Handmade or hand-selected, we're proud to support exquisite craftsmanship and specialist skills. Join us as we sit down with artisans, curators and designers in our Meet The Designer series.
Designs created according to the principles of craftsmanship, sustainability, up-cycling and re-appropriation of authentic heritage materials can really add personality to a home. We sit down with award-winning independent wallpaper, textile and surface designer Daniel Heath to find out more about his design process and the materials that he uses in his work.
What is your background and what do you specialise in?
My training is in printed textiles, but now I specialise in handmade wallpapers and interior surfaces, as well as offering hand-printed fabrics for upholstery or as cushions. Mostly, my work involves putting my imagery onto things.
Can you tell us more about your studio in London?
My studio is in Hackney Wick at Space Studios, a charity set up by Bridget Riley, and I share the space with Tamasyn Gambell. We have known each other for a while, but found we were using the same screen-printing facility in Bermondsey to make our work. The screen-printing place has since closed and so we are both making our work in the studio again. It’s quite a squeeze, but we have two 3.5m tables in there and it’s nice to be autonomous in these uncertain times.
Your studio ethos is strongly anchored in craftsmanship and sustainability. Can you tell us more?
Craftsmanship and sustainability come hand in hand for me, as I make everything to order or in small batches. I don’t mass produce and I don’t hold stock in warehouses, which by default is more sustainable and allows me to adapt and change more quickly. I am in control of the making of all of my products and oversee them at all points of production when anything needs to be outsourced, such as any laser engraving.
"I work with a lot of salvaged materials such as slate and reclaimed wood […] Working with salvage is a challenge, but the results can be stunning and unique.
Can you tell us a little more about the materials used in your collections?
I work with a lot of salvaged materials such as slate and reclaimed wood, especially on the bespoke commissioned works which are basically murals. Working with salvage is a challenge, but the results can be stunning and unique.
I source my materials from UK suppliers. I get my linen, velvet and corduroy from a supplier in Yorkshire, my paper comes from a mill in Lancashire and my slate comes from a yard in North East London.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
All over! Currently I’m drawing invasive species. All these wonderful exotic creatures that are here and are doing well, much to the detriment of our native wildlife. American milk, Chinese Water Deer, Muntjac, Crayfish and parakeets…. The list goes on!
I’m interested because they are causing a lot of damage and there are some interesting stories and theories about how they got here. Some people believe Jimi Hendrix released two parakeets from his window in the 60s and the current population descend from them, which is complete farce, but fun all the same.
Can you tell us about your most popular designs?
My most popular design is my Taxidermy Birds design as a cushion or wallpaper. I’m happy about this as a lot of drawing went into that design. It’s sort of timeless and works in all sorts of colours, but I love it in the bright orange.
Daniel Heath's Espalier Etched Slate Tiles made from reclaimed Welsh slate.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I get up between 5.30 and 6.00am, whenever my toddler Rufus wakes up, and I take him downstairs to play and read until about 6.45am when I make the breakfast while my wife Laura is getting ready for work. We all leave the house at the same time, about 8am, and I’ll drop the boy off at nursery. Sometimes we cycle and he has a neat little seat on the front of the bike, which means we talk and he can see what’s going on. After I drop him off, I head on to the studio for about 9.00-9.30am.
I write a list as soon as I get in so I know what I need to get done. This usually includes printing some fabric or wallpaper, packing up some orders to drop off at the courier, or cycling over to my cushion maker. Often it includes writing some emails, replying to enquiries and ordering materials for a project. There’s a lot of admin! On certain days I will set aside time to draw, which is what I hope to more of this year.
I keep an eye on the time, as I need to get going at about 5pm to pick my son up from nursery again, then the next couple of hours are ours! We head home, I make him some tea and we play and then its off to bath and bed for him. I’ll make supper and my wife and I will eat together and sometimes we will need to get the laptops out to do a bit of work in the evening, but we are usually in bed by 10. I’ve just started reading again as it helps settle my mind if I’ve had a bit of work to do in the evening.
What exciting developments can we expect to see from you in the next year?
A lot more small batches of limited edition handmade product. I plan to launch a small, numbered batch every month on Instagram. I’ll also be doing some more events and workshops, which I love to do!
What would be a dream project for you to work on?
My dream project is my home. We moved into a house in March 2018 and it is getting more of our personality applied to it every week. I’m going to print wallpapers to fill the house with and my wife Laura has plans for painting patterns on the floors.
Onyx Skyline wallpaper design by Daniel Heath Studio is inspired by Art Deco architecture.
We would like to thank Daniel for taking the time to talk to Warehouse Home. For more information, visit his website.