ONE OF BRITAIN'S PREMIER TEXTILE DESIGNERS, CHRISTINE VAN DER HURD KNOWS HER WAY AROUND FABRIC. HER COLLECTION OF PRINTED AND EMBROIDERED LINENS IN SOPHISTICATED COLORS AND TEXTURES IS WORTHY OF ALL THE HYPE.
VANDERHURD IS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS IMPECCABLE CRAFTSMANSHIP, HOW HAS YOUR DESIGN AND PRODUCTION EVOLVED FROM WHEN YOU STARTED YOUR COLLECTION TO NOW?
I look back at my designs from when I was at art school or in the few years after I left. I realize that my designs were always very controlled and detailed. Quite often the “Croquis” were painted onto a tiny sheet of paper, maybe 4” square.My first textile patterns were particularly designed for fashion, but I soon found myself drawn to Home Furnishings, and although my design work was quite disciplined, I remember loving to be able to paint or make collages on a huge roll of paper. Today just working with the extraordinary skills of the craftswomen and men inspires me to keep creating new textiles.
HOW HAS TRAVEL INFLUENCED YOUR AESTHETIC AND PERSPECTIVE AS A DESIGNER?
I think that time spent over summers in Morocco from my late teens onwards, had a huge influence with my fascination for carpets and particularly for the embroidery. I loved the multi layered textures so often found in the carpets mixing the flat weave and pile areas and then all the colors and detail. And of course my first trip to India which didn’t come till my mid 30’s was instrumental for the path I took for my manufacturing. Building up a group of amazing craftspeople who have been loyal to Vanderhurd for many years. I can never tire of the beauty of the architecture, or just the burst of color from a group of ladies in Saris strolling down a country road.
WHEN DESIGNING A NEW PATTERN OR COLLECTION, WHERE DO YOU START AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROCESS?
I am always gathering material for inspiration. Then somehow a mood will overcome me and I will find myself drawn in a particular direction. When you have been designing with pattern for so may years whether it be a carpet, a fabric or even a decorative ceramic, you find the inspiration is locked somewhere in your “minds” library. I think the initial smell of the paint and mixing the colors excites me most!
YOUR COLLECTION HAS AN INCREDIBLE DEPTH OF COLOR, HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED THE PALETTE OVER THE YEARS?
Color has always been of the uttermost importance. It is the key to making or breaking a textile. I suppose I have never been afraid of color, my delight comes with having an empty palette and squeezing a little white out of a tube of gouache and then building up the colour from there. My colors tend never to be pure, somehow always slightly “Off”. Over the years my sense of color has not changed dramatically, taking inspiration from the pureness of nature with a fine gauze to soften the intensity. Then of course I was brought up surrounded by antique objects and textiles and my parents ability to use unusual colors without fear.
YOUR STUDIO IS BASED IN LONDON, WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO VISIT?
I love my neighborhood! The Studio is on Portobello Road where my father was an Antiques dealer. The area has changed so much over the years when I was a teenager I spent my time rummaging through the many Antique shops, finding inspiration from vintage textiles, colorful ceramics and jewelery. We are still surrounded by beautiful parks, but today individual fashion boutiques, design shops, book shops and many bars and restaurants have become part of my neighborhood, so quite often I just stroll around and don’t really need to go that far!
OF ALL YOUR STUNNING PRINTS AND EMBROIDERIES, ARE THERE ANY YOU ARE ESPECIALLY ATTACHED TO?
Of course “Flower Cut Out” is close to my heart. When we decided to design a fabric collection, (having specialized in bespoke carpets for so many years) my son Jasper came up with this design. Even though it has been part of the print collection since 2007, I never tire of its symmetry or simplicity! I also love it when we add the embroidery of tiny French knots as in FCO Sunset or Sunrise this brings in a delicate and subtle texture.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
So our latest print in development “Crazy Paisley” just happens to be on a huge scale… Also working on a couple of exciting new collaborations.