StyleTails speaks to couture wallpaper designer, Claire Coles and her dainty little Dachshund Pickle.
Defining the unique work of Claire Coles is somewhat of a challenge. The words; art, design, ethereal and otherworldly come to mind, although none fully capture the essence of her stunning pieces. From her West London studio, Claire creates one-off couture wallpapers and prints for a range of clients including the likes of Liberty and Perrier-Jouët, as well private commissions. StyleTails speaks to Claire and her dainty little Dachshund Pickle to find out more about her beautiful work.
Firstly, how did you get your start as a designer?
I studied Applied arts at Middlesex University and graduated in 2003. I was very fortunate to get some commissions directly from my degree show, one of which was a wallpaper display for Liberty. This gave me the confidence to start up my own business.
Your delicate prints and wallpapers are truly works of art. How would you describe your style and what goes into creating them?
I would say my style is ethereal, elegant and organic. I work by collaging papers with silk, leather and felts, and then freehand machine embroidering these materials together to create a range of surface patterns. I use the sewing machine as others would use a pen or pencil in a loose and fluid way.
What originally inspired you to work in this way and what do you think people love about it?
I have always liked the idea of creating something that captures reminiscence of the past but with a contemporary twist. Using embroidery in a loose way, I am trying to create patterns that appear to have grown to life themselves in a delicate and sensitive way. I think people are drawn to intricacy and handmade nature of my work.
You use a lot of floral motifs – are you inspired by flowers and if so, which are your favourite to work with?
Flowers are a predominant influence in my work, but I don’t really have a favourite. If anything I try and create florals that aren’t obviously recognisable, they are otherworldly.
Your work is inspired by patters in old textiles and wallpapers. Where do you source them?
I collect them from vintage markets, eBay and junk shops.
How long can a private wallpaper commission take to complete?
Once we have decided on a pattern, it takes two to four weeks for production depending on the size of the room.
You recently worked with French champagne brand Perrier-Jouët (a personal favourite bubble of StyleTails) Can you tell us a little bit about the collaboration and how it came about?
I designed and produced three embroideries which were then adapted into surface patterns for a limited edition gift packaging. My inspiration for the works came from their Art Nouveau collection at the Maison Belle Epoque in Épernay and the aromas of the wines. I was contacted directly by the brand to work together, and have recently been invited to be part of their Art Salon.
You’ve worked on some amazing projects. Which are you most proud of?
I love seeing my wallpaper being installed in someone’s home where is really comes to life, but my project with Perrier-Jouët has been my proudest collaboration so far.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
I would love to produce a series of rugs, so The Rug Company would be great to work with.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a new collection of wallpapers and panels which I will be launching at Decorex in London this September.
How did you come to own your Miniature Dachshund Pickle?
I looked after a friend’s dog and I was so sad when I gave her back, so I contacted the breeder she came from and luckily they had one puppy left – it was meant to be.
What made you choose a Dachshund?
I had a collection of quite a few dachshund objects form jewellery to ceramics and artworks before I got Pickle, so I’ve always been drawn to the breed.
What do you love about Dachshunds?
I like their feisty nature, funny waddle and they are so charismatic
Does she come to work with you at your studio in Notting Hill?
She does, although she can be a little territorial. She is quite popular so we always get people popping in to see her. Plus, if I’m having a bit of a tough day its great to take time out and have a cuddle.
Can you see her inspiring your work?
So far I haven’t used her as an inspiration but who knows I might start sewing sausage dogs on my wallpaper, or maybe not!
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS – PICKLE
Describe yourself in three words?
Long. Petite. Regal
What’s your favourite treat?
Bones but I’ll give anything a try
Your favourite dog-friendly places around Notting Hill?
Your most treasured possession
My blanket I love to burrow under
What inspires you?
I love the countryside in Norfolk, great for squirrel hunting
What is your ideal holiday destination and why?
A beach holiday, I love sunbathing and picnics
When was the last time you cried?
Last week. I didn’t want to sleep alone in my bed I cried until Claire gave in and I slept in her bed
Who is your ultimate style icon?
You can see all of Claire’s beautiful work at www.clairecoles.co.uk