With only two days to go until the first ever Decorfest, I want to share with you one last special Decorfest Designer Spotlight with the super talented Ana Moly, a children’s lifestyle brand that will be exhibiting at the show in Wimbledon on Sunday. Really looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible there and meeting all of the talented exhibitors.  It starts at 10am and runs to 4pm at King’s College School, Southside, Wimbledon SW19 4TT. See you there!

LBM

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Please tell me a bit about your background and why you do what you do. 

I have always been creative and come from a very artistic family, I studied and began my career in fashion developing prints and graphics, my illustrations have always had a childlike appearance and I developed on this. I wanted to create children’s products that were fun and colourful but not necessarily over designed, the simpler styles can be as appealing to all ages, children and adults.

Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two?

I live and work in London. The city has such energy that inspires you creatively all the time. In regards to work life balance I believe as long as you are happy and not neglecting yourself the joys of life (or a little bit of them) then there is no particular balance, its something that changes all the time. When you enjoy what you do its hard to separate the two.


What or who inspires you?
Inspiration generally comes from my surroundings with a fashion background I work with very on trend styles and colours. And of course children, they are so inventive and carefree, you can draw from them easily and use it as an aspect in your designing.

What is your greatest achievement / what are you most proud of?

Starting this company. I enjoy expanding the brands identity into new products and hope to go further with this as the company develops.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away?

I grew up in the countryside and I always return, you can really experience the seasons there, there’s nothing better than a long walk in bracing winds and a log fire. But the city is an exciting place, you get small ideas from many cultures here, styles, trends change so quickly its hugely influential. And although most don’t, I love the summer in London everyone behaves like they are on vacation.



What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I like to try not plan too much, and relax, reading is new favourite time out. The new wave of ‘pop ups’ in London are thriving at the moment and I like to sample the different cuisines, products and new ideas that they come up with.

What is your favourite space in your home?

We have a wonderful terrace that is hidden from all, which I escape to and decompress with a culpa.

What is your most treasured belonging?

I have a velvet Captains chair that I treasure the most out of all my belongings, its very unusual and a keep for life.


What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
The opportunities it offers. We are very supportive country and I think that’s something we should be proud of. Also the countryside and wildlife something I am keen to look after, this echoes in our companies philosophy of only manufacturing in the UK and using certified forests for our papers.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home?

To put your own personality into it, buy things you like, heritage is a big thing for me, I think its lovely to have items given to you by friends and family that conjure up fond memories. And colour! Not everything has to compliment each other, sometimes I think it works when things clash terribly!

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Please tell me a bit about your background and why you do what you do. 
I graduated in 2004 with a BA hons in textiles design, and worked as a designer for many years, before deciding the time was right to market myself as an independent designer. It has always been my dream to start up my own design business, but it was the economic down turn that influenced my decision to just go for it. Business funding at the time was hard to come by, but the princes trust came to my rescue, and in 2011 loaned me enough money to put on my first exhibition. I have never looked back, I really love what I do. It is a little scary at times and it’s very hard work, but, the sense of achievement, and freedom to create what I like more than motivates me, and keeps me excited about the future.
Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two? My boyfriend and I recently bought our first home together, and for the time being I have settled nicely into our spare room. I would love to separate work from home, and I have been looking for a suitable studio space for around a year now, but have not found anything that ticks all the boxes just yet. Brighton, where I live, is such a creative place and studio spaces are like gold dust! I am lucky my home has a large loft for storage, so I can just about manage.
What or who inspires you?
So many things inspire me. For me it is important to feel a personal connection to the work that I am creating in order to enjoy the process. My work is more often inspired by the materials I use, from photographs I have taken out and about to a broken stick dipped in ink.
My experimental approach, and curiosity towards materials and subjects is greatly influenced by my upbringing in a creative family and having access to a wide range of materials and an excellent selection of art books. I also think it’s the thirst to have a deeper understanding of a subject, and the motivation to be a better artist! I also spend a lot of time outdoors, which is of course for a textile designer the greatest source of inspiration.



