Best of Bri­tish

From doo­dles to hand­made wall­pa­per

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENTS -

AS A BOY, DANIEL HEATH spent many happy evenings with his par­ents and four sib­lings at their home in East­bourne, watch­ing Wildlife on One and sketch­ing the an­i­mals he saw. Sev­eral decades later, and now a suc­cess­ful wall­pa­per de­signer, Heath, 35, still loves to draw wildlife – in par­tic­u­lar birds, which ap­pear in many of his designs. ‘I can’t seem to shake them,’ he says. ‘Birds are beau­ti­ful to draw be cause you can cre­ate a dy­namic de­sign by hav­ing one fly­ing and an­other one poised in a tree.’

He first be­gan de­sign­ing wall­pa­per as a stu­dent, largely be­cause us­ing fab­ric was too ex­pen­sive. ‘I had great pat­terns but couldn’t af­ford to do a fab­ric col­lec­tion, so de­cided to try it on wall­pa­per in­stead,’ he ex­plains. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a mas­ter’s in printed tex­tiles from the Royal Col­lege of Art, he set up his epony­mous busi­ness in 2007 and since then his work has been shown at The De­sign Mu­seum and Lon­don De­sign Fes­ti­val, and he has worked with An­thro­polo­gie, Far­row & Ball and Heal’s.

Work­ing from a light-flooded stu­dio in east Lon­don, he can make a 10-me­tre roll of wall­pa­per in a day. He cre­ates it by de­sign­ing pat­terns in his sketch­book, then trans­pos­ing them on to long rolls of wall­pa­per us­ing silk-scre en print­ing, a te chnique that in­volves print­ing from sten­cils with a screen made from fab­ric stretched tightly over a frame. He then he coats the wall­pa­per in dec­o­ra­tors’ var­nish to pro­tect it, rolls it up and places it in a wooden box to be sent to cus­tomers.

One of his most pop­u­lar designs, Eastern Pea­cocks (priced at £350 per 10m roll), which shows birds strutting around dec­o­ra­tive colo­nial palaces, is in­spired by trips to Nicaragua, Morocco and Por­tu­gal. ‘I sketched while I was there, took pho­to­graphs and col­lected arte­facts and tex­tiles,’ he re­calls.

In fact, many of his designs are in­flu­enced by his in­ter­est in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, which was ig­nited as a boy when his par­ents in­vited ex­change stu­dents from other coun­tries to stay with them. ‘To grow up with that was ex­cit­ing,’ he re­calls. ‘It broad­ened my hori­zons from an early age.’

As to the fu­ture, Heath has ex­panded his reper­toire to teach­ing, host­ing a se­ries of ex­pe­ri­ences with Airbnb in Lon­don, show­ing peo­ple how to make art deco wall­pa­per us­ing silk-screen print­ing. Though a leap from life as a soli­tary crafts­man, he en­joys the process. ‘It ’s good for peo­ple to know where their things are com­ing from,’ he says. daniel­heath.co.uk; airbnb.co.uk/ex­pe­ri­ences

In­ter­view by Jes­sica Carpani. Pho­to­graphs by Tori Ferenc

From top Heath’s Eastern Pea­cocks wall­pa­per; Daniel Heath in his stu­dio; on­go­ing in­spi­ra­tion

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