AAH YES STUDIO
AAH YES STUDIO is an art and design practice founded by Ayesha Mansour.
From her studio in East London, she makes work rooted in humour and simplicity – taking objects and moments from everyday life and reimagining them as a gaggle of shape and colour. She views her pieces as a form of entertainment, a way to uplift and amuse.
With a background in branding for companies making playful or feelgood products, she’s always been drawn to people and places that don’t take themselves too seriously. She opened AAH YES STUDIO to create these lively worlds – a way to manifest cheerfulness rather than just be an ambassador for it.
Ayesha is a big fan of Easter eggs, adding hidden details to her work that nod to a particular theme or reference – a cloaked shape, a cryptic title, a strange mark or symbol. She believes that these buried gems add a little magic and create a deeper connection with those who discover them; an inside joke between her and the viewer.
“Experience is incredibly important to me,” says Ayesha. She believes in quality as a mark of care, passion and respect for herself, her work and the creative industry. “I am fabulously pedantic about my production process, working with the best local makers to produce only the highest quality pieces.”
Since opening her studio, Ayesha has continued to explore the theme of “playful simplicity”, in both her commercial projects and her artistic endeavours. She loves to collaborate with others and takes bespoke commissions from individuals and brands.
Adam Watts is an artist and curator based in Oxford. He founded Artists & Objects and officially launched the store in April, 2020. Adam’s practice includes painting, and designing furniture and lighting. His oil paintings and prints have been featured in UK magazines and in 2020 he took part in a Q&A with Design Anthology about Artists & Objects’ launch. Adam recently exhibited his Carrara Table and Globe Pendent at London Design Festival on Anna Mackie’s stand at 100% Design. Collaboration is also a key part of his practice, with recent collaborations including the Zig Zag Bench with textile designer, Line Nilsen.
Adele W Design
Adele’s focus is to create quality homeware that is striking, yet functional and durable enough to be used everyday.
The homeware collection is influenced by the minimalism of Scandinavian design, forms from the Bauhaus movement, and contemporary colour trends. The selection of pieces, including vessels, trays, clocks and coasters are available in several different surfaces such as Monochrome, Copper, Originals and Waste.
All items are made by hand using moulds, pigments and the versatile material, Jesmonite, a solvent free, acrylic modified cementious composite.
His work reflects an appreciation of simplicity, quiet forms and muted tones. Alexis makes each piece by hand using traditional techniques and natural materials. He works with stoneware sourced locally and glazes made from water, raw materials and oxides.
Alex Edwards is an artist based in South London. He works primarily with sculpture, print and drawing. His work looks at the relationship between the mind and the body and the immaterial and material. Reoccurring themes within his work are language, abstract forms and shapes and imagery of the body.
Since 2017 he has been producing a series of A1 prints that have combined the use of text and imagery relating to the physical and non physical effects of habitual thoughts. The screen prints on display at A&O are part of this series and all allude to different states of mind and a corresponding physical response.
Ambar is a homeware brand and design studio focused on knitwear and fabric development.
Founded by Natalia Nicolau, Ambar stems from her background in fashion and a decade’s experience in developing textiles for brands both in Brazil – where she was born – and the UK. Her degree in architecture also informs all her research and her creative process. Ambar’s showroom in East London is not only home to Ambar Homeware but is also a textile development studio. The team work on surface design, prints, and custom-made knit projects for both fashion and interior design.
At the beginning of the Ambar journey, Natalia decided to carry out her design and manufacturing solely in the UK. She trusted that the British tradition in textiles – both in technical terms, and in raw material sourcing – would ensure she reached a level of quality and craftsmanship that elevates all her creations.
Natalia is always on a quest for innovative materials, so every project starts with extensive research on the origin of the materials being used and every step of their suppliers’ process. This enables Natalia and her clients to make responsible decisions on designing and buying products that will turn your house into a home.
Andrew Hamilton is an award-winning Furniture and Homeware designer based in Sheffield. With training in both Cabinet-Making and Design, Andrew worked for a number of companies both as a maker and designer before establishing his own studio in 2019, Andrew Hamilton Studio.
The studio creates collections of furniture and homeware alongside bespoke objects and interiors for private and commercial clients. Inspiration is drawn from a range of sources, but the results are always united as displaying refined simplicity, careful proportions and considered functionality.
