London Designer

Claire Coles

The lovely London-based Claire Coles designs and produces embroidered wall panels and couture wallpaper murals for interior designers, architects and a wide range of private clients (Liberty of London and Penguin Publishing spring to mind). Using leather, silk and vintage papers, which are collaged and intricately embroidered, Claire creates a diverse array of decorative surface patterns inspired by flora and fauna. Her creations, which combine a range of textures, are unique, luxurious and utterly stunning; capable of transforming a simple wall into a work of art. We had a chat to Claire about her craft, her creations and her city. The lovely London-based Claire Coles designs and produces embroidered wall panels and couture wallpaper murals for interior designers, architects and a wide range of private clients (Liberty of London and Penguin Publishing spring to mind). Using leather, silk and vintage papers, which are collaged and intricately embroidered, Claire creates a diverse array of decorative surface patterns inspired by flora and fauna. Her creations, which combine a range of textures, are unique, luxurious and utterly stunning; capable of transforming a simple wall into a work of art. We had a chat to Claire about her craft, her creations and her city.

Can you tell us a little about your training and artistic background?

I studied applied art at Middlesex University, and graduated in 2003 with a first class honors. During my time at university I experimented with different materials and techniques from wood, to metal and ceramics. I have always been interested in combining textures and materials together in an innovative but sensitive way.

I started out predominantly working in ceramics and in my last year I moved into collage and embroidery.

How would you define your style?

Ethereal, textured and feminine

What inspires your work?

I often look into how we have decorated our homes historically as a source of reference for my designs. Traditional chinoiserie murals and vintage wallpapers inspire my patterns. Colour combination is very important in my work so I am always taking in objects of environments with interesting colour combinations.

Florals feature rather heavily in your work, why do you enjoy using them?

I guess it’s the romanticism of them that I love, I sometimes feel like I’m a florist pulling together different flowers to create a beautiful bouquet. I also use birds in my work quite a lot; I like the idea of bringing nature inside the home.

Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you particularly enjoyed?

I have worked with some lovely private clients making bespoke work for there homes. I love doing these projects because I work with the client closely to make something unique for them. I get to see the environment the piece will be placed in and make it work with the existing elements in the their home.

Does London, or England for that matter, influence your work in any way?

Yes, I live in London so I can’t help but be inspired by the environment that’s around me. From the wealth of museums and galleries on my doorstep to the great art and design practitioners in the capital that inspire me. I spend quite a bit of time in the English countryside so this always influences new work too.

Given the chance, who would you like to collaborate with?

I would love to see some of my patterns translated into rugs so my dream collaboration would be The Rug Company

What advice do you have for aspiring designers?

I can only share my own experiences of designing that have worked for me. At university I spent a lot of time experimenting and making samples, I found the best way to work out my ‘style’ was to not worry about the end result but just enjoy the process of making. I think it’s important to have some core values, or a signature style that runs through your work.

I also have found that being adaptable with your work and applying it to different mediums and processes has really helped with the development of my career. I love collaborating and have found this to be a very inspiring way of developing new work that I might not have thought of on my own.

To see more of Claire’s beautiful work check out her website. She shall also be exhibiting at Decorex International, London 21-24 Sept. Full details here.

Claire Coles, Studio Portrait, January 2014

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013