This is the second time we’ve asked local graphic designer Emma Carlow to create our Christmas cover. When she designed the first one, she was just about to launch her first collection of wallpapers for kids, inspired by craft activities. Two years on, you can now buy the papers and co-ordinating products in a range of different patterns, including the one that this month’s cover is based on, ‘Up My Street’. “It’s an interactive wallpaper so kids can have fun with it,” says Emma. “You can buy it and hang it exactly as it is, but it also comes with some sticky play shapes that I remember from when I was little and you can use those shapes to make whatever you want to fill the street. It could be vehicles, people, bits of furniture, plants, trees…” Emma Lewes-ified the design especially for us, by adding the Barbican gateway alongside the row of houses. And she’s demonstrated the Fuzzy Felt-inspired shapes by adding her own ‘stickers’ to the design.“
The papers are for children,” she says, “although adults seem to like them too. I’ve always worked with children’s products. In my time I think I’ve worked for nearly all the high-street stores for kids - Habitat, Mothercare, British Home Stores, Marks and Spencers - always in their children’s design teams. And then I’ve been a children’s illustrator. I find designing for children thrilling and exciting, so whilst I could concentrate more on adult stuff, I think that’s been done so beautifully by so many people, whereas there really is a gap in the market for something well designed for children.
”Going into the new year, Emma has plans to expand the collection further. “We’d really love to do bedding. And we’re looking at doing a few DIY kits, so you’ll be able to buy a lampshade kit and colour in the lampshade paper before you make it into the actual shade. We also want to design a sister print to hang alongside each of our wallpapers, just so that if people aren’t feeling quite brave enough to do an entire wall, there’s another option."
And that’s not all. “Another thing we’re looking at doing is publishing a craft book, which is going to be about craft for celebrations. I live to make. If I’ve got ten minutes I’ll do a little bit of origami - that’s my go-to. I love sewing. And I’ve just started pottery, at the Handmade House in Ditchling, which I’m really loving. Craft really is the best way to de-stress.”
You can buy Emma’s products locally at “the wonderful world of Wickle” and at the Good Times Home Store in the Needlemakers, where you’ll find the special edition ‘Frank’ wallpaper that Emma designed to sit with the new furniture range (of the same name) by local furniture makers Perryman’s. You’ll also find her products online at Scout & Co and Not on the High Street.
Emma is one of 24 artists featured in our Cover Story 2017 exhibition at The Regency Town House in Hove from the 1st to the 3rd of December.