Every time you spend money, you cast a vote for the kind of society you want

27 Feb

Back in my late teens I spent a month of my gap year volunteering on a cocoa plantation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was there, harvesting fresh cacao pods alongside the locals, that I got to understand what fair trade really means for people in developing countries striving to support themselves and their families through stable and dignified work. Since then, I’ve built fair trade into the buying choices I make every day, usually by doing nothing more arduous than drinking a nice cup of tea and enjoying a bar of chocolate.

Fairtrade homewares from Decorator's Notebook shop (623x800)

But fair trade is about more than just bananas and coffee beans. Where food has led, other industries have followed and you can now decorate your home with fair trade products too. We are proud to say that, from the beginning, Decorator’s Notebook has supported fairtrade groups, co-operatives and social enterprises that help talented artisans in challenging circumstances work their way to a better life.

This Fairtrade Fortnight we thought it was about time we celebrated by bringing these lovingly-made products together into a proper Fairtrade Collection and introducing you to a few more of the wonderful organisations that craft them.

Fairtrade co operative making leather buckets for Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

Our Leather Bucket is made by members of a co-operative in Rajasthan, India. This community-run group has grown to support more than 40 families. The craftsmen and women use traditional skills to prepare the leather using natural bark and vegetable dyes before stitching each bucket by hand.
Leather storage / kindling bucket, £70, Decorator’s Notebook

Kantha bedspreads made by women's social enterprise for Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

These beautiful kantha bedspreads are handmade by the women of Basha, a social enterprise in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that helps victims of sex trafficking rebuild their lives. The women receive paid training and counselling before being offered a job when they are ready. As well as earning a generous wage the women receive free childcare, daily education classes and subsidised healthcare. Each bedspread is hand-stiched from vintage saris and embroidered with the name of the woman who made it.
Kantha bedspreads, £165, Decorator’s Notebook

Fairtrade pottery Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

Our Dipped Terracotta range of mugs, jugs and bowls is produced by a co-operative in Pondicherry, India. Established in 1985, the group employs both disabled and able-bodied artisans and focusses particularly on empowering women in the workplace. The pottery is handmade using age-old techniques and wood-fired to give the clay its lovely speckled finish.
Dipped terracotta tableware, from £12.95 – £14.95, Decorator’s Notebook

Do come and visit the shop to explore all the gorgeous accessories we’ve handpicked help you create a more unique and meaningful home. We love seeing our blog readers there best of all!

{Photographs Decorator’s Notebook / Nkuku / Basha}

Meet the Maker: Ciara McGarrity of Waffle Design

24 Feb

I first met Ciara McGarrity, the Irish designer behind Waffle Design, at HOME last year. The strong graphic quality of her grey and white cushions drew me to her stand and on closer inspection, I loved the intriguing combinations of woollen threads running through the textured cloth. Later, over tea at The Albion, we chatted about Ciara’s childhood in Ireland, a conversation which inspired her to design the Burren Waffle cushion exclusively for Decorator’s Notebook. I recently caught up with Ciara again to talk colour, fabrics and social responsibility.

Scroll down for a special free delivery offer only for blog readers.

Decorator's Notebook meets Waffle Design

Waffle design cushions

When did you first start working with fabrics?

Everything I’ve done has involved fabrics in some way, although I only started Waffle about a year ago. I studied Display Design at the Dublin Institute of Technology and then moved to London to create window displays for retail stores.

Then about 10 years ago I jumped into freelancing and set up my own company specialising in displays for shops, exhibitions and events; everything from windows for Liberty to visual merchandising at the Science Museum. Fabric nearly always played a part… although back then it was usually just fixed with a staple gun!

How did you make the transition from displays to making your own cushions?

I was asked to work on an event for the British Chamber of Commerce, which involved creating a Bedouin tent inside one of the rooms of a listed building on Belgrave Square. There I met a lady who adored the tent and approached me afterwards to recreate something similar in her garden. She became a kind of mentor to me, encouraging me to make curtains and drapes for her super house just around the corner from Harrods.

