Heather is an amazing new talent to emerge in the UK. Currently in her final year of an integrated master’s degree, and having been shortlisted by New Designers in her category, she is definitely one to watch. Heather has spent the last 4 years at Swansea College of Art where she is in her final master’s year of a Surface Pattern and Textiles degree, and we couldn’t be happier to have her as part of the Designed and Created community.
Heather was born and raised in south Northamptonshire where she went to school. Her love of art and design didn’t occur naturally – she initially struggled with art at school where she found the curriculum to be limiting as it didn’t allow her to develop her own style and become passionate about art, resulting in her often feeling unsatisfied and unhappy with her work.
Fortunately, she remained passionate about her creativity at home, so she persisted and decided to take Art and Textiles at GCSE level. From here Heather went on to study Graphics and Textiles at A-level which enabled her to then apply to Swansea College of Art (UWTSD). It was here that she truly fell in love with her practice and became passionate about pursuing art as a career. Swansea College of Art nurtured Heather to flourish in a way she never felt possible.
Heather is now balancing launching Heather Kelman design and completing her masters degree back at Swansea where they bring the best out of her.
In conversation withHeather
Laura: How did your journey start as an artist?
Heather: My mum is a very talented artist and so for me this is how it began. It is something I grew up around! I would go with her to various gardens whilst she sat and drew. When I was small, I wasn’t so interested but as I got older, I started to try and copy what she was doing. Drawing and painting is something I have always had an innate interest in, I have always spent my spare time being creative, making and doing is really how I structure my life.
L: How would you describe/explain your work/pieces?
H: My work is quirky and eclectic. I have a very vivid creative imagination and over the last couple of years I have learnt how to channel this into my work in a way which is personal, but with an element of style. I love to just go with the flow and see where my imagination takes me as I am drawing, nothing is right or wrong! Adopting this mindset has allowed me to really enjoy what I do.
L: What’s important to you?
H: Personality and narrative. I think work that has personality is so essential to what I do. I love to make things which make people feel a certain way, and to give my illustrations personalities. Doing this allows me to create a narrative within my designs and creates more of a personal bond between artist and design.
L: What are you working on at the moment?
H: At the moment I am in my fourth and final year of my degree on an integrated master’s course. I am about to begin working on my final project and collection which will be the ultimate celebration of everything I love about life. It is one of the main things that has brought me joy during the pandemic!
L: What was the last piece of design, art, craft you bought and why and who for?
H: A beautiful risograph print for myself! I bought it for my university room to help give it a bit of life. I love prints and I am a bit of a hoarder for that reason. For now, I only have four walls to decorate but I like to tell myself that one day I’ll have a whole house with walls that need art on them so it’s totally justified.
L: What or who influences you?
H: The natural world of course is a huge inspiration for me. Natural forms and colour palettes are frankly unmatched to anything in the man-made world. I also like to think as my design style as a process. I have always loved and really admired William Morris and whilst his work doesn’t really mirror my current work, it has definitely helped lead me to the point I am at today. I also find a lot of inspiration in House of Hackney and Emma Shipley for their uses of rich colour and strong narrative.