“An object should never be overly demanding of attention, yet present great beauty and functionality when in use. These are the kind of objects that we truly cherish and that stand the test of time”
Arjun Singh Assa
Arjun Singh started out as a maker-designer in Kenya where he worked in his family’s 60 year old woodworking business. Situated in the coastal town of Mombasa, he spent four years working under his father’s guidance understanding the nature of working with different tropical hardwoods and designing numerous types of furniture pieces.
In 2015 Arjun set out to develop his trade by pursuing a Furniture and Product Design course at Nottingham Trent University where he spent time exploring the world of contemporary design. Towards his final year he created two pieces – ‘Weave’ (A conceptual woven lounge chair that questions the quantity of materials that go into a traditional seating form) and his other piece, ‘The Poorman’s Pony’ (A playful Terrazzo hallway bench that connects indoor and outdoor spaces).
Arjun presented his work at New Designers in 2019 where it was shortlisted by Joanne Jorgensen of Nike. His work was also presented at London’s Design Festival: 100 Percent Design, where he was awarded with product of the year for ‘Weave’.
Founded in London by designer Beatrice Larkin, the studio specialises in modern woven textiles, accessories and interior products. Not driven by seasonal trends, Beatrice’s distinctive, softened geometric fabrics have a timeless quality that are designed to be enjoyed and appreciated all year round.
The design process begins in Bea’s East London studio with her drawings taking inspiration from traditional weave structures, grids and graphs, West African textiles, The Bauhaus and Brutalist architecture. She then turns these sketches into jacquard weaves, playing with scale and repeat, focussing on the structure and design of cloth in equal measure.
All production takes place in England and Beatrice works with well-respected, highly skilled manufacturers who understand the care and attention needed for the high end textile market. The fabrics are woven in small runs at a jacquard mill in Lancashire and then washed and finished in the Yorkshire Dales. They are then sent to London to be made into throws and cushions, labelled and packaged, every step carefully considered.
The Italian spun merino wool used in Beatrice’s fabrics is more commonly used in the fashion industry for high end knitwear. Called the ‘Rolls Royce of merino’, the fine, soft fibres of the merino sheep give a beautifully soft and luxurious handle.
Beatrice comes from a family in the textile business; her father, an interior designer and her mother, an embroiderer. She was brought up in Kent, living in a house piled full of beautiful fabrics. This led her to study weave at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then followed with a masters at the Royal College of Art. At Bea’s graduation show in 2013 her woven fabrics were spotted by a buyer from Heals. It took a few years to source the right yarn and manufacturers but in Spring 2016 she launched her first collection which has now been stocked in a number of high profile institutions and shops. She also works with interior designers on larger projects.
Established in 2017, Brook studio designs and produces furniture for residential and commercial spaces with a focus on craftsmanship, material, longevity and purpose.
Before starting Brook studio, Tim Evershed studied Product Design, trained as a Cabinet-maker and worked for several furniture makers on the South Coast. His work is underpinned by the exploration of traditional craft techniques, an understanding of natural material and a modern design aesthetic that draws influence from Shaker and Danish Mid-century archetype.
Tim sources sustainable timber from local tree surgeons and sawmills across the South of England, always selecting each board himself and judging it by his own high standards.
Emma de Clercq – aka Brutes – is a ceramicist based in London. As a novice potter, Emma originally intended Brutes to be a creative outlet and general antidote to screen-time from her day job in digital media. After falling hard for the medium, in 2016 Emma and a group of like-minded makers founded Clay Collective, a co-operatively run pottery studio. Her ceramics are mostly hand-built, with a focus on minimal, functional pieces with a brutalist edge.
Landscape is an ongoing preoccupation in Caroline’s work, alongside memory and its ability to blur and distort a sense of place and time. Woods and parkland are recurrent themes, reflecting an interest in the idea of the sublime within nature and our modern relationship with it. Thomson seeks to explore how woods act as liminal spaces, places of retreat or transformation, or a psychological threshold.
‘As a mother to young children I am entrenched in the daily wrestle of the push and pull of the emotional demands of my children. It is the transformative experience of motherhood and its resulting joys and frustrations that have most recently fed into my work. I work mostly from photographs as a starting point for a composition. Painting in a quick and fluid way enables a sense of place and time to become distorted, to become something other, as more abstracted elements are introduced echoing the transient nature of childhood. The resulting paintings seek to stand in for an emotional state, an inexplicable feeling or atmosphere.’