I taught myself to sew at first, but later went back to college at the Cass Faculty of Art in Whitechapel to learn how to make soft furnishings properly. I now combine making bespoke curtains with my new project, Waffle.

Waffle Design cushions at Decorator's Notebook (720x800)

Roll of fabric Waffle Design at Decorator's Notebook (719x800)

Why the name ‘Waffle’?

It comes from the woven waffle fabric that forms the basis of all my designs. It’s made from organic cotton and produced by a fairtrade community group in Kerala. Hand-weaving in India is a fading industry and I like that I can play a small part in keeping it going. The cushion designs came from playing around with the grey and the white fabrics and exploring the possibilities of the waffle weave.

 

Talk us through your design process when you start work on something new…

The inspiration can come from anywhere – an image or a place – but the design process always revolves around combining colour. I spread out lots of samples of fabric and try them with different combinations of yarn. Once I’ve chosen which colours work together I sketch out pattern ideas and embroider small samples. I can easily lose hours testing out colours this way!

Dyed fabric swatches Waffle Design at Decorator's Notebook (533x800)

Pegs with coloured yarn Waffle Design at Decorator's Notebook (748x571)

What colours are you drawn to?

I really enjoy clashing colours and unexpected combinations, but I think part of the appeal of Waffle is that they’re used in quite a restrained way. While I was back at college I worked in the furnishing fabrics department at Liberty for a couple of years. I saw that while people were naturally drawn towards bold colours, more often than not, they would opt for the safer options in the end.

I kept that in mind when creating Waffle – I let people have fun with a little splash of colour but on a neutral, adaptable background they feel comfortable with.

Exclusive Burren Waffle Cushion Decorator's Notebook

Burren Waffle Cushion exclusive to Decorator's Notebook

Tell us about your inspiration for the Burren Waffle cushion (above), which you designed exclusively for Decorator’s Notebook?

I grew up in Ireland and The Burren is somewhere we used to visit on school trips. It’s a vast rocky plateau in the West of Ireland and I remember stepping off the bus and feeling like I was on another planet. The slabs of rock are criss-crossed all over with cracks and all the kids would play jumping over the gaps.

From a distance the landscape looks rather bleak but, if you look more closely, you can see all sorts of rare wild flowers growing inside those cracks. The colours the flowers inspired the embroidery and there’s an echo of the texture and tone of the rock in the fabric.

How did you find wool in exactly the right colours?

I use tapestry wool, which gives me access to a fantastic range of colours. My supplier has just sent me a new shade card with more than 400 options so the colour combinations are almost endless!

Reclaimed carpet yarn Waffle Design at Decorator's Notebook (723x800)

{Photographs Yeshen Venema and Decorator’s Notebook}

What’s your next creative milestone?

I’ve recently started experimenting with other materials for the embroidery, like coarser reclaimed carpet yarn and thin strips of leather. Because the waffle fabric is so versatile there are lots of exciting things I’d like to try. I’ve also begun working with a social enterprise in East London to outsource some of the simpler edge sewing, although I’ll always do the embroidery myself. They employ people suffering from anxiety and depression and help them build their independence by providing non-pressured working environment. It’s hard to let go of any element of what I do, but working with them is going to make it easier for me to grow and keep doing what I love best.

Thank you Ciara for the lovely insight into your designs. You can find Ciara’s Burren Waffle cushion (£60) in the Decorator’s Notebook shop and blog readers can order one with FREE UK DELIVERY* using the code BURREN at the checkout.

* Free Standard UK Delivery (£4.95 discount) when you purchase a Burren Waffle cushion at Decorator’s Notebook. This code must be used at the time of ordering and cannot be used in conjunction with other offers or applied to other products. Usual terms apply – please visit our website.

