I grew up on a farm in the Hertfordshire countryside, surrounded by adventure and the freedom to explore. I was forever hunting for old pieces of furniture to paint and foraging for fabrics to chop up. I found my skills in drawing and painting which gave me the creative flair to experiment, and my journey began.
I studied at Plymouth University in Devon where I gained a BA Honors in Illustration. I learnt to express my style and tailor it to suit a commercial market. Following my degree I started to work as a freelance illustrator and was commissioned to illustrate 2 children’s books by London and New York Publisher, Ryland Peters and Small.
I developed an interest in food illustration and was approached by several independent artisan producers, as well as The Aldeburgh food and Drink Festival in Suffolk, where I have illustrated for the Festival marketing for the last five years.
When I moved to London I began working as an Assistant Interior Stylist for Elle Decoration magazine and free-lanced for other stylists.
I then went to work in the busy Showroom team for Fabric House, GP & J Baker and Mulberry Home. I started to learn about the industry of Textile Manufacturing and followed on to work as Assistant and Designer for Nicholas Herbert Ltd in Chelsea, where I realized my passion for Textile design. It was here that I designed my first collection.
See www.nicholasherbert.com to view my designs.
I now live in the village of Graffham in West Sussex with my husband and interior photographer Rob, our two young boys and Dachshund cross, Huxley.
I work here from my studio where I can turn my inspiration into exciting ideas.
The prints are literal and abstract, and fun but elegant in their design. Introducing subtle patterns to compliment and decorate the home.
Much of Hannah’s inspiration comes from daily life. It can come simply from an intricate pattern on an antique ceramic jug, or from textiles all over the world, or from nature. Hannah is drawn to distinctive and quirky creatures and artisan food products, and has a particular fondness for the rural charm of the British countryside.
Experimenting with simple ideas, natural textures and subtle earthy colours has always been the nature behind each design. Hannah starts by sketching out ideas and painting soft backgrounds on Chinese rice paper. The image is then hand carved in lino block and it is ready to print with. The technique is used for its authentic printed edge and hand crafted finish.
The designs are then printed on a larger scale by British Mills and are available to be used for soft furnishings or they are made into accessories by carefully sourced craftspeople.
Having always admired Wood block printing as a technique, particularly the characterful nature and quality of its print, it was an obvious and exciting decision to develop designs using this ancient craft.
It also really suited the style of Hannah’s work and added an interesting accent to the British-made prints and accessories.
Having made some fundamental and reliable relationships with Block-makers, Printers and manufacturers in India, along with a trusted old colleague and friend, Hannah is excited to launch and develop this wonderful line of product called ‘Chikoo by Hannah Watchorn’ which is designed to compliment the original collection.
Chikoo is the name given to an Indian Fig, which was eaten for breakfast one tropical morning in a relaxing Art Hotel discovered just outside Jaipur.
Many of the designs came about on the hoof, whilst traveling around Rajasthan, and wondering amongst the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city of Jaipur. It was the perfect place to be inspired – by the colour, the market stalls, the buildings, the Moorish textiles and the people.