Interview: Catherine Hammerton
by sabine7 / June 14, 2006

It was impossible not to get drawn right into Catherine Hammerton's booth at ICFF. Hammerton is a British designer of bespoke wallpapers, upholstery fabrics and soft furnishings, mainly based on a vintage aesthetic, and her collection is rich with colour, texture and classic nostalgia. Not simply eye candy, but hand cut, stitched and embroidered, Hammerton’s work needs to be touched to be appreciated further. Collage techniques and silk-screening are also used to embellish cushions and papers, each one more delectable than the last. We couldn’t resist asking the lovely Catherine a few questions…. Interview after the jump. SM


ML: Catherine, you recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, London with a Masters Degree in Mixed Media Textile Design. What path took you to textile design?

CH: From a very young age I have expressed myself creatively – my niece seems to be following in my footsteps! I studied Textiles as part of my schooling and my passion just spiralled out of control from there. I have been fortunate enough to have had some wonderful tutors who have nurtured and encouraged my work… but my number one fan is, and always will be, my Mum!

Catherine Hammerton standing beside one of her bespoke wallpapers.

ML: We love passion out of control! What is it about vintage mixed media offerings that has you hooked?

CH: I am a natural magpie. I love nothing more than trawling antique fairs, house and car boot sales in search of treasure… it drives my boyfriend crazy! The lure of finding something so very beautiful, once lost and forgotten and giving it a new lease of life – on a wallpaper or cushion – gives it new meaning and a precious quality once again. The fact that I source most of the trims and findings on every cushion and paper from antique fairs makes them all the more precious.


ML: Although most of the findings for your textiles and wallcoverings are currently vintage, do you have any plans to develop different looks, or ranges of prints? For your boyfriend's sake?

CH: I am in the process of adding to the ‘Collection’, and am hoping to introduce more papers and soft furnishings which are simpler in design. As well as hand crafted pieces I want to make beautiful work available to the masses – why shouldn’t a roll of shop-bought paper be as fabulous as a hand-made commissioned version? I think it has something to do with the fact that I can never afford the paintings I’d like for my home but would happily buy the postcards.


ML: We couldn't agree more! And we love the idea of the 'bespoke wallpaper service' that you offer,
and that you also have available a selection of 'ready to wear' papers. How have present or past fashions in clothing influenced your aesthetic?

CH: The cross-over between fashion and interior textiles has never been as exciting as it has today. Fabulous oversize prints are now seen as often on the catwalks as they are on the walls of people’s homes – and why not? One of my newest papers in the Collection, ‘Made in England’, plays on exactly that. A simple palette of white on white is kept clean with the decoration being dedicated to one beautiful selvedge, similar to that of a classic British tweed whose selvedge is often far nicer than the fabric itself! It’s more about what’s not there than what is…


ML: Less is more ... Most of the papers and soft furnishings you had at ICFF are tremendously
appealing to the female eye. No doubt you have an intriguing selection that might affect the fellas in the same way. Can you tell us about some of these?

CH: I don’t know if my work is overly feminine, or whether people see it that way? But there is definitely a lot more in the Collection for the male consumer to see. The ‘Got it Licked’ and ‘Lolita’ have a stronger masculine feel to them… but I suppose that’s open to interpretation – answers on a postcard, please, boys!


ML: Or pehaps in our comments section. Catherine, were you pleased with your recent US launch? What's next for Catherine Hammerton?

CH: I couldn’t have been happier with my US launch. The people I met were very complementary and interest has been overwhelming. I’m hoping to follow the success of the show with a few new retailers across the pond, so watch this space!


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