It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)

21 Feb

vintage swing dance

This weekend I’m having a go at something I’ve wanted to try for ages… lindy hop! I’m not feeling terribly optimistic I’ll be any good (quite frankly, even zumba is a stretch for me!) but I’m hoping to have a giggle whatever happens. I’m doing a two-day workshop organised by Swing Dance Bristol and I’ll give you all an update next week!

Have you ever tried swing dance? Any tips?

Chocolate Cloud Cake

17 Feb

Flourless chocolate cloud cake recipe - Decorator's Notebook (592x800)

Dust your cake tin with cocoa to stop your chocolate cake from sticking (800x590)

Chocolate Cloud Cake Recipe - dark chocolate pieces (593x640)

Dark Chocolate Cloud Cake Recipe - Decorator's Notebook (533x800)

{Photographs: Decorator’s Notebook | Recipe: adapted from Sophie Dahl}

I’ve never been to heaven, but I bet this is what angels eat for breakfast. Light as a feather, gooey in the middle and completely flourless, this may not be the prettiest cake you’ve ever made, but I promise you it will be one of the yummiest!

CHOCOLATE CLOUD CAKE

300g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

225g caster sugar

175ml boiling water

225g salted butter, cubed

6 free-range eggs, separated

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 | Preheat the oven to 180 ͦ c / Gas Mark 4. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin then dust the base and sides with cocoa.

2 | Place the chocolate and caster sugar into a food processor and whizz until a fine powder forms. Add the boiling water, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. Blend again until smooth and well combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3 | Place the egg whites into a separate glass bowl and whisk with an electric beater until you have stiff, snowy-white peaks. It’s essential that your bowl and beaters are absolutely clean before you do this as the slightest bit of grease will stop your egg whites whisking properly… I rinse mine with boiling water and dry them with a fresh tea towel to make sure.

4 | Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon, in two additions, until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 – 55 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. The cake will still look wobbly – this is a good thing as it means it will have a lovely gooey middle.

5 | Run a knife around the edge of the cake straight away then allow the cake to cool completely in the tin. It will quickly sink but don’t worry… this is all part of its rustic charm! When cool, chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving on its own or with creme fraiche and red berries.

TIP: This cake gets even better on the second day so it’s a perfect prepare-ahead dinner party dessert.

Thoughts on love and home

14 Feb

Decorator's Notebook - always with love

{Decorator’s Notebook}

Homewares made with love make lovelier homes… the simple philosophy that makes Decorator’s Notebook what it is and all we hope it can become.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone xxx

Meet the maker: Hatchet & Bear

12 Feb

In our shop, we’re really proud to sell products that are made all over the world. The Decorator’s Notebook shop is a gentle, but deliberate, kick against high street shops that search only for the nearest, the easiest and the cheapest. Instead, we choose the most authentic, ethical and lovingly-made pieces to be part of our handpicked collection, a journey that takes us as far as Bangladesh and as close as our home county of Somerset, where our talented producer Hatchet & Bear also lives and works. We caught up with woodswoman EJ Osborne to find out a bit more about Hatchet & Bear and learn how our wooden eating bowls and spoons are made.

Scroll down for a very special 20% discount on Hatchet & Bear at Decorator’s Notebook too!

Decorator's Notebook meets EJ Osborne of Hatchet and Bear

Decorator's Notebook meets maker Hatchet & Bear

Can you remember the moment you discovered woodworking?

My earliest memory of carving wood is being nine years old and using a penknife to shave bark from a stick in the garden. It took another 20 odd years and a lot of strange shapes, before I started turning wood.

How did you learn your craft?

I have always been a maker of things… I spent many years being a Jack of all crafts and makery. I studied Arboriculture with the Royal Forestry Society, then I studied Product & Furniture Design at university. I still had no idea where I was going. The turning point was when I caught flu and was bed ridden. I was delirious, got out of bed, ran to the garden, snapped off a tree branch and took to it with a Stanley knife, exclaiming that I needed to carve a spoon. That day ended with a cut finger, but it was also the start of something good for me. I took it as a calling, put everything together and here we are.

