Artist, Design, Designer, Designers, Interviews with creatives, Makers, News | 08 October 2021
Interview with Daniel Heath.
Meet designer Daniel Heath.
Daniel Heath is an award-winning, British, designer-maker renowned for his illustrative and engaging wallpaper, textile, and surface designs. We interviewed Daniel about his creative life to learn more about his work, sources of inspirations and how building a home studio has worked for him.
Daniel trained in the traditional process of silk-screen printing at the Royal College of Art in 2007, going on to establish his own studio later that year. Daniel’s work blends technology and craft to create modern pieces that embody and combine traditional values with contemporary aesthetics. He creates pieces of exceptional quality, designed to enhance the home. Through his thoughtful creative process, he produces bespoke, hand printed wallpapers and hand-crafted interior surfaces, exclusively to order. We love his use of colour and the narrative quality of his often playful designs.
What do you do?
I make crafted interior surfaces and hand printed artisan wallpaper.
How did you arrive at what you’re doing now?
I always did a lot of drawing as a child but I didn’t really know what that love of drawing could be used for until I got to university.
I bought some very affordable, second-hand equipment and started working on the roof of my friend’s father’s jay cloth factory in Luton, and that’s how I started my career as a designer-maker.
Tell us about the rhythms of your working day?
I’m better at working in the day because I have a small child who gets us up early. I take him to nursery on my bike and then cycle on to my studio in Hackney Wick. I make a coffee and get started. I find the best time for working efficiently is early in the day before I get distracted by messages or drawn into doing something fiddly and time consuming.
“Home is definitely a sanctuary for me...my garden provided me with an important space for calm reflection during the pandemic.”
Do you work on your own or with others?
I mostly work on my own, but I do have an assistant, Laura, who works for me one day a week. It’s great to have her come and work on things as it frees me up to do design work or answer important emails. My work is quite labour intensive, so ideally somebody needs to be working on it all the time. My wife, Laura Perryman, also helps with a lot of styling and we bounce ideas off each other a lot.
At Kiss House we’re obsessed with how different spaces make us feel, so we’d love to know where you have to be to create your best work?
I’ve built a drawing studio in the garden at home, the idea being that I have a calm space in which to brood over new ideas. My previous studio had so much going on all the time, it could be hard to think clearly.
Home is definitely a sanctuary for me, especially when the garden is in bloom. I love to cook and entertain in the summer too, especially as we’re blessed with a lovely sunny garden.
I feel very lucky to have the space I do, and my garden provided me with an important space for calm reflection during the pandemic.
Has creating a workspace at home changed the way you work?
My garden studio has given me a place to work at home that is more about generating ideas and drawing than making, which is very different to my studio in Hackney Wick. I enjoy making, but I’ve found that sometimes I need to find space for ideas.
“I enjoy making, but I’ve found that sometimes I need to find space for ideas.”
Where do you find inspiration?
My creative ideas usually begin during, or shortly after an experience. Sometimes it’s a gallery visit, or it might be an encounter with wildlife, reading a book, or a bike ride on a beautiful day. If that spark inspires me to do more research and what I find is interesting, then that can develop into new drawings which can evolve into designs. I discovered Epping Forest during the lockdown, which has been incredibly good for me and has helped as I’ve missed going to galleries and seeing exhibitions.
What design challenges excite you most and why?
Some bespoke projects are most exciting — where I design something for a very specific space. I enjoy working out the design and fitting it into the space like a giant puzzle.
“My creative ideas usually begin during, or shortly after an experience.”
Can you tell us about a project that you are working on?
I’m working on a body of illustrations that will hopefully become a new collection of limited-edition prints, and possibly a wallpaper or new surface. It’s a nature theme, based on invasive species. I’m fascinated by exotic creatures and the story of how they came to be here.
How do you design for joy?
My designs can be quite playful, and a lot of them tell a story, I think there’s a lot of joy and romance in storytelling. Colour is also an area where I feel I can have a lot of fun and spread joy. Sometimes if I am exhibiting somewhere, I will print my wallpapers in bold clashing colours so that people can have fun with the idea of using them.
“I think there’s a lot of joy and romance in storytelling. ”
What matters most to you in your work and how do you pursue quality?
What matters most to me is making beautiful things that will be cherished. I hope that the things I make will be looked after.
For me quality is caring. I scrutinise everything I make, checking the quality of everything before it leaves the studio. Everything is made by hand, so I spend a lot of time examining work as it is being made.
“What matters most to me is making beautiful things that will be cherished....the story embedded in a salvaged Victorian oak panel, or reclaimed roof slate adds so much provenance and narrative to an outcome that it is worth the effort. ”
How do you approach sustainability?
I like to know where my materials come from. I also use salvaged materials. This presents a whole other set of challenges, however the story embedded in a salvaged Victorian oak panel, or reclaimed roof slate adds so much provenance and narrative to an outcome that it is worth the effort.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your work?
I’m forever grateful to be doing the work I do. I simply cannot imagine not doing it now.