Profiles: Clarissa Hulse

Clarissa HulseHomegirl London pays homage to Clarissa Hulse.  She’s a super talented textile design leader producing gorgeous home accessories in delicious colour combinations and pretty prints.  You’ve probably seen her range of wallpaper, cushions, lampshades, bed and bath linen in top-notch department stores such as Heals, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Liberty, Harrods and Selfridges.  She’s been honing her craft for twenty years – nature and colour have always been a strong inspiration in her work, coming together to help her create a fantastic feminine range of homewares.  I caught up with Clarissa to ask her a few questions …

Q: Did your childhood have an influence on your design/work?

A: I was born in Prague and was lucky to live in many countries growing up – Thailand, Spain, Italy and Greece.  Every time we were in a new house or flat my mother had the job of making it a home.  She would often pick up fabrics and trinkets from local markets to try and make it as homely as possible.  This meant I was exposed to an interesting mixture of cultures, designs and textiles, which have had a huge influence on my approach to colour and design.

Q: Tell me more about your fascination with nature.

A: The Beauty of nature completely fascinates me – I draw most on my inspiration from the countryside, where I walk, take photographs and collect interesting items.  Perhaps this enthusiasm stems from my childhood – my Greek mother is a keen gardener – she used to let me roam in flower beds while she was gardening and taught me the names of all the species.  Family holidays were usually things like two-week jaunts spent traipsing across the Austrian Alps looking at mountain flowers.  I was only 12 years old at the time, so thought it was awfully boring, but now I can appreciate how much of an influence it had on me and would love to do it again.

Q: What’s inspiring you at the moment?

A: Nature continues to inspire me at the moment; I am very passionate about watercolours and the intriguing effects they make. I am currently looking at flora and fauna from the sea and the amazing things you can find – like seaweed.  It has opened up a whole new world to me and my designs.  We (the team) are also looking at metals; how they age, the patterns they create and how this can be translated into our designs.

Q: How do you and the team create a collection and concept?

A: We are always looking for inspiration, particularly outdoors, taking photographs of anything that catches our eye.  These are then worked into our mood boards and design palettes, which are inspired by a host of different sources; changing colours in nature, current fashion themes, books, art, ceramics and architecture.  Designs are then worked at on the computer from the photographs we’ve taken.  Silkscreens are made and the colourways painstakingly chosen.  Samples are produced and go through many editing processes before making it into the final collection and then into people’s homes.  Having the print facilities to hand means that the team can experiment with a huge array of colours and textures.

Q: If you had to choose one favourite pattern/item from your current range what would it be and why?

A: I love our new Kew bed linen in Turmeric, it is so vibrant and unusual I am really excited about it – I’m going to have it for my own bed!

Clarissa Hulse - Kew Bedlinen in Turmeric

Q: Where do you work?  Tell me more about your studio.

A: We have recently moved to much larger premises in North London, which encompasses studio, workshop and showroom, so it can be a bit crazy at times, but I love working in a busy and vibrant environment.  It also has a huge glass roof that is a great source of light and really exposes us to the elements, although it means we freeze in the winter and boil in the summer!  Eventually, we’re planning on developing it to include our family home, so space will become smaller but it will be great to be so close to work!

Q: What has been your career highlights?

A: Winning Best Wallpaper at the Homes & Garden Awards in 2011 for our Demeter stripe wallpaper.  We are also working on a huge project with a high profile design-led retailer.  I am really honoured to be asked to work with this retailer as they are well known for championing British arts and crafts. It’s going to be a very exciting collection covering all areas of the home from rugs to crockery – so watch this space!

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: We have just finished shooting our new bed linen collection, which launches in August and a new towel range for Christy.  However, we are already working on our next bed linen range for SS13 and also an exciting new AW13 collection for Harlequin.

Q: What colour trends do you see emerging over the coming seasons?

A: I can see a real trend for a cool palette of peacock and forest greens and kingfisher blue.  I think these will be popular for AW12 and moving into SS13.  Our next collection will feature these with a distressed metallic twist.

For further information on Clarissa and to buy her products go to Clarissa Hulse.  Below are some of her fabulous pieces.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Clarissa Hulse.  Special thanks to Clarissa Hulse, Jessica Hunt and Shelley Armes-Mather.

Clarissa Hulse selection of cushions from

Clarissa Hulse selection of cushions and lampshades

Clarissa Hulse Picnic range

Clarissa Hulse Picnic range