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Artist and designer Issy Granger 's south London studio is a kaleidoscope of colour: she built her namesake brand inspired by the vibrancy and beauty of Anatolian Kilim rugs, though she's recently launched a glassware collection that's as elegant as it is unique. I caught up with Issy this week, to find out more about her creative process, inspirations and plans for the future.
You're well-known for your eye-catching Kilim cushions and hand-made ottomans. Can you tell us a little about your creative process? What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
I'm lucky that each day is quite varied. I like to start my mornings designing new pieces and have recently been enjoying using oil pastels for my designs as the pigments are beautifully strong and work really well for drawing colourful creations. My sketchbook is rather full at the moment with ideas which I am very excited about, and can’t wait for them to get underway!
One of my favourite parts of my day is sifting through images of colourful vintage Kilims sent to me by my expert in Turkey. I fell in love with Turkish Kilims a few years ago when I stumbled across one almost by accident, and I've adored them ever since. I source Kilims for my own pieces as well as for client commissions. Each one is unique, having been handwoven by women in rural Turkish villages between 50 and 100 years ago. I'm always full of wonder when they arrive in the studio, and inspired again by their rich colours and history.
Like so many people in lockdown I've also gotten into baking over the past few months, so when I've finished the morning’s work, I look forward to my lunch even more than usual!
You have recently launched a stunning range of glassware including drinking vessels and colourful candlesticks. What's the inspiration and story behind these pieces? Will you continue expanding your glassware offering?
I have always been fascinated by glass since seeing glassblowers working near home (North Yorkshire) as a child, so when I started to expand into new homeware collections, I knew that I wanted to begin with glass.
After designing the pieces, I began researching the history of glass and discovered that its roots lie in Ancient Egypt. The craft has been passed down generation after generation for well over three thousand years and continues to this day. I really wanted to celebrate these artisans, so I now work with amazingly talented glass blowers in Cairo who bring my designs to life. There is something joyful about each piece which I love, and which now more than ever seems rather important! And yes, I do have plans to expand my glassware range...watch this space!
Since we're spending so much time in our homes at the moment, adding beauty to our surroundings is crucial to our mental wellbeing. What are your personal essentials for making a space beautiful?
As I have tried to do with my own designs, I fill my home with colourful pieces that make me smile. There have been many studies done saying that colour improves mood and I certainly find this to be the case. I like to surround myself with interior pieces that hold some meaning to me either because they carry memories or have been made by artisans and wonderful creatives. My mother and grandmother are both artists, so I'm rather spoiled in being able to have their beautiful works on my walls.
I also love to bring nature indoors as much as possible and lately I have started using my glasses and carafes as vases for cut flowers. They're working rather well! There is something really lovely about having fresh flowers in the house. Not only to they bring colour, but it is also wonderful to watch them changing each day as they come into bloom.
In the evenings I tend to always light a few candles. They really enhance a space and, as we not able to go out to restaurants at the moment, it’s quite fun to make evenings special by having dinner by candlelight!
Take a browse through Issy's beautiful homeware designs here.