What is your greatest achievement / what are you most proud of?
My greatest achievement is starting and making a success of a business on my own, and with limited means.  I am now a woman with many skills, and not just in design, I never thought I would be able to code a website for instance! I am extremely proud of this, and feel even prouder of the strong relationships I am building with my clients. I have stockists I can be proud of, and some very happy customers. Every-day brings a little reward; nothing beats knowing first-hand the response to the work for instance, or, the feeling of when a repeat order comes in.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away?
I keep a little notebook nearby at all times for ideas, However, when I need to get turn those ideas into proper sketches, I feel most inspired when completely free of distraction. Both my computer and my phone have to be turned off, so Sunday is always a good drawing day! Or, whenever I am on holiday.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I like to completely switch off, so a good book, or box set is always good. And of course, spending time with friends and family is top priority.



What is your favourite space in your home?
At the moment it is my garden. I am finding out what its really like to be able to enjoy your own garden, planting as many things as possible and taking a look a couple of times a day to see if anything has popped up!

What is your most treasured belonging?
Just one? Pictures and photographs. I have a couple of paintings by my mother and grandmother which are very dear to me, and boxes of old family photos, including some gems by my grandfather who wasn’t too bad with a camera.

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
Being near to Europe.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home?
Colour and simplicity! Fill your home with beautiful colours and only have things around you that you love. That doesn’t mean I don’t like a bit of clutter, I love it… but I have recently discovered having moved many times lately what it’s like to de-junk and I feel so much better.

See Imogen along with 65 talented exhibitors at Decorfest in Wimbledon this weekend!

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Following on from my first decorfest post a couple of weeks ago, I am thrilled to be introducing you to another incredibly talented exhibitor, who will be at the Home and Garden Festival next March in South-West London.

The event is being hosted by the decorcafe and aims to inspire people to create a more personal home and garden…this is a lady who really knows about that! Ruth Moser runs a textile business from her beautiful home in Bath and specialises in creating unique and fabulous floral fabrics for the home. I was lucky enough to be able to ask Ruth a few questions about her work and home…

Please tell me a bit about your background and why you do what you do.
I was born and brought up in Basel in Switzerland though my mother is British and father Swiss, so in a sense I grew up with both cultures.  My British grandmother who I frequently stayed with was very creative, making clothes, painting and was also an amazing cook. One day she bought me some oil paints and I never looked back.  This sparked off my passion for creating patterns, moods and atmospheres. After completing 3 years of business studies in Switzerland, I went on to study fine Art at West Surrey College of Art and Design, now the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham.

Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two?
I am lucky to live in the beautiful city of Bath, where I have a wonderful studio in our garden.  At the moment we are also renovating our home, which is exciting, as I am able to plan the interiors alongside my design work.  No doubt this is a challenge as I also have a family.


What or who inspires you?
I am very influenced by the moods of the natural world, particularly the seasons.  This combined with my love for colour, pattern and light is what informs my designs to produce fresh and atmospheric fabrics. My inspiration is wide and varied; Japanese textile design, the great colourist painters such as Howard Hodgkin, music of all kinds and autumn with its vibrant colours.

What is your greatest achievement / what are you most proud of?
My staying power to pursue my creative goals has served me well.  It is an endless pursuit to make a piece of work, which I am totally proud of.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away?
Inspiration comes from both home and away.  Certain moods and places from my memory are vital to me and feed into my work.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
When not in my studio, I enjoy creating a beautiful home, reading, the cinema and walking, particularly along the Welsh coast line.



What is your favourite space in your home?
It is our conservatory, which leads directly into our new kitchen.  It is a wonderful space and just above it is a lovely birch tree, which I love to sit and watch at different times of day.

What is your most treasured belonging?
My home and garden.

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
As I originally come for a land-locked country, I would have to say the British coastline and sea, which also produces a very specific quality of light.  I am also very drawn to the culture and vibrancy of London.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home?
I feel that a lot of interiors I have seen are too considered where the owner’s personality has been taken over by trend and fashion.  A good way to inject your own personality into it is to combine old and new.

Meet Ruth and see more examples of her wonderful work at decorfest on 23rd March 2014!

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I am thrilled to have been asked to be the official blogger for a fantastic new Home and Garden Festival, decorfest, which is taking place on Sunday 23rd March in South-West London. The event is being hosted by the wonderful decorcafe and will be all about inspiring and helping people to create a more personal home and garden. 
Over the next few months I will be featuring a hand-picked selection of designers exhibiting at the show in my Designer Spotlight section of the blog. First up is the incredibly talented Claire Henman
Claire makes exquisite handmade lampshades and other accessories using British game bird feathers sourced from local game-keepers. She will be exhibiting her gorgeous collection at the decorfest on 23rd March 2013.

Please tell us a little about your background and why you do what you do.
I have always been creative and enjoyed making, painting and drawing from a very young age.  I studied Art History at university and have worked as an art teacher and in an auction house, surrounded by beautiful items every day.  It is only since becoming a mother that I have been able to immerse myself in the more practical side of designing and making.  I had always dabbled in pottery, but began to spend time really improving my skills and developing my own style.  Over the years I developed an interest in interior design, and have enjoyed renovating several homes and filling them with lovely furniture and objects, paints and textures.  The idea of using game bird feathers to make attractive lampshades came to me one afternoon, and the moment I started experimenting, I knew this was meant for me – I even used to collect feathers in jam jars as a small girl, so have always harboured an appreciation of the natural beauty of feathers from our native birds.

Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two?
I live in the Oxfordshire countryside, so my inspiration is luckily all around me, all the time, as I also have my studio at home.  I love being in my studio making, whilst listening to Radio 4.  Putting domestic duties to one side and getting on with creating new lampshades and other decorative objects is never a chore, always a pleasure.

What (or who) inspires you?
The feathers themselves, they are so beautiful.  Interior magazines, interior shops, I love rummaging around antique markets etc.  Ultimately, though, the countryside around me, which I get out into every day with my dog.

What’s your greatest achievement/what are you most proud of to date? 
Aside from my family, I would have to say presenting clients with a completed commission, and seeing the smile on their face and hearing their words of appreciation at something I have hand made for them.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away? 
I am a very domestic person so home is always an inspiration, and I enjoy changing and improving my home’s interior, which all feeds into what I do in my studio.  I also love very wild, unspoilt places, such as the Isles of Scilly and Mull.  I find the sea very inspiring, but also being surrounded by mountains.  I have also always come home from African trips feeling full of renewed creativity, I think the big skies there clear the mind and renew energy.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Cook!  I love food, am very interested in health and nutrition and I like trying new flavours and nourishing my family.  Walking with the dog is very relaxing, and I keep fit and stretch the muscles with pilates and yoga.  I try to grow my own veg, and always have home and garden projects on the go…

What’s your favourite space in your home?
Our sitting room has a ceiling full of beams which I laboriously hand painted, and it took days and days, but has resulted in a very calm and tranquil room, which is lovely to sit in.  It also has sea grass on the floor, and I love the aroma this gives the room, very natural.

What’s your most treasured belonging?
Probably my green Landrover Defender!  My dream car.  The Aga might come a close second!

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
The seasons.  I just love that first foggy morning, first frost, the snow, first signs of spring and long hot summer days.  And the fact that you don’t have to travel very far here to see very different landscapes, the sea, the hills and wonderful views.  I also love a good British woodland to walk in.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home and garden
Don’t rush, take your time, collect beautiful things, move things around and experiment with different combinations, using old and new.

{Images via Claire Henman}