What’s the meaning behind the name Hatchet & Bear?

A Hatchet is a small axe, something I use every day, and Bear is my middle name.

Carving a wooden eating spoon step by step Hatchet and Bear

Hatchet and Bear eating spoons for Decorator's Notebook shop

Hatchet and Bear spoons Decorator's Notebook shop

Talk us through your design process when you begin work on something new…

An idea will come to me and I’ll write it down on the ideas list. The ideas list is actually called ‘Woodstuff’. It’s called Woodstuff, to remind me not to go too far with other materials. Wood must be the primary material at all times. Woodstuff is a very long list. Ideas for products get moved up and down the list for many different reasons. An idea at the top of the list will be sketched and prototyped until I’m happy with it – then I’ll test it. Testing it means I’ll use it in my world to determine if it works, how pleasurable it is to use, how lovely it is to look at. The test will end with me trying to break it.

Is it important to you to follow tradition in your tools and methods?

Tradition is very important to me. I use it to learn about tools, techniques, materials and design. Tradition is the foundation of your learning. Once you understand it you can use it as a springboard, bounce off it into the air and then come crashing down on all of it and break it up – create new things, in new ways.

Hatchet and Bear woodcarving Decorator's Notebook

Describe your workspace…

It’s tidy: everything has its place. I spent a considerable amount of time stripping the walls back to Victorian red brick. I don’t understand plaster on brick. It just seems very unnecessary. There is an open fireplace and in the cold months I burn all the shavings and scraps to keep warm. I have an enormous, canvas map of the world on one wall, a large desk, various machines and tools – all concerned with working wood in some form or another. There’s almost always wood shavings on the floor. It can get quite deep. My dog lounges about, napping amongst them.

How do you get to work?

My workshop is located downstairs in my house, so it’s an easy journey to make.

Hatchet and Bear workshop

Hatchet and Bear wooden bowls Decorator's Notebook

paw

Fireplace in Hatchet and Bear workshop Decorator's Notebook

How would you describe the Hatchet & Bear look?

Honest and Useful. It’s about simplicity by design and allowing the wood to do the work. Really, I just take parts of a tree and shape them into useful things. It’s all about the wood.

Hatchet and Bear carving a spoon Decorator's Notebook

Spoon carving by Hatchet and Bear Decorator's Notebook

What’s the most satisfying part of your work?

A new product being ready to go into the online shop feels good. Sending a product off and knowing it’s going out into the real world to be used by someone is great. But nothing beats the feeling of carving fresh green wood, with a razorsharp knife.

What makes a piece of wood good for you to use?

The wood I use comes from a managed, ancient forest in Frome, Somerset. I use the wood from hardwood trees that are native to the British Isles – ensuring incredibly strong and very characterful utensils and bowls. I only really know what a particular piece of wood is good for after I start cutting it up. I work with the wood – using and exploiting natural curves, bends and grain direction, to get the very best design out of it.

What’s your favourite type of wood?

I love them all. Beech, Birch, Lime, Ash, Sycamore, Wild Cherry and Walnut are all ones that are readily available to me. All make amazing bowls and utensils.

Hatchet and Bear wooden bowls and spoons outdoor

Hatchet and Bear eating spoon Decorator's Notebook

If someone hasn’t eaten with a wooden bowl and spoon before, what would you tell them?

You haven’t lived! Ok. Maybe you have, but your life would be so much nicer if you ate a meal from a wooden bowl, with a wooden spoon. It’s quieter. It’s a lovely sound. When we put our wooden plates and bowls away after washing up, there is no awful noise. The same at breakfast time. I like the thought of my child eating from something that is directly from our earth, having undergone the most minimal process.

What’s your next creative milestone?

My spoon carving courses, starting in spring. It will be a big creative milestone – inventing different ways to teach new skills so others can go and make their own utensils.

