We were lucky enough to recently stumble across Daniel Heath Studio which was founded in 2007. His award winning designs (mainly used to create wall papers and more recently cushions are to say the least, incredible). Fortunately for you, we managed to persuade him to make them available to our customers at Made to Last. Here is a short interview so that you can learn a bit more about him.
What do you make and why?
I am a British award winning independent wallpaper, textile and surface designer who aims to create illustrative and engaging designs. Based in the heart of East London, I have long upheld principles of craftsmanship and sustainable design practises to create well made design collections.
What makes your products special? What do your customers like most about them?
All our products we make are printed or engraved and made to order so every piece is an exclusive limited edition with very limited waste. Also our designs are all hand drawn and unique in they’re origin.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place?
Everything we make is silk-screen printed by us in our studio in East London, in larger order cases we work with UK based manufacturers or other craft professionals. As a studio we believe in working with materials to make our interior surfaces furniture, and textiles, which have a sense of permanence and history already woven in. We always look to use locally sourced British materials to make our products, such as our natural woven Linen from Lancashire that forms our textiles collection for example.
What is the toughest part of the product development process for you?
Keeping a consistent source of materials that are either responsibly made or ethically manufactured in the UK. Thankfully now we have a good supply base, but it’s taken quite some time, research and lots of testing to get where we are now.
What is the most enjoyable part of the process of product development for you?
Screen-printing is undoubtably my favourite part of the job. The sound of a squeegee pulling across a silk-screen and the satisfaction of a clean and crisp print onto fabric or wallpaper, is something I’ve always found rewarding.
Do you have any new products/ranges planned for the next year or so?
Yes we have a new collection planned for next year, we’ve been working on new imagery inspired by native and invasive species in the British Isles. From Flora to flora, animal to reptile, many species live side by side in everyday life, as intruders or uninvited guests, and we are looking forward to combining them in two and three colour print designs.
What products or people have helped to inspire you to create the products that you do?
As a printed wallpaper and textile designer, my first big influence is the legendary William Morris, who came from Walthamstow where I now live. He was extremely prolific as a designer, but he also had some pretty strong social values that he stood up for. I’m quite into architectural influences too, so have been looking at Frank Lloyd Wright, especially his colour drawings for proposed textile designs. Charles and Ray Eames are an inspirational design couple that always pushed into all sorts of disciplines and were innovative with technology.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know
What is your favourite surface pattern you’ve designed so far?
Onyx Skyline Wallpaper. It was a new challenge for me as I wanted to develop my wallpaper collections on from just being 1 colour illustrations. Surface pattern is often about process as well as the design. This design has a background colour and two printed layers in complete registration. Finding the perfect colours was very good fun.
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
I think our Taxidermy Birds design, gets used alot for bespoke projects and it’s also a personal favourite of mine. It works well for wallpaper and fabric cushions and has become a staple design that we constantly refresh with colour all the time. It’s a timeless classic design with a twist, and compels a second look. On further inspection the seemingly beautiful hand drawn birds are in fact pinned, stuffed and preserved in static macabre. I spent days trawling and sketching the vast collection at the Natural History Museum and the Horniman Museum in order to create the design.
What environmental considerations have you enacted into your sourcing, manufacturing and packaging?
All our fabrics and wallpapers are responsibly sourced from other British manufacturers as we feel they embody a high quality and value we are passionate about maintaining. As a studio we want to actively limit waste, we only print to order, rather than hold lots of stock in a warehouse. We also use water-based non harmful printing binders.
Why did you name your products as you have?
We have several illustrative and engaging design collections now. Drawing has always underpinned my surface pattern designs, and many have references to a time or a place to form playful narratives that we hope our customers appreciate. For instance our Victoriana Circus Collection, was inspired by the death-defying wonder of early victorian circus performers and traditional etched poster arts.