Caroline Thomson is an artist and MA Fine Art graduate of Chelsea College of Art (2003) and BA Fine Art graduate of Kingston University (1998). She is a current participate on the Turps Banana Off-Site Painting Programme (2019/20). Selected group exhibitions include shows at The Mall Galleries, The Harley Gallery, Menier Gallery, Seven Seven Gallery, The Residence and Art Sway. She had her first solo exhibition at Intercession Gallery, Northampton (2018). Her work has been selected for the Lynn Painter Stainers Painting Prize Exhibition (2018) and ING Discerning Eye Exhibition (2019) and has been shortlisted for the National Art Open Prize and longlisted for the Jackson’s Painting Prize (2018, 2020). Her work is held in numerous private collections both nationally and internationally.
Claire grew up in Guernsey surrounded by nature’s colours and textures. Being introduced to natural textile design and production from a young age, she fell in love with materials and colours and the impact they have on how we feel and their ability to enrich our daily experiences. Claire studied design at the London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts London. Upon graduating, Claire worked for a luxury fashion brand but her passion for woven textiles and the weaving process led her to start Claire Gaudion studio.
“Setting up my own business made me dive deep into my ideas and preferences, and think about how I can make a difference with the designs I create. I love the way the colours and textures that we surround ourselves with can have a positive influence on us, and how interiors and textiles can transform a space.”
Claire Gaudion is based in Hampshire. The textile design studio specialises in creating high quality, contemporary rugs and artisan fabrics for interiors. Since 2013, the studio has been committed to the artisans, and their communities, who help create the woven textiles and handmade rugs. As part of Claire’s mission, the studio wants to support textile traditions, skills and craftsmanship so they can be passed on to future generations.
Claire Gaudion rugs are made in collaboration with Momo Rugs who bring four decades of experience in the rug industry. Each rug is designed by Claire and then crafted by artisan makers in India and Europe. Different makers specialise in hand knotted, hand tufted and hand loom flat weaves to ensure exceptional quality is always maintained. Provenance and fair trade is fundamental to company relationships and Momo Rugs are proudly endorsed by Care and Fair.
Desmond Lim is a Malaysian born designer whose work is rooted in the creation of physical and emotional durability in contemporary furniture. Through a deep respect for materials and processes, Desmond takes an experimental and hands on approach to discover the hidden potential of both traditional and future resources. In his furniture, Desmond explores an interdependent relationship that exists between the user and object. By interpreting human-like qualities such as balance and poise, the furniture objects he creates seek a strong sense of sculptural identity and personality.
Ellie Mone is a furniture designer based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
‘It’s all about colour for me! I want to add more colour and fun to the world.
‘I design giving colour the attention and respect I think it deserves, with colour and materials always playing an influential part. I often mix materials to create contrast of textures and patterns, and enjoy the unusual outcome of mixing soft and hard materials, especially mixing textiles with furniture.’
Elliott Denny is a potter from a graphic design and printmaking background. Primarily, he produces porcelain tableware, thrown and turned on the wheel or produced in moulds in a clean minimalist style.
Elliott’s shapes, colourways and surfaces reference the natural environment, industrial components and architectural forms. He is interested in historical and modern industrial production techniques and how they can be used in the contemporary ceramics studio.
While studying at Cardiff School of Art and Design, Emily discovered a passion for handmade objects, and from that passion emerged her homewares and furniture collection. She is inspired by surface design, shapes and colour.
Emily experimented with a new material, Jesmonite – an acrylic composite – seeing how it could be poured and mixed. Adding pigment created endless colour ranges. Emily’s work is inspired by the 80s – bold colours and quirky design but with a contemporary twist. After graduating in 2017, she turned her passion for making into a business the following year. With her handmade coaster collections, you can own a set of unique pieces of art in your home.
Emily Marston Ceramics
She makes each work by hand using slab building and carving techniques. Hand-coloured clay is inlaid into white porcelain or stoneware to create patterns embedded within the piece, meaning that no two are the same.
Before working with ceramics, Emily had a stretch of independently curating and working with artists, before setting up a shop and gallery in Oxford championing early and mid-career artists, independent designers and makers.
With a background in fine art painting, Emily returned to making a few years ago and fell in love with the grounding nature of clay as a way to explore ideas in a functional and mindful way. The natural world, as well as architecture and the interaction of object and light, are constant sources of inspiration.
