No Sleep New York: Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I am Anna and I run Anna Hepburn. I am based in Glasgow, Scotland since 2015, but originally I’m from the south coast of England, a small ancient city called Winchester.
Anna Hepburn is a handmade contemporary textiles and upholstery studio. The focus is colour, pattern and texture to create statement, design-led pieces.
Anna Hepburn strives to use recycled, UK made or ethically made materials in all the designs produced. The aim is to bring fun and colour to grown-up living. Items are made in small batches and each individual piece is completely unique!
NSNY: What’s your background?
AH: I first studied textiles at GCSE level (12-16yrs) and the one thing my tutor Annie Wiggans told me that has always stuck, “you control the fabric, don’t let the fabric control you”. She was so supportive of my love for the subject that I continued at A level (16-18yrs).
I took a slight side-step when I studied BA Contemporary Fine Arts at Byam Shaw School of Art in London, graduating in 2011. I was sadly the final year to graduate from the independent school and it is now a part of Central Saint Martins School of Art. I mostly worked in immersive installations and tactile sculpture engaging with peoples’ senses.
After University I stayed in London to soak up experience for another 5 years; travelled to Mongolia during 1 and worked in set-design for the other 4. After moving to Scotland, in early 2017 I studied a short course in Upholstery and have since returned to study at the same institution, an HND in Furniture Restoration, where I will graduate again in 2019.
I have always been surrounded by making [designs], as my talented Mum has always been creatively active with fabrics. She also now runs her own business called Third House Crafts, using tartan on the Black Isle in Scotland.
NSNY: Describe your aesthetic to us. What pulls you in to create the type of styles you work with?
AH: I work, primarily, across two main techniques; sewing and knitting. I like to use my buzzwords to best describe my aesthetic…
COLOUR – add a pop of colour to your stylish home.
PATTERN – a bold addition, usually only using 2 colours.
TEXTURE – homewares are for getting your mitts around, a variety of textures is said to be soothing both visually and physically.
FUN – Let’s face it we’re all just pretending to be grown up’s, so why not show our playful side?
Aesthetic is great, but with homewares it needs to be more about how it feels and how it makes you feel, and that means getting your senses working. Can you see the correlation between my artistic practice and where I am now?
I always feel disappointed when I’m not allowed to touch work inside a gallery, to really get to grips with how it’s been made, and put my own associations in place through touch. In a funny sort of way, I suppose textiles and upholstery is my way of allowing this to happen!
NSNY: What are your favorite pieces to create?
AH: I mostly enjoy the Texture Knitted Cushion Covers. I currently hand knit the front panel and use woven Bute Fabrics as the pocket fabric stitched on by industrial machine. They are really amazing to put your arms around and dig your fingers into!
The jersey-cotton yarn starts as off cuts of fabric from fashion factories and are bought by the company I buy from, who turn it into yarn.
The knitted fabric I create is not restricted to size and I will continue looking at ways to create bigger pieces. The knit is not only robust, as the knots create a 1.5cm thickness, but are also very comfortable and the colour range is vast due to the increase of fast fashion and sportswear using jersey. 85% of garments end up in landfill in the USA, that is 13 million tons of textile and fabric waste every year, so recycling is very important to me!
There are four left from the previous collection on my website and I am currently making to order.
NSNY: We see you do local events in your area. What’s your favorite part about live events? Would you ever go international?
AH: I do! I love meeting and engaging with people at fairs. I think it’s important to hear what people think and I often find this aids the development of my work. Obviously making money is important as it is your livelihood, but being present at events also gives you the opportunity to talk about your passion and explore options with customers in person.
I would like to go international as the business develops, not on a major scale, but attending fairs in other countries.
NSNY: Can people buy your work online or in retail shops? Do you ship internationally?
AH: Yes you can make purchases from me, and I most certainly do post internationally! I happily take commissions, a few of which are already living in the USA. I love how craft from different cultures can be shared all over the world.
Thanks for speaking with us, Anna! To see more of Anna’s work and purchase her handmade goods, visit her Instagram, and Facebook.