy twist, he envisions the brand moving towards a more quintessentially English identity, delicately balancing between its heritage and the ever-evolving tastes of its consumers.
Across the Pond: A Tale of Two Cultures in Colour
Kirk masterfully navigates between the slightly muted palette preferred by the English market and the vibrant, brighter hues cherished by the American audience. This sensitivity to cultural preferences encapsulates his dedication to creating designs that resonate across borders.
Floral Inspiration
Drawing from Conversations: The Magic of Consumer Interaction
The crux of Kirk's design journey lies in his interactions with consumers. From gatherings like the Chelsea Flower Show to candid conversations, he finds inspiration in their feedback. Their forthrightness and honesty provide invaluable insights, fueling his creative endeavors and leading him to designs that truly resonate.
Vernon's Garden
A Journey Through Gardens and Textiles: A Multifaceted Beginning
Before gracing the world of needlepoint with his creative vision, Kirk traversed the fashion industry, leaving his artistic imprint on giants like Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, and Gap. Introduced to needlepoint through a friend, he found himself captivated by its graphic artistry. Eventually, he established his studio and journeyed into exhibiting in the United States, transitioning from the textile design world to the enchanting realm of needlepoint that eventually lead him to the wonderworks of Elizabeth Bradley, where he has, in his own words, quite effortlessly found a home.
Blue Perennial
A Lesson in Effortless Success: The Path of Least Resistance
The key to Kirk's success in life, and a lesson that could help lead others down their garden path to success, lies in embracing the path of least resistance. At each step along the journey of his life, he has followed the open doors and windows that fed his passions and loves. Some of his steps were sideways, some up, some were giant leaps, some were risks, but all opened along his path and, some would say, quite bravely, took the open door each time. His journey spotlights that aligning with our innate passions and nature often leads to the most fulfilling and successful endeavors. By weaving his background, experiences, and fervor into his designs, he has created a legacy that now resonates with audiences worldwide.
Story Boarding Images
Embracing the Essence of Consumers: A Peek Behind the Curtain
Vernon Kirk's creative process, from conceptualization to storyboarding, revolves around the hearts that cherish his designs. His most cherished time is his interaction with Elizabeth Bradley fans and aficionados at the Chelsea Flower Show where he delves into the passions of consumers, providing the spark that ignites his design narratives and ideas. Sometimes the Muse of Fire is as simple as listening to your consumer. 
Vernon's Country Home
Vernon Kirk stands as a testament to the power of passion, purpose, and creativity in the world of needlepoint. His journey from Norwich to Vauxhall, from fashion to textiles to needlepoint, and from the consumer's heart to the design studio is a testament to the extraordinary artistry that shapes Elizabeth Bradley's enchanting and enduring designs. As we stitch our way through his captivating creations, we become part of a tapestry woven with the threads of tradition, innovation, and boundless inspiration that all began in his backyard garden in Norwich City, England. 
Back to blog


How wonderful to read about the creative process behind the designs for as I near the ending of my first Elizabeth Bradley, I have another ready to go stitching, for going on without one close buy would feel like a loss in my live.

Melanie Burtenshaw

So lovely kits with beautiful colors. Make fun to stitch🌾

Ernst Rupprecht

I enjoyed this glimpse into your creative process for your needlepoint pieces. I also appreciate the new packaging. Thank you for crating these beautiful kits…especially nice for those of us who now have trouble wandering in the garden.

Barbara Hilliker

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.