Formworks Studio was founded by Jon Llewelyn in 2016. His inspiration is drawn from bold and geometric styles found in contemporary architecture, the Bauhaus movement, furniture design and graphic art. The results of his work are carefully considered art pieces. Each piece has embraced the naturally occurring free and explorative creative process. Jon creates and produces editions that challenge the viewer’s sense of perception, depth and space, by exploring and exposing the boundless relationship of bold geometry, 3D and colour play.
George is a stone carver specialsing in architectural carving and lettering. George takes on projects of a small or large scale from drawing, signage and memorials to three dimensional sculpture.
George recieved classical training in historic stone carving, lettering and drawing from City and Guilds of London Art School. Originally from West Oxfordshire, George now lives and works in South East London.
Grace McCarthy has been making ceramics for the past eight years. She studied at Camberwell College of Art in south London and Clay College in Stoke. Grace is a ceramics tutor at Turning Earth, the first dedicated open-access ceramics studio in London, and a member of the Ceramics 274 collective.
Most of her pieces are oxidized-fired but she hopes to explore reduction firing and eventually soda firing. “A lot of what influences my work,” she says, “is the raw clay and the firing process; the relationship between both of these elements is what excites me about ceramics.”
Harriett Grist is a designer maker creating knitted homewares and gifts. After graduating from Bath School of Art and Design in 2016 with her HG collection, Harriett set up her own business focusing on a new range, CHICKPEA.
CHICKPEA was launched in February 2017. The designs are inspired by stationery such as graph paper and pen lids. Product names have been taken from street names in Harriett’s home town, Winchester, as well as family nicknames (Chicken and Pea).
House of Quinn
House of Quinn was founded by Julius Arthur in 2016. Using traditional craft techniques, he makes every item by hand in Sussex, sometimes collaborating with local makers to finish a piece. Wherever possible, he uses fabrics and materials that are reclaimed or renewed, sourcing them from local suppliers and markets. He aims to turn these into objects that will last and be cherished.
The collections include original textile pieces, artwork, fine art prints and objects created in small runs.
For her textile pieces, her practice centres on the craft of hand-tufting using a pneumatic gun. This is a weaving process in which yarn is pushed through a canvas backing to create a tufted pile. India draws with wool in an explorative and playful manner, transforming her ideas into tangible textile pieces.
She makes her pieces by hand, using step-by-step techniques and natural materials. Quality is paramount because her pieces are intended to be seen and felt, and to last.
Drawing, collaging and painting are all vital tools within India’s process. The proportions and compositions she creates inform the outcome of her tufted pieces, where her lively exploration of colour and shape collides with a piece’s physical qualities.
Isabelle is a photographer and chef, both occupations filling her time happily. Art and photography have been prominent in Isabelle’s life from a young age. She studied Fine Art at Sir John Cass School of Art in East London, graduating in 2010.
Isabelle specialised in photography and has worked with a range of cameras and experimented with a variety of effects and media including polaroid. Isabelle’s work has included sculpture, photo projections and food styling.
After graduating, Isabelle trained as a chef – satisfying her other passion, food. Her culinary education included a three-month internship in the experimental kitchen at the prestigious restaurant, The Fat Duck.
Now Isabelle runs a pastry business alongside her photography, creating dishes to her own recipes which she sells privately to customers and at markets across London.
Isabelle’s photography is distinctive in its ability to capture a mood, documenting colour brilliantly and creating impressive compositions. The photographs presented on Artists & Objects represent her time travelling through Italy in 2017. It was a magical trip where Isabelle discovered the beauty of Italy and the flavours of a great culinary country.
Ji Hyun Chong
Ji Hyun Chong is an industrial designer who works in furniture and product design. After pursuing Bachelor’s of Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, New York, she moved to London for her further research in Master’s of Furniture Design programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
She draws inspiration from the mix-media of materials, geometric patterns, and soft colours. For the past few years, she was intrigued by minimalism – how the simplest design can be the strongest design. She now focuses on designing objects in modern context.
Karl Davies is a photographer and filmmaker based in the South West of England. Growing up in the rural far south of Cornwall, Karl started to photograph the landscapes that surrounded him at a young age. Ten years on from these formative years, Karl’s work has been featured in a number of high profile publications and awards. His latest work takes an anthropological look at the landscapes in which he grew up. Drawing on the connection between people and place, this work focuses on the human interactions found in the Cornish landscape.
