When you think about it, it’s such a shame that we use the term ‘wallpaper’ to mean not just the physical wall covering, but something bland and unnoticed in the background. There’s ‘wallpaper’ and wallpaper – and each piece of handmade wallpaper is a genuine piece of art in itself.
If you follow us on Facebook – and you do, right? – you will have seen that we recently shared a video about Marthe Armitage. She is a British wallpaper designer who has been hand-producing beautiful lino-printed wallpapers on the same equipment since the 1950s. Here’s the video again.
Marthe is inspired by the natural world but her drawings have a magical,absorbing quality about them. Some, like Marrow, are fairly straightforward representations of foliage and flowers:
Others, like Gardeners, contain figures:
Some are entire scenes, like this one (Italian Garden):
And some of them are not just scenes, but entire little worlds, like Tiger Moth:
All Marthe’s designs are available through Hamilton Weston, who are specialists in historical and bespoke wallpapers.
By coincidence, there is an article in this month’s Homes and Gardens magazine about Helen Morley, another handmade wallpaper designer who names Marthe Armitage as ‘the person who really inspires me’.
Helen has a background in botany and conservation, as well as art and all her wallpapers start of as botanically accurate drawings. The latest is the very beautiful Peony Rose:
You can see – and buy – Helen’s designs on her website Waybreads.com (it’s an old name for an Bristsh native plant). The site also has a beautifully written and amusing blog about the design and manufacture process.
All these amazing handmade wallpapers are about as far from ‘wallpaper’ as you can get – there is nothing bland or unremarkable about them. There’s just one problem. We don’t have enough walls…