I've been looking through books, and one artist who specialises in wallpaper that I have always liked appeared.
Clare Coles is a fine artist as well as a designer. With a background in ceramics, she gradually moved into product design based on the renovation and interpretation of old, unwanted items. Her wallpaper merges collage and embroidery, sourcing vintage papers from markets and junk shops, she bypasses the printing process, instead ripping them, stitching wallpapers together, embellishing them with little drawings and gems. This is something that I really like about her.
This is a scan from the book I've been reading 'The Cutting Edge Of Wallpaper'...
The article talks about her as a designer but also mentions that she works closely with an artist called Kim Robertson. Two years ago I was actually lucky enough to do a weeks work experience with Kim Robertson and even had a go at printing and cutting out the butterflies for the 'Butterflies' piece that her and Clare collaborated in.
Kim showed me Clare's work first hand in her Clare's studio. This was really my first look at wallpaper, the vintage papers that Clare works with are gorgeous and I hope to find some myself. The idea of stitch is something that I want to try and get out of my own wallpaper design, it gives the wallpaper a unique effect and feel. Stitch is very personal I feel, as the same stitch can never really be done twice.. this is something I would like to explore if I have the time.
The image of the butterflies on the right is actually something I helped Kim screen-print.
Here are some photos of my time with Kim IN OCTOBER 2007...
General workspace...In the centre of london, Kim's workspace was pretty amazing. Very big and open perfect for screenprinting, there was a space for washing screens, preparing, printing, work, stuff ready for sale and orders. Whilst i was there I had to deliver a few orders.
These are butterflies that I helped screen print and then cut out for her collaborative piece with Clare Coles.
These are a couple of wallpaper pieces Kim had done, some of which were with Clare Coles...
As well as screenprinting papers, she also did lots of textile based printing, onto clothes (ties), bags and materials for covering books.
This work-experience was good in helping me to understanding doing print in the freelance world. Helping to print and cut cards was hard work. Sounds easy but they all have to be cut the same and separately! This was a pain, if a card was cut too short and obviously then I'd either wasted card and a print, or it would have a sticker put on it and go in the 'duds' box to be sold at fairs for a lower price.
Another thing this work-experience was useful for, was being sent by Kim to retrieve materials and things she needed for print, giving myself a good look at what type of things i would need to keep in stock all the time as a print designer. She sent me to ALMA, a shop down a little alley which sold all sorts of materials and papers. EVERYWHERE... it was astounding... Kim sent me there with a list and a black cheque. I got bought materials for covering books and flocking. I think for a couple of metres of 3 things it came to around 300 pounds!
Although this was a couple of years ago, recapping the events and the week I spent there has reminded me of all the things I learnt and lots about print and being a freelance designer within this area. From the practical needs of materials and actual printing and flocking to the idea of showcasing your work and getting into shows, aswell as collaboration.