In her collections, Kalandra explores the possibilities of Jesmonite and emerging trends in the interiors world. She designs, casts and carefully finishes each product by hand and loves the fact each object is unique.
Lina Wil is a contemporary jewellery and homeware brand run by its founder, German-born designer, Lina Wilckens, from her studio in Glasgow’s vibrant West End. Lina Wil’s understated designs merge sustainable materials and traditional processes with innovative digital sculpting techniques, creating modern luxury pieces that elevate the everyday.
The Maker Journal
Here is the first instalment of our new series, The Maker Journal.
Line Nilsen is our first interview. Line is a designer, textile artist and hand weaver. She lives in Nottingham and works from her studio at Primary, a former school that’s been transformed into an arts community. Line was born in the small town of Kirkenes in far northeastern Norway, and the landscape of her birth has been a key inspiration in her work. I asked Line how she got into weaving, the act of making, what her home looks like and what advice she has for new designers starting out.
How did you get into weaving?
I discovered weaving at university. I knew quite a bit about fabrics from having trained to be a tailor, but when I started learning how to make fabric from nothing, I was hooked. That said, my mum told me that I used to play around her loom as a toddler before she sold it. I cannot remember any of this, but maybe that’s when I actually got into weaving.
The landscape of your birth inspires your work. Can you tell us more about this?
My hometown in Norway, Kirkenes, is quite special. It’s tiny with only a few thousand inhabitants. It is also quite remote and the distances are vast. The climate is what some might call extreme, with really cold, dark winters and warm, sunny summers. I have lived away from my birthplace for more than half of my life now, and as a kind of love letter to my past, I have been finding inspiration from the Nordic way of life, beautiful nature and those incredible seasons. I think people feel a connection to land and place, whether conscious or unconscious, and it is those deep-rooted memories that most inspire me right now.
How important is it to you to be using your hands and a loom, rather than a mechanical process?
Making by hand is very important, mostly because I enjoy it, but also because I am free to control the materials in a way that is only possible on hand looms. I can make adjustments as I go along and manipulate the yarns to do what I want. Handwoven cloth has a unique look to it – there is subtle character and movement in the weave. Having worked in the textile industry for a while, I know that power looms are really amazing, too. I cannot compete with the speed and consistency of a power loom. I guess it is important to know that most methods of production present their own challenges, restrictions and benefits.
What do you most enjoy about the process of making?
Making by hand is almost like meditation: I let my mind and body focus on the work – the repetition in craft is very therapeutic. I also love seeing the result, watching the pieces take shape in front of me, creating something from nothing.
Can you describe a day in the life of Line Nilsen for us?
I am not a morning person. I normally start work around 10am. My days vary a lot depending on what project I am working on, but on a typical studio day, I start with tasks that are urgent – admin, emails etc. Once I have taken care of all pressing tasks, I am ready to get creative or start making. I love working in my studio. Here I can stay focused and work productively, as long as it is tidy; mess distracts me and I hate looking for things. I rarely leave work before 6pm, sometimes nearer 7-8pm; I find it hard to stop once I get into something.
You collaborate with quite a few people – whether it be through consultancy work or working with other designers on interiors. How do you find the process of collaboration?
I love consulting and collaborating! Working on my own is great, but sometimes a bit isolating. The interaction with other designers and companies can be really valuable. It normally means working on a project that is different and offers a challenge in my practice. You get out of your bubble and think about your work from a different perspective.
What object or piece of work holds most significance to you?
Because of the nature of my practice, there are so many products that I have loved working on. My latest series of handwoven art feels extra special because it reminds me of home, so there is more emotional connection with this work. But then I also love interior design, and I get excited when I collaborate with a furniture maker or I design fabric for furniture.
Can you paint us a picture of what your home is like?
We live in Nottingham in a Victorian terrace/townhouse, north of the city centre. I would say the Haggerston of Nottingham. Our style is kind of eclectic but not too cluttered, a good mix of new and old. The house is full of colour (although never bright pink), art, plants and I am obsessed with mood lighting in every room.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a new series of woven art which will be around 30cm square. I’m enjoying making smaller pieces at the moment.
Best advice you would give to a young designer starting out on their career?
Learn as much as possible from as many as possible. The best thing I ever did was work for people who knew more than I did and not rush to set up my own practice. Thanks to those who took me in and showed me the ropes – you know who you are!