Decorator's Notebook meets Hatchet and Bear

{all photographs Hatchet & Bear}

Thanks so much to EJ for the fantastic insight into her craft. To help you experience the joy of eating from a wooden bowl and spoon for yourself (we’re already converted) we’ve added a very special 20% Hatchet & Bear discount at the Decorator’s Notebook shop.

Choose either a Walnut Eating Spoon or Birch Eating Bowl and Spoon Set and enter code HBDN20 at the checkout until Friday 28th February. Feel free to share the code and picture below with your friends and followers.

Hatchet and Bear sale discount 20% at Decorator's Notebook Shop

3 rules for better portrait photography (and when to break them)

9 Feb

Portrait photography tips

Last weekend I headed north with a group of friends to explore the Scottish Borders. We might not have experienced weather as relentless as that which has been battering Bethan down in Somerset, but we had our fair share of extreme precipitation! I was hoping I might be able to share some dramatic landscape photos with you, but as the snow closed in we were struggling to see more than a couple of meters in front of us it became quickly apparent that it wouldn’t be a weekend of magnificent vistas!

Portrait photography tips

Photography is all about capturing light, and sometimes to get the best out of a session you need to adapt to the conditions you are presented with. Often it’s bright sunshine which makes for a dramatic picture with shadows creating texture and definition, but when you’re taking pictures of people it can create shadows on the face which can be unflattering. So when you’re faced with overcast weather, it’s a great opportunity to look for people to use as your subjects as the clouds will effectively act as an oversized light diffuser. On Saturday we battled through eye-stinging blizzards to return back to base and I thought it worthy of taking my camera out to grab a few snaps.

Portrait photography tips

Rules to follow:

  • Get closer: the mantra of “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” is certainly one which is overused in photography, but it does have its merit when capturing photos of people. Getting closer to the subject will also increase background blur which pulls the focus of the image to the subject.
  • Use the right lens: The difficulty with getting close is that you will need a lens with a longer focal length. If you are buying a lens for an SLR camera then this is one with a larger mm number. Compact cameras will normally boast a wide angle lens which is great for taking expansive panoramas, but will give close up photos a “fish-eye” effect which you want to avoid when taking portraits. This doesn’t mean shelling a lot of money. I bought a manual focusing 50mm lens for my Nikon for under £85.
  • Spot Focus: if you set your camera to portrait mode it will probably do this for you, if not change your camera from area auto focus to spot focus. This will allow you to focus on the eyes of your subject using a single point (usually the centre) of you camera. Left on auto mode, your camera will usually focus on the nearest point: the nose!

Portrait photography tips

Rules to break!

Sometimes if you want your photos to stand out, you need to do something a little differently. A perfect, smiling portrait shot might be perfect for a school photo or holiday album, but in my opinion a great portrait is one that captures the essence of the subject or situation.

  • Portraits don’t have to be portrait: this might seem a controversial tip, but there’s no reason to take a portrait photograph in portrait orientation. The pictures here were taken in portrait before I cropped them into a square, or experiment with landscape images with the subject off-centre.
  • Get even closer: To take this a step further, get so close that you crop the top and/or bottom of the face. This will really focus in on the eyes and can make for an intriguing composition.
  • Stop smiling: It’s almost an in-built instinct to smile when a camera is pointed at you, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, you can add some intrigue to a photo if your subject relaxes their face and mouth to a neutral position.

scotland photography

{all photographs by Joe John for Decorator’s Notebook}

Patterned tiles: floors I saw and liked

4 Feb

Looking back, I think it probably all started with this bohemian bathroom in Norway. What began in the bathroom has spread to almost every room in the house as my love of patchwork tiled floors has grown to almost alarming heights. Anyone else find themselves afflicted?

