We sat down in the studio with textile artist Natasha Hulse to discuss her career, inspirations and find out all about her latest collaboration with us.
Natasha Hulse has been creating hand-painted and hand-appliqué artworks for the home since the late 2010s using the natural world and botanicals as her inspiration. With a focus on using reclaimed textiles and eco-paints, Natasha’s work has attracted the attention of design industry names such as Kit Kemp and Alexandra Tolstoy, while her installations at RHS Chelsea Flower Shower have garnered a range of followers from those interested in botanic artworks. For spring 2023 Natasha launches her first collaboration with Lorfords Contemporary on a hand-crafted headboard collection to bring the serenity of the outside world into the bedroom.
How did you get to where you are today?
In 2017, after a job in the fashion industry designing art prints solely on the computer, I decided I wanted to go back to my roots and start working with my hands again. Growing up I’d always been interested in art and textiles, painting onto fabrics and layering shapes and patterns together to create collages and artworks. Not doing something tactile for my main job almost felt like I was going against the current. So, I took the leap and launched my own studio built around textile applique and mural paintings onto home furnishings.
How do you describe what you do to your friends?
My creative outlet and the way I communicate is through touch and texture, and so creating three-dimensional artworks feels like a very natural language for me. Each piece of furniture or fabric that I make showcases botanical forms which are made into garden or woodland scenes. I hand paint and appliqué with a combination of different fabrics to make unique 3D designs that seem to grow out of the furniture or artwork into the room. I almost work backwards by taking floral shapes apart - starting with individual components like a petal or centre of a flower - and then group those elements back together again in different combinations and formations dependent on my artistic mood, so each artwork is always different.
Where do you work?
Right now I have a studio at Kindred studios in West London near Ravenscourt Park. It's a collective of sixty or so artists that have come together to form a community in London. I have a large garden studio that opens out into a courtyard with a little oasis in the middle of it. Outside my windows are tree branches and long grasses so I am really immersed in nature even though I am in London. My windows are dressed with my curtains that have a woodland scene appliqued onto the leading edge. I feel like I'm looking out into a folklore film set waiting to find some sort of woodland character. I am growing my yearly tomatoes and sunflowers on my other window that I train up to the ceiling that will act as a curtain. Most of my studio is glass windows so I get a lot of exposure to good light. At the back of the studio I have a round curved wall which creates an interesting energy within the room. I have murals and decorative samples painted up that I have pinned to the wall, each pin has past, current and future project proposals on it.
How did the collaboration with Lorfords Contemporary come about?
I first discovered Lorfords Contemporary when they were exhibiting as part of a pop-up shop with Volga Linens in London and then a few months later, by chance, one of my artist friends who I share a studio with - Stefano Giordano - happened to be collaborating with Lorfords Antiques on an exhibition in Tetbury. Toby Lorford’s partner, Kate, visited our studios in London and saw some of my work and thought that I should maybe speak to the Lorfords Contemporary team. So I met their MD, Nasia, and we got chatting about headboards as we both shared a mutual interest in them! She mentioned that they were looking to add some new headboard shapes to their collection as well as completely re-writing how they built them in the workshop, with a focus on eco-conscious materials and construction. That was an interesting idea for me so we then arranged a visit to their workshop where she showed me around the impressive steps towards more sustainable designs and also introduced me to the range of vintage linens she uses. I thought it was a good pairing with my work as everything I make is made in the mindset of the environment, nature and to last the test of time.
Where did your inspiration come from for these headboard designs?
These designs were each inspired by the Gloucestershire countryside that surrounds where Lorfords Contemporary is based. I already had a good idea of the Gloucestershire landscape as I have spent a few years in Westonbirt. I turned to the fields spread full of meadow flowers that I have seen in summertime there and looked at pictures from the garden and walks I had been on. I found lovely oak tree branches from the woods and red roses from the garden so I decided to use those in the design. I also wanted to create something classic that would fit into lots of interiors, that is how the off white headboard with the meadow design was formed. The green sage with red roses also has a timeless offering that I think would work in a lot of interior schemes.
Find out more about the Lorfords Contemporary x Natasha Hulse collection here…