London Bathers was founded by Chris Long. The company is independent and family-run, on a mission to offer high quality, low impact bathroom products and accessories.
Chris offers the type of quality, design and ethical standards that he himself would expect.
The products include handmade soap and shampoo bars; hand blended and packed soaking sals; organic body and hand cleansers; and stainless steel soap brackets and dishes. All soap products are made in the UK and never tested on animals.
London Bathers’ products come in reusable glass bottles and jars – the company favours
refilling, rather than using and then throwing away. It sees the beauty in plain packaging, rather than the over-engineered sort, and believes in taking responsibility for its own recycling. Products are wrapped and packed in 100 per cent recyclable papers or cardboard. “It’s about making choices that lead to a cleaner life,” says Chris.
At the heart of their design is the desire to make pared back, classic pieces of furniture. James and Nick are makers as well as designers, so know how to include traditional joinery techniques into their furniture. They value the visual and tactile interest of each piece.
Loose Fit’s aims are to provide an alternative to mass-produced and fitted furniture. The pieces give you the chance to invest in a classic design which can move with you from house to house for years to come.
Lotti V Closs
Lotti V Closs lives and works in Manchester. She studied MFA Sculpture at West Dean College graduating in 2014, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her sculptural practice works across a variety of materials and scales, often combining multiple processes in the development of each object or series. Her work reflects core themes of the simplicities and complexities of play and relationship, which often straddle both the domestic and the theatrical.
The first body of all-stone works Lotti produced in 2016 was inspired by her research during a Visiting School the previous summer with the Architectural Association to the Surrealist ‘concrete garden’ Las Pozas, Mexico. The body of work culminated in her solo exhibition, In Plain Sight, showing at Castor Projects London, and travelling to The Number Shop in Edinburgh.
This is the first trio of one-off Alabaster sculptures made for Artists & Objects by Lotti V Closs. The works are made using traditional methods, sawn, chiselled and sanded by hand by the artist. One of the qualities of the stone is its translucency; against the light, this brings to life an interior of delicate veining and soft fluid clouding, unique to each piece. These natural qualities are contrasted by the stone’s inherent weight and solidity, with each piece chosen and sculpted in answer to this material contradiction. Sharp angles combine with curving intrusions and protrusions, hard and softened edges, referencing both the manufactured and the organic in miniature monolithic form.
“The act of making cloth connects me to a long line of weavers whose tradition is vanishing in a world of mass production,” says Majeda. “It is the space where storytelling, making and memory meet.” Her grandmother’s Jamdani sari started Majeda on her journey into cloth. She became fascinated by the stories of Jamdani woven for the Moghuls. Those stories prompted questions about the weaver’s relevance today and the dynamics of heritage. Textiles evoke memory; the contours of the wearer remain where cloth sags, frays and stains. Majeda still has that original Jamdani sari, lovingly hand woven all those years ago.
“I am intrigued by the imperfections in hand woven fabric, the randomness of pattern and faded narratives embedded in cloth,” says Majeda. “Flaws give a cloth value, signalling the hand of the maker.” This theme is reflected in her own handmade pieces, often dyed to seep colour and expose the threads where warp and weft fail to meet. She says her work can be “traced back to the event of a thread”, as sections of warp come away from the cloth and then rejoin to reveal the hands that make it continually deconstructing and reconstructing the same cloth.
By highlighting the geometry of weave and playing with strong colour inspired by her own cultural journey from Bangladesh, Majeda likes to bring a modern aesthetic to an ancient craft. Her work is often influenced by the sharp lines of Modernist Bauhaus design interwoven with bursts of vibrant colour. The pieces have a duality about them that can’t be placed, such as the ethereal Jamdani muslin scarves which create a sense of light and space but layer with solid, dark motifs, or her contemporary but cosy blankets.
There is an emphasis on the local practices that sustain communities, tell stories and remind us of the value of making. Majeda points to communities such as the Jamdani weavers of Dhaka who weave what the Romans once called “woven air”, a thousand-year-old technique that has UNESCO World Heritage Status. Her UK mill-woven pieces also explore a lost weaving heritage, manipulating traditional double cloth techniques without traditional patterns. “I never compromise on quality,” she says, “and my British blankets are woven in a Welsh Mill with yarn spun in Yorkshire that feels like cashmere.” The relationship between people, place and environment are essential elements that run through her work. All her pieces are sold with a card that carries the signature of the weaver and a map of their heritage, because she believes beautiful things take time to make and build on the skills of a past generation. “A crafted piece is to be cherished forever,” says Majeda.