patchwork patterned floor tiles in hallway

{unknown via Pinterest – please get in touch if you know the source}

mix and match patterned floor tiles in bathroom

{via Houzz}

band of patterned floor tiles in doorway

{via Lovely Life}

bohemian kitchen with colourful patterned floor tiles

{unknown via Piccsy- please get in touch if you know the source}

Patterned floor tiles black and white monochrome

{Wichmann + Bendtsen via Dwell}

elegant hallway with original patterned floor tiles

{Fired Earth}

I know this is probably one of those short-lived trends that will have us all regretting our passion in a couple of year’s time as we’re on our hands and knees trying to chip out grout and desperately looking for some sort of tile paint that won’t peel. But then again, the Spaniards have been using encaustic tiles as their flooring of choice for centuries so perhaps this trend is a little more enduring than I might think.

If you’re considering it, here’s where to buy patterned floor tiles in the UK:

Alhambra Home (alhambrahome.co.uk) – just a stone’s throw from my old flat in Sydenham, Alhambra sells imported encaustic tiles traditionally made by skilled artisans in Spain. They’re not put off if you only want a handful and will give you guidance on creating your own perfect patchwork.

Fired Earth (firedearth.com) – a tasteful collection of tiles, mainly in soft colours to blend in with your heritage paint brand of choice. Styles range from authentic Victorian to elaborately Moorish. It’s well worth downloading the beautifully-photographed tile brochure which contains some lovely design ideas.

The Reclaimed Tile Company (reclaimedtilecompany.com) – is the place to head if only the real deal will do. They have a gorgeous selection of designs salvaged from historic buildings in Spain, France and Italy. You’ll need deep pockets if you plan to tile a whole room however – expect to pay around £250 per metre.

Original Style (originalstyle.com) – take a look at the Odyssey range for lovely patterned tiles in subtle shades. You’ll also find a good selection of borders which can be combined with cheaper plain tiles and the odd patterned accent to get the look on a budget.

eBay (ebay.co.uk) – with a bit of luck, eBay can be a treasure trove of tiles, from odd bits salvaged from Victorian fireplaces to job-lots of designer tiles left over from upmarket interior design projects. ‘Encaustic tiles’ and ‘Minton tiles’ are good search terms to try but don’t forget to check the item location before you bid!

House Tour: New York apartment with natural elements

28 Jan

I love bringing little touches of nature into my home… a dried seedhead here, a pheasant feather there… they help to soften up a minimal room and bring a tiny bit of the outdoors in.

This small New York apartment belongs to prop stylist Rebecca Bartoshesky and I really admire her style. She has just the right amount of artistic clutter and some really nice ideas for using found objects in a decorative yet simple way.

living room with muted colours

Apple crate storage

House plants

Look closely and you’ll see little natural touches in evey single corner of this home. Not so much that it looks like a museum (remember this Victorian collector’s cottage?) but just enough to bring in the subtle earthy tones and rustic textures that only real shells, plants and feathers can add.

linen blind

collection box of feathers

small kitchen with vintage style

kitchen shelf detail

If you like this look, choose natural fibre fabrics as Rebecca has – raw linen or material coloured with vegetable dyes are ideal as their muted tones are just right for adding colour in a way that doesn’t jar. Dyeworks specialises in selling naturally-dyed fabrics, or Sania Pell wrote this lovely post explaining how to make your own fabric dyes from berries, vegetables and spices.

vintage metal bedstead

tie dye bedspread

{Photographs Pippa Drummond / Styling Rebecca Bartoshesky for Sight Unseen}

For those of us that remember 1990s ‘bohemian chic’ the idea of tie dying is a little bit scary, but there’s no denying it’s making a come-back. If proper tie-dye like Rebecca’s bedspread sends you running for cover, dip dying is just as easy and is less likely to make your home look like a hippy hangout. I went to a trend forecasting presentation last week and ombre is going to be sticking around for at least another two seasons, so there’s still time if you haven’t yet succumbed!

This beautiful apartment was origianally featured on the lovely Sight Unseen blog where you’ll find lots more photos and pretty details of Rebecca’s home – find the post here.

