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Spotlight on: Hannah Waldron

Get to know the name who’s taking the design world by storm

At SCP, we work with the world’s best-known and respected designers. This week, however, we wanted to shine a light on an impressive new talent that you may not yet know – but soon will.

Meet Hannah Waldron, the latest designer to join the SCP fold. Despite being new to the industry, her portfolio packs a powerful punch of industry heavyweights. From London’s V&A museum to Ikea, Paul Smith and now us.

Her name is synonymous with woven tapestries elevated with rainbow-bright colours, evocative shapes and whip-smart geometric forms – but it’s Hannah’s ability of storytelling through her narrative-led work that we find wonderfully irresistible.

Perhaps you too will be lured by her love of colour, materials and the curiosity to discover what stories can be told through her work. Or the fact that each design is painstakingly developed by hand on Hannah’s miniature studio loom, which for us, makes her work all the more special.

Hannah honed her craft by completing an MFA in Textiles at Konstfack, Sweden before scooping the HAY talent award in Denmark in 2014. Her work has been shown at several international exhibitions and has garnered a following of design aficionados with an appreciation for textiles and beautiful craftsmanship along the way.

Having first met Hannah at the Salone del Mobile, Milan in 2013, we instantly recognised she was a star in the ascendant. Fast forward three years later, we went on to launch her first collection, Tabi, for SCP in Milan last month. Featuring throws and cushions, the woolen assemblage is woven in Britain and utilises the time-honoured double cloth weaving technique. Architectural elements, stacks of shape, repeating vertical lines and a rich colour palette heighten this design from the constrictions of the technique itself.

We caught up with the designer to talk influences, studio life and what it was like working with SCP.

Shop Hannah Waldron for SCP

Tabi was inspired by travels through Japan.
In my work, I am often interested in exploring the memory of a journey or place. In the Tabi design, I wanted to play visually and structurally in the weave with the changing tempo that I experienced in Japan. When I landed in Tokyo I was propelled from the city by a Shinkansen Bullet Train to the rural Niigata prefecture where over the next few days I slowly buzzed by electric bike around the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field: a landscape where artworks are hidden within terraced rice fields and native beech forests. On this journey I was struck by a changing tempo both in the experience of the landscape through the contrasting speeds in the modes of transport but also by the vastness of the ancient habitat being interspersed with these contemporary human interventions. Cycling through the forest you would stumble upon a multi-coloured sculpture, or you might discover a candy coloured vending machine along an empty country path.

I think there’s something very special about working in a remote setting.
I once spent a month drawing beside Lake Victoria in Uganda, where I worked on the spreads for the children’s book, Rain Day. It was during the rainy season so it was perfect. Also last summer I did a residency at Cove Park on the west coast of Scotland, overlooking the water, which was wonderful. I try to get somewhere remote to focus on projects as much as possible.

I experimented with a lot of different designs on my studio loom until I finally hit upon the Tabi design.
I really wanted to create something very different from the double-cloth tradition, but the dobby loom process, having only sixteen shafts, has its limitations – so it was challenging. It was very satisfying the day I came up with Tabi, it was very much an eureka moment.

The best part of collaborating with SCP is the total freedom the designers are given.
It’s wonderful, I really felt able to realise my idea in its purest form. Also I love that SCP products are made in the UK where possible and produced by such skilled craftspeople.

 

Shop Hannah Waldron for SCP

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As a child I used to really enjoy making miniature worlds.
Tiny gardens inside margarine tubs and houses and theatres inside shoe boxes. Then I was very obsessed with drawing people by windows in great detail – I’ve always been drawn to observing the textures and patterns of the spaces around me.

I began to work with textiles after seeing the astounding Bauhaus weavings.
It was while I was living in Berlin six years ago. I have always felt most affinity with the modernist period: when art, design, craft and manufacturing were often in a shared space. I think this is something that you encounter in the spirit of SCP and what I’ve always admired. So when Sheridan Coakley (SCP’s founder and director) saw my weavings at the Milan Salone in 2013 and invited me to do something for SCP, I was over the moon.

I create most of my work out of a desire to try to understand something better.
Either a process or material, a subject or sometimes I just get an image of something in my head and I’m not satisfied until it exists outside of me, and in the world. I also really enjoy if someone can find a moment of happiness or inspiration in a piece of my work.

My studio is a very calm, light space with lots of room for my 2 looms.
It’s in the same building as a gallery, shop and music recording studio, so I often get psychedelic notes floating down the hall, which is an excellent accompaniment when I’m weaving.

 

Shop Hannah Waldron for SCP

Imagination is the main principle of being a designer and artist.
It’s the strongest driving force when in either mode, or looking for that perfect spot in the middle. Maybe it’s moderated differently when responding to a practical design than on an exploratory or expressive artistic path.

The key to using pattern and colour at home is really keeping your eyes open.
There are amazing colours and textures that are around us in everyday life. Colour can be instinctual but there are also really good theory books which are worthwhile reading to further your understanding, like Josef Alber’s Interaction of Colour.

When it comes to my own home style…
My partner and I recently stopped moving after a couple of nomadic years living in various cities, so right now we’ve mainly got white walls and lots of boxed books. The first thing we’ve bought are some old pine benches that are now living under the windows with lots of plants on, which instantly made it feel like a home. I think we’ll continue to keep it all pretty clean and simple and then have our colourful textiles and artworks from friends that we have collected on our travels.

 

Shop Hannah Waldron for SCP

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