Portrait photograph by Michael Heffernan
M A N I F E S T O
Working from her garden studio in South Glasgow, Katie Rose Johnston crafts small batch, sculptural ceramics that are influenced by the natural world she encounters every day. She is fascinated by prehistoric artefacts and the raw, windswept landscape of her birthplace, Shetland, as well as the tactile, ancient process of hand building stoneware clay. Every M A N I F E S T O product is a unique, functional artwork that aims to bring the rustic beauty of nature into the modern home.
Momoka hand weaves fabric using a mechanical dobby loom at her studio in Nottingham. Her woven fabric can be a one-off decorative piece or heirloom quality garment. She works mainly with cotton denim and silk yarn, both of which share the characteristic of memories, creating potential change in the fabric as time passes. Textiles are as individual as their owner, and each piece should be unique. To add a distressed feature on its surface, she sometimes dyes or discolours the fabric after its woven, creating a colour flow that is never the same twice. Colours are often subtle, fading textures, eroded in places to represent our life stories.
Nocturne is based on the idea that the best form always follows function. Their lamps are designed with a clean, minimal aesthetic in mind, but are nevertheless luxurious in colour, finish and design.
‘Our materials, brass, sustainably-sourced hard-woods and aluminium are used to construct lamps to the highest level of craftsmanship designed to last and age beautifully over time.’
Nocturne was established by Simon Day in 2011 drawing design inspiration from architecture, workshop machinery and the 20th-century design sensibilities of companies and designers such as Kandya, Stag and PEL, Ernest Race, Anni Albers, Frank Guille, Eileen Gray and Jean Prouve.
From its workshop in Manchester, Simon leads a small team of specialist craftspeople making lamps to order.
Ornamental Grace was founded by artist and designer Claire Baily in 2016. As a graduate of Fine Art at Goldsmiths, Claire has exhibited in France, Germany, Japan and all over the UK. Working under the pseudonym Ornamental Grace, Claire combines her love of sculpture and passion for objects to produce a range of sculptural homewares.
Utilising her background in making she combines modern and traditional mould-making and casting techniques to create unique products with a luxury handmade quality. Each of her objects starts its life as a plaster prototype. She then creates silicone moulds in which an acrylic based resin is poured. Each object is subsequently worked by hand to achieve a high quality finish.
Phil only shoots on film. The limitation of 36 shots enables her to consider every frame, and waiting for the completion of the development process before seeing the image allows her to reflect on other details that are then revealed. To Phil, film photography has a feeling of permanence that cannot be gained from digital format. With film, an historical trace is made through the reaction of light on chemicals that cannot be altered.
Phil works solely from an interest in the subject. Despite understanding and enjoying the technicalities of shooting on film, Phil does not allow the technical to inform her pieces. Each photo comes from a need to capture the intimacy she shares with her subject, be it a person or place, in order to give that feeling the ability to live beyond the moment.
Based in south London, Kaisa Leinonen is the creative mind behind Pomsi. Kaisa was born in Finland and her handwoven pieces are inspired by the Scandi ideal of creating elegance through simplicity. This keen regard for Nordic minimalism has imparted her work with a motif akin to the Bauhaus, while memories of wielding heavy looms in the forest-ringed towns of her home country have imbued it all with a respect for the natural world. Since becoming a mother, Kaisa has been inspired to embrace Slow Making and sustainability to complete the ideas she wishes to convey with Pomsi.
Designer and maker Selina Rose creates architectural felt surfaces that push the boundaries of textile design.
Her approach is to challenge the perception of textiles by creating intricately cut, sculptural, rhythmical surface patterns that play with light and shade, create a sense of movement and invite the touch.
Working with technology at the surface and with nature at the core, Selina uses an array of textile processes to manipulate her materials with a focus on tactility, pattern and sustainability.
Selina’s signature compositions of pattern, colour and materials result in unique statement interior surfaces for residential and commercial interiors.
The intention of each design is to encourage sensory engagement, adding texture to a space softening the interior environment through its design and natural materiality.