Meet the maker: Merrick Angle (aka Double Merrick)

23 Jan

It was a strange set of coincidences that first led me to discover the work of Merrick Angle, a British born illustrator living and working in a renovated farmhouse in France. Several years later, when Joe and I were choosing designers to work with on products for Decorator’s Notebook, I knew straight away that Merrick was the perfect person to create a screen print that would capture our nostalgic love of the great outdoors. And so our exclusive Campfire Screen Print was born!

We caught up with Merrick to find out more about his life in France, his passion for retro advertising and why one in ten of his designs stays shut in a drawer.

Merrick Angle

Campfire screen print from Decorator's Notebook

How did you come to be an Englishman living in France?

By accident really. I met my wife when she was studying in Paris. After a whirlwind courtship we got married, lived in Yorkshire for a bit, then Paris. Finally, we ended up in The Limousin because she was offered a job down here. Ten years and two kids later we are still here!

double merrick house in france

double merrick house france design sponge

Can you remember the moment you discovered illustration?

I think it has always been there. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up always surrounded by art and interesting things. I was always drawing and collecting as a kid.

Where did you learn your craft?

I’d like to say Art College, but I only really went there to meet girls. Everything useful I have ever learnt about the creative process came from my Mother, who is an abstract painter. The business side of things pretty much comes from one year I spent working for my Dad in the early noughties. My Dad is basically like Alexi Sayle crossed with Tony Soprano, but he is a sales genius. It was a crazy year, but everything I know about negotiation and running my own business can be traced back to that time.

Double Merrick kitchen design sponge

piano double merrick design sponge

How would you describe the Double Merrick look?

I usually say, scuzzy pop art. Something from an advertising hording that got propped up against a wall in a barn. It got forgotten about, all mildewed up, doesn’t really make sense in the way it was meant to anymore. Bam! You have the essence of Double Merrick.

Talk us through your design process when you work on something new…

Most of the time it starts with a ‘find’. I spend a good deal of time going round trocs and brocantes. Some things just strike a chord with you, most of the time you don’t know why, and the print is often the by-product of trying to work out “why”? I take it back home, scan it, mess around with it. When I finally get something I will put to one side for a few weeks until I can view it again with fresh eyes. This time spent “shut in a drawer” generally decides if something is worth putting out. Because my style is quite simple, it doesn’t really take me very long to complete something. Yet, I have to generate a lot of ideas to find the good stuff. For every ten pieces I do only one or two will get saved.

double merrick house in france detail

double merrick bathroom

How has living in France influenced your designs?

I was thinking about this the other day. Would it be the same if I lived anywhere else? I am not sure, really. I would still like the things that I like. Be inspired by the eras and objects that inspire me. Yet, there is something romantic and compelling about the French visual culture of the 20th century and a little of that seeps through into Double Merrick.

Describe your workspace…

My studio/office is the old dining room in our house. I was in what was the old toilet upstairs, but I ran out of space quite quickly, so I graduated to a proper office. In it there are a couple of desks (one for my computer, one for packaging up orders) an armchair for the dog, a bookshelf with all my finds on, and a notorious tin box in which I keep my stock.

What can we see from your window?

As views go, it isn’t bad. I look out over fields and a couple of cows.

Double Merrick workspace 1

Double merrick workspace 2

What’s the most satisfying part of your work?

There are loads of satisfying parts to what I do, but I’d have to say people parting with their hard earned cash to live with something I have designed. I thought it would be a feeling I would get used to, but I never have. I consider it to be the ultimate compliment… someone making the decision to make your work a part of their everyday lives.

Double_Merrick_screen_print_60_Decorator_s_Notebook_1024x1024

Merrick’s A2 Campfire Screen Print ‘Feux de Camp’ costs £60 and is exclusively available at Decorator’s Notebook.

{Room photographs ©Merrick Angle / Product photographs ©Decorator’s Notebook}

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,553 other followers

%d bloggers like this: