I’ve known interiors stylist and illustrator / artist Abigail Edwards for a little while now so I may be biased, but I am thoroughly in love with her wallpaper designs. Abigail launched her own collection of wallpaper with two designs in 2011 and the range now consists of five designs, four of which are available in two colour options. All designs are hand drawn and mostly in soft, muted tones inspired by nature. My favourite has to be her ‘Seascape’ design which depicts rolling waves made up of many lines. It feels very British and it’s quite apt that it is available in blue (Summer) as well as grey (Winter). The Summer version feels light and fresh and would brighten any room, while the Winter version has a moody edge which is utterly enticing. I love them both. ‘Storm Clouds’ is another design which makes reference to British weather, showing storm clouds brewing with flashes of lightning and rain. Also available in blue and grey, both have a captivating mood and this time the deeper blue version shows dark grey rain clouds which perfectly captures the mood of summer storms in the UK.
The designs are printed in Lancashire at one of the few remaining traditional UK wallpaper printers using a very smooth style of printing which keeps the detail of the original illustrations, and are printed with hand mixed non-toxic water based ink, so if you purchase any you know it will not have damaged the environment in any way (which can’t be said for most wallpapers).
I have been lucky enough to work with Abigail on a few photo shoots in the past which she has styled, and she brings the same creative vision to her styling that she does to her wallpaper. I managed to catch up with her about her work as a wallpaper designer and illustrator, and what she has got lined up for 2015…
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before? Environmentally responsible, hand drawn illustrated wallpaper with organic imagery, all printed in the UK
How did you get into creating wallpaper designs? I didn’t plan to design wallpaper. I have been drawing since finishing art school years ago and the little drawings I was doing in my spare time whilst working as an interiors stylist started to become more simple and graphic. ‘Owls of the British Isles’ started off as an illustration but as it developed I realised it would look better as a pattern and maybe because of working with interiors I started visualising it on walls. I then re drew and re drew my first three designs by hand for about a year and a half or more until I was happy with them. Knowing nothing at all about pattern repeats or wallpaper production I made many mistakes and learnt as much as I could during that time. It was the very kind Stephen Lewis of Lewis & Wood who advised me about manufactures and printers.
Where do you find your inspiration? My inspiration mostly comes from fairy tales, nature, and memories of growing up in a very rural part of Gloucestershire. Occasionally a scene from a film. Usually fragments of many things that I am not necessarily aware of but they come together eventually.
What is your favourite design you’ve created and why? Brambleweb is my favourite design. I love the way the brambles are really tangled up and have no end. It is quite a romantic design but the spiky thorns give it a slightly sinister edge. I had just started renovating my Victorian flat when I was designing this and peeled off layer upon layer of old wallpaper from the decaying walls. I think seeing these influenced the art nouveau shapes which the brambles make.
Are there any other artists or designers whose work inspires you or that you like to follow? There are many amazing designers around whose work is beautiful and inspiring but I am more influenced by Victorian children’s illustrators.
What has been the most exciting moment in your design career so far? The most exciting moment was when the first wallpaper order came through on the day my website launched. But every time a customer sends an email with a picture of the wallpaper in their home I feel slightly overwhelmed and very grateful.
Is there anything coming up in 2015 that we should keep an eye open for? I have a new design coming out in 2015, which I am very excited about; the colours are being finalised at the moment. There will also be some fabrics by the meter of this new design and some of the older ones. All will launch at ICFF in New York in May. I am working on some rugs too.
You can view the full range of wallpaper and shop Abigail’s designs here.