She is a founding member of the workshop co-operative, Clay Collective, based in Hackney in east London. It aims to provide a democratic and supportive space and community in which practitioners can work and collaborate, sharing skills, space, ideas and resources.
Sophie develops and produces objects that explore the relationship between the functional, the sculptural and the narratively suggestive. She says her objects “approach materiality and tactility in a playful way, rejecting the hierarchy of the practically useful art/object within craft or otherwise”.
She is passionate about educating and facilitating. Sophie uses techniques of making to explore and develop an understanding of the artist’s practice. Since 2015, she has developed and delivered workshops and educational programming to organisations such as the Tate Gallery, the Camden Arts Centre, The Whitechapel Gallery, The Craft Council and Somerset House.
Portrait photo by Robin Silas Christian.
Each piece is fashioned, in small batches, into iconic and timeless forms influenced by architecture and nature.
The use of a limited palette of neutral and earthy tones, coupled with stony and matt textures, enhances the natural variations present in the clay and reflects Scottish landscapes. Variation of tones are achieved by using small percentages of natural oxides in glazes and clay bodies to create irregularities and depth.
Our aesthetic is to allow a deeper and reflective connection to nature. We hope this will come about when you use our pieces, thus enhancing your wellbeing.
Studio Shimo is a creative project by London-based textile and graphic designer Juliette van Rhyn. Inspired by a long walk through Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighbourhood in 2019, Juliette decided to create a brand with the same feelings of warmth and nostalgia she felt in the vintage shops and record cafes there.
Studio Shimo’s motto is ‘A Bright Life’, and the work reflects this gentle, positive approach to design and living.
Studio Shimo’s prints offer a glimpse into a sculptor’s studio, full of found objects, moquettes, orbs, and vases. The still life setups and full shelves delicately balance form and colour, creating a play between activity and calm.
Studio Wolle is a textile design studio established in 2019 by Lara Bland after graduating from the University of Brighton. Lara combines handweaving with embroidery in a playful reinvention of traditional weaving. Characterised by a contemporary and minimalist style, Studio Wolle is committed to customer focused design, craftmanship, sustainability and beautiful quality – creating products to help transform home spaces and add to our mental wellbeing.
Talia Designer Maker
The strong geometric patterns you see throughout her designs are inspired by a combination of two elements – patterns you can find in Moroccan cities; and Kintsugi, a Japanese technique of gold lacquer pottery repair.
Stepping away from a perfect factory-produced look, Talia strives to give the material and making process room to come through in the design, and so tell the story of how they are made. Because of this, each piece is handcrafted and unique.
Veerle Evens is a photographer whose work traverses intriguing food stills, considered interiors and sensitive lifestyle documentations.
Shooting with great appreciation for simplicity and with dedication for a natural feel, she creates fresh and delicate images. Having a great eye for detail, she captures what might otherwise be overlooked.
Ver Ver Studio
Carla Cabiddu is the weaver and designer behind Ver Ver Studio, a tapestry-weaving studio in Brighton. Born in Sardinia, Carla started the studio as a way of connecting with the island’s weaving heritage – translating traditional techniques into contemporary designs. Inspired by the beauty of everyday objects and the Mediterranean way of life, her designs often go against the geometric nature of weaving, embracing organic lines as forms of expression and individuality.
Wax Atelier re-visits traditional techniques ranging from candle-dipping and paper-making to crafted textiles using natural wax.
It was founded in London in 2017 by multidisciplinary designers, Lola Lely and Yesenia Thibault-Picazo.
Born in Hanoi in Vietnam, Lola grew up in London and was curious from an early age about how objects were made. Drawing, making and the connection between materials, process and maker are all central to her practice.
Yesenia is a French-born musician and designer. She explores the narrative potentials of materials through collaborations with experts in the fields of geology, anthropology and craft. She then uses design as a means to engage with diverse audiences on contemporary ecological challenges.
For Lola and Yesenia, making becomes a tool to experience the interconnection between the natural world and material culture.
She is currently working out of her parents’ utility room, aka her studio, just outside Cambridge. “Although it’s a little cramped,” she says, “I have my wheel, some shelves and a kiln.”
Inspired by the sea and surrounding landscapes, most of her work is blue. Lucy throws all her pots on the wheel and decorates them with cobalt slip. The process involves two firings and is very time consuming.
“So much thought and care go into each of my pieces,” says Lucy, “I hope people will use and treasure them for many years to come.”