Claire Williams, aire
Claire Williams lives in the mill town of Helmshore, in Lancashire’s Rossendale Valley. She creates iridescent wallpapers and sumptuous textiles, for which her terraced Victorian home – in need of total renovation when she bought it – now provides a perfect backdrop. Claire feels a deep connection to the area and its history of textiles production, having lectured on printmaking at The University Centre at Blackburn College for 18 years.
‘I had a fantastic career in teaching,’ she says, ‘but I always dreamed of practising what I preached. So, though sad to leave my students, I finally made the leap in 2016 and started my own business.’ Claire’s strikingly original wallpapers and fabrics feature her own delicate watercolour designs that are digitally printed onto rich substrates – pearlescent, metallic and foil papers. She is currently working on a new collection of fabrics, with cushions made with heavy silks, linens and velvets.
‘I find the potential to print onto different materials and textures exciting,’ she says. ‘I am also exploring developing prints onto metals, which would sit as inlays into bespoke furniture.’
Winning this Award so early on in the life of her business
– she has launched only one collection so far – is a fantastic boost for Claire. ‘It is such a huge honour to win,’ she says. ‘Affirmations like this keep you going, providing the all-important confidence to spur you on.’